Category Archives: Boston

Plum Island Thanksgiving

On Saturday Abbey, her Mom and I visited the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, a 4,700 acre reserve that is a playground for migratory birds on Plum Island, near Newburyport, MA:

While we weren’t quite there on Thanksgiving itself, we did, as you can see above, cross paths with wild turkeys, which is pretty darn seasonal. The reserve is on an 11-mile long barrier island, with, accordingly, a beach side:

 And a marshy inlet side:

Other than the turkeys, a beautiful pair of Mute Swans that reminded me of the Palace of Fine Arts Lagoon, and a black cat on a fencepost as we were leaving when it was unfortunately way too dark to show up on film, we didn’t see particularly exotic wildlife, but it sure was pretty:

 Besides which, a guy just likes spending time with his gal and her Mom.

P.S. Bonus extra credit for anyone who can positively ID the following plant, and tell me if I will drop dead if I eat the berries:

Weekend with Beats and Beats

This has been quite a fine weekend exploring our new home.

First, Beats. As in, yesterday we got out to Jamaica Plain for a free music festival:

To be precise, it was the first Jamaica Plains Music Festival, a free all-day gathering in the park featuring exclusively local bands. Some of the bands were quite good, but what I really liked was the ethos- a festival in the community featuring the creative talent of the community. I hope to find a lot more of this kind of thing as I become part of the local creative community.

I also thought it was very interesting to see the differences between the crowd at the festival and San Francisco, where Abbey and I got to several outdoor music gatherings in our time across the street from Golden Gate Park. Some pertinent observations:

  • The crowd in JP was very much whiter. Not quite exclusively, but definitely into the 90+ percentile.
  • It was also much more enchilded. As I think back, most of my close friends in San Francisco were childless, and meaning to stay that way. I guess it’s that kind of city!
  • Compared to any large outdoor gathering in SF, there was much less whiff of ganja in the air. As in zero.
  • Ditto with the whiff of homeless.

That’s it for now. Further cultural anthropology of Greater Boston to follow at a later time…

Now, on to Beats. Abbey and I headed to Lowell, Massachusetts today. This is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit since teenage nights staying up to the early AM hours in my parent’s living room reading biographies of Jack Kerouac while drinking kool-aid infused with vodka I’d snuck into the house. Today’s pilgrimage to Kerouac’s boyhood home featured no vodka (or kool-aid, for that matter), but I did get to see a display including a typewriter he used:

And a beautiful riverside memorial garden with excerpts from his work engraved in stone:

The city itself was poignant. The downtown area was chiefly historical sites from Lowell’s history as a mill town and old mill buildings that have been converted to condos. It felt a little sketchy, not because their were ruffians around but more because everything was felt abandoned, almost like a huge open air museum with only a smattering of visitors. Ghostly or not, though, I’ll be back- I still have Jack’s grave to visit.

For now, I had a great weekend, and am really enjoying exploring my new home with my lovely bride. More to follow!

Boston Day 11

Technically, I’m in Danvers, which is a small town about 15 miles North of Boston. Abbey and I are camping out here in an extended stay hotel because:

A) It’s more affordable to be a little outside of the city, especially when you need a room that allows pets as well.

B) We’re looking for places in the area (North Shore, as they call it here) so it’s a convenient base.

So how is day 11? Pretty good! I had been prepared to have a period of depression right after the move, since it’s like that sometimes after you leave a place you love. Or after you make any kind of big change in life for that matter. But so far, while I did have a blue afternoon this weekend, I’ve been surprisingly buoyant. Still prepared to have all kinds of feelings along the way, but glad to be here.

And I’m super-happy to have the whole family together again. Small space to hold me, Abbey, Sasha and Jinks, but we’re doing well:

So far, in-between me working remotely, we’ve mostly been looking for places to live. But along the way we’re exploring too. I can heartily endorse the rocky shell-strewn beaches of Salem:

The big sandy stretch of beach between Lynn and Nahant:

The beaches near Ipswich, which, contrary to what H.P. Lovecraft led me to expect, do not seem to be crawling with hideous half-breed fish people:

And last yesterday we went to check out Gloucester, where an overcast windy day and cold choppy water made me feel very much at home:

As for our home-searching, it’s going pretty well. We have a few solid prospects in Salem and Swampscott. More news to follow…

19 Days to Boston!

So, this post is (perhaps) notable for two reasons:

1. It’s my first post in 2011, after only a handful in 2010. Versus, say double-digits in 2007, 2008 and 2009. That’s something I certainly plan to change as part of…

2. I’m moving to Boston in 19 days!

#2 there is kind of hard to absorb- both for the brevity of the time remaining in San Francisco, and the length of the time behind. I moved here in September 1999, so it will be almost 12 years in the city when I climb on board that plane (with my two furry little carry-ons) to join my beautiful bride in the Far East (coast) on July 29th. Kind of wow. Kind of big. Kind of too big to write about all at once. Which is one reason I need to get blogging again more regularly for the remainder of my stay here.

Beyond that, one of the things I want to be part of this move is a lifestyle shift to more time for creative pursuits. I had a pretty good run of it there for a few years, but then the pace of life, and especially the nature of my job, made it hard to maintain. So I’m going to try and recast that in Boston, and make my creative pursuits a central fact of my life, which work and other factors must be shaped around.

How exactly am I going to do that? I don’t fully know yet! I’m doing things to explore livelihood, and making myself open to change. Stay tuned for what this looks like, along with other exciting announcements. And give me hell if you don’t hear from me more often!