Centers And Squares
Archive for the 'Everything Else' Category
Wherever you’re celebrating today – at your house, at your grandparents’, at a restaurant – have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Lydia Maria Child, born in Medford in 1802, was an abolitionist, women’s rights activist, writer and Unitarian.
On Thanksgiving we remember her for her well-known poem: Over the River and Through the Wood, originally published as “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day” in 1844.
Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
For this is Thanksgiving day…
The house of Lydia’s childhood was a modest house that is now the rear portion of this handsome Greek Revival on South Street in Medford. The addition, with its two-story columns, was constructed about 1839 by ship builder Paul Curtis. The house faces the Mystic River.
Does anybody make homemade pies any more? Even for Thanksgiving?
Judging from pie sales at local shops you might think not.
The folks at Verrill Farm told my parents that they had sold more than 2,000 pies as of yesterday. I thought that was pretty impressive until I went by Petsi Pies in Somerville this afternoon to pick up my order.
The line was out the door. Granted, it’s a small shop but it was still a surprise – a chilly surprise.
Someone in line mentioned that he’d heard they had sold more than 3,000 pies this Thanksgiving. Yowza!
We’ve got mixed berry pie from Petsi Pies, pumpkin and pecan from Verrill Farm, and rumor has it, homemade apple pie from my aunt on our table tomorrow.
Hope you enjoy your dinner – and save room for pie!
Ok – confession time. I’m a bit of a messy eater – at least messy enough that on a number of occasions, as I eat on the fly during my busy day, something ends up spilled on me.
Too many spots and stains later, I’ve taken to draping paper towels from my chin to my lap. It’s not pretty but it works – my dry cleaning bills are in check and I’m presentable for appointments.
But thanks to my dear friend June, my coworkers will no longer look askance at my paper draped dining habits. June made the beautiful custom bib at right. With its hand stitched houses decorating the front – each one a different architectural style in miniature – it’s the best real estate agent gift ever.
Come noon, in between appointments, I’ll be in the kitchen at the office wearing my new bib.
Thanks so much June! My bib is going to be a big hit in the lunch room!
The Boston Herald had a great article today about the garage at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge. Turns out the Charles Hotel parking garage gives a break to small cars.
Small cars get a price break at the Charles Square garage. Vehicles that are less than 12 feet in length get the first hour free and a reduced rate. Minis and Smart Cars – of which there are plenty in Cambridge – meet the size limits.
I think this is a super idea. Anything that encourages more small cars on the road – or in the garage – is a good thing in my book. Way to go Charles Hotel.
A few years ago I was running late for an appointment in Brookline. I was trying to park in a parking garage and was stuck behind a line of big, hulking SUVs that were too large for the cramped spaces in the garage. As I fumed, we slowly crawled through the garage as drivers tried every which way to get their supersized vehicles into spaces that were simply too small. Their SUVs were also too tall – making me gasp since it looked quite possible that an SUV top would be sheared off at any moment. It’s a sight that I’ve never forgotten.
It has struck me as odd that in an era of ever bigger vehicles, garages and parking lots, seemingly in attempt to squeeze every possible dollar from their operations, have made parking spaces tighter and smaller. It sure does lead to some nasty confrontations – as I’ve witnessed more than once at the Porter Square shopping center lot for example.
Whether on the road or in the garage, I’d rather be behind a small car than a behemoth. Maybe it’s time to give small cars perks all over town – make the prime parking lot spaces small, give reduced rates at meters for small parking spaces.
What the heck is “NaBloPoMo” you might be asking.
It’s a new one on me though not a big leap from “NaNoWriMo” which I *did* know about after spending way too many late night hours on writers boards since I started working on Kindle cookbooks. NaNoWriMo is the acronym for “National Novel Writing Month”. It’s a challenge to write 50,000 words of a new novel during the month of November. It began, as a project among friends, in 1999 and last year more than 200,000 people signed up.
I thought about joining NaNoWriMo as a “rebel” (something I’ve been called more than once) and work on non-fiction but I didn’t get around to it.
Turns out I’m in my own challenge right here on Centers and Squares. I’m an unoffical member of NaBloPoMo and I didn’t even know it. The Real Estate Tomato, designers and hosters of this blog, are running a Post Every Day challenge in November again this year and I’ve signed up.
Little did I know that lots of bloggers are hitting the keyboard in November. National Blog Posting Month (aka NaBloPoMo) was inspired by NaNoWriMo and debuted in 2006. Bloggers are encouraged to post every day in November. Starting this year it’s hosted by BlogHer, the online community / platform for women bloggers.
Inquiring minds want to know – is NaBloPoMo now for women only? I’m not sure.
More than 2000 bloggers signed up before registration closed on November 5th. The NaBloPoMo blogroll is an invitation to lose yourself online with links to blogs with enticing names like It’s a Party Not a Picnic, Sweary Poppins, The Bipolar Badger, Reticent Bitch, Habitually Uncool, Single Woman Double Life, The Floating Lush, Procrastination Princess and 2208 more (admittedly the blogs I plucked from the list probably say a bit too much about what piques my interest!). Check them out!
The Boston Globe had a wonderful article on Sunday about the Tercentenary Signs you bump into around Massachusetts. The signs were erected in 1930 as part of the celebration of the tercentennial – Massachusetts’ 300th birthday by the Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentary Commission.
The article is fascinating – I love the signs but hadn’t known a great deal about their history. (I’ll soon fix that – an article like this one puts me on a quest for more info – and a 1930 copy of Samuel Eliot Morison’s Historical Markers of Massachusetts is now heading my way courtesy of ABEbooks.com and a bookseller in Vermont).
Turns out that the research and text used on the signs was done by Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison and the Globe‘s article touches on how the signs are a reflection of what was considered important by Eliot and others from the vantage point of 1930.
Me? I’m just happy that we have any semi-permanent reminders of what happened here since our memory seems to get shorter and shorter.
While many of the signs have remained almost half are no longer in place. Happily there are efforts underway to restore the missing markers, according to the Globe, including a proposed bill to provide funds for restoration and replacement.
Next time you come across a tercentenary sign take a minute to read it and think about what once was not that long ago. Here are a few of the tercentenary markers from Arlington, Cambridge, Medford and Watertown.
We were on our way to a brokers’ open house in Medford when I stumbled upon the house at right. I love octagon houses and knew there was an unusual example of one in Medford but I never knew where it was. Turns out it’s the Richard Pinkham House at 24 Brooks Park in Medford.
Richard Pinkham was a house builder and this was his own home. The house’s construction dates from 1850 – 1855. Pinkham purchased the land in 1850 and the house first appears on a map in 1855. Richard Pinkham lived in the house for at least 50 years.
The house is very distinctive – blending elements of three architectural styles: Greek Revival, Italianate and Octagon Mode. What’s most unusual about the house is that the octagonal element is enveloped by the rest of the house with wings or rooms projecting from three sides of the ocatagon. It’s best appreciated in an aerial view.
The Richard Pinkham house was restored and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
Next door to the house (with a parking lot that straddles the Pinkham house) is this handsome building. It’s a large Federal Colonial style apartment building at 20 Brooks Park. The building was designed by Stirling / Brown Architects of Winchester. It’s a beautiful city building. You really have to look long and hard to realize that it’s only a few years old rather than 150 years old or more. Why can’t more new buildings look so good?
I’ve always liked Brooks Park. The loop of the street circles the grassy park of the same name. It’s tucked away but close to Medford Square, just across Main Street from the Royall House. There’s an interesting asssortment of houses of different eras including the house for sale at 13 Brooks Park that was our reason for visiting the neighborhood.
Now that most of the snow’s melted in the city it’s time for trick or treating.
Happy Halloween to all! May you get lots of candy.
From the archives – Here’s someone – probably me – in one of my favorite Halloween costumes, bought years ago at Irwin’s, a toy and hobby store that used to be in Porter Square.