Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

i guess i was punk once


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Oh, Lowell… (Or, why I’m afraid we’re not ready to have nice things…)

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Our (obviously very classy) local paper, The Lowell Sun, stole a (pretty crappy, taken with my mobile phone) picture from this post praising our bike lanes to illustrate an article condemning said lanes. No, the irony is not lost on me. Stay classy, Sun.

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Post edited to add that the picture was also used in the print edition. Hey, it got me to buy a paper, right :-/


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Getting out of ruts (culinary and otherwise…)

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I have been in a couple of ruts lately. I haven’t been posting here as much as I would like, and we have been eating a lot of the same things for dinner. To kill a couple of proverbial birds*, I decided to spend some time looking through my cookbooks to find something interesting and post about one of my meals. Yay for setting and meeting goals, because I have three new recipes in the dinner rotation for this week and I am going to write about one of them right now.

Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale
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2013 in Review

Oh my. 2013 certainly was a long year. As I was looking at pictures from the beginning of the year I couldn’t believe that they were taken less than a year ago. This was taken on January 1st 2013, and so many things – the place we live, the tree, the furniture – are different now.

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This was a year of big changes both for me and for people close to me. A lot of really wonderful and fun things happened this year but, for whatever reason, this year seemed like a bit of a slog. I don’t know why it is (ummmmm, probably all of the changes,) I have just felt more overwhelmed that was probably necessary.

January started off with some cold bike commutes…
Today's commute brought to you by the letter B for Brrrrr! 1°F/-17°C

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Day 7

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It’s Sunday and all I have on the agenda for the rest of the day is 1. seeing The Host and 2. picking up K at South Station so, yeah, I am rockin’ the crocs and sweatpants.

In other news… Simon, Rudy, and I went to Deer Jump Reservation in Andover this morning for our walk. While we were there we saw a fox…

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And this neat tree…

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The fox picture is blurry because he was pretty far away from us (and I snapped the shot with my phone) but he stayed staring at us for quite awhile and then ran around the field. He looked quite a bit like Simon and Rudy. They, of course, didn’t even notice the fox because they were too busy sniffing the stone wall near the field.


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Nemo 2013

As those of you on the east coast already know, we’re getting walloped with quite the winter nor’easter!

When I woke up yesterday morning, there were a few flakes flying and a dusting on the ground, so I took the pups to the forest for a walk.

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Then, in the great procrastinator’s tradition, I made one last trip to the market for emergency supplies… I’m this case, it was a bulb of fennel.

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I got the snowshoes out of the attic (where they’ve been since April 2010 :-( ) and Gist, Simon, Rudy, and I hunkered in to wait out the storm.

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I did some work and made a big pot of tomato sauce to sustain us during our hibernation.

Sausage, onion, garlic, fennel & mushrooms...

I took Simon out for a walk at about 3:30 pm on Friday, and while it was snowy and windy, there wasn’t much accumulation.

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After our walk, we settled in again for a long, cozy snowy night. Complete with yummy pasta! Thanks, fennel!

The final product: YUM!

The snow and wind really picked up after got dark, and we started to see some serious accumulation. When we went to sleep, we had about a foot of snow and we woke up to a winter wonderland!

Even though it was still snowing, still windy, and only 7:30 in the morning, I had to go out snowshoeing!

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I would say that we have about two feet of snow, but there are definitely drifts of at least five feet. When I went out, I was hoping to cross my street, which is a busy four-lane boulevard, and walk along the esplanade along the Merrimack River. This didn’t happen. The pedestrian signal buttons were covered in banks/drifts that were twice as tall as I am, the road was white, and there were enough vehicles on the road that I didn’t feel safe crossing against the light. Instead I snowshoed around the block on side streets that had been plowed sometime during the storm but still had about eight inches on snow covering them. As I walked, I saw quite a few car-shaped lumps.

As I write this, at 9:30 on Saturday morning, it’s still snowing and very windy. There are a couple of plows and a bobcat working on clearing out our parking lot, but I think the cleanup after this storm is going to take awhile. I think today is going to be another hibernation day (maybe with a few side-street snowshoe breaks…) I am hoping that I’ll be able to make it to the forest tomorrow to do some snowshoeing; and I’m hoping to be able to bike to work on Monday (but I’m pretty sure I’ll be bussing it!)

As I get out during the day, I’ll post more pictures of the snow. I love the stuff, so I’m pleased! If you’re chillaxing with Nemo today, I hope it goes well and that you have power, lots of snacks, and someone to shovel you out ;-) If you are taking pictures of the snow, please share them!

Now… It’s waffle time!


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2012: Year in Review

Oh, 2012… What can I say about you? You were not the best year ever, although you brought some amazing and wonderful gifts. You were not the worst year, although you definitely brought some trials along with you. Mostly you were just weird and foggy and a little more challenging than you needed to be. Looking back, I think that everything ended up in mostly right places, but the getting there, oh the getting there, was not at all easy or clear.

A year in bike commuting...

I rode my bike for transportation more than ever this year, riding to work more often than driving or taking the bus.

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Rudy joined our family this year.

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Doing our civic duty…

Doing our civic duty! #Lowell #Vote #UsingThe19th

Just in case you live under a rock, it’s election day here in the United States! As always, Gist and I did double-duty and combined our morning dog walk with a walk to the polls. It was a brisk morning and there was a (pretty long) line to vote; poor Rudy probably could have used a sweater this morning – he was shivering while we waited for Gist to finish voting (and also while they waited for me to finish voting.)

We will be anxiously watching the election results on teevee tonight,and I have a bit of a theme menu happening: Chicago-style deep-dish pizza (we were tempted to have Lou Malnati’s shipped but the challenge of home-made was too much for me to resist…) and garden-fresh salad, a tip of the hat to Barack and Michelle Obama.

So I told Gist that I was going to wear both my "Smart Women Vote" and my "I Vote" pins on Tuesday. Her response: "Smart women vote and so do you." Bada Bump!

As always, I am very excited to wear my “Smart Women Vote” and “I Vote” buttons today! Although I do wish that my polling place handed out “I Voted” stickers. I hope that, if you’re able, you’ve made it out to vote. Happy Election Day 2012!


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Adopted Islands

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Last week at the Lowell Plan breakfast, I ran into one of my Public Matters classmates, Josè. I know he is a member of the Lions Club, so I mentioned how happy I was that the Lions Club had adopted two islands that I pass whenever I walk my dogs (so basically, all the time!)

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These two islands used to be gross, trash-filled messes until a group of high school students in the Leo Club came out early one Saturday morning and cleaned them up and planted flowers. Since then, the islands have been lovely and well-kept. I’m never going to live down this statement but I may have told Josè (while were standing with a large group of people) that I don’t let my dogs use the islands as a bathroom. A little bit of the “broken windows” theory put into practice ;-)

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Anyway, I am very grateful for the Lions and Leos for turning something that was an eyesore into something that makes me smile every time I see it. Thank you!

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Using the 19th

Good morning! It’s primary day here in Massachusetts, so if you’ve been inspired or moved by anything said at the conventions, you should take a minute and head to the polls. Gist and I did double-duty this morning…

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…Simon and Rudy’s morning walk was to our polling place and back. We arrived at around 7:30, and I was the first voter of the day.

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There’s nothing I love more that starting my day by casting a ballot – it’s a better pick-me-up than coffee ;-)

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