Hartford Blogger Picnic

It was a bit of work, but Hartford bloggers pried themselves away from their computers (for the most part) to have a little picnic today. The Twittering was even kept to a minimum!

Here is one mystery blogger who can reveal her identity if she so chooses; otherwise, you can try to match her up with one of the Hartford blogs listed on my blogroll.

The Problem with Party Loyalty

…is that for some people, it deters them from making fair assessments of candidates. I am talking, specifically, about the sour reaction by many Democrats to Gov. Palin as McCain’s running mate, but I could be talking about local politics as well. Bear with me, and for a moment, let’s just leave Obama and McCain out of this.

Reason #600 to Be Careful Who You Befriend

Councilperson Veronica Airey-Wilson had her home searched this morning as part of the ongoing Perez kitchen remodeling scandal investigation. She’s very cordial with the press, saying basically that people are welcome to drop by at all hours to rummage through her personal stuff. That is another reason why I could never be a politician. There are very few people–actually, only one–who have been given the go ahead to just show up on my doorstep at any time, day or night. It’s not that I have anything to hide, except for dirty laundry, general bad housekeeping skills, and a tendency toward crankiness when I might be sleeping.

Hopefully, this is a sign that the investigation is moving ahead. There must be some middle ground between a thorough investigation and an expeditious one.

Free Workshop for First-Time Homebuyers

If you are thinking of waiting until homes are dirt cheap to buy, you might want to learn about the process, so as not to get screwed on subprime mortgages and loans like many currently losing their homes were. On Saturday September 6th (10am-2pm) there will be a free workshop at the Hartford Public Library (downtown) put together by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), an activist organization that has gathered some interesting mixed reviews. NACA helps potential buyers go through the process, in exchange for the promise of engaging in five kinds of activities each year to support the goals of NACA (fighting predatory lending).

New Users’ Guide

reedsIf this is your first visit to Real Hartford, welcome. Check out the About page for some background on the blog. If you have story ideas to submit, you can find info about that process on the Want Press page. Stick around, check out the archives, or read some of my favorite posts:

Danger is in the Eye of the Beholder

311– Like Flushing Money, Only Less Certain

Frankenstein’s Monster

Tales from the Cesspool, Part Three

How to Build Community Against All Odds, Part One

How to Build Community Against All Odds, Part Two

Real Hartford Goes on Television (thoughts on teenage pregnancy)

Thanks for coming by!

Go Where Eagles Dare

I have this theory that the people who hate on Hartford are not much different from those who claim to be bored-to-death with either their hometowns or the state of Connecticut in general. Growing up, I did not go to summer camp, nor did I have a whole lot of other structured activities. Inspired by the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder and various survival guides, I became obsessed with building forts with my brother out in the woods when we were not doing chores like hauling brush. I am proud to not have had an ultra-scheduled childhood of going from soccer game to gymnastics practice to SAT tutoring, or whatever it is so many kids have to endure. It forced me to be creative without an adult telling me how to use my time. As an adult, I find it fairly easy to find relaxation and entertainment, whether I am at home in Hartford, visiting New York or Boston, or traveling through less developed areas

bestquackMy summer has been highlighted by day trips here and there, because of work and money, and also because I take my “actual vacation” to Provincetown in October every year. In June, I went to Boston with a friend to celebrate my birthday (which I’d been dreading for months previously) at Fenway. It’s now an official tradition . Whenever I go to a Red Sox game for my birthday, they lose, miserably. It was a shut-out and my favorite player—Mike Lowell—had two errors in the game. That should tell you how bad it was. We stayed at a family member’s house just outside the city. The next day we meant to explore Boston, but it was (or felt like) the hottest day of the year, and in the interest of not dying from heat exhaustion, we ended our wanderings early. Thankfully, there was a train that we could jump on from Coolidge Corner, rather than walk all the way back to the South Station. Imagine that—reliable, inexpensive, and non-confusing transportation! If you have not seen it, this train runs down the middle of the road. Before succumbing to the heat (we were sweating while sitting still, in the shade!), we went into a Russian bookstore. I assumed it would be some books in Russian and the rest just about Russia. I was so wrong! There was nothing there that I could read, and everyone in the shop was speaking Russian. I was thrilled, but was secretly hoping nobody would try to talk to me. That I can’t instantly speak twelve languages has always been such a disappointment to me. The owner of a pizza shop my family patronized regularly while I was growing up could speak and read six languages! He always had a few different newspapers out for diners to look through, including one that was either Greek or Turkish! I have raging jealousy of people who are fluent in more than one language. I can only decipher Spanish, and it is a slow process for me, and probably painful for Spanish-speakers to witness.

If I ever leave Hartford, it will be for Alaska or Boston. You can quote me on that.

angrygullMy other exit from Connecticut was a day at (more…)

News from Around Town

I’ve been on a semi-vacation for the past week, which means I’ve been taking a lot of daytrips and trying to stay out of my own way. There will be photos. Actually, the new image header at the top of the page (leave the reader and see website) is among them, taken of Hartford from Heublein Tower on a day that didn’t seem hazy until I climbed up Talcott Mountain.

Amy Bergquist has information about the sidewalks in the West End, which seem to have a life of their own and for which homeowners are responsible for maintain. In case anyone was curious about what bloggers talk about when we get together for coffee, it’s sidewalks.

Jude, who has been paying attention to the development along New Britain Avenue, writes about new restaurants that should be opening in Elmwood any day now. I know that I remember someone dubbing Elmwood as “honorary Hartford,” so it fits here. Maybe we can start a movement to annex Elmwood?

Meriden is also honorary Hartford, but is too far away for that to work; however, the new Springfield-to-New Haven commuter rail will be closing such distances. Helder Mira has information about a fundraiser for this project (the railway, not my fantasy of annexing Meriden).

If it’s important for you to have control over your transportation, there are two events coming up that might be of interest. First, the monthly Bike-To-Work event will be happening on August 29th. Some of you might already bike or walk to work regularly, but during this event, you can get breakfast. Even though very elderly riders put me to shame last year, I suppose I should mention that the Discover Hartford Bicycle and Walking Tour is scheduled for September 13th. It’s not a race, but I recommend training if you are deficient in muscles as I was for the tour last year.

Okay, back to my pseudo-vacation.

Real Hartford Goes on Television…

this Sunday at 11 am, for a one-time round-table. Amy Bergquist, Ken Krayeske, and I will be appearing on Face the State to discuss Hartford. Amy and Ken both did a great job. I’m more of a writer than a “quick, answer this without cussing” kind of person, but I think it was alright. I found myself wanting the questions that others were asked. Amy has a nice post about the experience, complete with photos of the new WFSB complex way out in suburbia.

The one question that I was totally unprepared for, I guess I can explain a little here. I was asked about teen pregnancy, and while I know that the expectation is to totally come down on it, my personal and career experience has shown that teen pregnancy is not always a horrible thing. (more…)