Posts Tagged ‘Boston’

Flag of the United States on American astronau...

Flag of the United States on American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having spent a good part of last week and this weekend listening to the news channels practically all day, the word radicalization kept popping up.  This is not a word we use in our everyday conversation and so its use stood out in broadcast.  Of course its use and application in this instance made it all the more prominent.

It got me thinking about another word that is used again and again in news broadcasts: Embedded.  You hear this word whenever the news is about a war or war zone.  It refers to a journalist or reporter who is traveling along with a platoon or regiment and he or she are embedded with the troops.

Interesting that these two words stand out to me and I am trying to think of some more words that have been co-opted into a use other than perhaps their original meaning and intent.  Sadly, these two words apply to our state of the world where terrorism, unrest, war and strife are often front page news.

I grew up in the 50’s and other than listening to war stories from my Dad, I don’t remember any new words creeping into our vernacular.  Well let me amend that by adding astronaut, cosmonaut, sputnik and muttnik were certainly words I had not encountered up to the point when the USSR and the USA  began to race to space.  

The next influx of terms and words that I remember coming into everyday use, came as a result of the Vietnam War.  Napalm, Agent Orange, guerilla warfare are just a few that come to mind (it was a long time ago).  Again the language of war!  So sad that it is under severe circumstances that the new words appear or the old ones take on a nuance, we’ve not acknowledged before.

Of course the technology of the late 70’s and 80’s and 90’s has brought us not only words but a whole new language.  Gigabytes, megabytes, micro chips, HTML, beta, VCR, CD, DVD, Tivo, hard drive, software, hardware, firewall, spam, and on and on.  I know a whole blog post could be created just with the language of technology – I could start with Hi-Fi !!

Other than the slang of youth, their own mis-use and/or decision to re-invent a meaning of a word (i.e. like, random, down, sick) and so on, I wonder what other words have come into our daily vernacular?  What words do you know or remember as taking on a new meaning or were or are being used on a much more regular basis?  PLEASE let us all know.  I just dashed this blog post off this morning without much aforethought and no research so would greatly appreciate reader input!!

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Happy Birthday to You!

Happy Birthday to You!

Could it really be forty-one years ago that I drove myself from my home in Avon CT to Hartford for a doctor’s appointment and then to St. Francis Hospital?  Apparently yes, because today is my son Joel’s birthday!  When my parents and grandparents would tell me how quickly the years go by  and at this point they’re flying, I, like every other young person ,didn’t really get it.  Well I get it now.  Joel is 41 and Chiara is 35 and now I’m a grandmother myself.

Last year I wrote what I thought was akin to a mother-son love letter so I’m not going to repeat it again. All of it is true and I hope he reads it again because it is full of love and appreciation for who he is.  Posted last December 17th, Happy Birthday Dear Son!

3000 miles and 3 hours earlier often gets in the way of communication although as any mother knows, if there’s a will, there’s a way.  This Christmas, like last year,  my daughter and her family are headed west to spend the holidays with Joel and we will be here on the East Coast. I think it would be wonderful if we could all be together, however, my feeling is that the kids like it the way it is.  I have a Norman Rockwell Christmas in mind and they are thinking along the lines of what I heard referred to as Westivus.  Apparently, some friends from Boston are also flying out to celebrate with them.

I hope today has been joyful for Joel.  I wrote a Happy Birthday greeting on his Facebook wall – aren’t I just the 21st Century Mom and called him this evening.  I hope to see him in the near future to give him the real hug I sent virtually.

So Happy happy birthday Joel, I love you very much and wish I could spend more time with you.



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The back story to this photograph is that my lovely daughter Chiara got married in June ’08 and although they were living in Boston, Tom and she got married in New York City.  So they weren’t really here much before or after the wedding.  They came in to get the license and left the day after the wedding for a two week honeymoon and returned directly to Boston.

Soooo, Chiara had a New York license from before when she lived here and it was in her maiden name;  It hadn’t expired so she kept it.  Time passes, one child is born, Finley Ray.  More time passes and another child is born, Francesca and still the license had not expired.  Chiara was still in Boston all this time.

This January they moved back to New York City, so she has been here for 3 full months, (can you see where this is going?).   She just had her 34th birthday last week and Tom bought her birthday cake.  I think the message is pretty clear – When the hell are you going to change your name?

Kiki's birthday cake, Chiara is 34, Chiara Berti Clark

Did You Get My Message?

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Garden State Parkway shield

Image via Wikipedia

I’m living in a world where I am omnipresent-everywhere at all times.  If you can’t reach me on my phone a/k/a house phone now a/k/a my land-line, then you can call me on my cell phone OR you can send me an email on at least two of my three email addresses OR you can text me and I will get it on my blackberry…SO why is there a problem communicating?

That was a rather loosely-connected (sorry for the pun) prologue to what really happened today.  There was a break down in communication BUT not really because I couldn’t be reached.  However, I liked writing that blurb about the absurdity of how connected we all are.

I had to make an overnight food and turkey run to New Jersey so I could pick up my turkey that I am paying $2.65 per lb for in a town that is “kinda” on the way home to New York City while my friend is paying $2.39 per lb for the same brand turkey AND if I had bought it where she did and where I did shop today I would have not had to “race” back to try and get to the City before my daughter did.  She was driving in from Boston with a baby, a baby nurse and a 2 yr. old in tow and I HAD HER KEYS! Not good!!

Thanksgiving dinner, Thanksgiving turkey,

I'd Walk a Mile for this turkey

Here’s the break down in communication – I told my daughter that I needed to use her refrigerator on Sunday when I brought the turkey home and her freezer.  Here’s what I said, ” Will you be home on Sunday or will the key be with the doorman“?  At which point she turns around and gives me the key.  Did I think it was her only key? NO!  Today as we are trading semi-hysterical phone calls while each of us is speeding to Manhattan, she says, “You said the afternoon” – did anything I say sound like afternoon.  Someone doesn’t always listen to whole sentences.   The baby will have to be nursed, Finley will have to be fed and they will be locked out.  Ever the fixer and over-giver I come up with a plan; first I call my friend who has a key to my apartment and ask her to leave it with the  doorman – that will work.  I call Chiara back and suggest she send the car to Queens with her baby nurse so she doesn’t have to park it or park it in her garage and take a cab to my apartment with the kids.  I don’t think she appreciated my suggestion at all because she said she would just have to go to a restaurant and wait for me. Needless to say I asked at least 3 times if she thought the doorman would have a key to the apartment since it was a corporate rental.  “NO” says she and “we’ve been through this before, he doesn’t have a key”!!!

The next glitch came when we left the Orchard and because time was really of the essence, I suggested that we drive north on Rte 18 or Rte 9 and my driver thinks we should stay on Rte 34 till we hit the Garden State Parkway or the NY Thruway. Welllllll as we headed home on Rte 34 we saw a sign for the GSP and so we turned right…right into some beautiful countryside, looked like horse country BUT no Parkway.  About 20 minutes later we finally saw the entrance to the Parkway and I just knew we would never get into the City before she did. Damn it anyway!!!

I said I would call her once I was thru the tunnel and I did and guess what?? She was in her apartment – seems the doorman had a key after all (which I said I thought he would since IT WAS a corporate apartment).  But what do I know?

The other break down occurred when I tried to dash into a beauty supply store to pick up a few things and my card was declined – WHAT??!!!  I’m not even going to go into that issue – I run out of the store and to the car to get another card.  Did I mention there had been a line of people behind me in the store, oh they were thrilled. Back in the store, thrust my American Express at the girl who says, “oh we don’t take American Express”. Well, that’s that – I leave the stuff and as I run out the door, I hear the cashier calling out that she has a void!!!


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Thank God it wasn’t a Tea Party being held in Boston but rather a Halloween party for kids in the South End.  A gathering at the Ringold Playground for some fun and treats and to meet up with friends.  Then the Boston police park a cruiser to block automobile traffic on several streets forming a safe square of blocks where the kids can trick or treat.  And something I never saw before but realize it probably takes place in NYC wherever there are brownstones – the homeowners sat on the steps enjoying the parade of costumed and sugared-up kids as well as maybe sipping a glass of wine while handing out the candy.  It was great fun to see Finny run up to the steps and ask for candy with her sweet “Trick or Treat“.   We spent two days teaching her the concept of saying ‘trick or treat” for candy and “thank-you” and what happened was that most adults greeted the kids with “Happy Halloween”! That works of course with slightly older kids but it was funny to watch Finny just look at them while she reached into the candy bowl.

I saw a couple of kids at the playground whose costumes were just too cute and took a few photos.

Boston traffic light, halloween in Boston

Hey, RED means Stop!

photo by Lori

Ringold playground, Boston Halloween, South End

Peter Pan

photo by Lori

Captain Hook, halloween, Boston South End,

Captain Hook was his Daddy

photo by Lori

And last but not least by any means, SNOW WHITE

Snow White princess, Finley Ray Clark

The Princess Sits

photo by Lori

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Love & Heartbreak Cover

Image via Wikipedia

I just got home from Boston and in time (late though it may be) to post some Six Word Memoirs that I received this week.  As the weeks roll by, I find it interesting to read my own memoirs and those of my readers and note how as our lives take various twists and turns, some good, some not so good, our six words often reflect that fleeting moment or life-long desire.

My week in Boston was spent alternating between cuddling a newborn sweetie and coddling my granddaughter, Finley who is suffering ever so slightly from the many rapid changes in her life (Daddy working in NYC, Mommy nursing a newborn, going to nursery school) and I think she may have a small case of the terrible twos. So although I usually put my own Six Word Memoir last, this week it’s first.

“I want my  Mommy” said Finley – Me

I am baking 3 rum cakes – startingoveringermany

Job abandonment – Not a horrible idea – Weez

Can it almost be Thanksgiving? Yikes! – Gail

If you read this blog, you don’t need me to go into yet another explanation of the origin of The Six Word Project, so I won’t.  Recently, one friend/reader said she tried to do the Six Word Memoir but she can’t.  I can only encourage you to try – put the pen to the paper and think…about your life, your dreams. your present day situation, a bad or good feeling and the six words will write themselves!

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I’m in Boston and yesterday Finley was invited to attend an annual Halloween party that Chris, one of Chiara’s neighbors holds at his marketing firm.  Knowing Chris, I was sure that it wouldn’t be a table covered with an orange paper tablecloth and bowls of candy corn and orange and black jelly beans – BUT I wasn’t prepared for this….

Chris Nolan, Halloween party

Halloween Comes Early at Mercury Marketing

Spiderman (professional) met us at the building’s front door and ushered us to the elevator.  When we arrived and the elevator doors opened we walked into a Halloween event, not a party, a happening!

The offices were dim, a weird bubble machine spewed forth white bubbles that when they burst, they seemed powdery.  A screening area was set up with little auditorium chairs and films for the kids ran continuously.  Adjacent to that area was a table set at child height and laden with good goodies for the kids;  there was a popcorn machine, a creature at the doorway with a bucket of candy for your  picking, a bar for the adults with beer, wine and prosecco.  Platters and bowls were all over the room filled with munchies.

Then Cinderella arrived -oooh all of the little princesses were thrilled.  She played music and sang and danced with them.  She painted their faces too.  The party started at 4pm and less we all O D on sugar and alcohol, Chris had an area set up with pizzas and salad and of course cupcakes and even coffee with liquors, omg!

I can’t describe the decorations enough to do them justice and I don’t have any great photos because as usual my camera kept telling me to change the battery (which I did but to no avail).  There were skeletons, cobwebs, pumpkins galore, a few creatures here and there, streamers and crepe paper and all sorts of table decorations, not to mention the plates and flatware. There was even a sort of haunted house room for the little kids with more goodies for them.  There were bags you could fill yourself from the huge bowls of candy on one table and a Mr. Potato Head for each child to take home and by the way it was a Halloween Potato Head! Yes Mr. Potato Head as a ghost.  And more – there were these small stuffed creatures, mini-huggables; Dracula, Frankenstein and the like.

greenwich village halloween parade


Now why didn’t I think a marketing executive would take this party right over the top??? It was generous, wonderful and fabulous.

Mercury Marketing, Chris Nolan

Our Halloween Host

Chiara Clark, Brandon, Mano, Frankie, Francesca

Francesca's First Halloween with Mommy and Mano

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Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

I admit I didn’t plan my trip to Boston very well, otherwise I would have remembered to bring a recipe with me to share with you all on Tasty Tidbits Tuesday. BUT lucky for me Chiara’s friend Jocelyn came for dinner and brought her friend, Cody.  Turns out Cody was the big hit of the evening. First off, Finley invited her to build blocks with her AND jump on her bubble wrap -an honor in itself.  Then during dinner, I found out that Cody blogged and also followed Where’s George!  I know you must be wondering what Where’s George is all about; it will have to be another blog.  Then Pasha, Chiara’s Siamese cat jumped on her lap and stayed there the whole evening and he is NOT friendly.  Lastly and best of all, I discovered that Cody blogged and her niche is  COOKING! Didn’t that just turn out perfect for me?  I’m happy to present you with a link to her blog:

The Gourmet Analyst

I think you will find her post on Butternut Squash and Apple Soup to be just the meal for this Halloween weekend.  I know when my kids were little I always tried to get something hot, quick and healthy into them BEFORE they went out trick or treating!  Enjoy the soup and check out some of her other recipes too.


Cody's Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

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Ben Affleck speaking at a rally for Feed Ameri...

Image via Wikipedia

So did you know that Charlestown, Massachusetts has produced more bank robbers and thieves than any other community in the United States? That’s what they say anyway at the beginning of this movie  and a whole lot more.

The TOWN, directed by Ben Affleck, who also starred in the movie, is not a big film and it’s not a little movie either.  The characters are big and all too believable.  Tough town, tough kids and these 4 friends are amongst the toughest.  Affleck portrays a reformed drug and alcohol abuser, but still a crook and the brains of the foursome.  His brother, (in name, not blood) Jim, played by Jeremy Renner is the real tough guy.  Jim spent 9 years in Walpole prison for murder because he killed someone who he purportedly  thought was going to kill Doug (Affleck).  He hasn’t forgotten how long those 9 years were and wants to extract a pound of flesh and a pint of blood from Doug for saving his life.  Add that to the fact that in this incestuous little group, there is speculation that Jim’s sister, Krista’s  (Blake Lively) daughter, Shine is the love child of Doug and her.  The guys ostensibly work for a small time hood and local crime boss who plans the robberies and then bullies and/or blackmails the four friends into doing the jobs.

This isn’t just your average crime story; there are layers to the Affleck character who is clever, sensitive,  savvy, smart but not intellectual, brutal, harsh and yet loyal.  This wide range of personality characteristics are exquisitely rendered by Affleck.  Sometimes it’s the softness in his voice or the surreptitious  way in which he insinuates himself into  Clare’s  (Rebecca Hall) life, thereby he thinks, saving her  from the trigger-happy sociopath Jim has become. His  accent is perfect, not too Boston Irish, just  enough to be convincing and natural.

Affleck, the Director and the film’s editor did a fantastic job editing the action scenes; the robberies, the shoot-outs and the car chases.  The narrow streets of Boston, some no wider than the cow paths they once were.  heighten the intensity of these harrowing, car-crushing chases.

The movie has some powerful actors in it, not the least of which is Chris Cooper, portrayed as Doug’s incarcerated father.  There is a scene between son and father and as good as Ben Affleck is, Chris Cooper is better – he is so damn real.  Prison, arrest, drugs, alcohol seem to be family traits in the inhabitants of Charlestown.  A circular legacy if you will.

John Hamm, who I love in the role of Don Draper, on AMC’s Mad Men is cast as a FBI agent determined to find and arrest these bank robbers.  As the head of the Division, he holds morning meetings a la Hill Street Blues and more recently, NYPD Blue but he’s not as good as Daniel J. Travanti or Dennis Franz.

Lastly the cinematography is beautiful; the aerial shots of Boston clearly play a strong role in allowing you to see the whole and the class system with its distinct and different neighborhoods. Boston is seen as the big city little town it really is.

And by the way, how do you buy 4 Nun’s masks and nobody thinks to follow that trail – hey I’m just asking!

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New York City skyline with Empire State Building

Image by meironke via Flickr

Of course we’re ALL too young to remember D-Day when it happened – June 6,1944, BUT you’ve seen the old war movies, you’ve heard your parent’s and grandparent’s stories about WWII-The Big One and you may have even watched Band of Brothersthe HBO series about D-Day and the invasion of Normandy.  This past Tuesday was D-Day all over again.

The general in command of a motley band  of brothers and sisters  was Chiara Clark.  She had assembled her squad earlier in the month and with consistent email reminders and one to one training she had turned us all into crack soldiers ready, willing and able to march in battle for the cause: Finley Ray MUST get into one of the chosen Nursery schools for next year.

You think I’m exaggerating about this soon-to-be executed attack on the New York Nursery School system?  Then you haven’t met General Clark!  Two days before the set date of the invasion, assignments were reviewed, personnel notified to be on ready alert. On the day before the big battle, encouraging words from our leader were sent out via email.  A few of us even received personal greetings from our esteemed commander.

We were under strict orders to man our battle stations by 0800 the morning after Labor Day.  Not one to let anything possibly interfere with the plan, General Clark personally called each combatant to make sure they were at their stations at least an hour prior to the sounding charge.  This battle plan was well thought out, success was almost assured – but as in any war zone, you never know what might foul up the works.

Not like the actual D-Day which relied heavily on man’s willingness to take risks of personal injury for the cause, this day’s battle would rely the human capacity for patience and frustration and the advanced state of modern communications technology.  The troops were in a Tri-State formation; New York, Boston and New Jersey.  Our means of keeping abreast of the various battle fronts would be thru G-mail (appropriately named).

The trumpet was sounded, the call went out and each of us in our own foxhole attacked the schools we had been assigned.  I was one of the lucky ones;  removed physically from the actual battleground of New York City, I was able to perform my duties while tucked safely away in New Jersey, far from the fray of the raging fronts all over the City.   Armed with a land line, a definite advantage in this kind of warfare and a laptop, I stepped into battle confident I would succeed.

Things went well; there were some early on victories, exalted by our leader who spread the word through the G-Mail system.  However, shortly thereafter,  battle fatigue began to set in with some of the squad.  The pent up frustration, the potential of carpal tunnel dialing finger and the sheer repetition of the dialing was beginning to fray some nerves.  A few of the soldiers resorted to name calling and derision of certain recalcitrant application offices.  The schools wouldn’t answer the calls and in some cases the lines went dead.  There was even talk of physically storming one the schools!!

General Clark tried to keep the troops in good spirits and in line, while she  remained firmly in command.  However, there were a couple of soldiers who were too smart in their subordinate roles (or at least they thought so) and eventually we had a short period of mass confusion and communications breakdown.  Not to point fingers at anyone in particular because we all know who it was that began to use the G-Mail to send out his own directives about battle fronts and assignments!

By the end of the second hour of the battle, we had lost a few soldiers but the core remained on the line so to speak and in the end we had lost St. Thomas Moore and worst of all, the 92nd St Y – which was only disappointing because we felt we never even had a chance.  So disheartening to receive an email stating the 3 year old tours were all booked up.  HOW COULD THAT BE WHEN THE PHONE WOULDN’T EVEN RING?  Well when one plan of attack doesn’t work, a good general has a back up plan and in fact she did.   Personal calls to several well-connected people were made and I’m happy to report that by the next day, we had Finley not only on a waiting list BUT ALSO within the hour, she had been given a tour date.  Wow! You know it’s who you know, don’t you?

Clearly the Tuesday after Labor Day in New York City is its own kind of special day; the day that every determined mother marshals her forces and gets  applications for the coveted few openings in a New York Nursery School.  See  Extreme Sports: Portable Cribs and New York Nursery Schools.

On Wednesday, the New York Times ran the following article:

A Frenzied First Day for Applying to Private Kindergartens

Thank God, the bun in the oven now (known as Frankie, Cessca, Franny) will be able to be among the elite corp of toddlers who gain entrance into those hallowed halls by virtue of being a sibling!

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