photo: Madawaska, Maine
About: I'm Jen. I live a few miles outside of Boston. I do web work for a non-profit during the day.
This web page has been in all sorts of forms since 1994 when I first wrote HTML in emacs on a Unix terminal at BU. Now I prefer BBEdit on my Mac. I'm never quite sure why I'm doing this
Movable Type 4.0
April 29, 2004
Having a voice, Letting it be heard
I shouldn't leave a Genocide entry up here since I may not be able to post for while. I'm off to Washington, DC to be a staff person at a young leader's conference.
I'll be learning a bit about civic engagement and will be leading a group on Capitol Hill for some legislative visits. The young people will be urging their legislators to support youth and community development, job training and educational programs for low-income youth.
It should be a really inspiring time. The quote for the conference is from Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Posted by Jen on April 29, 2004
April 24, 2004
Between 1915 and 1916, 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Empire. Today is the 89th anniversary of the start of this massacre. John Kerry has recently recognized the Armenian Genocide which has upset Turkey. They still deny that it happened.
A group of Armenians recently gathered in DC asking for official U.S. recognition of the Genocide. It's doubtful it will happen right now. I wonder if that will change if Kerry becomes President. I had never realized how strongly Turkey lobbies against recognizing the Genocide until I read Peter Balakian's Black Dog of Fate. It's alarming.
My family left Armenia before 1915 for Aleppo, Syria. They left Aleppo when it was clear that Armenian boys were being drafted into the Turkish Army and not coming back. My great grandfather Bedros Manoogian came to America and found work in a Nashua, NH shoe factory. His wife, Armenouhi and daughter Azadouhi came to be with him once he was settled.
While in Nashua they heard from a man from their village back home who was now in America. Mr Thomasian told them to come to Watertown, MA and work in the Hood Rubber Factory--there was a growing community of Armenians in Watertown. They did and my grandmother was born there in 1923. Now 80 years later a lot of us are still either in Watertown or nearby.
In an odd twist of fate, I've volunteered a bit for Project Save, an archive of Armenian photographs founded and run by Ruth Thomasian, the niece of the man who told my family about Watertown when they first came over.
The Armenian National Committee of America makes it very easy to contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to speak out on the Genocide. There are Genocide survivors who are still alive. I have a great uncle who watched his mothers and sisters be rounded up and taken to a church that was set on fire and his father stabbed to death by soldiers. 89 years is a long time for something like this to go unrecognized.
Posted by Jen on April 24, 2004
April 21, 2004
When I was little, trips to the lake meant I'd be buying penny candy from a store that was part of a 19th century village nearby. I'd also always buy extra sharp cheddar cheese and a huge dill pickle from a wooden barrel for my dad.
So it was hard to say goodbye to the house, but it was something that needed to happen. I'm lucky I had so many week-long vacations and weekends swimming in Granny Kent Pond, riding around in my dad's speed boat, and singing WWII songs with my grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins out on the porch. I'd love for the people who buy the place to know that it was one guy who built the barn, the boathouse, the shed, added extra rooms, and so on. They'd probably like to know that the bell in front of the house came from my great aunt's hotel in Maryland and that we'd ring it at the passing parade of boats on July 4th. It's the weird genealogist historian in me that thinks there should be a book on every house that exists to pass from owner to owner with a chronology of additions, events, and so on. I think that would be excellent.
Posted by Jen on April 21, 2004
April 12, 2004
I have several books by Paul Theroux piled in my bookcase that I've started reading and not finished. I end up doing my travelogue reading on the web and these are some of my favorites:
Justin Hall. I've been reading his weblog for years and really enjoyed reading when he was in Japan. He's always off to somewhere.
JPM. This fella used to run a gallery in Boston and we've chatted about scooters. He's living in Germany now and has his travel writing online. I especially enjoyed his India and Nepal trip.
Not a travel journal, but The Lonely Planet site has a lot of firsthand travel stories that I enjoy reading.
Posted by Jen on April 12, 2004
April 9, 2004
It's opening day at Fenway Park which means it really should start to feel like spring soon. I've never gone to an opening day, but I remember boys getting dismissed from school, starting in grammar school, to attend.
I did attend the longest game ever played at Fenyway, on September 3, 1981. The Red Sox played the Mariners and the game went 19 innings and was to-be-continued the next day. We didn't go the next day to see that last inning, but I was still thrilled that I had been at a historical game.
This was when Rich Gedman, Carl Yastrzemski , Jim Rice, and all of those guys were playing. My favorite was Carleton Fisk, but I guess he left before that game. I still have a baseball somewhere that Bob Stanley signed for me and my little autograph book with other player's signatures.
I used to go to games with my dad and other guys and their kids from the Eagles. We'd ride a bus in town and I'd wear a Red Sox hat and my baseball glove (apparently I thought I'd catch a ball, I never did) and eat a few Fenway Franks. Fun things when you're 8.
Posted by Jen on April 9, 2004
April 1, 2004
I'm not sure why I'm doing this blog business again, but I've been doing it off and on since 1994 and always end up back here.
It's a new year for me. I turned 31 on the 31st of last month.
Mark Eitzel writes incredibly wordy songs that you find yourself singing along to. They're intense, yet you end up humming them later on like so many more simple songs that don't mean much. Or I do at least.
Wordy in a way like Raymond Carver. Descriptive, but not superfluous.
I aspire to this. I often using far to many words to say very little. So maybe this is an exercise in grammar and brevity. We'll see.
Posted by Jen on April 1, 2004