Archive for the 'Living Here' Category

How to Get Rid of Your Christmas Tree

Christmas tree at the curb for pickup

Christmas tree at the curb for pickup

This is last year’s post.  Here’s the Christmas tree recycling info for 2012

Already taken down the tree? Wondering about Christmas tree disposal or recycling?  Here’s the scoop on Christmas tree pickup and recycling in local towns.

Several local towns recycle Christmas trees by turning them into mulch.   When you leave your holiday greens curbside remember:

  • Trees mut be bare – stripped of all decorations and tinsel
  • Trees should not be left in plastic bags
  • Tree stands must be removed
  • Wreaths and garlands can’t be recycled because of the wire used. Wreaths and garlands should be left in the trash

Arlington Christmas Tree Pickup

Arlington recycles trees and will pickup trees on your regularly scheduled trash pickup day between January 10 – 14, 2011

Cambridge Christmas Tree Recycling

Cambridge turns Christmas trees into mulch. Trees will be picked up on your regular pickup day between January 3 – 14, 2011

 Somerville Christmas Tree Disposal

In Somerville Christmas trees can be left at the curb during the month of January.  The DPW will pick up the trees for mulching.  If your tree is put out after January it will be picked up as trash.

Christmas Trees in Belmont

In Belmont you should put your Christmas tree out with the trash. Belmont does not recycle trees.

Medford Christmas Tree Pickup

In Medford Christmas trees should be left at the curb on your regular trash pickup day during the week of January 10 -14, 2011. Waste Management sends out a truck to pickup the trees for recylcing / mulching. Since only one truck goes out and it fills up quickly, your tree may not be picked up bright and early but it should be picked up that week. Since the trees are recycled you need to make sure the tree is completely bare.

Medford residents who don’t get their tree out next week  can either leave it with the trash in subsequent weeks or keep it outside until spring and yard waste pickup begins again.

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Save Your Back with a Back-Saver Shovel

Backsaver Shovel - Buy Yours Today!

Backsaver Shovel - Buy Yours Today!

We’ve all been doing a lot of shoveling this week.  The Cambridge area got about a foot and a half of snow on Sunday and Monday.

That’s a lot of snow – and plenty of shoveling to dig out driveways, sidewalks and cars.

There’s only one way to shovel as far as I’m concerned and that’s with a Back Saver Shovel  I got my Back Saver ergonomic snow shovel a few years ago and winter’s never been the same.

The Back-Saver shovel’s handle is ergonomically correct – the bend in it is a miracle – truly a miracle.  Somehow it transfers the load so the shovel, not your back, does the work.

No matter how heavy the load, no matter how many hours you shovel – with a Back-Saver shovel you’ll be in fine shape – no pain, no strain. 

Even better, Back-Saver shovels are made right here in Massachusetts by a company called Rugg

I looked for Back Saver shovels in local stores since I had planned to give my Dad one for Christmas.  I wasn’t able to find one locally but you can order them online.

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Holiday Shopping at Museum Shops Near Cambridge

Want to steer clear of the malls but still need to finish your Christmas shopping?  Visiting small local shops is always my preference – I’ve made the rounds in Cambridge, Belmont and Concord in the last few weeks.

Every year I try to take shopping local one step further and hit some of the local museum shops.  I’m far happier spending my dollars at a non-profit than at a big box or chain store.

Audubon Shop 

Audubon Shop in Lincoln

Audubon Shop in Lincoln

By far my favorite local non-profit gift shop is the Audubon Shop at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln.  It’s amazing how many people I can cross off my list by the time I’ve finished shopping there.

The Audubon Shop carries plenty of items for bird watchers and bird feeders but the store’s inventory goes far beyond the birding realm. There’s a very good selection of kids’ items and wonderful things for adults too.  There are household accessories, ceramics, jewelry, ornaments, books, and much more. It’s a lovely shop and kudos to the people that make the selections of what to carry in the store.  I can’t list all the treasures I found this year since my family reads this blog – but my bags were heavy when I left. 

Outside the shop there’s a butterfly garden and bird feeding / watching stations to entertain the family while you shop.

The Audubon store is located at 208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA and is open every day until Christmas.

Orchard House Museum Store

Orchard House ConcordWhen we visited the Orchard House in Concord earlier this year I was amazed to see how the gift shop has grown. Unlike many house museums, Orchard House is open year round so the gift store is worth checking out for holiday shopping.

Most of the store’s merchandise has an Alcott or Little Women tie-in but there’s a lot more here too.  Collectibles, books, stationery, t-shirts, posters, and more fill the shop.  If you can’t make the trip to the Orchard House you can shop the catalog online.

The Orchard House museum shop is open during museum hours and is located at 399 Lexington Road, Concord, MA.

More Museum Shops

Many of the Historic New England house museums have small gift shops including the Otis House on Cambridge Street in Boston. The museum carries an excellent collection of books on historic preservation, architecture and history as well as gift items. Historic New England has an online catalog with some of their most popular items.  The Roseland Cottage ornament is on my wish list this year. 

For kids or anyone on your list with an interest in science or nature the Museum of Science gift shop is worth a visit.  You don’t need to pay museum admission to visit the gift shop.

The Museum of Fine Arts gift shop is a great place to shop for people of all ages – from kids to grandparents. Sculpture, music boxes, prints, games, jewelry, stationery, toys, books, ornaments and much more can be found here. Don’t have time to get into Boston? – you can shop the MFA online.

Seven days left… time to get shopping!

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Comella’s Is Coming to Arlington and Belmont

Comella's - Opening Soon In Arlington

Comella's - Opening Soon In Arlington

Comella’s Restaurant is coming to Arlington and Belmont and I can’t wait!

My first Comella’s sighting was in Concord when a family came out of the store weighed down with take-out bags.  One look at the menu and I was ready to become a regular – even if it meant driving to Concord.

Comella’s serves homemade Italian food – pasta, pizza, salads and sandwiches. But what really caught my eye is the long list of “messes” –  a mystery recipe that has a non-meat base and over 30 variations that include various combos of eggplant, chicken, veal, sausage, shrimp, etc. The messes come in individual portions or in multi-person “buckets” – you gotta love a restaurant that serves delicious food in buckets!

It turns out that I won’t have to drive too far – Comella’s is expanding and two restaurants are opening nearby.

The former site of the Monroe Saltworks on Mass Ave in Arlington by the Capital Theatre will house a Comella’s soon. I was sad to see Monroe Saltworks go but if you still want to do some holiday shopping there you can stop by the store in Copley Place.

In Belmont Center, the former Charlesbank Bookshop will be a new Comella’s location.  It’s always bad news when a bookstore closes but Belmont residents are sure to love Comella’s.

No word yet on when the restaurants are opening.  The Arlington Comella’s is further along and a “Now Hiring” sign is posted in the window.  I’m counting the days.

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Secret Santa at Walgreens in Arlington

Secret Santa at Walgreens

Secret Santa at Walgreens

The Secret Santa gift tree is up at the Walgreens in Arlington Center.  The tree is decorated with senior citizens’ wishes for gifts. 

I dare you to pick just one! 

That was my problem last year – it was hard to stop. 

So many of the requests are poignant – and irresistible- either because they’re so simple – ” a sweatshirt, Ladies Large, dark color if possible” or because the potential recipient really went for it – asking for multiple items or something really big.  If only I could have gotten the air conditioner someone asked for last year.  

You select your gift request(s) and bring the items back to Walgreens for distribution.  The presents are due in a couple of weeks – details are at the store.

Stop by Walgreens at 324 Mass Ave, Arlington, MA and make somebody’s Christmas wishes come true.

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Last Days For Yard Waste Pickup

Leaf Collection Dates


It’s time to rake the leaves!

Wondering when the last days for yard waste pickup are?

Local towns collect yard waste  on specified days in the spring through the late fall. 

Yard waste collection typically coincides with your regular trash and recycle collection.

Here are the dates for the last pick ups for Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Medford, Somerville and Watertown.

Last Days for Leaf and Yard Waste Collection

Arlington: last days for leaves and yard waste collection are Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2010

Belmont: last pickups for yard waste are Dec. 6 – Dec. 9, 2010

Cambridge: yard waste will be collected through the week of Dec. 13 – Dec. 17, 2010

Medford: last collection of yard waste will be the week of Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2010

Somerville: picks up yard waste through the week of Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2010

Check your town or city’s website for more information about what is collected and when and how yard waste should be left out.

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Cambridge Property Tax Rate – 2011

Time to write a check for your 2011 Cambridge real estate taxes

Time to write a check for your 2011 Cambridge real estate taxes

Cambridge Property Tax Rate – 2011  Cambridge announces its new real estate tax rates earlier than many nearby towns and cities. 

The rates for FY 2011 are already out and the first of two property tax bills is due on November 22, 2010.

Cambridge Property Tax Rate – 2011

For 2011 the residential property tax rate in Cambridge is $8.16 per $1,000.  Though it’s an increase over last year’s rate of $7.72 Cambridge property taxes remain quite low compared to other Massachusetts towns and cities.

The value of the residential exemption in FY 2011 is $1,601.20.

Cambridge real estate taxes are paid in two installments.  The first property tax payment is due by November 22, 2010.  The second half will be due in May 2011.

More information about residential real estate taxes in Cambridge can be found on the city website.

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Watertown Public Library – Memorial Bricks

Engraved Bricks Outside the Watertown Public Library

Engraved Bricks Outside the Watertown Public Library

Watertown Public Library – Memorial Bricks  Recently I was in Watertown Square and popped into the Watertown Public Library. 

It was my first time in the library since the renovation and addition.  Time flies I guess because the library project was finished in 2006. 

There’s a new twist at libraries – perhaps influenced by the popularity of bookstore cafes – local libraries have opened cafes where library patrons can eat and drink – in the library!  The Watertown Public Library has a cafe just inside the door lined with bookcases offering used books for sale.

Memorial Bricks at the Watertown Public Library

Outside the library the walkway paved with engraved bricks caught my eye.  The bricks were part of the fundraising for the library renovation.  For donations of $100 or more people could purchase a brick engraved with a message of their choice.  The bricks memorialize loved ones, pay tribute to teachers and library staff,  commemorate  book lovers – I think even a few pets are remembered here.

Here are a few of my favorite messages I came across on the bricks:

Reading Today Paves The Way. J Peschiers

Books Were My Life. I.V. Cvijanovic

John Hayward – WHS Exceptional History Teacher

For My Dear Mom Who Always Carried A Book

The Watertown Public Library is part of the Minuteman Library Network so if your town is too you can borrow books in Watertown.  Or just buy one – or a few – in the library cafe.

 The Watertown Public Library is located at 123 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472

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