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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Weaving In and Out

Losing a loved one is never easy, and we all have a different story to tell.  One thing that seems consistent is wanting to gather memories of that person to help you remember their life. Pulling together photos of weddings, mother and child, silly times goofing around, some photos in black and white others on paper that have become orange with age suddenly become so important  to find and celebrate.

Recently, a family that I care about very much lost their mother.  She was their rock.  She was their beacon.  She was the glue that kept them together geographically, and emotionally.  One of the sisters, Jill Elliott, is a photographer.  Jill took those beautiful photos of my children this Fall, amazingly a few of them have my husband or me in them, which was very special since I realized their have been very few since they were babies, as my husband or I am always the one taking the photos.

Jill wants to help others by preserving their memories.  A portion of her fees will be donated to helping those struggling with cancer.  Check out her website  She also has a public facebook page showcasing more of her photos...!/pages/Jillian-Elliott-photography/155311427832800.

Check out another blog post about Jill and her beautiful initiative:  Weaving In and Out

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Good Bye to the Boston Phoenix

Last week I learned that the alternative weekly newspaper I'd worked for in the early 2000s was closing. I've been feeling very nostalgic about the paper itself and ultimately the job that simultaneously nearly ruined my life and was the most fun a 20-something could have... ever.  There's a lot that's been written lately about the special place The Phoenix held in Boston media.  It was a significant source of alternative news, the premier resource for arts and music coverage, and at one time, prior to Craigslist, the best place to find an escort. As a reader, it was all those things (minus the escort-stuff ) to me, and more.

In 2000 I was hired after applying for a job posting in the paper.   I had spent my years right after college making pennies at an advertising agency, so it came as quite a shock that I might be able to make some decent money selling ads for a paper I truly enjoyed reading.  I moved from a cubicle near the famed smoking room on up to a job I coveted at their nightlife bi-weekly STUFF@night, a brief stint in National Ad Sales working for the Everett Finkelstein, fantastic micro-manager, and over-all conflicting personality to me.  During my stint at the Phoenix, I was trained to be a very decent advertising sales rep (get the contract!), met everyone in Boston nightlife, and got to go to work at the kooky-iest place on the planet.

While other workplaces had sexual harassment training, I learned to accept sexual harassment as an essential part of the workplace.  It was filled with characters.  The storied Publisher Stephen Mindich was small in stature but large in personality.  Always sweet to me, he was known to throw punches at staffers at the annual Holiday party, but welcomed me back to the Phoenix after a failed job attempt elsewhere, and truly cared about the quality of his paper (and almost as much about the radio station and the fluff nightlife pub I worked) and its legacy.

The place nearly destroyed my personal life: it may have given me (and many others) a drinking problem, and inspired numerous breakups with my now-husband.  It was like college, only better.  Many parties, many open bars, and never having to stand outside of a club or bar in a line, were just a few of the perks.

As with any quality media outlet, there was a division of church & state between the editorial staff and the sales staff and the two sides only met in the smoking room.  While other workplaces banned smoking in the early 2000s, we embraced our smokers and their rights.  I loved that smoking room, and I loved the eccentric personalities in that room.

The Phoenix was a revolving door for talent.  Great writers, creatives, and sales people got their start here and moved on to bigger and better things.  It gave me the confidence and entrepreneurial fearlessness to start my own business before I was thirty.  Thank you Boston Phoenix for all your life-changing experience.  I'll not soon forget, and Boston will never be the same.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Old-Fashioned Cocktail

On a recent trip to NYC with a my husband and a group of thirteen friends, and friends of friends, the most ordered cocktail was hands-down the Old-Fashioned.  Loved equally by sleazy men in dark bars and grandmothers, this drink is possibly the original cocktail, and it's made a comeback.

There are a couple of versions: the Dixie Old-Fashioned, Rum Old-Fashioned, Brandy Old-Fashioned, but I'll share the tried and true recipe for a typical Old-Fashioned from my trusty The Complete Book of Mixed Drinks by Anthony Dias Blue.

2 maraschino cherries
2 orange slices
5 dished of bitters
1 teaspoon sugar
1-1/2 ounces bourbon
Splash of soda

In a rocks glass, place 1 cherry, 1/2 slice of orange, bitters, and sugar.  Muddle until the mixture is well ground.  Add the bourbon and a splash of soda while still mixing.  Fill the glass with ice.  Garnish with the remaining cherry and orange slices.

The jury's still out on whether all that muddling is necessary.  Some argue that the fruit should only be used as a garnish (Dixie Old-Fashioned), but if you're feeling adventurous mix  a few versions, and see for yourself, or better yet, invite the neighbors over on this snowy Sunday night and have an Old-Fashioned taste test.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Go Tell Aunt Rhody

My twins play a version of dress-up that they call "Mama & Honey" a version of playing "house" where one of them is the mom and the other one the little girl.  They put on high heels, lip gloss, lots of jewelry, throw a purse over an arm, grab a doll stroller, pile it with books and play food, and walk around the house barking orders at each other and soothing each other.  They do this for hours on end, often setting up house in the downstairs bathroom.  I believe this is pretty typical, possibly with the exception of the barking orders and extreme amounts of jewelry.

Recently, I've noticed a new twist to their Mama & Honey dialogue.  It's called "my mom and dad died, can I live with you?"  Sometimes it's "my brother's dead, what should I do?"


At the advice of a friend, I tried to insert myself into the play to get to the bottom of this, but it didn't work.  They didn't want me to play.  They're probably re-enacting one of the countless versions of Cinderella they've seen on TV or been read.

For about a year they've randomly asked their dad and me if daddy's going to die?  At about 3.5-years they began trying to figure out how getting older and dying are related.  My twins know that their paternal grandpa is buried in the cemetery two streets away, but thankfully haven't had a loved one pass away in their lifetime.  Yet.

Death is a reality that all children will eventually be faced with.

My mom pointed out that historically children's songs and nursery rhymes prepared youngsters for death.  With higher mortality rates in the old days, it was perfectly healthy to sing about death.  Songs like Go Tell Aunt Rhody describing the death of a goose, and her children and husband mourning, clearly deals with the death of a mother.  One might argue that in our efforts to protect our children from death by virtually eliminating it from their songs and literature, we might be making this inevitable part of life even more mysterious.  Death is enough of a mystery without robbing children of a little foreshadowing and an opportunity to "play it out."

Go Tell Aunt Rhody
Go tell Aunt Rhody
Go tell Aunt Rhody
Go tell Aunt Rhody
The old gray goose is dead
The one she's been saving (x 3)
To make her feather bed
She died in the mill pond (x 3)
Standing on her head
She left nine little goslings (x 3)
To scratch for their own bread
The goslings are crying (x 3)
Because their mother's dead
The gander is weeping (x 3)
Because his wife is dead

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jill Elliott Photography

My friend Jon's sister, Jill Texera Elliott, is a photographer and she sent me some great pictures of my girls.  I'm sure it wasn't the easiest task, but she managed to capture their personalities by simply hanging out with them for a little while....and promising them gum.  She's clearly a genius.

I love the laid-back style of these photos.  They're timeless images that I know I'll still love years from now.  Check out Jill's site:

Larry & Girls


Sienna & our friend Jon

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween Decorating

Is it possible that anyone loves a holiday more than me?  I saw these Martha Stewart Mouse Silhouettes at Michael's and was initially grossed out by them, but the more I thought about it, the more fun they seemed!  Our front door opens to my "mice stairs" so I hope to surprise trick-or-treaters and gross out their parents on Halloween.
 I also love Martha's window and mirror clings!  See the mice climbing up the mirror?

The ghosts are actually my least favorite of all the clings but are the biggest hit of all our decorations with young children.

My husband conceived a Fall scene complete with homemade scarecrow from the hay bales leftover from the girls birthday party.  "Gus" the scarecrow's getting a little tired from 4-year-olds climbing on him, but  overall I was really impressed with my husband's vision.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mario Testino at the MFA

Mario Testino's fashion photography and portraits of the British royal family are coming to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston this October.  It's not every day that high style and celebrity meet and can be considered cultural, and this looks like one show I wouldn't want to miss.

There's so much that I don't do because 1) I'm a mom and I forget things or 2) because its not kid-friendly, but this is one show I wouldn't dream of letting pass without seeing.

Mario Testino: In Your Face and Mario Testino: British Royals - October 21. 2012 to February 3, 2013