Quincy Community Electricity

electricity towers

A few weeks ago, my mom and I both received letters in the mail about Quincy Community Electricity.

I briefly looked at them, but didn’t pay too much attention. My mom was finally home after a horrible cycle of falling, being hospitalized and staying at nursing rehabilitation facilities for several months. I stayed with her for a couple of weeks to get her back in the swing of things again.

She had several medication changes and we both were doing our best to get things right for her. Her health and independence were the focus for both of us.

Then I happened to notice that the letters we received required us to opt-out of the new Quincy electricity program or we would be automatically enrolled. That was news to us!

After reading a bit more about the program on the city of Quincy’s website, it seems that the changes won’t be as big as I thought initially. Dynegy will become Quincy’s retail electricity supplier, but the rest will remain the same.

“Participation in Quincy Community Electricity will only change the “Supply” portion of your National Grid electricity bill. National Grid will continue to manage electricity billing, maintain poles and wires, and respond to storm outages. Customers using budget billing or receiving low-income rate discounts will continue to receive those discounts without interruption.”

Both my mom and I were very concerned about repairs after power outages. Apparently that won’t change. At first, we were both hesitant about being part of the program. But now, I’m reconsidering. Maybe we should try it.

However, I wonder how many people have noticed that they have to opt-out. Will many Quincy residents be surprised when the new program starts in June? Or maybe the changes won’t be significant enough for most people to notice. It will be interesting to see how this new program fares.

Wollaston Beach in February

people walking on Wollaston Beach

The sunset was stunning tonight. Driving by Wollaston Beach. Looking at the sky and the water. The colors took my breath away. I was reminded again why I love Quincy.

Just a few moments drive from home and I’m by the water. I got out and walked around. The wind was biting cold, so I didn’t stay out for long. But I enjoyed these serene scenes.

Wollaston Beach with lights in the distance

Lights twinkling in the distance beyond the soft sand. Breathing in the fresh air. Noticing that it’s still light after 5:00pm.

sunset colors on Wollaston Beach

No filter needed. Sometimes reality is beyond beautiful.

Christmassy in Quincy

Thomas Crane Public Library Christmassy
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! It’s even feeling Christmassy too.

One of the things that I want to do regularly is take pictures of the ordinary. What I see day to day or even year to year.

The picture above is the main Quincy library. It’s a gorgeous building all the time, but even prettier when it’s decked out for Christmas.

Quincy ice skating rink
This afternoon an acquaintance and I had planned to go skating at the new skating rink in Quincy. There was a few hours wait, so we ended up not going.

Since it was unseasonably warm, we decided to walk around to catch up and enjoy the outdoor Christmassy vibes.
Quincy Town Hall Nativity Scene

We strolled by the Nativity scene at city hall and even saw the little baby Jesus statue! He was often stolen from the manger like some sort of item listed on a Christmas scavenger hunt, so I was surprised that he was there. Hopefully the display will remain intact this year.

A Change for Quincy?

Quincy City Hall

Today is Election Day! A few hours ago, I dropped off me and my mom’s ballots at Quincy City Hall. Polls close in less than hour as I write this post.

Quincy could have a newly elected mayor if Anne Mahoney wins! Finger’s crossed that Quincy will have a change.

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Updated 11/8/23: Unfortunately, Anne Mahoney didn’t win. According to The Patriot Ledger, Mayor Thomas Koch was reelected to serve his seventh term.

Korean Dramas & Air Quality in Massachusetts

How did watching Korean dramas get me thinking about air and water quality in Massachusetts? Let me tell you.

During the pandemic, I dove into the treasure trove of Korean dramas on Netflix. After watching several, I started recognizing the sounds of certain words. I began matching them up phonetically with their English meanings from the subtitles and keeping a written notebook. I wondered about the daily lives of regular South Koreans and wanted to expand my vocabulary beyond written scripts.

YouTube provides an easy gateway into people’s lives. After watching many videos, I learned that South Koreans are very aware of fine dust. The first few times I heard it mentioned, I didn’t think anything of it. However, it was repeated so often I could no longer ignore it. I wondered, “Is this a thing?”

The vloggers I’ve watched check daily dust levels, wear masks outside, and often keep their windows closed. A Korean vlogger now living in the UK, remarked on the clear skies without fine dust. It’s definitely a thing.

Now that I think of it, I don’t recall any dramas mentioning fine dust. Sometimes you find what you’re not looking for.

A not so quick search revealed an article giving insight and noting the health hazards when fine dust particulate matter (PM) reaches certain levels. Since I’m interested in visiting South Korea at some point, I’ll probably do what the locals do and wear a mask.

In my normal daily life, I hadn’t thought about PM levels too much. Then early this summer, because of the wildfires in Canada, the Boston area received air quality warnings and advisories. Was this like the fine dust in South Korea?

I’ve been very COVID cautious compared to most and only stopped wearing a mask indoors this past winter, after the numbers dropped. Rising numbers still have me reconsidering.

As I’m writing, I looked up the air quality in Quincy a few times. Over the course of about 15 minutes, it changed from moderate to good. The moderate PM2.5 reading is “2.9 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value.” Should I be wearing a mask? I don’t know. I’m doing what the locals do and that appears to be nothing. Overall, we’re mask averse in this country and seem to live in perpetual denial.

But it’s not just air quality causing concern. It’s also the ocean. This summer, it seems like far more beaches than usual in Massachusetts have been closed for extended periods of time due to high levels of dangerous bacteria. That’s not even considering microplastics found in the water.

Then we have extreme heat causing wildfires. This record-breaking heat forcing people to remain indoors could be impacting mental health as well. Most of us have heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and how it impacts some during winter months. A summer version exists too. With wildfires in Hawaii forcing so many to lose their homes, some don’t even have the luxury of being indoors. Heat is becoming increasingly deadly, yet FEMA has never issued a disaster declaration due to heat.

Climate change is real. It’s happening now and seems that it will only get worse unless everyone in the world gets on board with solutions.

Hadassah Margolis will teach a new course at Brandeis University this fall called Climate Concerns: Eco-Anxiety, Grief, and Resilience. It will focus on wellness in the face of eco-anxiety. I’m glad I’m not alone in my feelings of environmental angst and that more people are talking about this. Misery may love company, but that doesn’t help the bigger problem. I wonder what solutions may be found in this classroom.

I’ve heard people describe the years we have left in our lives as the number of summers. As I inch closer to the end of my 50s, thoughts like this are more on my mind. How many summers do I have to enjoy carefree days out in nature? A walk in the woods by a pond or a simple beach picnic. How do we stay optimistic?

Some recent news inspires. In Brazil, the Wari’ people sought help protecting the Komi Memem River. Legislation passed giving the river personhood protection rights as a living entity. It’s a step in the right direction.

Michael J. Fox said, “With gratitude, optimism is sustainable.” Which feels like grounding in the present moment. And remembering that there are still a few more days left in this summer.