productive day

I think I had a pretty productive day, for a Saturday.  I got my laundry done, then drove down to Whiting. Down there, I shoveled snow, packed up all my Mom’s clothes and got them into a donation box, threw away two large garbage bags full of stuff, went through the pantry, threw some bad stuff out and bagged up some good stuff to bring back home, then found all my Dad’s old slides and bagged them up to take home. 

After I got home, I went through all the slides, counted them up, got them into a big box, and sent them off to ScanCafe. I had about 700 slides, so it’s going to cost me around $250 to get them all scanned in.  Most were 35mm, but some were an odd format that’s going to cost a bit extra to scan.  Once I get the scanned images back on DVD, I’m planning on uploading a bunch of them to Flickr.  Maybe not all 700, but who knows.  Just looking at a small sampling of the slides, my Dad seems to have quite a few really old slides that I don’t remember ever having seen before, some of them going back to the 40’s, I think.

The shopping center is gone.

Former Somerville shopping center now columns and debris |

I haven’t been paying that much attention to local news lately, nor have I been getting out much, so I was surprised to see the downtown shopping center gone when I was walking down Main St earlier this week.  The place has been empty for about three years now.  The article doesn’t give me much hope that they’re actually going to do anything useful with the site any time soon, but I guess it’s a start.

old habits

The way things have been going over the last five or six months, I’ve fallen out of a lot of my usual habits.  Things are settling down enough now that I’m trying to reestablish some good habits.  I actually got on my exercise bike today, if only for about 10 minutes.  And, for the first time in quite a while, I set up my coffee maker tonight so the coffee will be ready for me when I get out of the shower tomorrow.  I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of cooking for myself, and avoiding take-out food, with some success.  I didn’t get to the supermarket last weekend, since I was sick, so I really need to get out now and pick up some food for the rest of this week.

Ever since Dad went into the hospital back in late August, I’ve also made a few other random changes to long-standing habits that aren’t particularly consequential, but are a little interesting (at least to me).  I completely lost interest in sci-fi TV shows for quite a while, for instance.  I’m getting back into that habit, having now caught up on all the episodes of Stargate Universe and Sanctuary that had piled up on my DVR.  And I stopped ordering comics every month from Westfield.  I’ve been ordering from them every month for years now, but I’ve built up such a backlog of unread comics now, that it just didn’t make sense to buy any more.  I haven’t read any comics since August, so I still have a big backlog.  Once I really get interested again, I have enough reading material piled up to keep me going for about a year, probably.  I don’t think I’ll ever get back in the habit of buying monthly comics, though.  I’ll probably just stick with trade paperbacks, and occasionally picking up some back issues off eBay or at a con.

Route 22

I had to drive on Route 22 today, back towards Roselle Park, for the first time in quite a while.  I used to drive on 22 between Somerville and Roselle Park on a fairly regular basis, after I’d moved to Somerville, but my parents hadn’t yet moved to Whiting.  (Looking back at some paperwork, this would have been 1994 – 1997.)  The one thing that stirred the most emotion, unexpectedly, was passing Gertrude Hawk.  I used to stop in there and buy sugar-free chocolates for Mom occasionally.

I was actually taking a trip into Westfield, for my first meeting with the law firm that will be handling Mom’s estate.  We used to go into Westfield occasionally when I was a kid, usually to see a movie.  I passed the Rialto theater, which is amazingly still there.  And I passed by the Town Book Store, which is apparently (and depressingly) the last independent book store in Union County.  Yikes.  (I guess that means that the old Cranford Book Store is gone.)


Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. My mom was always big on not eating meat on Ash Wednesday, and on Fridays during Lent. She didn’t normally call to remind me, but if I was calling down to Whiting for anything, she’d make a point of reminding me, or if it was Friday night, she’d ask if I remembered not to eat meat that day. Mom, I want you to know that I remembered not to eat any meat yesterday. Eggplant for lunch and vegetable pad thai for dinner.

I’ve never been really big on the idea of giving something up for Lent, but I usually at least thought about it. This year, I feel like enough has been taken from me already that I don’t need to feel guilty about not giving anything up for Lent. I remember a homily about Lent one of the priests at our old parish in Roselle Park delivered back when I was kid. He said that maybe we should think about resolving to do something positive during Lent rather than giving something up. I gave a few bucks to the Alzheimer’s Association yesterday and lit a candle for Mom, so that’s a start, right?

St. Patrick’s Day

Somerville St. Patrick’s Day parade names first-ever female grand marshal

I see that the Somerville St Pat’s parade is March 14 this year, the day after my birthday. For a few years, we had a tradition going where Mom and Dad, and maybe a couple of other folks, would come up to Somerville for the parade, and we’d hang out in my apartment, have a few beers, and celebrate my birthday. I remember one year when Pat and Heather came up too, before they were married, I think. That was fun.

Since Mom stopped driving a few years back, we haven’t been doing that. I have some fond memories of St Patrick’s parades in Somerville, though.