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The grief is very fresh as we said goodbye to Maggie yesterday. She had a mast cell tumor and it spread to her central nervous system. We eased her to final sleep outside on the grass on a beautiful fall day. If you've been following this blog for a long time you know how important she was to us, if not, here's a little gallery of memories.

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The Longwood Medical Area.
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I know I told you folks that I would try to keep you in the loop a little better, when it comes to Urban Nature Walks. Well, I'm going to keep to a schedule of every last Sunday of each month. So that means a week from tomorrow is the next one. This would be a lot simpler if you just joined the facebook group: /www.facebook.com/groups/UrbanNatureWalk/
EDITED TO ADD: please let me know if you are signing up! I have to approve it, and I'm trying to avoid phishing schemes. Thanks, Chris!


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Back in the old neighborhood
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Very dear friends of mine and their wonderful children have moved back to the Boston Area after about 15 (20?) years in Brooklyn. Yesterday they held a housewarming party. This is one of those rare 3:00 snapshots where I told them what I wanted far in advance. Fortunately it's a pretty nice family portrait.

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I brought Turkey, and he was the center of attention--at least as far as most of the kids were concerned.

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As I left, the party lights on their porch were magical. Welcome back Jeannine and Bil!
urbpan: (dandelion)
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On Sunday we went back to the old place to tend to the hedges. While there we saw our old neighbor and friend Pat.
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Sunday, after the Urban Nature Walk, I joined Alexis who was busily cleaning out our old place. Turns out there was still a metric shitload of our stuff in there and it had to be out by Tuesday. Also it was 90 degrees F, 32 degrees in metric bra- and ball- sweat measurements.

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Much of what we got rid of we did by simply placing it on the sidewalk in boxes marked "free." These steampunk era ragpickers made short work of it all.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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My doctor's office happens to be very close to my old place on The Muddy River. I looked down into the river and was lucky enough to see these colorful birds!

From left to right they are a male wood duck, an American black duck, a female wood duck, and a male and a female mallard.

Big Beech

Feb. 8th, 2014 07:10 pm
urbpan: (dandelion)
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My dad visited today, and among other places, we visited the Longwood Mall. This is a linear park studded with dozens of specimens of European beech trees. This species (Fagus sylvatica) is cultivated into many different ornamental varieties, and several are represented here.

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This individual is one of a few that is heroic in scale--by itself it would be the most impressive tree in a given town but Brookline has literally dozens of them, survivors from an original planting of more than 10,000.
urbpan: (Dr. Dog DMV)
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We were allowed to visit Maggie last night. She was really doped up on painkillers, was wearing an inflatable donut (instead of a lampshade), and had a catheter taped to her foreleg. Alexis could tell instantly that Maggie needed to urinate. We took her out and she peed a gallon, and then tried walking us back to our old house (which is only a couple blocks from the vet office).

Danger: mild veterinary grossness ahead )
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The Jim rides in my lap as Alexis drives us back to Lost Pond, in Brookline.

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Alexis and I went to a reading last week, conducted by the author of the book THAT IS ALL. It is the third in a series of complete world knowledge made up by HODGMAN, known better to me as "Judge John Hodgman" or @hodgman. He explained that the problem of coming up with complete world world knowledge, is that the world keeps adding more information to know, therefore, if the world were to end sometime such as December 21 2012, as the Mayans may have predicted, the complete world knowledge would then be truly complete.

It was a very entertaining and reasonably-priced evening of entertainment. And we took some pictures. Some of these are by me and some are by Alexis when she took my camera away from me to make it take better pictures.
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Photographed this car in Brookline Village. Why take sides?
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An errand brought us back to where Brookline meets Mission Hill. Notice the MATEP tower, seen from the opposite side than I usually photograph it. As long as we're in the neighborhood...

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Can you believe that we aren't totally out of our old place yet? Last night we dragged out a bunch of furniture to the sidewalk for today's yard sale (the whole street has a big yard sale once a year). I can't fully express how painful the experience of moving is for me. Here we are months later, and I still go into this place every couple of weeks and shuffle boxes around, find papers and objects that are heavy with sentiment and meaning, maybe throw out a bag of stuff, and leave feeling sad and depressed. It's a mental illness I'm sure, to be so attached to material things, but without them how would we know that we lived a life? How can I remember that people love me without notes written on paper? How can I prove what I was doing ten, fifteen, twenty years ago--that I was expressive and engaged, that my personality is what I pretend it is? Part of me wants to dispose of it all without even looking at it, to be purely who I am now and prove to myself that I'm worthwhile without piles of dusty papers and once beloved trinkets. But part of me wants to preserve it all as a museum of who I was, and the time and place where I lived, in case that ever becomes important.
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My dad visited last weekend. This photo shows us in Brookline, in front of the MATEP tower, but we spent most of the visit exploring Dedham Square.
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Alexis and I have an ongoing challenge for ourselves to find the most urban British soldier lichens in Boston. ("Closest to Boston" was how we were phrasing it.) British soldiers (Cladonia cristatella) are charismatic lichens with bright red spore-bearing bodies. Lichens in general are not tolerant of air pollution, and so are more rare in urban and industrial places. Some lichen species are more tolerant than others, and the presence of various species and how well they are thriving can be excellent indicators of air quality.

We found some British soldiers near our place in Brookline, and that stands as the closest to the heart of the city so far. The closeness of the Emerald necklace might help air quality in that neighborhood. The lichen community (with some moss and other organisms) pictured above is from the roof of one of the admissions booths at Franklin Park Zoo. This is the first of this species we've found actually in the City of Boston, though the Brookline patch was actually closer to the middle of the City. Using City Hall Plaza as a landmark, the Brookline lichens were 3.1 miles away while the zoo lichens are 4.6 miles out.

Check out this Oregon Public Television clip about lichens, featuring lj friend [livejournal.com profile] omphalina!

p.s. First LJ post from the Dedham House!
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We bought a new house and there was much shoveling! (huzzah!)



Meanwhile, in Brookline, this side street could use another pass with the plow.

As I post this, the Brookline Public Works people are using heavy equipment to move some of the mountains of snow out of their parking lot and over to the edge of the Riverway. Okay, guys, now do the rest of the town, would you?
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Well, okay, I'm a week late posting my snapshots. This is from Monday the 24th, a message from Alexis that she was in the Lawyer's office closing on the new house.

Dusk Bookends: )
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I stood on a chair to get this view of my living room and Parkway Road beyond.


Meanwhile, at Leverett Pond, waterfowl huddle on the diminishing unfrozen area.


The sun beginning to set at 4ish.

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