Archive for the 'Living Here' Category

Flu Shots – Flu Shot Clinics in Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville and Watertown

I need a flu shotFlu Shots – Flu Shot Clinics in Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville and Watertown   Flu season is approaching and local cities and towns are offering free or low cost flu shots. 

Wondering where  do I get a flu shot? Check out the schedules for flu clinics in Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington and Watertown. Influenza can knock you back for days, even weeks – and who wants that?!

Cambridge Free Flu Shots

Cambridge, MA offers a number of flu clinics beginning at the end of October.  Flu shots are free for Cambridge residents (age three and older) but seniors are encouraged to bring their Medicare card so Medicare can be billed.  Recorded info about the flu shot clinics is available at 617-665-3855 or check out the schedule for more information.

Free Flu Vaccine Clinics in Somerville

Somerville residents over the age of two can get a free flu shot at flu clinics offered through January.  Residents can call 311 for more info or check the flu clinic schedule.  Residents who have a Medicare card are asked to bring it with them.

Flu Shots In Arlington

Arlingtonresidents without Medicare or participating insurance company coverage have to pay $10 for a flu shot at one of the flu clinics scheduled in Arlington.  Pneumonia shots will also be available for residents age 65 and older.  You can get more information by calling the flu hotline at 781-316-3413 or on the Arlington town website.

Free Flu Shots In Watertown

Watertown is holding a number of free flu shot clinics.  People are encouraged to bring their Medicare or insurance card.  Check the schedule for details – clinics are offered for different age groups.

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Cambridge Tap Water

Cambridge Water - Delicious at a Fraction of the Cost

Cambridge Tap Water - Delicious at a Fraction of the Cost

Cambridge Tap Water  Today is Blog Action Day 2010 and the topic is WATER. Thousands of bloggers all over the world are posting today about water – water pollution, water scarcity, water issues of all sorts.  I’m focusing on one of my pet peeves –  bottled water in the land of  top notch tap water.

I have to confess – “bottled water” has become my short hand for gullibility, the decline and fall of the US, or for societal stupidity.  We are fortunate to live in an area with delicious water available straight from the tap.  The idea of paying soda prices for tap water boggles my mind.

Mind boggling it is – while many people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water, Americans are lining the pockets of corporations, filling landfills with plastic bottles, and abetting companies who mine ground water in rural communities and consume enormous amounts of energy to transport bottled water and manufacture plastic bottles.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  And certainly not in Cambridge or nearby towns. 

Most towns in our area get their water from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority – the MWRA.  MWRA water is piped from the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs in Central Massachusetts.

Cambridge is the exception locally.  Cambridge has its own water supply. That’s why, earlier this year when a boil-water order was issued (and I’m here to tell you even that water, unboiled, was just fine) for several days Cambridge tap water was exempt. 

Cambridge tap water comes from reservoirs at Fresh Pond, Stony Brook in Weston and Waltham, and Hobbs Brook which spans parts of Lincoln, Lexington, Waltham and Weston.

Delicious, drinkable water – right from the faucet or the bubbler. Hurrah!  Have a drink – or eight – today.

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Single Stream Recycling in Cambridge and Medford

recycling barrelSingle Stream Recycling in Cambridge and Medford  Big changes are coming to the recycling programs in Cambridge and Medford as both cities implement single stream recycling.

Arlington has had single stream recycling since earlier this year.  Somerville is debuting a single stream recycling pilot progam in part of Ward 5 beginning this month.

Single stream recycling is meant to make recycling easier and to increase the amount of waste that is recycled rather than put in the trash.  Instead of separating paper and cardboard  from your cans and bottles you will now be able to put all recyclables in one container.

There’s lots of info on each city’s website – even videos – I watched three videos as I gathered information for this post. Who knew recylcing could be so much fun?

My only concern about these programs is that the big, new recycling barrels could become eyesores. I lived for a few years in New Hampshire – the land of dumpster as lawn ornament. Many people had contracts with local trash hauling companies and the dumpsters were permanent fixtures in plain sight in their yards.  Perish the thought of a parade of big, plastic bins in city yards.

Cambridge Single Stream Recycling

Single stream recycling begins in Cambridge on October 25th. New large wheeled recycling toters are being delivered to Cambridge households this week and next. If you don’t have room for the large toter / barrel you may continue using your blue bin or convert a plastic trash can with a Recycle sticker available from the DPW. 

Starting with your recycling pickup for the week of October 25th all of your recycling can be combined in one container. There is more information on the Cambridge DPW’s website.

New items that can now be recycled in Cambridge:

  • clean pizza boxes
  • large plastics such as toys, pails and laundry baskets
  • frozen food boxes (if they can be ripped)
  • empty paper coffee cups
  • bagged shredded paper
  • spiral cans (I think they mean the tall skinny ones that hold chips or nuts)

Medford Single Stream Recycling

Medford is making several changes that are clearly intended to make residents pay more attention to what they bring to the curb. It’s all too easy to pile up our castoffs at the curb and have them magically disappear. Those days are numbered.

Single stream recycling begins in Medford on November 1, 2010. Starting this week, the City will be delivering two new wheeled carts to Medford homes – a 64 gallon trash barrel and a 96 gallon recycling barrel.  A program guide with more information about the new program will also be delivered.

Both the trash and recycle carts will have lids – a super idea that should cut down on fly away trash on breezy days.

As of November 1st all trash has to be placed inside your new barrel.  Details are forthcoming in the program guide but it sounds as though you will pay for overflow bags or to rent an additional trash container.

Also effective November 1st, bulk goods such as furniture, mattresses, etc will be picked up by reservation only.  A pickup will have to be scheduled with Waste Management by calling 1-800-972-4545.  As of July 1, 2011 there will be a fee charged for bulk items.

Categories: Living Here
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New Porter Square Art Gallery

Opening Reception at New Porter Square Art Gallery

Opening Reception at New Porter Square Art Gallery

New Porter Square Art Gallery   There’s  a wonderful new art gallery in Porter Square – From Russia With Art.


Owners Olesya and Jerry Koenig recently opened the gallery at 1977 Mass Ave at the corner of Beech Street.  The Koenigs moved to Cambridge from Moscow earlier this year. Long-time art collectors, their gallery allows them to showcase their favorite Russian artists.


The two-level gallery is a light and beautiful space to display their collection.  Here you’ll find paintings, prints, sculptures and more from artists whose work has been difficult to find in the US before now.


From Russia With Art Owners - Jerry and Olesya Koenig

From Russia With Art Owners - Jerry and Olesya Koenig

There’s a range of prices so you’re sure to discover a piece to add to your collection or the perfect gift for that special someone. 


The opening reception at From Russia With Art was a huge success this week.  The gallery is now open daily and special events are planned to give visitors the opportunity to meet some of the artists.  Check the From Russia With Art website for more information.


Stop by the new Porter Square art gallery – From Russia With Love – at 1977 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140.

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20 Things To Do In Cambridge When It’s Hot

It’s been a hot summer in the city. If you’re looking for ways to cool off – or just to get your mind off the sweltering heat – here are Twenty Things To Do In Cambridge When It’s Hot.

East Cambridge view of BostonA walk by the river is a cool way to spend some time on a hot day.  Stroll along the Charles River and take in the beautiful views of  Boston across the water.

On Sundays the walk along the Charles gets even better when Memorial Drive is closed to traffic. Rollerblade, bike, walk or run  –  the street is yours.  From the last Sunday in April to the second Sunday in November Memorial Drive between Western Ave and Mount Auburn Street is closed to traffic from 11 am to 7 pm.  

When it’s super hot you can always soak up the free air conditioning at the mall.  Head on over to the Cambridgeside Galleria on 1st Street in East Cambridge.

If you’d rather not shop, the Galleria is adjacent to the Lechmere Canal Park.  There are plenty of places to sit and catch a breeze over the water. Just watching the fountain makes it seem cooler.

Lechmere Canal park Cambridgeside galleria mall riverboatFrom the park you can take a Charles River cruise with the Charles Riverboat Company.  Cruises depart several times a day from late May to the end of October.

Rather take a boat out yourself?  Charles River Canoe & Kayak rents boats by the hour in Kendall Square.

Summer’s the season to spend some time in the garden.  If you don’t have space at home,  perhaps you’ve secured a plot in one of Cambridge’s many community gardens.   Just want to look?  Visit the community garden on Sacramento Street and wander the paths or catch some rays in the adjacent field.

The good folks over at Sergi Farm in Belmont (just over the Cambridge line) have been toiling in the fields despite the heat. Head on over to the farmstand to pick up some fresh as can be produce.

Sacramento St Community GardenToo hot to garden? I know that’s my excuse.  Instead, why not spend an afternoon at the Glass Flowers exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The collection includes over 3000 glass flower models created by father and son glass artisans, Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka from 1887 to 1936.

Another museum to check out on a hot day is the Longfellow House on Brattle Street. Home to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his family, the house also served as headquarters for George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Just feel like play?  Many Cambridge parks have water features. Here’s a map to find the 26 Cambridge parks with waterplay facilities.

Fresh PondNeed to get out with the dog?  Take a walk around Fresh Pond. The greenery and water views will take your mind off the heat and your dog will have plenty of canine companions to meet and greet.  Dogs registered in Cambridge can go off leash.

For a walk without the dog there isn’t a more beautiful setting than Mount Auburn Cemetery.  With more than 5000 trees, several ponds, and a hilltop observatory tower there’s plenty of shade and places to catch a breeze.  Bring some binoculars – it’s a great place to bird watch.

Movie theaters are typically air conditioned havens.  Check out the latest at the Kendall Square Cinema or the Brattle Theatre  (yes – it is air conditioned!)

The newly renovated Cambridge Public Library at 449 Broadway offers a cool spot to sit with a book or a magazine.

Hang out in Harvard Square.  On warm summer evenings the Square is always hopping. Street performers abound and there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops if you want a blast of A/C.  Try a game of chess in front of Au Bon Pain.  Trees provide some shade and the people watching opportunities are top notch if chess isn’t your game.

Chirstophers Porter SquareOutside dining opportunities abound in Cambridge. Whether it’s Christopher’s in Porter Square, the Harvest in Harvard Square, or the 1369 Coffee House in Central Square – plenty of Cambridge cafes and restaurants offer outside tables.

How about a morning tennis game? If you’re still up for exercising despite the heat then the public tennis courts on Pemberton Street are a fine place for a match.

Need to cool off afterwards?  Head down Rindge Ave to the public outdoor pool at 359 Rindge Ave or across town to the pool at Magazine Beach at 719 Memorial Drive. 

When all else fails duck into an ATM booth to soak up the cool.  The ATMs on Huron Ave have been icy cold oases this summer.

Stay cool!!  And if you have more ideas for things to do in Cambridge when it’s hot be sure to let us know.

Categories: Living Here
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Solar Trash Cans In Arlington

New Solar Trash Compactor In Arlington

New Solar Trash Compactor In Arlington

Solar Trash Cans In Arlington  Have you noticed the new trash cans in Arlington?

These are actually solar trash compactors.  As part of Arlington’s Green Communities designation, the town recieved five Big Big Belly solar trash compactors that have been placed around town.

The compactor is totally driven by solar power and is able to hold five times as much trash as a regular trash can – cutting truck pickups by as much as 80%.  The trash can is completely enclosed which will keep out pests – a valuable feature in an urban environment.

The solar compactors are also used in Newton, Boston and Somerville.  In Arlington the new trash cans can be found at the Jason Street entrance to Menotomy Rocks Park, at Robbins Farm Park on Eastern Ave, and on Mass Ave at Medford St, at Park Ave and near Dag’s Delicatessen.

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Tree Branch Pickup In Arlington

Tree Branch Pickup In Arlington

Tree Branch Pickup In Arlington

Tree Branch Pickup In Arlington  

Last Sunday’s brief but intense storm on June 6th caused devastating damage to local trees. 

In East Arlington, near Spy Pond, 21 street trees were toppled.  Large branches were down everywhere you looked.

It’s always a challenge as a homeowner to get rid of large branches. Yard waste gets picked up but there are limits on the size of branches you can put out at the curb.

In response to this unusually destructive storm the Town of Arlington will remove downed branches that East Arlington homeowners bring to the curb until June 21, 2010.

The town will be picking up the branches that fell on public ways and in private yards.

The collection of downed branches will cover all of Arlington east of Medford Street and Pleasant Street (Route 60).

The DPW asks that homeowners do not block the sidewalks with branches.

Homeowners do not need to call for tree branch pickup. Public Works will be patrolling for collection through June 21st.

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Don’t Drink The Water

All Out of Water In Arlington

All Out of Water In Arlington

Don’t Drink the Water – unless you boil it first.  In case you haven’t heard – Centers and Squares territory is right in the middle of the area affected by today’s huge water main break.

A water main in Weston bringing water from the Quabbin Reservoir to MWRA customers developed a catastrophic leak this morning.  Over 8 million gallons of water per hour were going into the Charles River for much of the day.

Emergency supplies of water have been pulled into the system but this water is not treated for drinking. People in affected communities – thirty towns and cities east of Weston on the MWRA system including Boston – are advised to boil their drinking water.  Locally that includes Arlington, Belmont, Medford, Somerville and Watertown.  Cambridge has its own water system and is not affected.

I was out earlier this evening and it seems there’s been a run on bottled water.  Not that I was in the market – I was out in a last minute search of the weekly sales items I’d circled in last Sunday’s paper. The stores were bustling but the shelves were just about bare in the bottled water aisles.

I’m no fan of bottled water – I think it’s an atrocity in fact.  Paying for water has to be a measure of insanity and gullibility as far as I’m concerned.  Even in a situation like this one – boil it for cripes sake!  It’s not as if we’ve lost power.

It was just this morning that I was delighted to read in the Globe that Concord has voted to ban the sale of bottled water.  Hurrah!  Let’s hope that this is the beginning of a trend.  We’re fortunate enough to live in an area with delicious tap water – there is no excuse for paying soda pop prices for water in a plastic bottle that’s been shipped from who knows where.

We’ve got wonderful water in our neck of the woods and a disaster like this one makes the value of it all the more clear.  But for the timebeing – you’re advised to boil the water.

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