Random

May. 8th, 2013 09:31 am
dancerjodi: (Geek)
We had a nice, busy weekend. We celebrated May 4th/Free Comic Book day with the folks at http://www.dmcomics.com/. Mina won her first costume contest! She won best in the kid's category. We will need to go back to pick up her DK Publishing/Lego book gift pack (worth $50) soon. Her and Daddy http://www.flickr.com/photos/dancerjodi/8707053891/ had a lot of fun getting lots of reactions from the (huge) crowd.

We met up with the goth moms Saturday afternoon/night for a huge clothing swap and to say goodbye to T and G, who move to PA soon. So strange! It is weird thinking of us all swirling around Man Ray not too long ago.

On Sunday our friend E came by so that Brian and I could celebrate our good friend S's birthday/annual movie day (Iron Man 3). She and Mina had a great time, and so we'll need to plan another date soon. Gatsby and Star Trek are both coming up.

This weekend is the http://internationalsteampunkcitywaltham.org/WCF/, which we are hitting on Saturday with a friend (also, the farmer's market is coming for a day). We are hosting mother's day breakfast on Sunday. Hopefully we will have some good spring weather. The warmer weather is really making me feel alive again!

Our dance recital is in a little over a month, so the more serious prep for that is ramping up: later classes, confirming lines, getting costume bits together. So exciting! This year we have a larger venue, so thankfully only one show (Saturday of Father's Day weekend).

Snow

Feb. 15th, 2013 11:40 am
dancerjodi: (Geek)
I'm a bit late with this update, but thought it was useful to write. Snow came last weekend - a lot of it. Once Brian cleared a path down our front steps, across the sidewalk and out to the street, it came up higher than his hips. We took turns moving it while the other was in the house with Mina. Since our yard is next to our house and not behind it, we have a long length of sidewalk to clear in a storm (because we are nice neighbors, and want to make it easier for ourselves and others to walk in our hood). Our driveway is big enough for our two cars in tandem, and clearing the bottom is always a mess due to the frequent plowing by the city (we live on a main street, one block from an elementary school where most kids walk). I'm glad we bought a snowblower 2 years ago! It's not the sexiest thing, but was able to manage the pile at the end of the drive a little at a time. Brian did that first leg of the work, and I went out and cleared cars and then shoveled half the sidewalk, driveway to door. We went out later with the snowblower and did the other half of the sidewalk.

I knew that our kid was social, but this experience really drove it home for us. She had been sick over the weekend, and is home with me on Mondays. Tuesday she and Brian were home sick, and I stayed home to take care of them. She was in school Wednesday and was fine all morning, but Brian got a call at 3:00 to come and get her with a fever. He stayed home with her on Thursday (since I was out of work Monday and Tuesday, he took one for the team and stayed home with her). We took her to the pedi on Thursday night to rule out something needing antibiotics (they said it was just a virus and had to run its course) before the storm came. Friday, I worked from home as did he, and we were all inside. The bulk of NEMO hit us late Friday, and Saturday was shoveling and snowblowing day. Oh my goodness, the kid was crazy! Needed to get out! We played all over the house, took out toys she's not used to seeing, watched Sesame Street (we never have the TV on for her). She was nutso. We went out for a bit with her all bundled up, but she didn't want to play *in* the snow.

Being in a downtown area, there are a lot of folks in our hood. And stuff to walk to. Seeing people in the middle of the street on that Saturday (almost a week ago now), cross country skiiing, driving ATVs, dragging their kids on plastic toboggans just made me want to get out. The Governer declared that no driving was allowed until after 4 PM, but around 2:30 or so Brian went out with his truck to scout out potential places that were open for us to get out to that evening. 2 restaurants and a couple of bars on Moody Street were open. No sidewalks were. People were walking in the streets, trying to maneuver around cars that had less room to drive given the city's bad plowing (not to the curb).

Whatever. This was imperative! We were getting out! We were seeing people.

I *heart* my baby carrier. Mina is big enough now that I really should figure out how to put her on my back, but with the snow and whipping wind, the facing me, front carry was really the best. We bundled ourselves up. I put on the carrier, we got Mina into it (she was all snug as a bug in a fleece 1-piece hooded jumpsuit jacket, I put my down coat on over that, and then wrapped a blanket around her in front of that to shelter her from wind/whipping snow. We started walking. About 2 minutes from the house and she was sleeping on me, soundly. It took us a while to make it given some false starts (oh that sidewalk is clear - oh wait it isn't, turn around), but we made it to http://watchcitybrew.com/ in one piece. She slept on me for a bit and then we woke her around 5:00 so as not to mess with bedtime later on. She just LIT UP! People! To flirt with! TVs (a big novelty for her)! Sharing interesting food! It was medicine for us all. The storm itself would not have been so bad, but following a week of sick kid at home, it was poorly timed.

(btw parents, Watch City has now installed changing tables in their bathrooms, boo-yah)

I knew our kid was a social one. This unplanned experiment just showed indeed, how much she is. Seeing her poor, deflated, bored little face is something I'd like to avoid. I know there is that balance between creative, free and unstructured play and needing to "entertain" your kid. We aim to get somewhere in the middle. More than ever, I have been taught how important this is for her.

(I do hope as she gets older she's more interested in playing in snow or in sand . . . in both extremes she has been MISERABLE thus far)
dancerjodi: (Geek)
Lately I've been trying to be more present in my life, with my family, in my home. I've been trying to spend less money and enjoy what is right in front of me. A resolution for the new year? Maybe.

We had dinner at our neighborhood Mexican Restaurant on Friday night, after a particularly stressful work week. I love seeing how Mina makes friends with nearby diners. She is so good at restaurants - we are so lucky! She'll eat whatever we put in front of her. Maybe these things won't continue, but for now, we are enjoying it. On Saturday morning after having breakfast we took a hike in our neighborhood along the Charles Riverwalk. Brian carries the brunt of the work for these, with Mina on his back in our Kelty backpack. I'd like to get strong enough to handle it that way (at this juncture, I'd prefer her in my Lillebaby carrier on my chest). We trudged through the snow along the river, stopping to see ducks and geese and neighborhood dogs along the way. It is such a joy to live so close to such a quiet slice of nature in the city. On the way home we stopped in the Italian store on Newton Street for some lunch subs and homemade pasta and sauce for dinner. Brian had to work for a good chunk of the day in the office, so Miss M and I spent the afternoon together, braving the crowds in Burlington for some supplies and Joanne Fabrics and a latte (for both of us) in the cafe in a nearby supermarket.

Sewing for her has reinvigorated my interest in it. My time is surely limited, but I finished an apron for her birthday gift, and a little birthday crown (inspired by Amanda Soule) http://soulemama.typepad.com/soulemama/2007/03/a_little_about_.html. I've had a lot of fun, and little nephew Mason's birthday is also coming up, so time-willing I'd like to make him some things. I also picked up some supplies for Mina's birthday party. It is an intimate shindig with immediate family and some close special 'friend family' folks. I cannot WAIT to try the cupcakes we've ordered for it. I'm having a lot of fun trying to plan something special but something that also doesn't break the bank or kill a lot of trees in the process.

Mina started in the new 'bigger kid' group at http://www.cobblestones4families.com/ yesterday. She's the youngest in the group but given her extreme mobility they thought it best for her to be in there. It is just amazing to hear the kids in there and see them so vocal! A picture of things to come. She moves as well as all of the older kids, but you can definitely see how she is not as far developmentally along verbally or socially. I am so happy that we have this resource nearby and would love to share it with everyone. We have all been so happy to be a part of the Cobblestones family.

This is the first full work week in a while. I'm trying to stay motivated and engaged. Lots to work on! The dance studio is also back in full swing this week. Getting the body moving again after holiday breaks is always - interesting.
dancerjodi: (Default)
I saw this article http://www.wickedlocal.com/waltham/news/x462617247/Waltham-native-pens-novel-about-teenage-life-in-the-Watch-City#axzz1YVnf5Kss and wanted to grab the book. Another article about the story was found here http://www.wickedlocal.com/arlington/news/x1587957521/Q-A-with-John-Reed-Mean-streets-of-Paradise#axzz1YVnf5Kss

This reads much like a journal and less like a book. It is not very well written. The editing was very poor, but despite that I enjoyed reading it.

If you are from Waltham or the Waltham area, a kid of the late 70s/early 80s, into coming of age stories and that kind of thing, you may enjoy it. Though I went through Waltham High School almost a decade after the author, I recognized a lot of things in this book. It was a neat trip down memory lane.

You can find the book here http://www.amazon.com/Another-Lousy-Day-Paradise-ebook/dp/B005IBNHQK
dancerjodi: (Default)
http://articles.boston.com/2011-08-28/news/29938754_1_lap-belts-seat-belts-unbuckling

We do this in our cars, why not pay the extra $2 per kid per year to have on school buses? Congratulations to the Waltham4Seatbelts group and all of your had work in getting this implemented!

Watch City

Jul. 20th, 2011 08:04 pm
dancerjodi: (Default)
A neat video on the Waltham Watch Factory: you'll enjoy it if you are into history, industrialization, labor relations and that sort of thing.

http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/brandnewwatch/2011/07/18/yes-there-will-be-a-quiz-after-you-watch-this/#axzz1SYMAaaai
dancerjodi: (Default)
http://mtwyouth.org/events/?viewevent=62

These guys operate a store on Moody Street in Waltham, where they give good experience to kids who otherwise would have not had this kind of 'real life' training prep and support. They are also the only cafe open evenings in the neighborhood (not counting Dunkies). Give them your love!

Driving

Mar. 2nd, 2011 12:59 pm
dancerjodi: (Default)
I remember as a child, my parents had a rule that the car wouldn't be started if everyone seated did not have a seatbelt on. I remember that I was one of the few of my friends that had to wear one, and I was embarrassed when one of my friends was forced to buckle up before Mom would start the engine. My mother's sister was killed in a car accident when her face hit the (metal) dashboard of the jeep she was riding in. She was in her early 20s.

Since I've been doing it forever, it's an unconscious thing for me to do nowadays. There was a bit of time in high school where I was just driving my Monte Carlo and was too cool to wear them. Riding home from WHS one day I was rear-ended by a tow truck, and my friends and I in the car sustained injuries (Bobo, Anjell, Pete and I). We were extremely lucky that the result was merely some time in chiropractic care and an ultimate settlement that paid a tiny bit toward college bills (or in Pete's case, a bass and a new car iirc). Thankfully I cared less about being cool after that and picked up wearing the seatbelt again.

A couple of years ago I was almost done paying off my sweet Hedwig, my 2001 Impala in a nice blue that was a great combination of dark and bright. She had a shiny new coat of paint since I had body work done after being sideswiped in front of my house one night. About 2 months later I was hit head on over near the Lyman Estate - a woman coming off the rotary was driving too fast on the slightly icy, slightly hilly road (I was coming up from KFC, right near where Paul C used to live at Gardencrest) and she slammed head first into me. My car was crunched and despite my seatbelt I smashed into the airbag. Thank you seatbelt, and thank you airbag, for all I had were some burns and bruises on my face, some bruised ribs and a totaled car. About 3 months before she was paid for - doh! Not planned, but the incident got me into my Eddie that protects me on the road now. It was the second time that heavy metal saved my life, but I digress.

The city of Waltham is in talks to put lap-shoulder belts into it's school buses. It is going to cost something like a buck a tax payer per student. The city would also be the first in the state to take such a move (I believe). What a small expense to take care of its children! It is a law to wear belts in the state, and accidents happen. For me, a homeowner in the city who does not have a child in the system, it seems worthwhile to make this initial investment. Walthamites need look only next-door to the city of Newton, where an accident on a trip (band trip? I'm forgetting) resulted in serious injury not many years ago. Less than 1 dollar! How much do folks spend a week at Dunkies? We should be able to shoulder this burden.

If you live in Waltham and care about this issue please share your opinion with the mayor and school committee members. You can find more information here www.waltham4seatbelts.org .
dancerjodi: (Default)
Yesterday was such a gorgeous day! We had breakfast with Sean and Krista at the http://www.deluxetowndiner.com/ in Watertown, one of my favorite breakfast places around here. It was nice to catch up and hear about their trip to NOLA for Christmas.

Since our New Year's Eve plans weren't until later we spent some time around the house and got out for a walk down Moody to enjoy the unseasonably mild weather. We were able to check out the new Indian Supermarket http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2010/12/29/india_market_is_a_subcontinent_under_one_roof/ - it is huge and had a pretty good selection of things (though not many natural or organic ingredients). Still, it's nice to have a place to walk and be assured of the basics if our friendly across the street convenience store doesn't have them. The Charles was gorgeous with tons of birds swimming around or sitting on the ice http://www.flickr.com/photos/dancerjodi/5312528308/in/set-72157625720141956/ . Going to the indian grocery store made Brian want some of his favorite local Indian food, so we strolled over there for our lunch/dinner before heading to the show. There are a lot of options in Waltham, but http://www.hiddenboston.com/KababAndTandoor.html has become our favorite.

As always, we had a GREAT time at the http://www.pinobrostattoo.com/ New Year's Eve bash, this year moved to the Middle East Downstairs since Harper's Ferry has closed. It was a Rock and Roll Heaven theme, with decorations, dead bands, live-band karaoke and of course, the 1999 Waltham lineup at midnight. It was fun to celebrate with my townie friends! I didn't get a lot of pictures but you can get an idea of the craziness in these few http://www.flickr.com/photos/dancerjodi/sets/72157625720141956/with/5312528308/ . As always after one of their shows I wish they did more of them, but kind of like the lights and decorations we put up in December and take down in January, would they be as special if we had them all of the time?

We're meeting friends for Dim Sum today and going to another bash tonight, this time to celebrate a good friend's 40th birthday at King's in Dedham. One of these days I'll check out the Boston location, where they purchased old things from Waltham's Wallex (benches, flooring) to build out their schmancy bar and game areas.

The 'Ham

Oct. 22nd, 2010 02:06 pm
dancerjodi: (Default)
I lived in Wellesley until I was about 9 years old on the Natick line, with family that lived in Natick. I "grew up" as a young child in that area, shopping at the old Natick Mall, Shopper's World and Sherwood Plaza.

We moved mid year over Christmas break back to Waltham, where my parents were from and their parents, etc. Despite being in Wellesley we were always in Waltham to visit family, for Dad to go to work, to go to the dance studio. I don't know what it was about the city but I thought that we were so cool to be moving there that I remember bragging to my Wellesley friends. We never really fit in our little neighborhood (Overbrook Drive right off Rt. 9, near Chihn's Villiage).

For all intents and purposes then, I feel like Waltham is my hometown. My most formative years (imo) were spent there. I don't know what it is about the city but try as we might, most of us weren't able to get away. In high school I couldn't wait to get away from Waltham but in college (in particular, through my Sociology 101 course) I realized what a gem of a city we had. We're near Boston but not in it. We've got stuff in the downtown but we have the Riverwalk, Beaverbrook, Prospect Hill. It's easy for driving but there are trains and buses to the city. We have such a fascinating history both in terms of what our country has done industrially and also sociologically - a great 'microcosm' (ooh, college words)! I've waxed poetic here in the past about the Watch City so I'll refrain from getting into it too much.

Post college, Brian and I rented an apartment over near the 99 for a few years while we saved for a house. We couldn't touch Waltham at the time for anything that wasn't a POS, and Brian really did not want to live somewhere that I knew everyone. We looked north and west of the city at a bunch of places, and eventually settled in downtown Framingham on Alexander Street (off Irving, a couple of blocks from the junction of 135 and 126).

We loved our house! Huge and gorgeous! Stained glass and a fireplace! 10' ceilings! A huge yard! Gorgeous hardwood! A new kitchen we made! But we hated where it was, or rather, I hated it and Brian was indifferent and uncaring about the community at the time. We had some nice neighbors but for the most part folks kept to themselves or were getting into trouble that we didn't want a part of. It took one week until a drunk dude threatened to stab Brian at the Store 24, walking down to get some gatorade during our massive home gutting/rewiring project. He started carrying a knife again and was back to walking around on edge like in his old Everett thug days. It was just a depressing place to be. It reminded me a lot of Waltham in that late 80s/early 90s in its depressed and (to some) scary state on the Southside. Everything is relative of course. I would cut off my arm to help build up South Waltham, but I could have cared less about South Framingham.

We lasted two years on Alexander street, basically enough time for us to redo the house and gain some good equity, and for me to convince Brian that I really was not going to be happy there. We sold and bought where we are now just in time. I shudder to think of my poor mental state had the bubble burst earlier and if we were stuck there. I was not a pleasant person to be around.

Well recently I found a great blog about Framingham, and it warms my heart to read it. I'm glad to see some development in some areas and sad to see some of the same ole same ole in others. I'm glad that someone cares as much about downtown there as much as I do in Waltham. Since I started my life there, bought my first home there and since Brian and I end up doing many of our errands out there, I do feel a connection to that area. When we were first driving, my friends would go to the Natick Mall to walk around, hit movies at Shopper's World. I remember getting pictures with a Real Santa and Real Reindeer. I remember Child World and Windsor Button and House of Zodiac. So most of all, what I'm happy about in finding this blog is the old photos of Shopper's World and the Natick Mall:

http://www.thisisframingham.com/category/shoppers-world
http://thisisframingham.com/?p=179

(too bad there aren't photos of the old fountain outside Sears in the mall, but I digress)

A friend posted today about this being the anniversary of her first marriage (which did ultimately end in divorce), but how the pain was worth it to get her to where she is today. I remember the nasty fights Brian and I had and emotions I experienced around that Framingham house, the literal sweat and blood shed rehabbing it. Though, it truly did allow us to get to the place we are today, which is just such a perfect, perfect fit for us. Our hood isn't perfect but it is *our* hood. Our house has its issues but it is *our* house.

I think every town deserves its motivated townie. I hope that I am doing Waltham proud being one of its own. Now when do I get that toaster for converting my husband? ;)

Random

Mar. 29th, 2010 08:30 pm
dancerjodi: (Default)
We finished our den repainting/remodel yesterday. With other (read: basement) projects going on, this repaint took us about 3 months with many breaks in between. We did the rabbit-side wall first a couple of months ago, the fireplace wall last month, and we finished everything up on Sunday. We even ran out for new curtains and pillows. It's comfortable and colorful without being blindingly BRIGHT. I love the line of Liberty of London stuff that Target has right now - I got some great pillows for the couch there.

Wow, our new radiator cover picked up a lot of lint when we painted it - heh.

I can't believe with all of my dance-related injuries and with all of the toe stubbing, shin smashing and knee bashing injuries I've had, I've never heard of this stuff http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnica before. My acupuncturist told me about it tonight, and I now want to pick up a tube for home, work, my car, the basement lair, etc.

Some more Star Wars friends are moving to Waltham! Bwahaha! Does this mean I get a new toaster or something?! Only a couple more transplants and we can build the Watch City Squad. :)

Fireplace, tea, bunnies and Brian . . . all I need now in here are some cats. :)
dancerjodi: (Default)
"The Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham is hosting a Steampunk Festival on Saturday, April 10th from 10:00am-4:00pm. "Steampunk" is a science fiction genre heavily influenced by the Victorian era -- think H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, steam engines, airships and ray guns. There will be artists, dancers, authors, costume and prop makers, and lessons and displays on all things steampunk, hosted in a museum that focuses on the area's early industrial history. To learn more visit http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=325287772915 (you do not need a Facebook account in order to see this page) and http://www.crmi.org/."
dancerjodi: (Default)
Finding free money in unused gift cards
A night with Brian
Mal being all snuggly in bed
Sleeping in, and working from home for a couple of hours (meeting in Needham this morning)
Finally starting to read http://www.amazon.com/Waltham-Rediscovered-Ethnic-History-Massachusetts/dp/0914339265

My parents have owned a copy of the book for quite a while, and I bought my own at some point. My father's parents contributed greatly to the creation of this book, with a good deal of photos and excerpts in there about Gram's family.

As a student of sociology, I am just impressed with the efforts and the community-wide process that was involved to create this. I was touched to read of the ethnic group, neighborhood and factory reunions that took place early on in the process to solicit participants for the project. I remember riding a float in the parade that celebrated Waltham's immigrant history at it's 250th anniversary, in my Italian Folk dance duds (Gram had signed me up for a class at the Sons of Italy for a time).

The thing is huge, so it won't be leaving my house, but I'll surely get through it when I'm around here. Last night I was reading to Brian a blurb about the history and popularity of the old Waltham super. I'm looking forward to digging out stories of relatives again. There's a passage that Gram wrote about her experience dropping out of school and working to help support her family (and great detail about the tasks she performed at the Watch Factory, and her wage at the time).

I think most striking last night was the passage in the front written at a neighborhood reunion for the mixed-group immigrants that lived in the Charles-Felton street area, near the river and all of the factories. They didn't have fancy homes, or lots of land, or nice furniture, or any of the things that the Joneses require as a sign of success, but they had a rich and diverse community, bustling and keeping things going and helping each other out. The book was published in the 80s before the fall and subsequent rise/gentrification of the Moody Street area, and yet as much as things change they stay the same. I'm glad to be a part of the continual history of our little city, and hope that I would make our ancestors proud.

You will have to humor me as I share some passages from this book as I go along.
dancerjodi: (Default)
When I caught the news on Facebook this morning (Peet has posted last night) the store was all I could think of. I came in to work and checked my e-mail to find this:

"I am writing to inform you that there was a fire in our building on Moody Street last night. I have been told by the owner of the building that everyone escaped with either minor injuries or unscathed. The fire appears to have begun on the roof and spread, but the majority of the damage to the is from smoke and water. I am uncertain of the damage to the bookstore except for assurances that it is from water and is moderate at its worst.

Nonetheless, this could not come at a more difficult time. I am currently in California attending to the critical illness of my father who underwent major emergency surgery last Thursday. His condition remains dire and I must devote my full attention to him and my immediate family.

Those of you who have followed this store from the beginning know that it has been an all-out sprint from the start, a fight from the start, and a battle too many times to count. I have taken to responding to the question, "What would you do if the store closed," by saying, "Wait a few months and open it up again." In that way, I can say that we will reopen, but sight unseen I also cannot tell you exactly when.

We will do our best to have some employees at Johnny Carrera's studio for Open Studios this weekend. And we will fight like hell to reopen quickly, but within reason. My thoughts of the store are an anchor, even if its doors are closed, but how to get it to its feet is far beyond me right now. In the interim, I ask that you take a moment for a kind thought or prayer and do a small act of kindness for someone today. I can tell you that those are the things that have meant the most to me always at times like these.

My best to you all, and my hope to be in touch with good news soon.

Alex Green
Owner"

Please folks, support your local businesses and keep them in your thoughts.

The Super

Oct. 21st, 2009 08:20 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
I was telling my coworker about the old Waltham super. I am dying to find pictures of the old meat department murals, but Flickr never turns anything up.

I've found the outdoor sign which is still there http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Waltham_supermarket_sign.jpg and an old bag http://www.waltham-community.org/images/WalthamSuperBag.jpg . I even found a reference in a book about it .

Does ANYONE have any photos of the old super? I'd also love to see some of the bakery with all of the fake wedding cakes in the display behind the counter. And the little motion-controlled gates that would welcome you to the store. I've been dying to share these with Brian for years.

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