Growing up in New Jersey, I used to love going to the library. The library was great. It had an extensive children’s department, lots of books and periodicals, a video section, and a place where you could rent records and tapes. (And later: CDs)
My dad used to take me to the library, and I would always have a fun time. I liked the smell of the books and the “Shhh! You’re in a library!” type attitude. The library might have been the only place I was EVER quiet as a kid. I also liked the “READ” posters, like this one:
I was trying to find a picture of the Bill Cosby “READ” poster on google images, but no dice. That one particularly stuck out in my mind, but I also remember the Yoda poster too. I used to confuse Yoda with ET.
I remember getting my first library card. My handwriting was so sloppy when I had to sign the back of it. KRISSY, I wrote. It came in a little paper sleeve, which was really excited about too but promptly lost. There was a sense of independence in having my very own library card, too. The desk where children could take books out was really low, just my height. I felt like a grown-up making a purchase.
I loved the smell of library books, and I loved taking out videos and records, too.
We used to take out “Children’s Circle” videos, like this:
Strega Nonna, that was a good one. My grandmother watched it with us once and said, “Strega Nonna. Maaaaaaama mia. Strega Nonna — come me? Maaaaaaaama mia.” The Mama part was always really dragged out. Maaaaaaaama mia.
Libraries were, simply put, a wonderful place to be. We didn’t own an abundance of books; we’d go to the library! Why BUY books when you can “rent” them for no cost? (Unless you were like my family and you’d rack up some massive overdue charges…but the maximum overdue charges were STILL less expensive than purchasing a book)
Libraries were great as I got to be a teenager, too. I could do assignments, homework, take out lots of books. I would almost always run into a classmate at the library too, which was kind of neat, especially if it was one of the “cool kids” who would talk to me in the library but not at class.
Unfortunately, where I lived in California, the library systems were pretty pathetic. With the exception of the main branch of the San Francisco library (and the Berkeley one wasn’t bad either), most of the libraries were downright embarrassing. In well-to-do Walnut Creek, where I did my miserable junior year of high school before transferring to a less snotty school, one would expect there to be a decent library. But it was tiny, stinky, and seemingly had no books printed after 1988.
I stopped going to the library then. If I needed to get out of the house to study, I’d go to Border’s or Barnes & Nobles. If I wanted to read a book, I’d have to buy it, and if I wound up not liking it, I’d be bummed that I spent $16 on a mediocre book.
Well, I had no idea that Massachusetts would have such phenomenal libraries. I hadn’t really thought much about visiting my local library until a friend of mine told me that Newton has a great library.
Today after work, I went to The Newton Library…and picked up my love affair with libraries as I left it in 1997.
I got my library card, excitedly signed my name in the back (hopefully a little better than the KRISSY I wrote nearly twenty years ago), and stood in the lobby, unsure where to begin. I walked upstairs to fiction, and found three novels. I wandered over to non-fiction and realized I had forgotten all about the Dewey Decimal system.
I panicked a little bit. I began looking frantically for the card catalog. Oh my. Then I realized that it’s all computerized…they don’t have card catalogs anymore. I found the computer and was pleased with what a breeze it was to look up what I needed. I found two books on alternative treatments for endometriosis and another one for women’s pain. I was really excited because these books are THICK non-fiction books with tons of information…imagine if I had to purchase these things?
Oh, I am just so excited! I love libraries and I love books.
I suddenly have the “Reading Rainbow” theme song stuck in my head, man…
Don’t you just love Levar Burton?Filed under Fun stuff, Greater Boston (General), My Life, New England, New Jersey, Things to do in the Boston Area, Uncategorized | Comments (4)
Hungry around 10:30 PM on a Wednesday night in Union Square?
Try India Palace in Union Square. (Somerville)
Matt and I went to see our friend’s band play, and afterwards we were really hungry. (We had forgotten to eat dinner!) We found this place and were quite pleased! Terrific chicken korma, curry, naan, and pakoras. (Which I reheated at work and ate in sheer delight!) And the service was stellar, some of the nicest waitstaff I’ve encountered in a long time!Filed under Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, Things to do in the Boston Area, Uncategorized | Comment (0)
While New Orleans is under water, Bush is ‘playing country rock star’. Hurrah! The city of New Orleans is underwater, and well, Bush obviously has his priorities straight. He disgusts me to no end.
In short, there has never been a more unpopular President in our lifetime(s), barring Richard Nixon, just before he resigned. That’s some dubious company to keep!
Anyway, I didn’t mean this to turn into a rant about Bush, but, man, sometimes it’s so hard for me to refrain.
But, I belong to several communities on Livejournal…and some folks are trying to set up a relief benefit for the Katrina victims. Contribute with ideas if possible. A lot of money could be raised and every little bit helps!
So much to write about all of a sudden. The hurricane, nauseatingly high gas prices, Wal-Mart wanting to open a Downtown Crossing location (bleah!)…but for now, just think of ideas for this relief benefit. If it pans out, Matt’s band, Custom Deluxe, will perform.Filed under Current Events (other), Greater Boston (General) | Comment (0)
While rockin’ out to Bob Dylan & the Band on the way home from acupuncture this evening, I thought about how much I love karaoke. I wish I could karaoke while driving, but that somehow seems unsafe.
See, I met Matt at a karaoke bar in San Francisco called The Mint. The first time he saw me, I was singing “Truckin’” with my friend Adam. We quickly became regulars at The Mint, which is ironic because it’s in the Castro so except for Fridays and Saturdays, the crowd was 90% gay men. We’d go, we’d sing duets, and the bartender and DJ knew us by name.
After we moved here, we decided we needed to find our new karaoke home.
The first place we tried was T’s Pub in Allston. Thumbs down. The place was crawling with scantily clad college girls who would sing obnoxious, drunken renditions of “Baby Got Back”. There would also be skeevy older men trying to pick up on said college girls. Gross. We never went back. The only real plus about that night was that Matt sang “Play That Funky Music” there.
Then we went to Rendezvous on Moody St. in Waltham. It was mostly old people…like really old, like way older than my dad old. But nevertheless, it was a good crowd, especially because they liked Matt and I singing “Bell Bottom Blues”. I do a lot of classic rock at karaoke. For some reason, however, Rendezvous allowed their patrons to smoke in there. I was taken aback, because as far as I know, that’s not legal. We never went back for that reason.
Next stop: John Brewer’s Tavern. We only went there once because we didn’t care for the crowd. While T’s Pub had drunk college girls, John Brewer’s had drunken “cougars” aka 45 year old women looking for men. One woman followed Matt up to the stage area and pressed her um, cleavage, against Matt’s back. Matt ignored her, so she got bored and left. We’re lucky there wasn’t a cat fight! ;-) Cougars love Matt because they think he looks like Johnny Damon.
Then we stumbled upon Tin Alley Grill aka the Ground Round by the Fresh Pond Rotaries in Cambridge. We love that place! We like the people who work there, the DJs are nice, the crowd is decent (albeit a little small on some nights), and the song selection is pretty good. We went there weekly (they have it every Wednesday) for about 2 months until moving began occupying much of our time. I like to sing Meatloaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” with Matt there.
Another great place is Legends Hall of Fame Grill in Waltham. Wow, is Waltham the karaoke capitol or what?! Anyway, some nights there’s not enough of a crowd and their beer selection is pretty pathetic…but they have a FANTASTIC song selection and the DJs are really nice too. They have karaoke on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. I recommend this place.
I hear that The Milky Way in JP has good karaoke, but it’s on Tuesdays and Matt typically has band practice that night. One day I hope to try it out…but for now, Legends and Tin Alley float my boat just fine!
Singing is fun!Filed under Greater Boston (General), Music, Things to do in the Boston Area, Uncategorized | Comments (10)
I have decided that March is my least favorite month. I tend to enjoy the winter/snow/cold weather and everything, but by March I am sick of it and ready for spring. The snow stops being pretty, and it’s just gathering on the sides of the streets looking mushy and grey. While the days are longer, the weather is still too gloomy to enjoy the extra sunlight. The weather is still cold but often not QUITE cold enough to snow, so it rains instead.
The Valentine’s Day candy at CVS is all 75% off and they start selling Easter candy with little chicks, bunnies, and flowers…but I can’t even imagine flowers beginning to bloom, because I’m still wearing a scarf and gloves.
October is my favorite month and September is not far behind. While I have the opportunity to do many of my favorite activities in the summer, like go to the beach or to music festivals, I find that the hot weather leaves me slothlike and unmotivated. (Much like today!!) And so I welcome autumn with open arms.
My birthday is on September 20, so that’s why I like September so much. But October happens to be my favorite month because of one thing: the leaves. The air is so crisp and the scenery turns from green to orange, yellow, and red. Everything looks pretty and everything seems calm. Instead of sitting in my living room in a tank top and shorts and STILL sweating, I can pull out my pretty sweaters and blankets.
And there’s apple picking! Russell Orchards is my favorite place to do that. They have apples, cider, apple cider doughnuts, and WINE! You can wine taste there on the weekends. Last year we went towards the end of September, but I actually recommend going a little earlier in the month.
There’s pumpkins at Russell Orchards too.
And a pig with a nasty disposition!
Not to mention farm animals.
Another reason October is my favorite month is because of Halloween! Halloween is a fun holiday! I like dressing up, I like candy, and I like scary things! We have a ton of fun Halloween decorations that I can’t wait to take out.
I recommend driving out to the Berkshires or Vermont to enjoy the leaves changing colors. We went to the Berkshires and drove through Southern Vermont…then through New Hampshire…then back to Massachusetts.
Another bonus is OKTOBERFEST! Last year I went to the one at Harpoon, which has fabulous beer, but the crowd turned fratty. I’ll be scoping out better Oktoberfests this year, man.
The only downside to autumn is FOOTBALL SEASON. Superbowl Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year because it means that I get Matt back on a full-time basis. :-)
I’m really looking forward to this fall! It’s going to be fantastic!
Filed under New England, Uncategorized | Comment (1)
Chestnuts roasting outside as you walk
With your love by your side
The old accordion man plays mellow and bright
And you go home in the crispness of the night
Little later friends will be along
And if you feel like joining the throng
Just might feel like singing Autumn song
Just may feel like singing Autumn song
I love Indian food, and a good bargain on Indian food is something I particularly love.
Today I went to Ghandi’s in Central Square. All you can eat buffet for $5.95. They had samosas, chicken tikka masala, and much much more. Highly recommended. Very tasty.
Buffet is daily from 12-3 PM. Did I mention that it’s only $5.95?Filed under Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, Things to do in the Boston Area | Comment (0)
Philip Greenspun asks why Google doesn’t have an office in the Boston area. The thread in his comments took an interesting turn, where one commenter said that children should not grow up in downtown areas.
In response, Philip said:
Filed under Greater Boston (General), Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Excellent point. Kids shouldn’t grow up in downtown areas. I feel sorry for children who live in Penthouses on Fifth Avenue. They are denied the suburban good life as enjoyed by Dawn Wiener in the movie “Welcome to the Dollhouse”.
And now that I am less fumed about my dreadful RMV experience, I want to write about Kimball Farm!
I’m a unique combination of city girl and country girl….I like living in Newton, because from where I live I can get to South Station in fifteen minutes and all of the hot spots in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville are easily accessible to me. So is I-95, which is great because I can take 95 to go to the beaches of the North Shore, New Hampshire, Maine, or in yesterday’s instance, Westford.
Kimball Farm has several locations, and Elizabeth and I wanted to enjoy some homemade ice cream and play some mini golf. We mistakenly went to the wrong Kimball Farm; we had stopped at the one in Carslile which is just an ice cream stand — no mini golf. But there were goats! I love farm animals, especially goats. They’re so cute.
The ice cream at Kimball’s is extraordinarily groovy. Get the unadvertised child size. The “small” is nearly a pint. I got mint and cookies. Really great stuff.
When we realized we were at the wrong Kimball Farm (they’re both off 225), we finished our ice cream to go to the one in Westford.
I’ve played a lot of mini golf in my day, and there are some pretty sad mini golf courses out there! But Kimball Farm has the nicest mini golf courses out there. There are two; one with waterfalls and one with caves. It’s a ton of fun. It was mobbed when we went there…full of tourists and screaming children…but it’s open until 10 PM, so go play a game around 8 once the crowd dies down. It’s a great time. And taking 225 there (via Lexington) is a pretty drive.Filed under Greater Boston (General), Things to do in the Boston Area | Comment (0)
Another nightmarish experience at the RMV.
I remember my first experience at the California DMV, and it was terrible. I waited in line for several hours before failing my written test. Every single time I went to the DMV it would end up being an all day ordeal. On my 21st birthday I had an appointment to change my license and I still wound up waiting for 4 hours.
So, when I first went to the RMV to transfer my license plates, I was thrilled with what a breeze it was. Benches for you to sit on while you wait, etc etc. But I still procrastinated getting a Mass. license. I’ve lived here for nearly a year and a half.
Well, transfering license plates is a much easier task than transfering your driver’s license. Their website does NOT clearly state what counts as proof of residency. It is so incredibly vague…I didn’t know what to do, so about 2 weeks ago, I brought everything that was addressed to me at my new residence to the RMV plus a pay stub, thinking one of them must count.
I waited in line for an hour, before they told me that NOTHING I brought counted as proof of residency. Not my pay stub, not my DirecTV bill, not the letter from the post office stating my change of address. NOTHING I BROUGHT COUNTED. Why would I have all of mail going to an address THAT I WAS NOT A RESIDENT OF?!?!?!
They told me that I needed one of the following:
1) A lease — I don’t have a lease. We own our own home, but alas it is under Matt’s name.
2) Mortgage stuff — yes, alas, the home is under Matt’s name.
3) Utility bills — under Matt’s name too.
4) A bank statement.
Okay, I was in between statement periods, and my previous statement went to my old (Watertown) address. After I snapped at the imbecile who rejected me at the RMV and made a slight fool of myself in front of everyone at the RMV, I called my bank and asked if they could send me a bank statement ASAP. And they did. The people who work at my bank are truly great, and I was grateful to deal with some nice folks after the RMV idiots.
So, this morning before I work…I got up and trucked on down to Watertown Mall to go to the RMV. I waited in line, trying to “flood the experience with positive thoughts”, as my friend Elizabeth does in situations like that. “It’s going to be fine. They’re going to accept my bank statement. I will leave here with a Massachusetts driver’s license.”
So much for positive thoughts. Apparently my bank statement “didn’t look official”. Can I get a WTF?! “This is what they send me!” I exclaimed. I was sent to talk to a manager.
“This doesn’t count as proof of residency,” he said.
“Well, why not? They told me bank statements counted, and this is a bank statement!”
“It doesn’t look official,” he said.
“It is an official bank statement,” I said. “Look, there’s even an official seal on the envelope.”
He pointed to some list of what I need. It was a list right off the website:
* SSN Card or valid, current, U.S. or non-U.S. Passport
* Out-of-state License. If your out-of-state License DOES NOT have a photo, you must present acceptable photo ID from the list of Primary and Secondary documents.
Note: If you do not have your out-of-state License to surrender, you must provide a photo ID from the primary or Secondary list of identification AND a certified driving record not more than 30 days old from the state where you currently hold your License..
* Document proving date of birth
* Document proving signature
* Document proving Massachusetts residency
* Note: An out-of-state License presented as one of the ID documents can be used as a Primary document to confirm signature OR date of birth. It CANNOT be used to confirm both.
* A valid Social Security Number that verifies with the Social Security Administration or an acceptable written denial notice from the Social Security Administration.
“Document proving Massachusetts residency,” I said, pointing to that bulleted point on the list, “That is what my bank statement is.”
“No, that’s not an official bank statement,” he said.
“Your list is incredibly vague,” I said. “Document proving Massachusetts residency — that could be anything.”
“It’s actually not vague at all,” he said.
“What? It’s VERY vague. It should state what actually qualifies as Massachusetts proof of residency, and it doesn’t.”
“That’s not an official bank statement,” he said, AGAIN.
“Ugh, fine,” I said, grabbing all of my paperwork and storming out, furious.
And that is why I hate the RMV. My friend Sarah went through a similar experience a week or two ago, as did a coworker of mine. Now I have to figure out what to bring as proof of residency. I stopped at the bank to see if they could give me a more official looking statement, but all they were able to offer me was what I brought to the RMV.Greater Boston (General) | Comments (19)
Celebrity Pizza — they have SOFT ice cream!! I love soft ice cream, and it’s not so easy to come by!
Tresca’s Eating Place…sometimes I go there while stopping at the the bank across the parking lot. Very inexpensive diner fare, sub-par service, but worth it for the prices. It’s very green inside. Haha, that comment about the greenliness is also the postwhere I first mentioned Tresca’s. But it’s true, it’s green.
Green Peapod — a Thai and Chinese restaurant, but I’ve never tried the Thai food there, only the Chinese. It’s our favorite Chinese restaurant in Watertown, and that says a lot coming from Matt (who is half-Chinese and spent a good part of his life outside of San Francisco where the Chinese food is spectacular).
Know-Fat, Low-Fat — I’ve never tried their food, but their smoothies are good.
La Casa de Pedro…excellent Venezualan food. I love plantains. Their spicy sauce is great, but definitely spicy so beware!
Molana! I love this place…Persian kebabs and the like. Some dishes come with delicious rice, with things like currants, cherries, nuts, raisins…they give you a lot of food, too.
New Ginza has really good sushi. The fish tastes like they caught it five minutes before rolling it into sushi. Worth visiting if you like sushi. Gets kind of mobbed on weekends.
Panera Bread, which is also a chain. But it’s good! They have really tasty sandwiches, bagels, and desserts. The one in Watertown has a fireplace too, and free wifi.
Red Sauce — I think Red Sauce might be a chain too. It’s Italian food, and not bad at that. Their sauce is good. :-)
Just thinking about Sepal makes my mouth water. Everything I’ve had on that menu is great, but I tend to often get the beef kebab type thing. I forget what it’s called. They have good desserts there, too. It’s usually empty for some reason, and I can’t understand why because the food is excellent.
Sushi 21 has decent sushi also, and less mobbed than New Ginza. :-)
Verona makes me feel like I’ve been transported from Watertown, MA to an Italian neighborhood in Queens, NY. Old fashioned Italian food at reasonable prices. Restaurant has bizarre decor.
Victor’s Diner is pretty cute too…their omelettes are huge! It’s not open very late and it’s incredibly crowded on weekend mornings…but worth having a look. Their coffee mugs are all mismatched, isn’t that cute?
Writing that entry made me hungry! Time for lunch!Filed under Greater Boston (General), Greater Boston Restaurants, Things to do in the Boston Area, Uncategorized | Comment (1)