Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best and worst of times

On our block here in Boston, the men threw all our carefully separated recycling into the garbage truck today, including all the cardboard boxes from Christmas that we spent time breaking down and stacking into paper bags. When I asked how this could happen in such a green city as Boston, the crew said their instructions came from City Hall, because there was no recycling truck available. It was a fitting end to 2008, which was a jumble of good intentions and harsh realities. I finished my book on the clash of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses, to be published by Random House in the summer of 2009, bought a hybrid Toyota Highlander, spent a wonderful two weeks in Peru, Vermont, my son started a new school; soaring gas prices seemed to make more Americans aware of how dependent we are on our cars, particularly in our dispersed suburban areas, and the country elected a president who valued cities, embraced smart growth, and seemed to understand transit. But then of course the economy tanked, the stock market had its worst year since 1931, decimating 401(k)s and endowments; gas prices dropped to $1.50 a gallon, and the Obama administration looks like it's succumbing to business as usual for state DOTs and the highway lobby in the planned investments in infrastructure in the economic stimulus package. John Massengale has a nice post on this last most troubling subject. In the closing days of the year, our nanny quit abruptly and moved to Maine. But, onward: this morning we met someone new. Tomorrow we start the two-week jump-start for the South Beach diet, and we'll get the ship righted once again. Happy new year.