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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Angie's List. Post a Testimonial or Review

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dedicated to a Wonderful Friend. I was honored to be the designer and builder of this memorial to help fulfill friends and family desire to remember Noreen Beck. Cedar, Bittersweet, Granite, Veneer Stone and Plants

Saturday, February 28, 2009


People's Park Project featured in Stow Independent Newspaper
Summer Street Maynard MA.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Cha Cha Connor
from The Pulse 28 to Watch in 2008
27. Cha Cha Connor, 24, Activist and artist

Cha Cha Connor is a 24 year old Worcester native, anarcha-holic, human rights activist and performance artist who gets excited about affordable development, ending homelessness, and connecting with anyone who works for a more just Worcester.

In the past year, Cha Cha been in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca “…doing human rights observation as people’s movements struggle for economic justice and self determination against a repressive government. Returning to the U.S. in April, I went on an east-coast tour as the Supermodels for Oaxaca, a protest theatre ‘models strike’ that used stilettos and style to draw attention to Oaxacan social movements.”

June 1 saw Cha Cha crash land on Millbury St. in South Kelley Square. “It’s a great neighborhood to be involved in, with a ton of artistic and activist creativity. One group I’m excited about is the residents and regulars at the Hotel Vernon who came up with the idea to do a ‘Women of Green Island’ calendar, celebrating the local places that are important to us, and fundraising for neighborhood improvements.”

Since 2005, Cha Cha has worked with a group of residents from all over Worcester called Real Solutions who raise concerns about how poor and vulnerable residents are being treated, especially with regard to city policies on homelessness, housing, and social services. Says Cha Cha, “Too often, ‘revitalization’ takes the form of gentrification, and happens without consulting working and poor folks already living in and contributing to a neighborhood. In Worcester I think we have a chance to do it differently - to organize for just and sustainable economic development that prioritizes our rights to affordable housing, decent jobs, education and healthcare.”

Venture into the nightlife of the Canal District, and you’ll probably find Cha Cha singing for the Happy Hour Hyjinx ~ a serenade of funk-inspired local tales of love and pride and beer and positive change.

Sunday, January 18, 2009



Canal Fest November 2008
The uncovering (Free the Blackstone) of the Blackstone Canal has been long planned and remains a centering point for the rejuvenation of this great part of Worcester (Green Island, Kelly Square, The Canal District).

I helped with the design and creation of the Mermaid Costume proudly and beautifully worn by Cha Cha Connor, "Worcester native, anarcha-holic, human rights activist and performance artist who gets excited about affordable development, ending homelessness, and connecting with anyone who works for a more just Worcester". It was sewn and developed by Sandra Casale of Country Chic, a small, locally owned and operated designer and fabricator of custom window treatments as well as other sewn and upholstered products.























Canal Fest November 2008



Allen
(a man a plan a canal) Fletcher, invited me to help him spruce up the outside of the 70' x12' canal reconstruction. Enduring Elements and Laurel Hill Landscaping were to bring granite from an old mill to line the sides but the rains of Summer postponed that.

So they went with hay bales in the November date. Allen challenged me to a race in the kayaks and then we started to take kids on rides or let the older ones go on their own. It was the first time in a kayak for many.


Gene Zabinsky and his wife made the incredible recreation of the area under glass. The detail and craftmanship are exquisite. Gene is a history buff and a member of the Canal District Alliance. He grew up in the Fox mansion and gave a compelling presentation about the history of Kelly Square at one CDA meeting.


Authentic Neo-Mexican
Baja Grill Neo-Mexican Cuisine
169 Millbury Street
Worcester, MA 01610
ph: 508-459-2727
alt: 508-459-2728
www.bajagrillneo-mexicancuisine.com/

Excellent Authentic Mexican: superb family run spot with outstanding chef and menu.

My wife and I recently had the best Mexican food in our lives. After a visit to the Worcester Art Museum we sought out a restaurant I was aware had opened in the happening hub of Worcester culture, arts and community; Green Island and the Canal District.

The sparkling clean and brightly colored interior was immediately welcoming on this bitter cold day. And the warm and genuine welcome from Lio Carmona and his sister Lupe Rodriguez made us instantly comfortable. We discussed the origins of the restaurant, the family run aspects and the deep culinary experience that created this wonderful place.


The food was authentic Mexican from the Guadalajara region; with some Spanish influence, all from family recipes and healthfully prepared. I chose the Paella Mexicana: sautéed shrimp, scallops, mussels, chorizo, chicken, onions, poblano chili peppers, garlic & rice deglaze with white wine. I have enjoyed paella in Barcelona and other areas of Spain and French Catalan areas. Leo assured me this would be different and great. It was. Try this if you love paella.

My wife had Pollo en Mole: sautéed marinated chicken breast with poblano mole. Served with rice, choice of refried beans (her choice) or frijoles a la charra, pico de gallo, guacamole & home made corn tortillas.Everything was fresh and the Mole was exuisite -- chocolately without being too sweet.
Real tortillas in a stitched warming pouch.
Great selection of drinks from Mexico.
Prices were very reasonable. Visit and bring friends,
This is an undiscovered gem

www.bajagrillneo-mexicancuisine.com/about_us



Thursday, January 01, 2009

Before,The Plan and the After
A multiphase exterior renovation for a couple who with one call transformed the front of their home, replacing dangerous, crumbling steps with a synthetic low maintenance deck rail and steps.


At the same time we transformed the rear of the home with a large concrete paver patio rectangular with arc tangent, a custom made pergola that picked up details of an archway on the property. In this friendly village neighborhood theirs is now one of the cooler places to gather.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Painting for a Friend

Staff photo by Matthew Modono Bruce Davidson
of Boxborough puts the finishing touches on the
mural at the Concord Health Care Center.



Mural showcases neighbors' bond
By Chrissie Long
Thu May 31, 2007, 06:21 AM EDT
reprinted from the Beacon Newspaper and Online

CONCORD - Sitting in her wheelchair with her hands in her lap, Dorothy Priest looked up at a mural of blended flowers. Irises, daffodils, crocuses and lilacs cascaded through a gentle landscape enhanced by stone walls and grassy hills.

She had planted all of these flowers in her younger days. But now her aged fingers and tired knees couldn’t sink into the dirt to give the plants the care they needed.

Due to a neighbor’s love, the flowers from her garden on Homestead Lane came alive once again outside her bedroom door.

This time it wasn’t just the neighborhood that enjoyed the garden, but the hundreds of people who lived and worked at the Concord Health Care Center.

“I love just looking at it,” said Victoria Dehesa, as she pushed her father by the mural in a wheelchair. “It cheers the place up.”

A woman in a nurse’s uniform commented to no one in particular as she brushed by, “I just get so much pleasure out of seeing this every day.”

For the last several months, Boxborough resident Bruce Davidson, Priest’s long-time neighbor in Stow has been painting her a mural.

“Dorothy taught me a lot about planting flowers,” said Davidson, a professional landscape designer. “It was striking to me that she had loved the outdoors and she was not able to enjoy it living in the care center. I decided to paint her this mural because it would allow me to continuously visit her and it would remind her of the outdoors.”

With Dorothy looking on, Davidson spent that afternoon touching up the near-finished painting.

Their relationship began in 1983, when Davidson bought a house next to Priest’s on Homestead Lane. Davidson, who was 23 at the time, had no living grandparents and adopted Priest as a surrogate grandmother. He would empty her driveway of snow and visit with his two black labs. She would tell him stories and make him tea.

In 1998, Davidson left the neighborhood and moved up to Stow Road in Boxborough. Despite being miles apart from another, they remained neighbors in relationship. They continued their visits and long conversations over tea.

Davidson had moved to a home that had some history with Priest. When Priest’s father was walking in the rain to be married at Hill Road in Boxborough, he had stopped at Davidson’s home to ask for an umbrella.

Last August, Priest had to leave the neighborhood, too. Because of her failing health, she moved to the Concord Health Care Center. The distance between the neighbors grew, but they stayed in touch.

“She felt like family to me,” said Davidson, who continued to visit her. “She felt like what a neighbor should be. We were clearly from vastly different generations, but we found that we had one thing in common and that was our love for the outdoors.”

After several visits, Davidson decided to de-institutionalize the nursing home and make it more home-like for Priest.

Beginning in March, Davidson, a professional artist, began painting his neighbor a mural.

On the blank wall outside her room, Priest has watched the scenery unfold. It began with just pencil lines, and then the blue sky filled in followed by the slate-colored stonewalls and assortments of greens for the grass. Within weeks, a wholesome and picturesque mural greeted residents as they walked down the second-floor hallway.

“We can’t thank you enough for bringing Bruce to us,” activities director Valerie Jackson said, speaking into Priest’s ear. Standing up, Jackson said, “Just to watch this evolve has been incredible. It’s been well-received by residents — the interaction has been heartwarming.”

For Davidson, the process has been equally rewarding.
“This has been the single most satisfying event of my adult life,” he said, looking over the rim of his glasses, his brush poised to paint. “I could have done this in half the time, but it has been the process not the product that has been enjoyable.”

Throughout the hours he has spent in this busy hallway, he has learned the life story of many of the residents. He took one man to a Red Sox game,
he smoked fine cigars with another while they discussed the Korean and Vietnam wars. He spoke with a woman named Olive, who went to Mass Art in 1925 and 1926 and drew a tulip into the painting.

“Having never done art in a public forum, I have never had the chance to interact with the people while I paint,” he said. “I am used to operating in a vacuum.”

As he was painting that Tuesday afternoon, a staff member complemented him on his work. Turning to face him, Davidson said, “I forgot. Was there something you wanted me to paint?” When the staff member hesitated, Davidson said, “C’mon, what do you want to see in this?”

He shrugged his shoulders in response: “A fisherman?”
With that, Davidson applied a small black spot to the shoreline in the upper quadrant of the painting.

The mural, originally called Dorothy’s mural, was quickly adopted by the entire nursing home. “It became a community mural,” Davidson said. With careful, but swift brushstrokes he added a purple heart in memory of the husband of a resident who had befriended him while he painted and had recently passed away, a border collie in response to one patients’ request and birds for the names of each of the floors in the home.

Priest, who will be 100 in August, watched the mural come alive as her neighbor painted that afternoon.

Asked how she and Davidson got to be such close friends, Priest smiled and said, “I guess I was just lucky.”

Mural for a Friend

Mural showcases neighbors' bond

By Chrissie Long

Thu May 31, 2007, 06:21 AM EDT
reprinted from the Beacon Newspaper and Online

CONCORD - Sitting in her wheelchair with her hands in her lap, Dorothy Priest looked up at a mural of blended flowers. Irises, daffodils, crocuses and lilacs cascaded through a gentle landscape enhanced by stone walls and grassy hills.

She had planted all of these flowers in her younger days. But now her aged fingers and tired knees couldn’t sink into the dirt to give the plants the care they needed.

Due to a neighbor’s love, the flowers from her garden on Homestead Lane came alive once again outside her bedroom door.

This time it wasn’t just the neighborhood that enjoyed the garden, but the hundreds of people who lived and worked at the Concord Health Care Center.

“I love just looking at it,” said Victoria Dehesa, as she pushed her father by the mural in a wheelchair. “It cheers the place up.”

A woman in a nurse’s uniform commented to no one in particular as she brushed by, “I just get so much pleasure out of seeing this every day.”

For the last several months, Boxborough resident Bruce Davidson, Priest’s long-time neighbor in Stow has been painting her a mural.

“Dorothy taught me a lot about planting flowers,” said Davidson, a professional landscape designer. “It was striking to me that she had loved the outdoors and she was not able to enjoy it living in the care center. I decided to paint her this mural because it would allow me to continuously visit her and it would remind her of the outdoors.”

With Dorothy looking on, Davidson spent that afternoon touching up the near-finished painting.

Their relationship began in 1983, when Davidson bought a house next to Priest’s on Homestead Lane. Davidson, who was 23 at the time, had no living grandparents and adopted Priest as a surrogate grandmother. He would empty her driveway of snow and visit with his two black labs. She would tell him stories and make him tea.

In 1998, Davidson left the neighborhood and moved up to Stow Road in Boxborough. Despite being miles apart from another, they remained neighbors in relationship. They continued their visits and long conversations over tea.

Davidson had moved to a home that had some history with Priest. When Priest’s father was walking in the rain to be married at Hill Road in Boxborough, he had stopped at Davidson’s home to ask for an umbrella.

Last August, Priest had to leave the neighborhood, too. Because of her failing health, she moved to the Concord Health Care Center. The distance between the neighbors grew, but they stayed in touch.

“She felt like family to me,” said Davidson, who continued to visit her. “She felt like what a neighbor should be. We were clearly from vastly different generations, but we found that we had one thing in common and that was our love for the outdoors.”

After several visits, Davidson decided to de-institutionalize the nursing home and make it more home-like for Priest.

Beginning in March, Davidson, a professional artist, began painting his neighbor a mural.

On the blank wall outside her room, Priest has watched the scenery unfold. It began with just pencil lines, and then the blue sky filled in followed by the slate-colored stonewalls and assortments of greens for the grass. Within weeks, a wholesome and picturesque mural greeted residents as they walked down the second-floor hallway.

“We can’t thank you enough for bringing Bruce to us,” activities director Valerie Jackson said, speaking into Priest’s ear. Standing up, Jackson said, “Just to watch this evolve has been incredible. It’s been well-received by residents — the interaction has been heartwarming.”

For Davidson, the process has been equally rewarding.

“This has been the single most satisfying event of my adult life,” he said, looking over the rim of his glasses, his brush poised to paint. “I could have done this in half the time, but it has been the process not the product that has been enjoyable.”

Throughout the hours he has spent in this busy hallway, he has learned the life story of many of the residents. He took one man to a Red Sox game, he smoked fine cigars with another while they discussed the Korean and Vietnam wars. He spoke with a woman named Olive, who went to Mass Art in 1925 and 1926 and drew a tulip into the painting.

“Having never done art in a public forum, I have never had the chance to interact with the people while I paint,” he said. “I am used to operating in a vacuum.”

As he was painting that Tuesday afternoon, a staff member complemented him on his work. Turning to face him, Davidson said, “I forgot. Was there something you wanted me to paint?” When the staff member hesitated, Davidson said, “C’mon, what do you want to see in this?”

He shrugged his shoulders in response: “A fisherman?”

With that, Davidson applied a small black spot to the shoreline in the upper quadrant of the painting.

The mural, originally called Dorothy’s mural, was quickly adopted by the entire nursing home. “It became a community mural,” Davidson said. With careful, but swift brushstrokes he added a purple heart in memory of the husband of a resident who had befriended him while he painted and had recently passed away, a border collie in response to one patients’ request and birds for the names of each of the floors in the home.

Priest, who will be 100 in August, watched the mural come alive as her neighbor painted that afternoon.

Asked how she and Davidson got to be such close friends, Priest smiled and said, “I guess I was just lucky.”

Thursday, December 04, 2008



She Knows What I Did on My Summer Vacation
See here for pictures
As Told by D-L Nelson, Novelist and Journalist
on the exPat Writer Blog
Observations about living in Switzerland and France on a daily basis by an Swiss repat from America.
Sunday, July 15, 2007

Not the average holiday activity
Read first and then Click here for series of pictures
This was the second time M&B came to Argelès from the States. I’ve known him for decades and it is approaching a decade when she entered his life and I met her at Chinese restaurant in Cambridge, MA.

He reminds me of my parents' habit of talking to strangers. The fact his French is minimal is only a blip for him.

On the unseasonably cold and windy Sunday night the three of us were the only diners at La P’etite Pause, a restaurant specializing in the cuisine of Haute Savoie: tarteflettes, fondues, etc. Nadine, the owner-chef, was training a new waitress and we began talking in French, English, Franglais. She described how she had done much of the reconstruction work herself and how she planned eventually to add a mural of her beloved Mont Blanc. Before B’s wife and I knew it he had volunteered to do create the mural of her dreams. I was pressed into service as translator to make sure she got what she wanted. A day was set aside for the work (eat your heart out Michelangelo.)

An adventure to find a new art supply store was followed with prayers of thanks offered for the good road signage that is a French specialty.

B painted for 12 hours, plied with coffee and food to keep up his strength.

Nadine didn’t quite believe it. It was unheard of that an American artist would appear at her table then add her dream to a wall and not accept money. She insisted we have an inauguration, an unveiling. Within 48 hours a fête was organized attended by locals, vendors, tourists and friends. Best dress was rolled out as were delicacies from the region and party was on.

As the last person Nadine whispered to me that this was a gift from heaven, but not only that when late at night she walked by the mural illuminated only by the moon through the window, it looked just like the real Mont Blanc did in the moon light from her childhood bedroom window.

And although we visited local sites, ate at good restaurants, talked with people together, and although they beached and biked, painting a mural is definitely not the average vacation pass time, but maybe the world would be just a bit better if it were.
See here for more pictures
Posted by DL NELSON at 2:54 AM