I just realized it’s been four months since I’ve written a feature. Finally over the hump! Phew. And here she is. I heard a quote on the radio the other day that really resonated with me and properly sums up my writing experience: “I hate to write, but I love having written.” Thank you to whomever crystalized my process. […]
Without fail, each time we spend more than a day in another place, I have the desire to move there. The highlight reel: I’ve opined about living in Pacifica and Monterey; Ipswich, Chatham, and Gloucester; Boulder and Nederland; Philadelphia, New York City, and Seattle. But Maine. That’s where I really sink my teeth in. Trulia and Zillow get involved. As […]
I have a complicated relationship with nature, particularly as it relates to my home and, in particular, because I’m a homebody.
Ranking up there with fried clams, frappes, bubblers, blinkers, and clickers, a sighting of a Bathtub Mary is very Massachusetts. The Virgin Mary in her grotto, as seen in a side yard in Hudson, MA.
Sometimes when you live near history, you take it for granted. I was reminded of that during February vacation when I took the kids to the Boott Cotton Mills Museum in Lowell. Growing up in Massachusetts, I was aware of the various mills in the state and the company towns that formed around them. It’s also hard to miss what happened to them when […]
Other than a handful of news and feature articles and the occasional freelance job, my writing production has flatlined. There are a few things rattling around the inside of my head–an essay here, a short story there–but nothing that makes me want to carve out some time to write for hours. The inspiration just hasn’t been there. Then last night […]
by Karina Coombs Brother and sister act at last month’s FNL. (Photo by Parissa Khayami) [Reprinted from the original Carlisle Mosquito article found here.] If you are in middle school and looking for a fun Friday night, Carlisle’s hottest club is FNL. Located in the gym and exercise room at the Carlisle Public School (CPS), and sponsored by the Carlisle Youth Commission, this place has everything: dancing, a professional DJ, snacks and drinks, basketball, ping pong, games, monthly theme parties and more. First held in 1984, Friday Night Live, or FNL as it is known, is typically held the first Friday of each month from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and is open to Carlisle students in grades six through eight whether or not they attend CPS. Admission is $8 and snacks and drinks are available for purchase, with the proceeds from both directly supporting the program. Registration is required for FNL and can be done online through the Carlisle Recreation Department. Students may bring an out of town guest provided the student’s parent or guardian stays as a chaperone. An emphasis on inclusion when it matters Middle school brings a lot of change for adolescents: new teachers, new responsibilities and expectations and new social pressures. Wanting to fit in and be included, such as invitations to social events outside of school—or a lack thereof—takes on greater importance as kids begin defining who they are apart from their families.
by Karina Coombs [Reprinted from the original Carlisle Mosquito article found here.] It’s not often that you get a chance to reinvent yourself and when it happens in your mid-40s, and you thought those chances had all but passed, you take it. Newly arrived in Carlisle, I first met the Mosquito’s General Manager Susan Emmons on the playground of the Red Balloon preschool. We talked about what it was like to live in a small town before she casually asked if I’d like to write for the newspaper. Without her knowing it at the time, she offered me the opportunity to pursue a dream I had shelved long ago, as well as a way back into the workforce after seven years of being a stay at home parent. If you want to learn about your community, reading the newspaper is a good way to start. But if you really want to know how it ticks from the inside out, its myriad of boards and players and how they fit together, writing for the newspaper is the way to go. There are the big town boards to cover of course, followed by those lesser known before you get to the more obscure boards. Have I mentioned the subcommittees? Each of these is made up of volunteers: well-intentioned, smart and interesting people that make decisions every day about Carlisle and its 5,000 residents and nearly 30 million dollar budget. But for board […]
by Karina Coombs A series of ceramic scrolls from Bedford artist Carol Rissman. Rissman makes each tile from white or red clay before imprinting or stamping them with natural found objects. Pieces are then fired and stained. Tiles are selected individually for each scroll and mounted on a wooden backing. (Photo by Karina Coombs) [Reprinted from the original Carlisle Mosquito article found here.] Gleason Library’s Art at the Gleason opened its first show of 2017 with “Affinity: puzzles, sculptures, and photography,” featuring the works of Carlisle residents Dale Joachim and Bill Claybrook and Bedford’s Carol Rissman. The show runs until March 25. The beauty of found objects Nature’s influence is apparent when looking at the ceramic works of local artist, Carol Rissman. Since retirement, as a broadcaster and news director for a local NPR station (in addition to writing and editing for a number of publications), Rissman has turned what had been a hobby into a full time endeavor, making both functional and sculptural pieces at the Harvard University Ceramics Studio where she is a resident artist. Whether it is a stone, feather, leaf or some other natural found object, Rissman is attracted to the beauty she finds outdoors, incorporating it in unexpected ways into the mosaic and scroll tile pieces that make up her collection. “I’m happy to have this way of using them,” she says of the treasures she regularly picks up. Rissman’s pieces begin […]
by Karina Coombs “I dedicated my waist to the first cookbook. I dedicated my hips to the second cookbook and I added a chin from Baking with the Brass Sisters,” says Marilynn Brass of her newest cookbook co-authored with sister, Sheila Brass. The Brass Sisters, as they are known, are the authors of three acclaimed cookbooks that incorporate their love of […]
Back when we were dating, my husband and I first went to the Brimfield Antique and Collectibles show. We spent hours strolling up and down the street and in and out of the tents looking for things that “spoke” to us. We acquired an enormous porcelain industrial glove mold, an old glass hospital paper cup dispenser, and a metal View-Master […]
This is our second summer in our house and living near water has meant spring and summers with a yard full of nesting Eastern Paint turtles. We've yet to ever see anything hatch and I'm not sure if that's because they are so small, move in the night, or are completely devoured by predators while still in the egg. With the number of empty eggs and holes on the back lawn, the latter is probably the most probable, but I'm sure at least a few make it.
After two plus months of summertime fun, I got back to work. Here’s my latest feature (also found here). (Photo by Tracy McArdle Brady) HitchBOT visits Carlisle and humans learn a lesson by Karina Coombs This past July, Tracy McArdle Brady and her family took part in a social experiment that was followed by fans, robot enthusiasts, news outlets and […]
My newest feature article from the Carlisle Mosquito. The link is here, with full text below. Giving city kids a summer to remember by Karina Coombs Running barefoot through the grass. Gazing at stars. Falling asleep to the sound of crickets. When summer arrives, many children in Carlisle will experience these simple pleasures. But for some kids, these experiences are […]
My latest feature on a local entrepreneur can be found here. Full text below. Small business with big plans by Karina Coombs Caitlin O’Connor knows a lot about brand management thanks to her time at Proctor & Gamble (P&G). Countless hours spent driving her four children to various activities has also taught her a lot about life in the car […]
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff Bauman about his book, Stronger. My feature article can be found here. Full Article from the Carlisle Mosquito Jeff Bauman – A picture of resilience by Karina Coombs As the world learned of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013, a photo of Chelmsford native Jeff Bauman went viral. The graphic […]
My newest feature article. We’ve already started making the switch to LEDs in our house thanks to this: http://carlislemosquito.org/index.php/news/28683 Counting to zero, one kilowatt at a time by Karina Coombs Residential electric rates have doubled since 1990, with the biggest increases in just the past ten years. In November, citing the rising cost of natural gas (used in the power plants that produce the electricity), National Grid increased its rates by 37%. NStar followed suit earlier this month and raised its rates by 29%. While many are bracing for larger bills, Energy Task Force member Claude von Roesgen is having a decidedly different experience, thanks to his home’s photovoltaic system. Instead of paying for the electricity he uses, von Roesgen is being paid for the electricity he generates through 36 roof-top solar panels. But after decades of energy conservation awareness, the absence of an electric bill is not his end game. Instead, von Roesgen is focused on getting the building to net zero energy, helping to reduce his carbon emissions. What is net zero? A net zero energy building (NZEB) is an energy efficient building that also produces as much annual renewable energy on site as it uses. The building becomes self-sustainable, yet most NZEBs remain on the electrical grid for storage needs. With a vacation home that is already a NZEB, von Roesgen does have some experience in this area. Now he is working on scale. That is because his […]
A great thing about living next to Concord (Massachusetts) is nonchalantly getting to take out-of-town visitors – with literary inclinations – to some pretty great local attractions. On an unseasonably warm and sunny Monday, we made an outing to Walden Pond and hiked the trail around the pond to find the original site of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin. Not a bad […]
A December 26 photograph from the wharfs in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Merry belated Christmas.
After two plus years of renting in Massachusetts, we are soon to be homeowners of a 1930s New England farmhouse – all 1,500 sq. ft. of it. Let the renovations begin. Merry Christmas, indeed!
This past weekend was the cranberry harvest at the Carlisle bog. A strange little berry, but it does make for a good photo. Growing up in Massachusetts I took this for granted as a kid and just wanted the harvest to be over. That meant winter was coming and the flooded and frozen bog would become our personal and free skating rink. Learning […]
I can’t take credit for the title – that was an editorial decision – but the rest of the piece is my newest handiwork after a two month writing break. My brain has been spinning non-stop since I wrote this article and I’m hoping that translates into regular writing. http://carlislemosquito.org/index.php/news/28137
Today’s zoo trip was to the Stone Zoo in Stoneham. The facility is managed by the same organization as Franklin Park and one membership gets us into both. It’s a funny little zoo and I ended up liking it a lot. It’s on the small side and set across from a residential neighborhood on one end and what I assume […]
With one of the kids sick and school vacation coming to a close we decided to go to the Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester. The germs would be free range, if not the animals. It’s been well over a decade since I was last at Franklin Park and while it looks better than it did back then, I realize I’ve […]
I clearly heard up to 6 inches of snow predicted for today. We’re at 8 and counting. It sure is beautiful, but maybe even I have had enough for one winter.
A swan and ducks on a winter day.
Caught by surprise (a pleasant one) by this morning’s snow storm. Update: Here’s another photo of our barn taken by a local photographer for last week’s paper: http://carlislemosquito.org/index.php/photos
We made the trek south for the annual Plymouth Thanksgiving parade. It was freezing and we got there way too early, but once it got underway it was worth the wait and cold. Photos of our summer trip to Plimoth Plantation are here.
Imagine a small village center with children strolling pathways lit by glowing pumpkins, lanterns, and holiday lights. That’s our Halloween dream.
My husband and I had a very grown up Saturday and took in a lecture by Ang Lee and James Schamus at Wellesley College and then walked around campus for a few hours. Why is it that you appreciate things more when you no longer have them? I loved the campus when I was a student there (in […]
We decided to bring the kids to Salem today to check out the town pre-Halloween. It was a little too festive; the crowds made it difficult to see its character and its characters. I think we’ll have to make a return trip in a month that’s not October. I’m eager to head back some afternoon and just spend a day […]
We have a number of pear trees in the yard, which produce pears we have no interest in eating. We also have a number of deer in the yard (which we also have no interest in eating). A relationship between the two has been established.
The dog and I went on a little walk this morning at Great Brook Farm State Park.
Yesterday called for a short hike on the Woodchuck trail and Garrison loop in Great Brook Farm State Park. Even with the light rain, it was a beautiful and easy hike. We parked near the canoe launch and walked across the road to the Woodchuck trailhead to find some historical spots for my daughter’s school project located along the trail. […]
A fall day spent visiting the old cemetery in town.
Kimball Fruit Farm orchards, Pepperell, Massachusetts
A little early morning fog on the Concord River today.
It just took a few days of temperatures dropping into the 40s and 50s in the night, hovering in the mid to high 60s during the day, and now it’s happening! The leaves are finally starting to turn.
~ My in-laws were visiting from Colorado this past weekend and a trip to Concord to see Emerson’s Old Manse and the surrounding national park was in order. The highlight of the trip? A stroll through and around the garden, planted by Henry David Thoreau for Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne who were renting the house at the time.
We have officially passed the one year mark in our Massachusetts house and have signed a lease for another 12 months. Not a week goes by where I don’t miss the relative luxury we lived in while in Northern Colorado, but it’s getting better. If Colorado was my fat pants in terms of mind-numbing comfort and relative ease of living, […]
We are going on our second year in the antique rental house. And I can feel the familiar calling of fall now that the hard little pears are starting to fall to the ground with a distinctive thud. I wish I knew what kind of pears they are or what to do with them. We have two trees of the […]
After a summer of sloth, my newest article just hit the web and features a local guy that designed and built a tiny solar house that can also be a tiny solar houseboat. I don’t know how I would manage living alone in 128 square feet, but he makes it pretty enviable. It’s at the Carlisle Mosquito.
Some out of state friends came to stay with us for five days and we became unofficial tour guides of Massachusetts, visiting the Freedom Trail and its nearby attractions, Harvard, MIT, the New England Aquarium, Crane Beach in Ipswich, taking a Duck Tour, and a trip to Plymouth to see Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower II. Having grown up in […]
Navigation Bell Buoy, Maine. Why can’t I see these without thinking of Jaws? Related articles Narragansett Beer Reintroduces ‘Jaws’ Beer Can (boston.cbslocal.com)
Located on a small Maine island of 75 full-time residents.
Isleford (Little Cranberry Island), ME Related articles Great Cranberry Island 50K: A unique setting for a national championship road race (bangordailynews.com)
Living the good life in Acton, MA
Middlesex Canal Waterfall, Billerica, MA