Monthly Archives: April 2007

Fluff Momma

fff|ppp|Catherine and Jennifer|ppp|fff

Who knew that a visit to Building 19 would be so wild and woolly? Last week Jennifer came to visit and between trips to the beach and Johnny Rocket’s we came across these “Fluff Momma” Ugg boots. I have a hard time believing that people actually wear these…never mind shelling out the $300 for them!

We had a lovely time with Jenn. I only wish the visit could have been longer. Check out her site for a much better tale of her trip!

Pictures (mostly of Catherine, big surprise!) are here

Nursing Out

fff|ppp|Nursing Out

Nursing out in Boston

|ppp|fff

Today, Becky, Catherine and I drove down to South Weymouth to attend the iParty-sponsored “Nurse-Out.” In case you hadn’t heard, Brockton cardiologist Dr. Melissa Tracy was recently told that she couldn’t breastfeed her baby while at their South Weymouth store. The owner of the chain has since established a policy that instructs employees to allow mothers to nurse in the store wherever is most comfortable for them. On top of that, they hosted the “Nurse-Out” event that we attended today. A number of moms from the Mothering.com forums as well as the South Shore Breastfeeding Club were there with their kids. Some of them we had met last Sunday when the SSBFC had a nurse-out on the Boston Common. Dr. Tracy and her husband were also in attendance, as were the owners of the iParty chain. There were at least two television camera crews there, and some of the moms engaged the owners in on-camera discussion about the store’s policy in support of breastfeeding. (If you’re in the Boston area, you might want to keep an eye out on WCVB (Channel 5) to see if they run a story on their website or on the TV news in the next few days…)

There are some bills in the works in Massachusetts to specifically give mothers the right to breastfeed in public, and to that end, the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition is promoting May 9 as Breastfeeding Lobbying Day. Moms from across the state, including Becky, will be visiting the Massachusetts State House to lobby on the issue with their state government representatives. Having such laws on the books would not only enable currently-breastfeeding mothers to nurse more conveniently while out and about, but it should also help make expectant mothers more likely to choose breastfeeding, knowing that they’d be free to do it.

It’s good to see iParty leading the way in support of breastfeeding in public. Sure, throwing the nurse out party was good publicity and probably resulted in creating some sales and new customers, and I doubt the owners would ever spend money on something that wasn’t going to help their bottom line. But it also shows that of the things they could choose to spend their money on, they’re spending it on issues that really matter. The laws currently on the books in Massachusetts don’t have any special provisions that protect a mother’s right to breastfeed, and inside a place of business it is up to the owner as to how breastfeeding will be handled. Many business owners probably don’t have any specific policy allowing it, and thus it is handled on a case-by-case basis. Private businesses can make changes much more quickly than government can, so that’s why it’s a good thing for iParty to show this kind of support. Hopefully other businesses will follow suit and create policies for and awareness of breastfeeding. Once the idea starts to get some traction in the private sector, that might lend some fuel to government-based efforts.

In addition to the corporate and government levels, breastfeeding advocates also need to work on a person-by-person basis. There is currently a lack of understanding of breastfeeding in the general population. It is certainly a person’s right to feel how they want about the issue, but it’s unfortunate if that feeling stems from misconceptions or bad information. Sometimes talking to just one person who is uninformed or misinformed about the facts of breastfeeding can mean all of the difference. At today’s Nurse Out, Becky talked to two young women from out of state who just happened to be in the area and wanted to see what was going on. Not that they were ill-informed or against breastfeeding, but I think she left a favorable impression of breastfeeding with them. Hopefully they’ll go on to become breastfeeding mothers or at least support their friends who are.

If you have any questions about breastfeeding, please feel free to ask Becky or me. I can at least speak from the perspective of a supporting spouse, but Becky’s the real expert. 🙂 You could also ask Catherine, but I think she’d just say “Mmmmmmm!” 🙂

You can see some photos from today’s iParty nurse-out. Enjoy!

New vs Old

As you all know, we recently moved from Beverly, MA to Danvers, MA. Danvers is adjacent to Beverly, and our new home in Danvers is only two miles away from our old apartment in Beverly. In fact, the street we live on is literally on the border between Beverly and Danvers. My commute from home to work and back has only changed in that it’s gotten shorter: about 10 minutes in either direction now, as opposed to 15-20 minutes. I still drive on the same roads from our house to work, it’s just that I no longer have to drive all the way in to downtown Beverly (a task that can be somewhat tedious when one is eager to get home).

Our old apartment was located in a basement, and had below-ground- and at-ground-level windows, so our view and our interaction with the outside world while at home was limited. In addition, we were at the end of a dead end street, so there was no foot or car traffic around our house. Our new home is located above ground, and though it is not situated right on the street, we don’t have a huge front yard to separate us from the sidewalk and road just beyond. We also have a large front window and front door so that we can easily see what’s going on out in front of our home. It also encourages more interaction with folks in the neighborhood as we’re going to and from our cars, or hanging around in front of the house.

Our new home has a deck out back, and although it is in need of some repairs, it is still a deck, and we still enjoy sitting out back, eating dinner, watching the sunset, listening to the birds, and watching the squirrels, rabbits, and other wildlife in the town-owned conservation land just behind our back yard. In our old apartment, we were lucky if we saw a few stray cats and some rusting automobiles when we stepped outside.

Beverly was positioned right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, with numerous beaches and seaside parks. Danvers is just inland from Beverly, and has no real beaches per se, but it does have a marina and is connected to the Atlantic via the Danvers, Porter, Crane, and Waters Rivers.

Danvers has a quaint municipal power department, which gives you a discount on your bill if you pay it early. Beverly was serviced by the National Grid mega-company. Danvers has mandatory recycling, while it was optional in Beverly.

We’re still in the process of getting used to our new home and town, but so far we’re enjoying it! Here are some more old vs new facts:

Beverly Danvers
First Settled 1626 1630
Oldest House Still Standing Balch House, 1679 Putnam House, 1648
Form of Government Mayor-council city Representative town meeting
Population, 2000 39,862 25,212
Family Median Income, 2000 $66,486 $70,565
Area 22.7 square miles 14.1 square miles
Colleges 3: Montserrat College of Art, Endicott College, North Shore Community College 1: North Shore Community College
MBTA Commuter Rail Stations 5: Beverly Depot, North Beverly, Prides Crossing, Montserrant, Beverly Farms 0
Dunkin Donuts Count 9 8
Home Depot Count 0 2
Square feet of living space in our home 800 588 (to be expanded to 1,028 upon finishing basement)

Two for One

Don’t we all want to get our money’s worth? If there was a choice between doing one thing that brought about one result, or doing a similar thing that brought about two results which would you choose? Is it human nature to want to “kill two birds with one stone?”

I am always game for a good bonus which is why I love my next step in becoming more Earth friendly. Instead of driving circles around the parking lot in order to find a parking spot near the building I am trying to park in the first spot I come across.

What are the benefits? First, by parking quickly my car uses less gasoline and emits less exhaust. It is better for the environment AND for my wallet. Does it get any better? Yes!

Sometimes the first spot I come to is close to the door. Most of the time, however, it isn’t. That’s where benefit number two comes into play. Taking that first spot forces me to walk a little farther to get to where I’m going. So in addition to saving the planet I’m getting a little exercise.

I used to justify idling waiting for a close spot by saying that it would take too long to walk in. Or that it was too cold/hot/bothersome to walk so far. In reality, most times it would be quicker to park and walk in than it would be to wait for a close spot to open up. There goes my excuse!

I can’t say that I won’t jockey for some “rockstar” parking every now and then. Rain, snow, wind and glaring heat will tempt me and I will probably give in. I can only promise to resist those demons as often as possible.

March Madness

I know, March is over, but I wanted to highlight some of the craziness from the month:

  • March 2-8: Tried to figure out how to satisfy the master insurance requirements to close on our condo, since we couldn’t get in touch with the other unit owner to find the actual master insurance policy. Ended up taking our our own provisional master insurance policy until we are able to obtain the info on the policy our condo fee is paying for.
  • March 6: Becky’s camera, a Canon PowerShot A530, stopped holding its battery charge. We sent it in to Canon for in-warranty repair.
  • March 7: I had a dentist appointment to fill three cavities.
  • March 9: We closed on our condo. The one hour we spent at the closing procedure was probably the easiest part of the whole deal.
  • March 10: First day of work on the condo.
  • March 11-30: Many days (for Becky and Catherine) and evenings (for the three of us) of work on the condo and trips to Home Depot, IKEA, etc.
  • March 11: Over at the condo, I dropped my Panasonic DMC-FZ20 * digital camera on the floor and the lens ceased to function. Unfortunately, it is out of warranty, and in any case, the warranty wouldn’t cover accidental damage. Luckily, it is scheduled under our homeowner’s insurance policy, which does cover accidental damage, so I sent it off for a repair estimate. Becky’s camera hadn’t arrived back yet, so we were without a digital camera for a few days.
  • March 13: Consultation with oral surgeon regarding one of my wisdom teeth that had erupted. Scheduled an appointment to extract said wisdom tooth.
  • March 14: Becky’s camera was returned and was functioning normally once again.
  • March 20-23: My dad flew out from Ohio for a few days to help us out with the condo.
  • March 21: I had another dentist appointment to fill two more cavities.
  • March 22: I had my wisdom tooth extraction. They only had to remove one tooth, and it had already erupted from the gum, so it was pretty much a five-minute deal under local anesthetic. Grab the tooth, yank it out, done. Still, the anxiety before the appointment was more than enough.
  • March 24: Went to Jenny‘s Pseudo-St. Patrick’s Day Party.
  • March 26: Catherine turned 10 months old!
  • March 26-30: Last week for cleaning up and packing up in the old apartment.
  • March 31: Ken, Dianne, Corey, Becky, and Peter did a blitz to move everything from the old apartment to the new condo. Catherine mostly slept or watched. It took two trips in a 12-foot Penske truck, plus a few carloads, to get everything over. By the end of the day, Catherine’s room was all set for her to sleep in, we had our toiletries out, and we had a bed made to sleep in. The real tasks of unpacking would begin the following day(s)…

Of course, I haven’t even mentioned the all kinds of busy I was at work during the month. With all of that, it certainly made for a mad March. Now we’re starting to settle in, finish unpacking, and relax a bit before the next phase of our project, finishing off the basement. Hopefully we’ll be able to blog some more, and share more about the house, life, and everyone’s favorite ten-month-old, Catherine. 🙂

*I did eventually get the camera back on April 9. Repairs cost $400 (a new camera would cost $600) which will be fully covered by our homeowner’s insurance. If you have any cameras or computer equipment that are even moderately expensive, scheduling them under your homeowner’s insurance is a very good idea. It’s incredibly cheap (less than $20 per year for our ‘big’ camera, camcorder, and all of our computer equipment) and by scheduling it, you don’t pay a deductible if you have a claim.

Canvas Bagging It

fff|ppp|canvas bags|ppp|fff

One of my ongoing life projects is to become more Earth friendly. I am getting closer and closer to that goal by tackling one step at a time. Recently, I have been working hard to eliminate plastic bags from my life.

I do like having some plastic bags around the house. They come in handy for trash, or whatnot, but I don’t like them that much. I don’t need (or have the space for) the hundreds of plastic bags I could collect during my shopping trips. And all that plastic is awful for the environment.

So, when I head to our local Market Basket I try my hardest to remember my canvas bags. I have three or four which can usually handle my biweekly grocery trip. If I have an unusually large amount of canned goods I find a box to catch the overflow.

This system works pretty well, provided that I a)remember to bring the bags along with me and b)have the patience to teach the grocery baggers how to bag groceries without “paper or plastic”. I try to make it easier for the baggers by putting done the bag on the conveyor belt first, followed by everything I’d like to go into that bag. Sometimes they “get it,” sometimes they don’t.

Bringing my own bags takes a little more work on my part than getting the standard issue plastic sacks, but I think it is worth it. Today at the store I saw at least three people leaving with only two plastic bags of groceries. Think of how easy it would have been for them to bring their own canvas bag instead of using plastic.

On my way out I saw a woman carrying her “paper in plastic” bags back into the store. I wanted to say “Good Job!” but I didn’t. Then I regretted not saying anything. So, if you use canvas…GOOD JOB! Keep up the good work!”

ETA: Bethany’s comment reminded me that I had meant to share a link she had sent to me a couple weeks ago. San Francisco to Ban Plastic Bags I think it is great! After all the first key in the mantra is “REDUCE” then “reuse and recycle”. The fewer plastic bags there are, the less energy will be needed to recycle them!

The Story of an Apartment

In June of 2002 I moved into apartment 1 at 11 Highland Terrace. It was a sunny day and the move, with the exception of one roll over accident on route 3, went off without a hitch. It seemed like such a huge place. Especially since I barely had any furniture! Who remembers getting pizza and eating it sitting on the floor? Raise your hands!

Since Peter and I wouldn’t be married for another five months my first roommate was my good friend Bethany. Between the two of us, and some generous family members, we were able to find some things to sit and sleep on and we slowly furnished the place.

Bethany moved out and Peter moved in that fall. The apartment treated us very well over the past five years. We started out with a bedroom and an office/sewing room along with the kitchen and living room. Once Catherine joined us we sacrificed the office for a nursery. Even with our family addition we haven’t felt cramped.

Over the years we have hosted quite a few celebrations in our little abode: Survivor parties, Opening Ceremonies parties for the Summer 04 and Winter 06 Olympics, our Napoleon Dynamite Party, Birthdays, a homecoming get together, Christmases…and so many more. We didn’t have a ton of space, but we loved to share it with friends and family!

Being in Downtown Beverly has been wonderful. We had two, off street, parking spaces which is rare in this neighborhood. The laundromat was right next door and we could walk almost anywhere we needed to: church, the library, Bell Market (RIP), Family Dollar, the banks, the beach, the parks…you get the idea. I was even able to commute into work in Boston easily since the train depot was just two blocks away. I know that I will miss running errands on foot.

I won’t miss living below ground. The windows were right at ground level! Luckily, we got a good amount of sunlight regardless of the window location. It will be nice to look outside and see more than the shrubs.

It is sad to leave the place I’ve lived for five years. This apartment has been a warm, cozy, welcoming place to come home to. We’ve grown accustomed to its quirks and had made it our own.

But, time rolls on and so do we. Onward towards another adventure! Do you have a nice 11 Highland Terrace memory? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear it!