One of the many benefits of bike commuting is finding those little gems a person encounters only by slowing down. Here’s one I discover while waiting at a traffic light.
I’m not traditionally competitive . . . I don’t think. However, I will take off across the parking lot with a cart load of groceries to beat you to the car before you’ve registered a race. (Some might label this act with the unfortunate term “cheat.” Thank you, I prefer “strategize.”)
The Jamaica Plain vs Somerville Dance Off is organized annually as a fundraiser in support of the inspiring and impressive Girls Rock Boston, a summer program that empowers girls ages eight to seventeen to ROCK, while also growing as musicians, women, and individuals (video-link from Austin Girls Rock ’cause these ladies just blew me away, but you get the picture.)
This event is a bonafide competition with actual winners (2013-JP) and losers (2013-Somerville), but I’m not there to score one for my neighborhood, or even for myself. I go to win it for THE WORLD!!!
Kidding! (But no, not really.)
Officially, I gave up my candy habit some time around 2005. Shocking then, right, that I somehow found myself sucking down conversation hearts while listening to a talk on Cambridge’s sugary legacy -that of flat, candy wafers that spark in the dark, figgy cookies, and mints that come in papa, mama, and junior? (Actually, not that shocking . . . )
Between the riding, listening, and somewhat guilt-free gobbling of complimentary goodies provided by our hosts, I may not have found opportunity to snap photos even if I had bought along my reliable (and admittedly clunky) Canon. Glad I’m not the only person sweet on fond remembrance.
The photos featured here are borrowed courtesy of the fine planners/bike enthusiasts at Cambridge Bicycle Committee.
In addition to being so kind as to let me partake of their photos, I enjoyed that this well-organized tour of Cambridge was split into “sweet” and “savory” with brief, interesting lectures at several resting points.
A friend introduced me to Little Free Libraries, small book-lending boxes that exist worldwide for reading-enthusiasts, champions of community, and the just-plain-curious. No less than a year later, such a library appeared five minutes from my house. So, in addition to the amazing Boston Public and Minuteman Library systems, I’ve a hyper-local option that draws my eye each time I wander past.
Who’s spoiled? (Hint: me.)
I heard about Cambridge Street Little Free Library on a community listserv before I saw it in person. Winter tends to tame my wandering and ground my bike, so it’s wasn’t until the weather warmed and I returned to my wheels full-time that I located Little Free Library #3884.
Even smaller than the microwave-oven sized box in JP, the Cambridge Street library is vividly painted and planted in a giant flowerpot.
While I snapped a few photos, another pedestrian noticed and decided to loiter by the box after I departed. I mean, how can you resist?
Although I’ve already signed up for my household’s CSA (community supported agriculture) share this year, I couldn’t resist dropping by the fourth annual Farm Share Fair. I’d been hearing about this event, originated by theMove*, a nonprofit that organizes volunteer workdays on farms for young citydwellers in and around Boston.
When my companion and I first walked in, we were impressed by the number of farms and vendors present. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll among the tables.
Shortly, the crowds arrived. It was inspiring to see so many people invested in and excited to support local farms and get their hands on the delicious, healthful, and beautiful veggies, fruit, eggs, meat, grains, and everything else.
After squeezing my way down a packed aisle to sign up for an egg share with John Crow Farm, my friend and I look leave of the fair to free up space for all the other enthusiasts. Lucky for us, the evening held one last treat . . .
*EDIT: I just learned that the event was presented by Mindy Harris Communications, in connection with theMove. Thanks for the correction, Mindy!
For years I’ve been telling my mother, “It doesn’t matter when you come to visit, there’s always something going on in Boston. There’s always something to see or do* and, in the summer, a festival every weekend.”
Still, it was mighty convenient that the 2013 Harvard Square Chocolate Festival coincided with my mother’s birthday visit. We arrived late on the plaza in front of Crema Café and neighboring shops, so we scored only tiny slices of chocolate cake baked by Legal Seafoods from the actual festival part of the event.
From there we explored a hat shop and headphone shop, paid an adoring visit to Bob Slate Stationer, where my partner, mother and I had to battle strong urges to over-purchase. (Pens + notebooks + office goods = squee!!) Finally, we joined up with good friends for a chocolate lover’s afternoon tea at Upstairs on the Square. Although we didn’t eat as much as we could have, we did end the day with so. much. chocolate.
(*Boston’s enormous collection of summer and winter markets explode the possibilities of what a person could get up to any day of the week, all year long.)
For at least a year, my bike commute route has taken me past a speckled white contraption located outside a brick building in the Cambridgeport neighborhood of Cambridge.
At first I thought it might be a type of sculpture (right down the road is a stone sculpture that reminds me of a dragon’s hindquarters.) Then I decided, since it’s vaguely bike-shaped, it must be a hood intended to protect bikes from weather. But that seemed impractical: what institution, business, or city-living individual would go through the trouble of purchasing and mounting such a bulky apparatus for the benefit of just one or two bikes?
So I decided, despite my hunches, that I really had no clue what it was. Today, I was getting my hair trimmed in that same neighborhood and grabbed at the opportunity to satisfy my curiosity.
That’s right, folks: a bike lid.
At thirteen, I started my first paid job as a page at my local library. Among many boring and not-so-boring tasks: shelving books and folding letters and flyers for mailing. I remember marveling at how my fingerprints were possibly on every single thing in that children’s room.
At twenty-one, I started my first job out of college as an administrative assistant at a dotcom boom era start-up. I stuffed many thousand envelopes and collated collateral. I felt amazed by how, for pay, I touched things and converted them into other, supposedly more valuable things.
Today I rolled a ball from a skein, the yarn sliding through my fingers, silken yet firm. Touching every part of a thing. The work I’m doing is not for pay, but for learning, for creativity as I excitedly anticipate my first class at Gather Here, a soulful neighborhood knit/crochet/sew/craft shop in Cambridge.
This time we were prepared.
Because you can’t just walk into such an exciting winter market and expect to leave with your wallet intact. It’s important to have a plan of attack (and a budget.)
And it’s important to being open to seeing people you know (and like) ’cause at the Cambridge Market the mood is sunny, and the sun is streaming through the tall windows of the Cambridge Community Center gymnasium. There is no ducking behind a tall stack of Oreos!