Fighting the Post Office

How does one prove he or she doesn’t have something?

Sure, there’s the conspicuous absence of the item in question. You can throw open your door to strangers, let them poke through your underwear drawer or recycling bin for evidence of what you never had. The local authorities can conduct an investigation or hook you up to a lie detector. But how can you truly prove to others that the thing you know is missing was never actually in your possession?

I pose this question for a very mundane reason: I’m not receiving my mail.

I wish some of that was for me.

 

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A Non-Parent’s Reaction to Isis Parenting Closure

I am not a mom. I don’t play one on TV. I haven’t had a regular babysitting gig in years.

But, as someone who paid for books and incidentals in college and high school by working various childcare gigs for children of all ages, I can only image how hard it is to be the person to whom a sick, crying, cranky, teething, miserable and irrational small human is entrusted by default. My experience was only a guest pass to the joy and frustration that parenting brings.

Now that I’m older, more of my friends are becoming parents. Many of them without so much as changing a diaper or slicing the crusts off a sandwich for an inconsolable toddler once in their lives. I see how happy they are–and how entirely overwhelmed.

Many of my new Mom friends in the Boston area turned to Isis Parenting to fill in the gaps in knowledge and to provide an outlet for those frustrations that I as a swinging single lady can’t fully help process no matter how many daycares I’ve worked in. None of us know it until we’re there, and Isis provided a place to connect for overloaded and under-rested new parents.

The Isis Parenting chain shut down today, without warning its customers. Many of the parents I know who visited Isis were despondent. But there were just as many posts saying we shouldn’t boo-hoo for women who can afford luxury baby strollers. Use your privilege to go somewhere else, seemed to be the subtext.

We’re a country that tells women to breed as often as possible but doesn’t provide support to parents–on all levels of the economic spectrum–once the baby is born. So there IS likely no other place for people to go. Hospitals referred new mothers to Isis for support. Families are more geographically disparate than ever–and some women aren’t lucky enough to have relations to rely on for knowledge and support. (My friend and Mom Jennifer Spencer explains this nicely on Isis’ blog.)

What irks me most about this closing is that this sort of support and education isn’t offered to every new parent, whether she’s pushing her newborn in a Bugaboo or a Graco stroller. Education classes provide a chance for new parents to learn from experts and from each other. Educators or facilitators could be on the lookout for women who might be experiencing post-partum depression or other serious issues after giving birth.

Small businesses shouldn’t be responsible for these services. It’s the role of… the healthcare industry? municipalities? states? nonprofits?… somebody! to facilitate the kind of community building that helps people become the best parents they can be. Hopefully an organization steps forward to fill this void in Boston’s parenting community.

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Reddit Blog Post in PRNewser

At the day job, I wrote a blog post advocating PR professionals to not dismiss Reddit out of hand. Trade mag PRNewser was thinking the same thing, and gave a hat-tip to our post at Solomon McCown.

Feel free to check it out, if you’re so inclined. Go digital team! reddit-alien-meme

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Letter to the Editor in the Boston Globe

(Hello, people! I just remembered I have a blog. Sorry.)

A couple of weeks ago, the Boston Globe ran a column that deemed Millennials a generation of “idle trophy kids.” It was an infuriating piece, to say the least. So, I wrote a rebuttal that the Globe ran a few days later.

Millennials were taught that if we worked hard and got a good education, we could create lives of value. Now we’re strapped with student debt that rivals what our parents paid for their high-ceilinged homes. Costs are skyrocketing for everything from health care to groceries. Effective rents in Greater Boston average $1,772 per month. How is it a surprise to Graham that young adults who are fortunate enough to have parents who still own homes choose to live under Mom and Dad’s roof to make ends meet?

Generation Y is just as motivated to succeed as the baby boomers. We just don’t want to mortgage the future of the next generation, like our elders did.

I always knew I’d be the voice of a generation. (Apologies to Lena Dunham.)

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Passive Aggression in the Laundry Room

I consider myself fortunate to live in a building with laundry facilities. Having lived in apartments that required a slog to a laundromat, I appreciate being able to pad downstairs in my socks and jammies to move laundry around.

Of course, I still have to share those washers and dryers with everyone in my building.

At my current place, I haven’t had many issues with the four washers and four dryers for tenant use. Occasionally I’ll have to wait a few minutes to get started, but that’s a rarity. Tonight was a different story.

I threw my two loads into the washers. When I tossed the wet clothes into two empty dryers, I noticed that one had a busted coin slot. When I opened the other dryers, I found two massive loads of laundry in the still drums. 

Perhaps you disagree, but in my world it’s allowed to move someone’s laundry from the dryer or washer if a cycle is complete and there are no other open machines to use. I’d love to wait with baited breath for the owner of the clothing in the dryer to fold his undies and pair his socks, but my bedsheets are dripping on the floor. And it’s almost bedtime. 

One load was still damp, so I reached into the bowls of a load of whites, pulling out ripped-up socks and dingy underwear. The load was so large it still smelled like body oder. Thoroughly skeeved out, I stuck my sheets in the dryer and hoped for the best.

On the positive side, I didn’t come down to wet sheets or my laundry dumped in the parking lot. I did return to dry sheets and this note.

Image

 

My kingdom for in-unit laundry.

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Sharing the Farm Share

Make. It. Stop.

Make. It. Stop.

Farm shares are one of those aspects of urban living I just can’t get accustomed to, largely because I’ve experienced the glut of seasonal produce for my entire life. My family would buy produce at the grocery store for the majority of the year. But then summer would bring a tidal wave of produce which landed in my mother’s kitchen, plucked from my Grandpa’s garden.

The highlight of my summer was always when strawberries showed up. Mounds and mounds of strawberries were piled up on the kitchen counter, just begging for me to stick my little kid hands in there and gorge myself.

“You’re going to give yourself hives!” My mother would shout from the closet, digging out a huge pot to boil down the strawberries to make jam. I never once developed hives as I ran around with pink fingers and red teeth, slightly nauseous from the fruit overdose.

But then the less exciting produce arrived. Bushels of tomatoes. Endless mountains of summer squash. Cucumbers. Corn was always a welcome addition to my diet, but it seemed overwhelming after a couple of weeks. My Mom did her best to create sauces and pickles and jams from the bounty when she stayed at home with us kids. But we weren’t big fans of homemade spaghetti sauce (although I do miss the homemade strawberry jam).

It’s been a few summers since Grandpa passed away, but my uncle has taken up the mantle of growing too much produce for our small family. I love getting some zucchini and corn—it’s just a little intimidating to bring back several bags full for just my boyfriend and I. Now, I share with the office and the family I babysat and anyone else who’s looking for a free locally grown cucumber. Even still, I end up wracked with guilt when I discover a handful of rotted cucumbers in the crisper because I know how hard my uncle worked to grow them.

This week, a friend of mine who’s out of town let me pick up her weekly farm share. I’ve picked up a pint of tomatoes or a handsome potted herb from the farmer’s market, but I was intrigued to try out this urban foodie rite of passage. I brought a handful of reusable bags with me and showed up.

I expected it to be like Birchbox—a pre-selected allotment of fruits and veggies would be in some form of container, doled out to customers. Instead, there was a whiteboard with weights of each item scrawled on it. It was up to the customer to pick out his or her share from crates, weigh it, and toss it into their bag. It was a bit intimidating. How many cucumbers can I take? Jalapeños, hooray! Leeks? I detest leeks. Melon? That smashed-up looking thing? Pass.

It brought up all those feelings I get when my uncle shuffles into my mother’s kitchen, toting armloads of plastic bags barely holding up to the weight of produce inside. I long to approach it as a challenge, like the home version of Chopped. But I just feel bad for inevitably not using every last bite.

However, the fruits and veggies are delicious. I deliberately picked underripe peaches in the hopes I’d manage to eat them all before they get too soft, but I put my thumb through the skin of one ripe fruit as I was rinsing it and figured it was time to eat it. It was the best peach I’ve had in a long time. The tomatoes tasted great with pasta, garlic, and the basil. And I’m thrilled to have fresh eggs, the one aspect of farming my uncle has given up.

However, I’ll probably give the leeks back to my friend when she’s back from vacation. I detest leeks.

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Pizza Nachos at Ducali Pizzeria

[Oh, I have a blog! Hello, Internet. Sorry it's been a few months since I've written here—been busy with the new gig.]

The best part about not rushing out of town for the Independence Day holiday was spending time in Boston on July 3rd. It was a stiflingly hot day, so after work I met friends at the pool and dipped my feet to cool off. After my friends changed out of their swim suits, we crossed a deserted Commercial Street in the North End to grab a bite at Ducali.

Oh. Em. Gee.

Oh. Em. Gee.

While crazy busy when the Bruins or Celtics are playing up the road at the Garden, Ducali was quiet on the day before a holiday. We grabbed a table and ordered a dish my friends had told me about breathlessly for months after they stumbled upon it: Pizza nachos.

I have a reputation as a bit of a nacho fiend. While they’re not authentic Mexican cuisine, I could not possibly care less. The crunch of a corn chip. The creaminess of the cheese. The spice from a pickled jalapeño and the crispness of raw onion. Some women can’t resist dessert; I barely make it to my entree when nachos show up before the main course.

Pizza nachos—or Nachos Italiano, per the menu—at Ducali are a different experience from the tortilla-based appetizer at a southwestern dining establishment. The most noticeable difference is the lack of chips. Ducali uses inch-wide strips of pizza dough that are baked, then topped enough cheese to clog the arteries of the most athletic diner. Even an avowed cheese lover like myself thought it was bit too much.

However, I see why the restaurant dubbed this unhealthy creation Pizza Nachos. The salami and cured meats serve the same function as chili or chicken on Mexican nachos. Hot peppers typically found in an order of calamari are sprinkled throughout the dish, giving a much needed kick and bite of vinegar to the cheese-laden bread. Like some restaurants serve salsa on the side of their nachos, Ducali serves marinara sauce for dipping in a separate small bowl. The sauce had a little kick of its own and was enjoyed by everyone at our table.

One minor quibble I had was the Pizza Nachos being served in a bowl. It seemed to trap the steam from the bread and cheese, leaving the strips of pizza dough at the bottom of the bowl a bit soggy. It seems a traditional platter would help maintain the crispness of the ends throughout the serving.

Pro tip: Don’t order a ton of pizza if you’re splitting the pizza nachos with a small group. This appetizer eats like a meal. Consider ordering a light salad instead.

Another pro tip: If you don’t have plans to visit Boston soon, you can make your own pizza nachos at home thanks to Thrillist. [h/t ATF for the link and the experience of pizza nachos]

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