It was nice to rest on our birthday laurels here at the Middletown Eye. But what's this sensation of nagging guilt? Oh yeah. It's all the unfinished blog entries and photos that I never got around to posting over the past year.
I'd like to claim today as a sort of "Yom Kippur" for Middletown Eye reporters - a day of atonement for projects started but never finished. Inspired in part by Elizabeth Bobrick's Dispatch from Suburbia on letting go without the worry, I'm officially announcing that I will never finish these articles. Here's a sampling from my news-that-never-was file.
1. "Somebody should fix this" articles
I don't want to complain too much, so I never finished these posts about how our traffic signal boxes are uglier than some (here's a better one from West Hartford Center and plenty of towns have begun to use them to display art); we need to get some bike racks on Main Street so people don't have to chain their bikes to the street lamp (I hear there are some in the works); and we don't focus enough on cleaning graffiti. This piece of vandalism, which I photographed and reported last August, is still on Hartford Avenue near O'Rourke's Diner, where well over 10,000 cars a day wait to enter Route 9 while thinking god-knows-what about Middletown. Unfortunately, as this little on-ramp is a state road and not a local responsibility, it might take an act of the legislature (or at least an act of a legislator) to get it cleaned up.
2. "Middletown, Middletown, Rah! Rah! Rah!" articles
I'm just a little bit sappy on the topic of local businesses -- I own this. One friend can't resist the opportunity to mock my cheerleader tendencies, and I guess he got to me, because I never wrote these articles:
Dimitri D'Alesandro took over Middletown Framing and did a great job on this watercolor of Ganesh, the Indian god of new beginnings. Mikado's, the sushi bar below street-level on the corner of Main & Washington, has a hip new look. Peter Harding won an award from the CT Main Street program for the Liberty Square building where It's Only Natural now operates. National Paint is a great resource for complicated painting and finishing projects, like my kitchen floor - oh wait, somebody else already wrote that article! Whew!
3. "That's News to Us" articles
I'm not entirely sure that these things are blogworthy - and that's probably why they didn't make it in the first round - but here are some of the things that mattered to us this year:
Sharing Tibetan New Year with our friend Dadon & family. Here she is offering tsampa for a blessing - it's a pinch of barley flour that you toss.
NPR Without the Dignity: Carl Castle & Peter Segal of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, and Click & Clack from Car Talk. On the right is Doug Berman, their producer, Wes class of 1984
NPR came to Middletown for one night during Wesleyan's graduation weekend (Ed wrote about it.) My favorite part was watching my 17-year-old son gather autographs from NPR radio personalities (after Tenzin had collected every single one, producer Doug Berman followed his signature with "get a hobby"). I also went to the reception beforehand and Patti Vassia loaned me her camera and then emailed me the photos (in return, I introduced her to Christine Pina from Wes - they really should have lunch.) In the crowd, someone saw my name tag and said "oh, I read the Eye!" I was so excited I took her picture.
The Independent Day School has an amazing 8th grade history curriculum studying Middletown, taught by Liz Warner. I meant to tag along with one of their neighborhood field trips and write it up for the EYE, but I only made it to a single show-and-tell at the school, where kids had done things like this architectural timeline of Broad Street. Next to that photo, you'll find one of the biggest news items of the year for our household. Destinta got a Galaga machine - one of the great video games of the 1980's. Some family members (not pictured here) developed the habit of stopping in for a few rounds on our evening stroll, culminating in a high score of 104,000. Just when it looked like an intervention might be necessary, the game was suddenly removed from the theaters. We're recovering nicely, thank you. Speaking of games, the hardworking Middletown High Crew Team brought home a medal from States for the first time in 29 years.
Thanks for listening, everyone. I feel much better now!