Tag Archives: A Family in the City

Granary Burying Ground: Back in colonial days people really knew how to die!


Last week my in-laws came up to visit the grandkids (and Wendy and me, too). One of the places we visited was the Granary Burying Ground.

Now, I don’t mean to brag, but I know burying grounds.  My dad’s a preacher and when you grow up living near churches you grow up living near burying grounds.  In fact, we even used a fancy, specialized word for them (“cemetery”) because “burying ground” just sounds primitive.  I used to take my dog, Sandy, for walks through the cemetery behind one of my dad’s churches, but then somebody called my dad to complain that walking dogs in graveyards was disrespectful and that ended that.  Continue reading Granary Burying Ground: Back in colonial days people really knew how to die!


How we talk to kids

What the ever-loving, craptastic, holy heck! I’ve seen adults reprimand kids countless times before, but it wasn’t until yesterday morning that I finally noticed what jerks grown-ups are when they talk to kids.

It began in the library at about 8:00. I overheard a woman as she was tutoring three middle school kids. The tutor, her voice already dripping with disgust, sighed, “Open up your textbooks.” One of the guys, who looked particularly bleary-eyed and tired, was slow to react and the tutor said, “Is this how we’re going to start? Really?” She was exasperated already and the kids hadn’t even settled into their chairs. She began to drone out the text and asked the kids questions that had clearly been designed by the chairman of the board of a mattress company specifically to put people to sleep. Over the next half hour, she split her time between reading aloud from the textbook and complaining that the kids a) needed to keep all the chair legs on the floor, and b) needed to wake up and answer the questions she was sleep-reading from the book. Continue reading How we talk to kids

Reading: “Playful Parenting” by Lawrence Cohen

I’m only a few chapters in so far, but I’m really enjoying reading Playful Parenting, by Lawrence Cohen.  Cohen is a child psychologist and play therapist who lives in Brookline, MA.  The basic premise so far is that play is children’s first language.  We have actions before we have words and play is really just symbolic actions.  He argues that without it, kids can feel as isolated as an adult might feel if no one ever spoke with them.

Image from http://www.playfulparenting.com/
Image from http://www.playfulparenting.com/

Continue reading Reading: “Playful Parenting” by Lawrence Cohen

Cool stats about public transit use in American cities

Apparently, Boston ranks 3rd (behind New York and Washington) among American cities with the smallest percentage of people commuting to work by car – and a particularly large proportion of people who walk.  Much more info and brightly colored graphs after the link.

Three cheers for biking, walking, and transiting!

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/10/us-cities-where-fewest-commuters-get-work-car/7390/

The primary difference between a New England bluegrass band and a Southern bluegrass band…

I’d like to enlighten you about the primary difference between a New England bluegrass band and a Tennessee bluegrass band.  I first realized the need for this post when we went to Canobie Lake Park for Screamfest last weekend.  In addition to screaming, Screamfest involved a bluegrass band.  Thanks, Deliverance, for painting rollicking good music as the stuff of horror.  (Before I proceed, let me be clear: the band at Screamfest was lively, the banjo player picked like a pro, and I don’t mean to impugn the skills of the musicians in any way.) Continue reading The primary difference between a New England bluegrass band and a Southern bluegrass band…

The New England Aquarium’s Fish, Fun, & Fright Night (or, how museum-type memberships are a way better investment than some crappy old IRA)

Fish Fun and Fright Sign

Whenever we visit the New England Aquarium, I always tell Wendy and the kids that my favorite fish are the ugliest, scariest looking ones.  I know I say this every time because every time we go to the aquarium Wendy sighs and says, “I know.  You say that every time we’re here.”  Now that I think about it, she says that in more places than just the aquarium… Continue reading The New England Aquarium’s Fish, Fun, & Fright Night (or, how museum-type memberships are a way better investment than some crappy old IRA)