Archive for the 'Everything Else' Category

Big Balloon Rats Get Reprieve

Big Rat Balloon Spotted on Mass Ave Cambridge

Big Rat Balloon Spotted on Mass Ave Cambridge

No question - the big rat balloons are eye catching.  I've spotted them a few times around Cambridge. Unions use the big rat balloons as street theater - as part of protests outside of buildings and projects that aren't using union labor or paying union wages. The Boston Globe reported recently that the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the rat balloons (oddly enough in an article that in both print and (still!) online form misspells the plural of balloon as "ballons") . Have to say that I enjoy a big rat balloon sighting so I'm happy to learn that the rats got the official OK.

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How Well Do You Know Cambridge – Wednesday What’s-It

Do you know where this is in Cambridge?

Do you know where this is in Cambridge?

Here's the inaugural  What's It in what will be a recurring feature here on Centers and Squares.  We've found unusual, intriguing, sometimes mysterious items around Cambridge.  The mission?  Identify them and win a little prize. How well do you know Cambridge?  Do you know what and where this is?  The where is probably more important than the what - but any specifics you want to add about exactly what it is will be fun to share. If you do - let us know.  The first three correct answers will get a coffee (and a donut!) on us. Answers can be submitted on this form.  Good luck!  
Give Us Your Best Guess!
 

cforms contact form by delicious:days

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Pink Snowflakes

Pink Snowflakes in Spring - Somerville MA

Pink Snowflakes in Spring - Somerville MA

  One of the prettiest sights this time of year is a sidewalk covered with what often, at a glance, looks like snow.  All the rain we've had this week has brought many of the flowering trees' petals to the ground.  In this case, it's a pink dogwood's petals coating the sidewalk and hosta below on Alewife Brook Parkway in Somerville MA.  These petals look a bit less like snow and more like pink frosting.  Streets carpeted with petals - sweet!

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First Impressions

Jellybean Rugs at Tags Hardware in Cambridge

Jellybean Rugs at Tags Hardware in Cambridge

When you're selling your house or condo in Cambridge the first impression your home makes on real estate agents and buyers is critical. Often that first impression comes at your doorway.  When your house is for sale it's time to replace that worn and faded old welcome mat.  Nowadays, with stylish doormats available at your local hardware store, it's easier than ever to spruce up your front entrance.  These rugs, displayed near the entrance to Tags Hardware in Porter Square, are just what you need to add a splash of color outside your door.  The indoor / outdoor mats are washable - said to wash "better than your jeans" - and come in a variety of bright, colorful designs.  Dog lovers take note - several have cheery designs featuring Labs and other dogs.  No cats, however, so I bought one of the more traditional patterns - the pineapple welcome mat seen below. The Jellybean rugs cost $29.99 - a small investment for a big return when you're selling your home.

My New Jellybean Welcome Mat

Visit Tags Hardware in the Porter Square shopping center, 29 White Street, Cambridge MA  02140.

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Red Carpet Sidewalk

Red Carpet Sidewalk Outside Yayla in Cambridge

Red Carpet Sidewalk Outside Yayla in Cambridge

   The sight of all these rugs on the sidewalk outside Yayla Tribal Rugs on Broadway in Cambridge gave me a chuckle.  In fact, everybody who walked by / on the rugs had a smile on their face.  Passersby tended to tiptoe around the rugs despite the sign, pinned to the rug in front, that encouraged people to walk on the rugs.  Yayla, at 283 Broadway in Cambridge MA,  is popular with real estate agents who sometimes rent rugs from the shop for staging properties for sale.

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Signs of Spring?

Christmas Trees Reappear In West Medford

Christmas Trees Reappear In West Medford

The talk of snow (SNOW?!) in the forecast reminded me of this photo that I snapped a couple of weeks ago. It marked a seasonal change that we don't see that often around here - the reemergence of the Christmas trees. Unlike most years when we get snow and it melts before we get more, this past winter it snowed early and the snow piles stayed around for months. When the snow finally receded a couple of weeks ago the long abandoned Christmas trees appeared.  Put out for pickup after the holidays, they were buried by snow before the recycling truck came by. On city sidewalks everywhere Christmas trees appeared in March.  First the Christmas trees, then the crocuses and daffodils.  Spring is here.

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Houses On High

houses onlineThere's no getting around it  -  I love houses.  Old houses, newer houses, houses large and small. Working as a real estate allows me to indulge myself -  though I have to guard my enthusiasms.  It's hard not to fall - and fall hard - when I see a fabulous house on tour.  My budget keeps my home buying in check but there are fewer safeguards on my time. It's easy to get carried away online - spending precious time cruising through the listings on MLS.  But every once in a while I indulge myself. I call it the serendipity approach to MLS searching.  When you need to pull up an MLS listing to make an appointment or answer a question an address search is typically the easiest way to find the entry. But rather than type in "404 Elm Street" I type in just "Elm" and skim through the universe of listings on streets with "Elm" in the name. Elm in fact would be a good one to search.  So are street names like Main, North, Adams, West - any street's that likely to have been around for a long time and have lots of old and interesting houses. Yesterday I hit the motherlode when I searched the MLS for "High".  The search results maxed out - over 500 properties were listed for sale on High Street, Ave, etc or some variation of High such as Highland, Highfield or Highway. And there were some glorious houses in the bunch.  One after another fantasy-inducing house came up in the results. Too many to go through in one sitting. Here are two of the most wonderful. The first is a splendid turreted Queen Anne Victorian in Spencer.  It's really a compound with a large turreted carriage house and another small cottage. Check out the architectural details in the photos.   All this on two acres for $799,000. The second property is one of the most amazing houses I've come across on MLS.  It's a Japanese styled house in Fall River at 657 Highland Avenue.  It was designed by noted architect Ralph Adams Cram in 1897 for Unitarian minister  Reverend Arthur Knapp.  Buildings designed by Cram and his firm in Cambridge include houses at 128 Brattle Street and 26 Elmwood.  Cram designed many churches including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York and at least two in Cambridge: the Unitarian church in Harvard Square and the Society of St. John the Evangelist on Memorial Drive.  The extraordinary house in Fall River with its pagoda roof is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Known as "Rising Sun" 657 Highland Ave is listed for just $299,888 - under $300k and magnificent! You gott see these Houses on High - click on the small image for lots more photographs.

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Is This Your Wallet?

Is This Your Wallet?

Is This Your Wallet?

This afternoon I got a call while at the office.  "I found your wallet on Appleton Street.  I'm going to come by and drop it off." That took me aback.  Today was our weekly Coldwell Banker tour of new listings. The tour had fifteen properties and we had driven all over Cambridge and Somerville. Though I hadn't noticed it missing it seemed perfectly plausible that I had dropped my wallet along the way. But no - when I looked in my bag there was my wallet. Since so much is jammed in my pocketbook - bag of keys, Flip video camera, digital camera, checkbooks, etc - I thought that maybe something else had fallen out. When the good samaritan arrived at our office with this wallet I realized it wasn't mine. The wallet has been almost completely emptied.  You have to wonder if someone snatched it and ditched it after removing the contents.  The only remaining item was one of my business cards. Perhaps the thief wasn't in the market for real estate? It seems likely that the wallet owner and I have met.  Call me if it's yours.

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