Showing posts with label Where I Live. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Where I Live. Show all posts

Friday, January 10, 2014

winter journaling

This is an account a regular day in the Ranger house. I know I'll treasure whatever reporting I manage to type about these normal moments of life because I already do treasure the ones I've made in the past (see Feb. '12...boy do I miss my morning NPR-listening and zoning out). Most of my days are one of two or three possible routines, including 1) the gym, 2) the library, or 3) shopping, or some combination of all of them.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

counting our blessings {the frozen pipe story}

Over the weekend, one of our toilet pipes froze and burst after the temperature got down to -12degF overnight. When it had frozen but not yet started leaking, we frantically tried to warm it up with a hair dryer and space heater, but all we really did was prompt the water to melt faster and eventually spray out of the already-damaged piece of pipe. Luckily we were in the basement having a look at the crawl space under the bathroom when it happened, so we were able to shut off the water right away and clean up the stray water with towels. It was a low moment for morale in the Ranger house and yet another example of Boston loudly telling us we don't quite fit in up here.

Nate set to work finding a plumber who could make an emergency weekend house call even in the midst of many such calls from Massachusetts residents who were without heat and/or also experiencing burst pipes. It was a tough challenge, but he managed to find a competent-sounding dude who could come on Sunday.

We ended up having to shut off the main water line because the shut-off valve going to the bathroom wasn't working, so that meant we had no water for cleaning and flushing the toilet. Luckily we had plenty of snow in the backyard. After gathering a bucket of it, I went on Instagram proclaiming my new status as Ma Ingalls. As I was heating up water to do dishes, it occurred to me how blessed we are in our daily lives to have all the cheap, clean, convenient, hot water we could want, not to mention a dishwasher and washing machine to do the heavy cleaning.

When the kids began to notice the changes around the house that day, I tried to make it sound like an adventure. That part came easily to me since I was able to draw from a wealth of memories from my own childhood. I thought of all the strong women in my life--my mom, aunts, and grandmas--who did an excellent job imbuing me with the sense that I could overcome any obstacle, that nothing could hurt me because I was loved, and that life was beautiful. I hope I pass on that courage to my daughters.

My favorite moment when we turned the water on was Charlie excitedly exclaiming, "Now we can wipe and flush again!" It's the little things.

Looking back, I see that what we had was the best case scenario of where and when a pipe could have frozen in our house to cause the least amount of damage. It happened in the downstairs bathroom, located at a corner of the house over the basement. It also served as a great learning experience for us southerners. But you wouldn't have known that positive spin at the time to hear all of our moaning and griping to our parents about how "maybe we're not cut out to be homeowners after all." Fortunately our parents are all good, patient listeners who take hyperbole like that with a grain of salt.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

on not {quite} fitting in

Me on Halloween (age 11). Yes that's a wig. And yes I am awkward.

We've been living in Massachusetts for nearly two and a half years, which is a long time for us to stay in one place. In fact, it's about as long as we've ever stayed in one city before moving. It's hard for me envision what it would be like to move right now because I still feel like I am learning how to be a proper Bostonian.

I wonder if it's a part of Boston culture that it takes longer than two years to feel like I fit in. The same couldn't be said for Wisconsin, which fit us like a glove. Ultimate frisbee, bike paths everywhere, and constant beer, fried fish, and cheese. Amen to that! If it weren't for the lack of family there and the brutal winter--worse that New England, if you can imagine that!--we would move back in a heartbeat. People seem genuinely happier there, despite the weather.

In contrast, New Englanders are not the happiest bunch I've ever come across. I realize I am stereotyping here, in the same way that you might discuss slavery apologizers in the south. I recognize not everyone behaves the same. But I've noticed more than once that people are pugnacious in an almost laughable way--picture Mark Wahlberg talking to animals, and you get it. Sometimes I LOL at how it seems like they are all looking to have their next fight.

From the way you take a number to stand in line and buy a sandwich, to even what you call the bread (don't say "white" when you mean "sub") and the stuff you put on it, EVERYTHING feels different. Nate has a funny story about ordering a sub when we first got here, and they asked him if he wanted "hots," which is a pickled pepper relish. But the way they say it, it sounds exactly the same as "hearts." It makes me giggle to imagine the curious position he was in for a few moments.

Much like when we lived in England, we spend some part of every day trying to figure out what the heck people are saying, even with small words like "jimmies" instead of sprinkles. On the surface, it might seem like an easy enough thing to learn, but what you don't see initially is that you aren't just learning the word but the history and connotation of its usage. In the case of "jimmies," it apparently has some sort of racial significance...and yet, they still say it? The intricacies of semiotics, y'all!

They way they chat with each other, their sociability, everything is slightly altered. I often feel as though I'm missing some kind of non-verbal cue during conversations with strangers.  Interesting but exhausting too. Last week I was chatting with another mom who has a six-year-old in Vivi's pre-k class. I was really intrigued because I've considered whether Charlie will be ready for kindergarten, having been born on the cut-off date. And Reader, she answered that they are keeping kids out of school an extra year, "you know, because of sports." As in, so her kids are bigger than the other kids. Say what now?

Whether I am making myself an outsider by pointing out these differences or am being made to feel like an outsider is a chicken and egg scenario. I love living here and observing people with my cultural anthropologist cap on, but at some point I'd like to be able to turn to a friend and say "I could really use a banana pudding milkshake" and have her understand what I mean. You know?

Monday, May 20, 2013

{20}: I wish I was in the Caribbean rum punch

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

On the Range
May 14 - 20, 2013

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

We are at the Belmont Town Day in this picture. As Becky would say, see how Charlie is having fun but Vivi is really selling it? Also, I choose not to correct Charlie when she calls the carousel a "fairies go around." The adorable meter is at an all-time high with her.

My week...

  • I am trying to get ready for my big trip, which involves lots of digging up baby clothing and maternity stuff to give to my preggers cuz. Yay! I am happy to be rid of it, with only minor pangs of baby nostalgia along the way. I keep reminding myself that once her baby is wearing all this loot, my heart will go on...
  • My major dilemma at the moment is what I want to do next year. Do I want to try to get ready for nursing school or get a real-live job? Decision time is nigh, and I haven't a clue which direction I am headed.

Media

  • Vice article in which James Franco reviews the Gatsby film. I plan to go see it as soon as someone offers to watch the kiddos for an evening

Meals
  • Lentil barley soup by Jacques Pepin
  • Do you count cocktails as a meal? I will. I made Caribbean rum punch this evening, and in it I put ice, dark rum, tangerine juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, and grenadine. It is a sugar shock but in a good way.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

from Boston, with love

Monday morning was filled with jubilation, awe, and patriotism. Upon waking, I sipped my tea and imagined how terrifying--and yet also satisfying--it must have been for the minutemen to fight off the British at the start of the Revolutionary War. I pondered the symbolism of hosting a marathon on the holiday meant to commemorate the event, and how the emotions at the start of the race are not unlike those of the militia. The thrill of crossing that finish line and the excitement of watching 25,000 people accomplish such a great feat on a crisp April morning represent two glorious freedoms that bring me swelling pride of country.

marathon runners

On Monday, those freedoms were briefly interrupted with horrific blasts. Maimed and lost lives. Pandemonium. But if you watch footage of the explosions and the immediate aftermath, you also see the inalienable truth of American, of Bostonian, people. We will survive, we will get back up, we will bond together to recover.

Monday's tragic event at the Boston Marathon is lingering in the air here, but not in the way you might think. Boston is a city full of tenacity, resilience, and hope--unlike any place I've ever lived. We are all running our own race, and we will keep going, always encouraging each other to the end, come what may. It takes more than a small person's feeble attempts to rattle our pride, our faith, our patriotism. Our leaders have promised to find the person(s) who carried out the attack, and I have no doubt they will do that.

To the cowards that attempted to destroy our love of life and each other: You picked the wrong fucking city. As Mayor Tom Menino said, “We are one Boston. We are one community. As always, we will come together to help those most in need. And in the end, we will all be better for it.” To donate to the people who most need it now, visit The One Boston Fund. #OneBoston


real smaht

Saturday, April 06, 2013

first world problems

I have nowhere else it makes sense to tell you the following things, so I am just going to say them here now in this safe space. To make it perhaps a little more enticing than your average bitch-fest, I'll call this list my top 5 first world problems this week:

1) When I take Vivi to her swim lesson at the YMCA pool, there is a fellow mom who takes up too much space on the bleachers talking to a friend. She talks to him loudly and doesn't seem to notice how adorable my two-year-old is as she tries to mount the bleachers with her little flip-flops on and a lollipop in her hand. Instead, Blabbermouth Mom ignores this cuteness and blathers on about all the things that bother her, thereby forcing me to eavesdrop involuntarily on her boring conversation instead of reading my book like I want. Also, she has three sons, and their names are Chase, Cash, and Beau. Would you like to know more? Because I now know it all.

2) I was fixing the printer the other day, and while it was uploading the program, it gave me all these annoying updates that I had no idea how to interpret, e.g. "running package scripts." Am I supposed to know what that means? Why can't it just say "still working" or something vague?

3) People here say "kindiegarden." Like, EVERYONE. I loathe this mis-pronounced word, particularly when you add the Boston accent and it becomes "kindiegahhdun."

4) When I drive out of the street in front of Vivi's school, I have to make a left-hand turn from a stop sign onto a busy road on which there are cars moving in both directions every second of the day. Add to the traffic that the intersection is on a curve, and there is a line of cars parked on the road on both sides, so I have to ease out into the road to see if I can go. Oh, and in the winter, you can also add a giant mound of snow I can't see past. Most days, I end up gunning it, but I never come close to wrecking, or even putting these people out of their way by making them slow down. But 75% of the time, I know that when I do this maneuver, I will get honked at. Bostonians honk their horns all. the. time.

5) The sun has returned from hiding and is now occasionally gracing us with its presence, to the point where my pasty vampire flesh actually got burned a few days ago. In 55 degree weather!

Okay, so that last one isn't really a complaint. I am so thrilled that we are down to vests instead of big puffy ski jackets that smell of cooking odors and resentment. The girls and I have recommenced our almost-daily walks to Trader Joe's or Walgreen's. Yesterday we adventured in search of sidewalk chalk and scored big with a glittery kind. All that is to say, I am well aware that my few tiny problems are of the first-world variety, and I am in fact a lucky duck, maybe even the luckiest.

Now it's your turn. Lay it on me. What's got your panties in a bind this week?

Quacks,
~J


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

happiness feels like this

Hello Readers! Did you miss me? Is that the most narcissistic thing I could ask? Perhaps I should start with: How are you? I hope you are enjoying the spring. I enjoyed my week off of blogging, but I actually missed talking to you more than I thought I would. But I also loved reading the guests posts along with y'all, just like one of the gang. Tell me, had you ever pondered raising rabbits for food previously? And are you thinking about it now? I also already feel more organized after Barb's great tips on creating a routine. Just as soon as I can pry myself from Pinterest, I plan to enact some of them.

What else can I tell you about us? Let's see, Charlie would probably like me to report that I am failing in the "Remember which pasta shape my kids loves most this week" department. You see, pasta with tomato sauce and meatballs is her favorite lunch, one that she would like at every meal and nothing else (except maybe a few peas), thank you very much. And she made what was--in her mind--a very clear move away from the mini bow ties (not the big ones, mind you. What are you thinking?) and toward the direction of the wagon wheels. Yesterday I made a big batch of mini bow ties, and when I put a bowl of them in front of her, she gave me a look which can only be saying "Excuse me, but I'm pretty sure I ordered a bowl of wagon wheels." We have opinions around here, people.

Lucky for her she's cute. Minus the dried snot.

Monday, April 23, 2012

love the place you live: Minute Man National Park & Orchard House



Have I told you lately how much I love Concord? Oh yeah, only in both of the {Love the Place You Live} posts that I've written so far. But still! I love it enough to write a third post. There are so many wonderful gems in this area that I might even devote a fourth post; maybe I'll head a bit southeast and write about Lincoln, the spot of an aunt's idyllic wedding years ago and also home of our favorite Audubon sanctuary/farm.

Friday, April 13, 2012

the library: an urban homesteader's most trusted companion

As a budding urban homesteader, I often felt disconnected from my rural counterparts, who I imagined were spending their days picking up tips and tricks from each other in knitting circles and at community pot-lucks. Whether they actually ever attend these events is unknown to me, but these scenarios have been firmly entrenched in my fantasy of rural life. I felt left out of their knowledge loop, like a shy schoolgirl who sits on the periphery of the cafeteria.

I'm happy to report I have managed to join the homesteading reindeer games, and the instructions weren't as difficult to come by as I once imagined. My take-home point is an old lesson but a good one: Ask, and you shall receive. Today I'm sharing a prodigious source of information for the urban homesteader that connects me to the past, present, and future of natural family living and DIY homesteading: My library!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

for whom the snow tolls...

Beantown has been all aflutter for the last month. You see, we haven't gotten much snow yet. There was some aggravating snow back in October when the leaf-and-snow-laden trees cracked under the weight and caused lots of damage, but we hadn't had the winter wonderland, fluffy, puffy, flitty, giddy, perfect snow. Until yesterday.

Saturday is the absolute best day for it to snow. It started snowing Friday night, which is even better, now that I think about it, because you wake up with snow already on the ground. Coming from my childhood in the ATL, I still get excited when I see snow out the window. It hovered at 15 deg F all morning, so it was the beautiful, tiny, sticks-to-nothing snow us southerners ain't never seen a'fore. Well, Nate and I did experience it in Wisconsin, but that fact ruins my hackneyed, deep-fried joke.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

ploughman's lunch

If I had to rank the meals I ate "whilst" living in the UK that I miss the most, the list would be relatively short. The British are not, in fact, known for their cuisine. Quite the opposite, actually. However, there are a few meals Nate and I remember fondly and would love to have again.

Many of these meals are not feasible to make at home, like bangers and mash or fish and chips. It just wouldn't be the same, you know? Top of the list for me is "cream tea," which is clotted cream (consistency of whipped cream cheese, tastes like cream) with biscuits or scones and jam, and a pot of tea. Yummmmmm.

One meal I can make at home is a ploughman's lunch. I ate many a ploughman's with a glass of Strongbow or Magners cider in pubs around the UK. It's a simple meal, basically consisting of a cold appetizer platter, which is traditionally served as crusty bread and butter, cheddar cheese, apple slices, pickles, ham, and salad greens with no dressing. Since we almost never buy ham, and crusty bread doesn't last long in our house, I typically substitute crackers and either salami or a boiled egg. [Apologies for the state of the apple pictured; I was planning to slice it but a starving little chipmunk got to it before I could].


Most days we eat lunch in the kitchen, but on the rare occasion Charlie goes down for a nap before Vivi and I eat, we like to move our party to the living room rug for a carpet picnic (or to the back yard on days when it's not so...Bostony...outside).


Sometimes I'll even--the joy!--check my email or flip through a magazine. Eating in peace and quiet in this way makes me realize how sweetly simple, but at the same time utterly incomplete, my life would be with just one child. Do people with three children feel this way about me?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Yee Ha-lloween!


We had a fun-filled Halloween week. I say week because I got Vivi dressed in her cowgirl get-up four times. It began on Thursday with her pre-school party. Then Friday we went to Nate's office for their party, which was lots of fun. I got to see his office and meet many of colleagues, and they hired a balloon animal guy who made Vivi a pony to go with her costume. Saturday morning was Lexington's Halloween parade, during which Vivi got to meet Elmo. When Elmo started walking toward town, Vivi postulated that he must be going to get himself a cup of coffee.


The girls and I spent Halloween afternoon at Wilson farm near our house, which seemed a fitting way to celebrate the holiday given their cow and cowgirl costumes.


We adore this farm because it sells fantastic food at great prices and makes an attempt to stay connected to the community through constant family-oriented events. Yesterday was no exception; they pulled out the stops with a spooky hayride, trick-or-treating with a choice of local apples or candy corn, and hot fresh apple cider donuts.





They are also known for their pre-made meals and recipe ideas. We each tasted samples of homemade turkey and mashed heirloom butternut squash (I'll add this simple, to-die-for recipe later in the week). Charlotte squealed for more after every bite, causing other shoppers to wander over and see what the fuss was about. Someone joked they should keep her around the tasting area as a salesgirl! We ended our trip by stopping by the portrait tent for a shot to win the costume contest.


As soon as we got home, Vivi and I scrambled to get our Halloween decorations up. We hung up homemade t-shirt ghosts and put up a scarecrow we picked up at Wilson farm. Within minutes, we had our first trick-or-treater, a boy dressed as a skeleton. Vivi hid around the corner because she was so afraid of his costume! I was glad we had chosen not to take her out in our neighborhood, since his was one of the least scary costumes I saw that night.

As I suspected, we had lots of trick-or-treaters. Most had great costumes, my favorite being the brother and sister dressed as Jack Sparrow and Keira Knightly (or whatever her character's name is), complete with Victorian corset dress. Toward the end, we had our obligatory share of teenagers dressed in sheets or holding hockey sticks. It was a great night, and the only thing I would change next time would be not to decide to make labor-intensive potato-leek soup while having to answer the door every two minutes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

the terrifying and the cuteness

I did something regrettable a few nights ago. I consented to watch the new AMC series "The Walking Dead" with Nate. About zombies, you know the one? It's gotten rave reviews, they just put the first season on the Netflix watch instantly list, and the second season just started airing this week, so those factors pretty much guaranteed Nate would want to watch it. Being the ever dutiful wife, I reluctantly agreed. Friends, if you are as much a scaredy cat as me, which is to say you hide behind a pillow during the previews for horror movies, do me a favor and do not watch this show. If you do watch, definitely don't eat during it...or at least, don't eat spaghetti. Catch my drift?

In contrast to my journey into zombieland, I took Vivi to a local farm this week to catch up with my friend Triathlete Mom, the mom of one of Vivi's best buds.


Going to a farm has actually become a thing for us, I guess, which is fine by me because I love farms! Having basically grown up on one that was my elementary school/camp/sanctuary, I feel at home on a farm. Vivi and her friend had a blast, cavorting and giggling, poking chickens with sticks, digging in the dirt, chasing each other through a pumpkin patch, playing "Bad Guys."


Charlie did what she generally does outside, spending most of her time climbing on benches and precarious piles of rocks and eating dirt and mulch.


So that's my life, zombies, chicken-poking, and rock-climbing. How 'bout you?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

this week in happiness

We've been having some good New England fun with the in-laws over the past few days, visiting Revolutionary War sites and picking apples. The girls loved seeing their grandparents, and Nate and I were just as enthusiastic about the visit. Nate's mom made apple pie with some of our bounty, and we all tried to outdo each other with our slice sizes and mountains of ice cream last night. Nate won, of course.





This morning we bid adieu at a rental car lot, and they are off to see New Hampshire for some leaf-peeping and a much needed break from the still-90's weather they have back in Florida. Our goodbye was a tad less sorrowful because we are planning a trip to see them during the holidays. Holy sticker-price shock, Batman! It is reee-donculously expensive to fly from Boston to Tampa during peak travel season. After swallowing some flies, we closed our mouths long enough to charge the new-couch-sized sum to our credit card and aren't looking back. It's all about the memories, right? And hey, this is the last year we can fly without paying for a ticket for Charlie, so it's only going to get worse from here. A little something cheery to ponder on my Wednesday.

In addition to my blissful mini-break of family fun, I am also in hog heaven over my new compost bin. As backyard lawn art goes, I suppose a large black cylinder isn't so chic, but I'm in love already. I made a huge pot of veggie soup yesterday, in large part so I could fill up a ten-quart bucket of scraps to carry out back and mix into my wet leaves and shredded newspaper. Folks, it doesn't take much to please this girl. I'm helping the environment, saving money on soil for next year's garden, and our kitchen garbage is about a trillion times less smelly already. Winning!

Friday, September 16, 2011

it's fall, y'all

It's another spectacular autumn day in Boston. The girls and I spent a few hours at the park soaking up the sun and breeze, and Vivi didn't even break a sweat! That's what 61 degF gets you. Ahhhh. I just want to bottle this up and bring it out in March when I am sick of the snow and ice and say "See?! It's worth living in Boston! Don't forget!"

As soon as the barometer drops below 65, I know I won't be seen in a bikini for a while so immediately begin thinking of all the carb-loaded foods I want to make. The hubster is in Athens this weekend playing tennis with the boys and calling the dawgs, so I decided to partake in one of my own fall rituals and cook up a comfort dish. Up today was mac & cheese, one of my favorites. You can dress it up or down, depending on your mood and the company you're serving. Since this time I am serving just me, I dressed it way down to the essentials. Below is the basic recipe, but you can always take a tip from Ina and add some fancy cheese if you want to dazzle guests.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

autumn


From "A Vagabond Song"
by Bliss Carman

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood --
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.


I got home from Atlanta yesterday, and there was the unmistakeable feeling of autumn in the Boston air. I celebrated by breaking out some of my traditional fall rituals, of which I have many. Last night's included donning a comfy sweatshirt, making a giant bowl of spaghetti, and lounging on the couch with a mug of mint tea and some ginger snaps.

How do you ring in the new season? Do you have a favorite fall ritual?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

off to the hizzot in the ATL...

I'm leaving for Atlanta today to celebrate Charlotte & my mom's birthdays and see my Dad and family over Labor Day weekend. Take a look at the weather I'll be missing while I'm gone...


The hot bugs are still chirping, but their swan song won't last long. Fall is getting ramped up, and I venture it's here to stay. It's a rare experience for me to have autumn begin on September 1st, with the brief exception of our two years in Madison, WI. Meanwhile, my home state of Georgia will still be in the 90's all week. I can only hope Boston's version of my favorite season lasts longer than a week (unlike the spring up here, apparently). Please don't start the winter yet. I'm not ready. Ok, I admit to having already bought snow pants for the girls, but that's only because last year I couldn't find any in January and because I got a great deal at Old Navy. But I'm not ready to be cold yet! Do you hear me, weather? I'm not ready yet!!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

a feast fest in our future

Today began the world's largest Portuguese feast in Boston, The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament. We have been looking forward to this festival for months, both because we fell in love with Portugal when there a few years ago and because we love to eat. Kidding aside, one of our beloved pastimes is partaking in all cultural foods a city has to offer. Anthony Bourdain taught us a few years back in an episode of his travel show that Boston has a thriving Portuguese population. We have sampled some Portuguese food like sausage but never so much at once! Nate has been on a work trip for a few days, so I'm looking forward to him returning so we can stuff our faces. Yum.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

my brilliant idea

I have an idea about what I could do for work. As I've mentioned before, these ideas are not unusual for me. But as is typically the case, I have neither the means nor the gumption to commit to it. I just can't get the idea out of my head though, so I'm sharing it with you in the hope that it will either flee from my brain or else someone I know will take advantage of my free business idea and run with it.

I'll start off with a little background about how I got the idea. From time to time after Charlotte was born, I've wanted/needed a place I can drop off Vivi, either so she can play when I'm too tired to play with her, or so she can stay out of my hair if I need to do something not conducive to having a three year old around, like going to the dentist. At first I wasn't sure if such a place existed because I couldn't find one in DC. When I went to live with my mom for a few months in Roswell, I found a place exactly like I was looking for right away! It was like the owner had read my mind. It's called Play Activity Center, and they have a great indoor play space with a bouncy castle, big foam pit, trampoline, the works. The caregivers feed the kids sack lunches and are very attentive; they do art projects and run around with them in the "big gym." You can reserve the gym for birthday parties, and there's even a quiet room where parents can go who aren't in the mood to listen to 20 seven-year-olds screaming and laughing their heads off. And if you do want to stay and play with your kid, you can get a membership for the big gym and pay less to go in and play together. They also do seasonal events, like a visit with Santa. You call ahead to reserve a spot (so they know how many workers to schedule), and if you aren't going to make it, you call and cancel. The best part is that it only cost me $7 an hour. Perfect!

So why haven't these places been duplicated elsewhere? My guess as to why it's not in DC is that frankly, no moms stay at home, and thus the service isn't really in demand as much. But there are PLENTY of stay-at-home moms here in Boston, so where's our drop-off play center? I immediately searched for such a place when I got here in January, and all I could come up with were VERY EXPENSIVE nannies and preschools, mostly for kids over 2 and all requiring you to fill a permanent place in a center/school/home, not an impromptu drop-off facility. So finding none, I began to probe fellow moms to find out more. I always got the same reaction; first puzzlement and questions, then skepticism and more questions, and finally lightbulb and exclamation of "That's a great idea! Why doesn't that exist here?" I've often asked myself that question, and without doing actual research, I came up with two possible answers:
1. People have come up with the idea, but there's some regulation/law/expense stopping them from doing it (Mass. loves its regulations!)
2. It's never been done here before, so it's not part of the culture, and no one has come up with the idea yet.

I have no doubt that were someone to overcome the potential obstacles listed above in reason #1, that person would make a killing! It's not even a question in my mind. This is a needed service that would be gobbled up so fast you'd have a mile-long wait list. In my dream, the play center would be attached to a big kids' consignment shop, so moms could drop their kids off to play and then shop peacefully in the store by themselves. In the end, a person would need the two things I mentioned at the start of my post to make it work. First, you would need money, aka "capital" in yuppy businessman terminology, and secondly, you would need to commit to living in the same city for at least 5 but more like 10 or 15 years. Given my recent post about Atlanta, clearly I do not possess the latter quality, and without telling sob stories or eating worms, I must also admit to not have much of the former quality either. Somebody, anybody out there, please do this so I have a place to drop off my kids!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

whities in a tizzy about Whitey

I'm sure it made news everywhere that Whitey Bulger (i.e. the real person who inspired the Jack Nicholson character in "The Departed") was recently captured and will face trial for his many crimes spanning more than a half-century. But no news coverage can compare to Boston's absurd level of detail and ubiquity. One of my favorite parts of staying at home is being able to listen to NPR when I'm working in the kitchen; however, today was no picnic because every time they switched to local coverage, I had to hear day two of the (sarcasm alert!) cliff-hanger story over and over about whether or not his longtime girlfriend would be released on bail. Gasp! It was a nail biter for sure, and I enjoyed listening to it 15 times this morning on top of 30 times yesterday. Now, don't get me wrong, I understand he murdered and terrorized many people in this city, so part of me gets why we have to hear about him 24/7 right now. Sufficed to say I would prefer the coverage more aptly correspond to the level of NEWS regarding the case. I don't need to hear about every time he walks 15 feet, thank you very much. My theory as to why we are being bombarded is that it could have something to do with acknowledgement of same-race crime in a predominately racially-uniform area. In a melting pot community like Atlanta, it seemed when I was growing up that everyone had to be on "their side" when it came to crime discussion, and maybe not even discuss it at all if someone of your race committed the crime. Most memorable was the racial divide surrounding the O.J. Simpson trial, which I know was racially divided in many US cities, but this is only one of many examples I could give. It was as though in a community of many races, you had to stick up for your own race and pretend it was infallible. But in a homogenous state like Massachusetts, it's a crime discussion free-for-all. I could be wrong, but anyway, food for thought. I can only hope some better news comes along, and quick, before they start covering his trips to the bathroom.

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