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Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Few Reviews

Due to the lack of childcare in these end of summer weeks, my in-laws generously watched Max and Hannah for a few days so that Marc and I could continue to work and not use all of our vacation time in one shot. The kids have been gone for four days, and it gave us the opportunity to enjoy some more grown-up experiences that are few and far between in our household.

On Sunday we tried The Local, a relatively new restaurant in West Newton. We went for dinner at 5 o'clock before seeing a film, and were seated immediately as there were lots of empty tables. I tend to drink a lot of water, so I was thrilled with the carafe the waitress brought to the table (and completely emptied it before the meal was done). I tried the fried pickles with spicy mayo, which I enjoyed (though Marc said they "tasted like Friendly's" and I totally understood what he meant). I went with the kobe burger and wasn't disappointed. We did notice that there were four highchairs in the place, but I wouldn't bring my kids there. It was a fine meal, and I wouldn't mind going there again.

Afterward we saw the film "Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg!" about actress Gertrude Berg and her radio and early television show by the same name. I wasn't familiar with Mrs. Berg's career, and the story behind it was pretty fascinating. I loved hearing about how neighbors were used in the show to start a new scene, and thought back about so many sitcoms featuring wacky and wild neighbors - all because of her show. Also very interesting to hear about the Black List period. The film is definitely worth adding to your Netflix queue if you can't find it in your local theater.

Monday night Marc and I had dinner at O'Hara's in our own Newton Highlands, which is just a few blocks from our house. We've eaten there quite a few times now, but this was the first time we've tried a pizza there. It was very good, and we may considering picking up pizza from there sometimes, instead of our usual Newton Pizza delivery.

Tuesday night was also a special treat, heading out to Waltham to try Biagio with Julie and Mike. I selected the place because it was still offering Boston Restaurant Week specials (appetizer, entree and dessert for $33.09/person), and the menu was quite extensive, which is rare for Restaurant Week offerings. The meal was very good (despite a very long delay for our dessert to appear), the place was lovely, and it was wonderful to get to toast Julie and Mike on their recent engagement.

We also used this time to FINALLY unpack a bunch of boxes in our living room, rearrange a bit, hang a newly framed map of Newton, and clean out the front hall closet. While I've missed the kids desperately and can't wait to see them tonight, it was wonderful to get some time to relax, do things we enjoy, and get some much-needed projects completed. Thanks to Fillis, John and the other CT family who pitched in this week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Formative Experience

In 1993, as a freshman in high school, I was very fortunate to attend a convention of the Religious Action Committee in Washington, DC. I had gone as part of a teenage delegation from my synagogue, mostly to earn the religious school credits I needed in what I thought would be the easiest and most fun way. I had never been to DC before, and it was an amazing trip, seeing lots of the local sites while attending numerous lectures.

Senator Ted Kennedy gave one of those talks, as did then Vice President Al Gore, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and many other luminaries of the time. There were discussions of the relationship between the African American and Jewish communities, health care reform, and, in acknowledgment of a rally going on concurrently, gay rights. I have to admit - I was a kid. I knew little to nothing about all of these issues, and this trip was a very formative experience. I will never forget how seeing the rainbow flags and the people carrying them made me feel, and I know that those moments shaped the person I have become.

I am very sad to hear of the death of Senator Kennedy, but it gave me the occasion to think not only of the tremendous good he has done, but also of the amazing experience I got to have (and thanks Mom and Dad for letting me go - twice). Back then, I had no idea that I'd end up in Boston myself, and to have the honor of voting for him. RIP Senator Kennedy, you will be missed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Camp's Over

This summer has gone by in a blur. The weather had been just awful, with lots of rainy days and unbearably humid ones. But it was Hannah's first real camp experience, and Max's beginning days at the JCC. Here are the highlights.

Hannah attended two camps, T-ville Trails and Kaleidoscope. The former is run by Newton Parks and Rec, the latter by the JCC. T-ville was located at the elementary school that Hannah will be attending, and it was great for her to get the lay of the land. She spent time in the art room, gym, and library, and learned to climb "The Spider" structure on the playground. After 3 weeks there, she spent 4 at the JCC, and got to see her brother there on occasion. She had both swim lessons and free swim, loved the science and art projects, and as predicted, didn't really enjoy the sports at all. She did her first play on a stage, "Mr. Gumpy's Boat" and clearly enjoyed herself and felt very proud. I think she had a great time.

Max has had a more difficult adjustment, but I think he has the routine down now. He's really enjoyed swimming and has brought home some interesting craft projects. It sounds like his best friend is a boy named Avi, since that's the name he shares with us most often. It's so frustrating not to be able to talk to him about his day, but his vocabulary is growing every day. Last night he asked, "what's this?" for the first time, frustrated that he knew the word for teeth, but couldn't remember it. Max had his first turn as Shabbat Helper, and his versions of the prayers and the way he says "Amen!" is totally adorable. He's only had 5 other kids in his class, but that number will grow in the fall. I'm sure he'll be excited to go back.

The kids are both on vacation until September 9th, which is just absurd. They'll first be spending a few days with their grandparents in CT, and then Marc and I are alternating days, with a few at Bright Horizons back-up center at my office thrown in. It'll be a bit exhausting, but we'll get through it. Hopefully we'll have a great time at Storyland - one more week until we go!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Clothing

I don't know why I do this, but I have a habit of thinking at some point during the day, of the kids and what they're wearing today. Maybe it's an irrational thing, but if something happened and I needed to describe them, can I remember what they're wearing? Just now, I couldn't picture Hannah. I kept thinking of yesterday's dress, why can't I figure this out, I know I took it out of the drawer, helped her put it on this morning. Then it dawned on me. Pajama day.

(A side note in case you didn't notice, this is a shorter post. I'm thinking about trying to do more of these, trying to update more frequently than my 1x/month. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll get discovered.)