Archive for ‘boston’

October 28, 2011

this week

This week…

1. I decided there was an extra day in between Wednesday and Thursday. On this mythical day, I would be able to finish reading The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl by Virginia Hamilton and then move quickly onto Robin McKinley’s Beauty in time for class on Thursday afternoon.


Let’s put it this way: that day did not occur.


2. I entered Week 8 of the Couch to 5K program… 28 minutes of straight running, no breaks.

I’ve been building up to these “long runs” now, I guess, since Week 5. 20 minutes, 22 minutes, 25 minutes…

but somehow, I haven’t yet increased my distance whatsoever.

I am learning to run farther and farther… while my body learns to run slower and slower.

(And the weather outside gets colder and colder. Gross.)


3. I ate very little other than rice+beans+cheese+salsa because I did a terrible job buying groceries and have lost all will to cook.

Good thing it’s delicious!


4. I forgot to wear deodorant on 3 out of 5 days.

Sorry, world.


5. My sister was not allowed to leave the¬† hospital yet ūüė¶


6. I still do not have a Halloween costume.


7. I am going to attend an author event this evening in Cambridge.

Chris Van Allsburg will be doing a little gig to promote the publication of this awesome new book, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.

Van Allsburg published this bizarre picturebook – The Mysteries of Harris Burdick –¬† that basically had no linear storyline, a bunch of creepy black and white illustrations, and not much else. Completely baffling as far as picturebooks go. But now, a bunch of kidlit authors have assembled in The Chronicles of Harris Burdick to write short stories based on each spread.

And these are not just your average kidlit authors. We are talking:

  • Sherman Alexie
  • M.T. Anderson
  • Walter Dean Myers
  • Louis Sachar
  • Lemony Snicket
  • Gregory Maguire
  • Stephen King

One such author¬† will also be in attendance at tonight’s event: Lois Lowry.


April 17, 2011

running through my dreams all night

Tomorrow is Marathon Monday, and I think all the hubbub accidentally made me crazy.

Yesterday, I was eating some nachos and reading Going Bovine at a sports bar when I overheard a guy at the table next to me chatting up the waitress.

“I wanted to come see the Red Sox game, while I’m in Boston” he said. “But it was too cold. I’m running a marathon in two days! I can’t sit outside in the cold for hours!”

This conversation went on a little too long and I became a bit annoyed by Mister “I’m running a MARATHON! in TWO DAYS!” Man, but I did notice his stylish black and green jacket.

When we attempted to go bowling later in the evening, we missed our stop because the bus didn’t do its usual turn-around thing because everything on Boylston was set up for the MARATHON. We avoided the rain by ducking into those skywalks that connect random Boston hotels with stores and malls, hoping to hit the Prudential eventually and come out the other side, next to the bowling alley.

The hotels that were jam-packed with MARATHONers, looking slim and fit and sporting their MARATHON jackets.

So this morning, I woke up with the very determined idea that I WAS GOING RUNNING BEFORE WORK. I had been considering this the day before, since I didn’t get out for a run on Saturday because I was busy trying-hard-not-to-watch-sports-at-a-sports-bar and trying to bowl. But there was an urgency here. I rocketed out of bed and ate something with protein and got dressed and out the door.

It took me awhile to remember the dream I had the night before that woke me up in a sheer panic.

Someone had asked me to run in the Boston Marathon on Monday. I had to do it. I had to get ready to do it. I didn’t have any of those Gu-things that marathoners need to keep their fuel up, but I figured if I went to the expo, I could pocket some samples. I needed that Gu! And also, I’d never run that far before, but it was only five miles… I can run 2 miles (code for: I HAVE run 2 miles in the past. like once. maybe twice), so it’s only twice that and another mile….

and then someone in my dream told me, as I was on a mad Gu dash, that a marathon wasn’t 5 miles. It was 26.2.

I woke up in a complete panic.

Somehow that translated into:

“Jessica, you need to go running in the morning before work because it is entirely possible that someone, at any moment, could ask you to run the Boston Marathon and you will have to say yes, so you should at LEAST figure out how to run 5 miles.”

Okay, then.

Well at least it got me out of bed with enough vim and vigor to

* Run/walk a mile and a half

* Bake a coffeecake

* Trash the kitchen and half clean it up again

* Call in a prescription

* Scramble some eggs

* Run to CVS

and, most importantly

* Make it to work on time.

Which, in case you are keeping track at home, is more than I did all day on Friday and Saturday, combined.

Maybe when I’m done here I’ll tackle 26.2.

April 4, 2011

the world is a glass overflowing with water

I. I like my apartment and I get to stay for another year

Here is a picture of some of my apartment.

Isn’t it nice?

And by “nice”, I mean “full of my stuff”?

II. My syllabus

As much as I miss being able to read whatever I want…

I also like having to read books.

As long as they are good.

I feel like when I am done with grad school,

I should recruit Children’s Lit people to write me up a syllabus every quarter,

or something.

III. Music


IV. Weather for Running

The only running-related pictures I have

are of my littlest sister

because she runs a lot.

(She’s the one in the middle)

V. This Boy

He makes me quite happy.

(That picture was taken

5 years ago)


March 18, 2011

gorgeous life

Slept through a St. Patrick’s Day hangover,

breakfast of champs,

finished reading Split. Made me want to do things like… write,

cleaned the apartment while watching the latest super-biased, kind of interesting Netflix doc,

ran a mile and a bit in the gorgeous, almost 70 degree weather,

a little quality time with the boyfriend who I love so dearly,

walk into JP for free birthday vegetable korma at Bukhara,

watching roommate and our houseguest play Mario,

and Disaronno, Rosa’s, and Coke.

Maybe some popcorn?

Life can be cool.




March 7, 2011

Whose foods?

So a few months ago, the news broke that the quirky Hispanic grocery store in my neighborhood was closing, and a Whole Foods was moving on in.

This announcement created quite a stir in the community and in Boston in general. Google “Whole Foods” and “Jamaica Plain,” and check out the maelstrom of articles on the topic. Basically, the announcement and the closing was quick, the history of the Hi-Lo was rich, and everybody’s getting livid. There have been town meetings, protests, interviews, and activism galore.

Being that this is all happening literally around the corner from my apartment, my friends and I have been talking about how we feel about the situation, and I don’t even know where to begin.

The crux of the debate is this: the area I live in is somewhat low-income friendly and home to a large percentage of Hispanic residents. The Hi-Lo was a full-service type grocery store that was well-known for being well-stocked with out-of-country brands and obscure produce, and for being pretty cheap. So not only is the “takeover” offensive to the local-business-friendly JP residents, it’s offensive to those who think that these Hispanic residents are valuable members of the community and should be able to feed themselves and their families in an affordable manner. Jamaica Plain has been “gentrifying” over the years, I suppose, but the people that live here care about maintaining a diverse community, and want to make sure people aren’t booted out of town just because JP is getting too trendy, or whatever.

I totally agree with all of that.

Which is why I feel so conflicted about liking the idea of a Whole Foods moving in next door.

It’s making me think a lot about business and capitalism and all of that jazz, which is not really my expertise or anything, but here are my thoughts about the whole mess:

  • I’m wondering about what it means to be a valuable voice in your community. When people ask me how I feel about the whole debate, my first instinct is “I have no idea, I shouldn’t really say anything because my opinion doesn’t matter because I’ve only lived here for a year and a half. I love living in JP, but I’m a grad student. My permanent address is still in Michigan, for crying out loud, and staying here and growing roots isn’t in the plans right now.”¬† Just because I feel transient, does that mean I have to act transient? I have a feeling that it would take me years and years and years to feel at home ANYWHERE…. and it doesn’t seem right to feel like I have to shut up until then if I have something to say, or to wish that my community would advocate for the needs of people like myself as well as the needs of residents who have lived here longer.

Not that I do have something to say, it just made me think about what authority I even have in this situation.

  • That being said, I am worried about rents rising. I can barely afford my apartment as it is, and after navigating the Boston realty scene for the last two years, I can totally see a Whole Foods within walking distance leading to 100-200 dollar/month raises in rents. And I guess this is a big part of the opposition to the store – if there was a virtually-identical, Whole-Foods wannabe store that moved into the space, especially one that was independently/locally owned, it wouldn’t show up on the realty radar, and I think the community would have embraced it. Instead, this Big Name store is moving in – rents for apartments and the other businesses around the area will go up and in this economy, maybe people will have to leave. That’s sad and does seem pretty unnecessary.
  • I’m not really convinced, however, that Whole Foods deserves to be villainized here. The owners of the store decided to sell – I doubt Whole Foods came in with guns to their heads and demanded a lease-transfer. They probably had reasons to sell. I’ve read that the store management was past-retirement age and their kids wanted nothing to do with running the store, so maybe they were looking for a way out already. It’s possible that whatever money Whole Foods offered the owners far surpassed any profits the Hi-Lo would ever bring in for the owners and managers, but there was still a choice made, and one that wasn’t malicious, just economic.

Maybe it’s my Michigan roots showing, but I posted this story on my Facebook¬† awhile ago and one my¬† pals replied with something like “Um. People are getting up in arms because a store closed and another store moved in? They need to take a trip to Detroit and quit whining.”

  • Do the people who are now getting up in arms about the loss of the Hi-Lo even shop at the Hi-Lo themselves? I ask this question because although I feel affectionate toward my local grocer, I never did any of my major shopping there. To me, the Hi-Lo was always heavy on junk-food type packaged-goods, produce that I don’t know how to cook or eat, and meat (I’m a sort-of vegetarian). The Hi-Lo was reserved for individual items that fell off the grocery list; and for things like sugar, butter, and mozzarella cheese, I was always surprised at how high the prices were.

I know that I’m not the only, or the predominant voice here, and that many, many people did rely on the Hi-Lo for their weekly shopping needs. But I also wonder about the other people¬† who live in my neighborhood – should we have all gone to the Hi-Lo even though we would rather shop elsewhere, just for solidarity? Or is this a case of capitalist, supply and demand, where we simply demanded something that we couldn’t find at the Hi-Lo?


So I’m conflicted. But at the end of the day, I do truck it out to the Brighton Whole Foods every week to do my grocery shopping. I am a poor graduate student who should probably not be spending so much money at the grocery store, but that’s the choice my boyfriend and I made. We used to shop at Stop & Shop, but I found the prices similar, the selection limited, and the quality of meat/vegetables/baked goods lacking. According to this suggested spending chart written by the USDA that assumes the USDA’s suggested level of nutrition, Lance and I fall between the Low and Moderate Plans, and manage to spend much of that at Whole Foods.

It’s possible, though, that I’m selfish enough not to care about all the hubub¬† just because when I forget to buy cat food and it’s after nine p.m. and Lance isn’t around to drive me across town….

yeah, that will be nice.


February 14, 2011


Last semester was such a mess, it’s not surprising that I’m feeling comparatively chipper lately.

But I’m still not sure why.

Still working 30 hours a week.

Still taking 2 classes.

Still sticking to the same routines.

Maybe it’s because I’m finally feeling social and mobile, dancing around Boston, visiting friends, spending too much money, staying out late and being thoroughly 25 (or 21?).

Maybe that’s why I’m feeling so peppy?

Or maybe it’s because my boyfriend is growing a beard.

Mmmm…. yeah. Gotta be the beard.


March 19, 2010

this weekend

Here’s what I’ll be up to:

  • Going to the bank to deposit this mass amount of money I’ve suddenly come into. Must. Get. Rid. Of. Checks. BEFORE I LOSE THEM!
  • Being an earlybird at this garage sale in Somerville. Too bad a certain somebody isn’t loaded like me! Actually, that’s probably a good thing, since our apartment is already overrun by trumpets, pianos, and other musical detritus.

Some Havaianas

Some jeans that are as hot as these, my old jeans, that seem to have been discontinued in the 2+ years since I bought them.

A cell phone. The time has come.

And a bra.

I’ll leave that one to your imagination.

Oh, and a pair of headphones.

And remind me to tell you about the dress I ordered from Shabby Apple.

  • Some or all of the following homework: writing a book review and a paper about my book review, doing a really long Reference Question Set, writing a paper about another picture from ANOTHER picturebook. Which I just realized I forgot to procure. So add a library visit somewhere in this mess.

  • Scholarship brunch at mah school. You wanna feed me in honor of the fact that you threw a few $$ my way? Oh, okay, fine.
  • Some or all of the rest of that homework.

  • A Sunday night margarita at the Cactus Club with some ChLit folks. Drinking? On a Sunday night? It feels so wrong…
  • Laundry
  • Grocery shopping
  • Cleaning the apartment
  • Remembering to feed the cat
  • Frolicking in this weekend weather forecast

Oh, and I think I might need a belated birthday cupcake

March 14, 2010

dry ground

image via Daniel Y. Go

It rained yesterday. Lance’s mom had a big-fat-travel-fail, and her weekend visit was greatly impeded. I spent most of the day zipping back and forth across the state of Massachusetts in Lance’s car.

We finally bought a GPS.

It rained today. We had delicious brunch with some Sarahs and a Ben. We stood outside in the rain. And then we spent most of the day zipping back and forth around the Boston area in Lance’s car, visiting witch museums, trolling around gigantic Whole Foods marketplaces.

Tomorrow? I will hang out with Lance’s mommy, and at the end of the day, I’ll be back to school.

Spring break over.

And my tongue hurts!

Does anyone else have chronic tongue pain?


And it will be raining.

Oh yes, it will be raining.