Tree Talk with Matt Foti

Matt Foti
Matt Foti

Fall Maintenance Reminder

 

We experienced severe winter kill on evergreens last winter primarily because plants went into the winter followed by drought conditions late last summer and into the fall. Evergreens need lots of water at the end of the summer and through the fall to make it through the winter because they never go completely dormant. When sunlight is cast on the foliage the roots cannot draw moisture from the ground when it is frozen solid, winter kill is caused by desiccation.

The best advice I can give now is water, water, water and water some more right up until the ground freezes, as we are experiencing a very dry fall much the same as last year.  Evergreens can store moisture to make it through the winter but if they start the winter dry followed by hard frost we will see just as much winter kill this winter as we did last.

Anti-desiccant sprays are liquefied wax that close up the pores of evergreens and help prevent transpiration of stored moisture. The wax on the foliage of evergreens actually puts them into an artificial dormancy, it is best to spray one time early in the winter and another when the temperature goes above freezing mid to late winter.

Most winter kill occurs in the late winter or very early spring when there is a large variation in temperature in a short period of time when the sap starts to flow again. We can all remember daytime temperatures in late February or early March that go as high as 80° and evenings well below the freezing mark. 60 to 70° variation in temperature within a 24-hour period is even harsher on plants that it is on us because plants can’t turn the thermostat up!

Extra mulch on the roots of evergreens in the fall will also help retain moisture and insulate the ground so that frost cannot penetrate as deeply. If you do put on extra mulch in the fall always remember to remove it in the spring because too much mulch on the roots can suffocate a plant.

Spider mites are another side effect of dry conditions.  When plants become stressed due to lack of moisture they become susceptible to being attacked by spider mites.  Mites are opportunistic little creatures that suck the chlorophyll out of leaves and needles further reducing plant vigor.

Winter moth and canker worm continued to be serious defoliators this year and every indication suggests that they will be here for several years to come.

 

Another harmful insect that has come on the scene is viburnum leaf beetle. I have been warned about its arrival for several years and now it is quite prevalent. Viburnums can be treated systemically with a soil drench insecticide in the fall to prevent next year’s outbreak or sprayed with insecticidal soap in early to mid-June.

Always consult a trained and licensed professional when you have questions regarding recognition, diagnosis and control of both insects and plant diseases.  Call our office today for a free consultation and estimate.

Autumn is also a good time for tree evaluations to help prevent downed power lines and potentially hazardous trees during winter months.

 


 

 

Foti Round LogoMatthew R. Foti is the owner of Foti Landscape and Tree Service. Matt is a 1977 graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds degrees in social science and general business. Matt became a Massachusetts Certified Arborist in 1979 and served as president of the Massachusetts Arborists Association from 1993 to 1995. Matt currently employs six Massachusetts Certified Arborists.

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Residents at Brookhaven Celebrate the Launch of “A Common Purpose”

Pictured from left: Joan Keenan, Michael Bentley, Nancy Hubert, Joe Byron of Honor Flight New England and Jim Freehling, President of Brookhaven at Lexington.

Pictured from left: Joan Keenan, Michael Bentley, Nancy Hubert, Joe Byron of Honor Flight New England and Jim Freehling, President of Brookhaven at Lexington.

Before a packed room, Brookhaven president Jim Freehling took the podium to pay tribute to a team of “greatest generation” residents gathered to celebrate the publication of their new book of essays entitled A Common Purpose.

The book is a collection of personal stories and first-hand accounts of the World War II era. “We wanted to capture the stories,” Freehling said. “These are fading memories and it is very important.”

Freehling paid tribute to Nancy Hubert who he said “really didn’t know what she was getting into!” Nancy acted as the editor for the book and Freehling credits her energy and determination for the success of the project. He also acknowledged Bob Kingston who coordinated the photos for the book. The project was funded in part through a generous grant from The Dana Foundation.

In addition Freehling acknowledged the gracious assistance of Michael Bentley of Bentley Publishing who donated his services to the project. Freehling said, “It is very professionally done and we couldn’t have done it without Michael and his crew.”

Finally, Freehling announced that proceeds from the book sales would go to Honor Flight New England, a company that provides flights to the Washington WWII memorial.

Nancy Hubert thanked her fellow residents who were very supportive of the project “Even if they didn’t have a story in the book, people encouraged me, people asked me about the book and you can’t know what a boost that gave me as I was struggling with finding this or that,” she said. She also expressed special appreciation to Joan Keenan, Heidi White and Kathryn McCarthy who first had the idea to publish the WWII memories of their fellow residents. Hubert also thanked Brookhaven staffer Laura Anderson who “bailed me out many times.”

A special highlight of the program was several personal reminiscences Joan Kennan told of joining the army as a WAV and taking a secret Naval Security Course course at Radcliffe. Bob Solo described a special trip to Rome and a visit to a restaurant where he an his buddies “ordered and ate everything on the menu.”

Most touching was a battlefield recollection of Charles Ketcham who described meeting the eyes of a wounded German soldier: “We were two blue eyed boys in a woods of chaos.”

A Common Purpose is a very personal record of WWII with seventy-two stories by sixty-nine authors.


 

 

An enthusiastic crowd purchased books after the speaking program.

An enthusiastic crowd purchased books after the speaking program.

To purchase the book, visit www.linnaeanpress.com

"A Common Purpose"

“A Common Purpose”

 

 

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MAESTRO of the MASTERSINGERS

Adam Grossman’s 20th Season20th

By Jane Whitehead

At 9:00 p.m. on a wet Wednesday evening, twenty or so of the Master Singers of Lexington are sight-reading a song by 19th-century French composer Claude Debussy that requires them to sound like tambourines.

During the tenure of Music Director Adam Grossman, the accomplished chamber chorus has met many such demands. Known for his championship of contemporary composers, and his encyclopedic knowledge of music from Bach to Broadway, Grossman has challenged his singers to imitate everything from blaring taxi horns to farmyard animals, as well as leading them in acclaimed performances of masterworks of the classical canon.

Adam Grossman

Adam Grossman

To mark his twentieth season with the Master Singers, Grossman has worked with board members to devise programs around the theme: “New Works, Old Favorites, Returning Friends.” “Every concert has a new piece by a composer we’ve premiered in the past, and all the guest artists have also played with us before,” he explains.

The opening concert of the season, at 8:00 p.m. Saturday November 1, at First Parish Church, Lexington, features songs by Mendelssohn, Debussy and Barber, with the first performance of Ruth, a setting for chorus, soloists, piano and clarinet of a part of the Biblical Book of Ruth, commissioned by the group from Vermont-based composer Sara Doncaster. Guest clarinetist Katherine Matasy will also perform Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano, with the Master Singers’ longtime accompanist Eric Mazonson. “Eric is a very important part of my experience with the group,” says Grossman, “ and a very important part of what we do.”

 Programs Playful and Profound

“One of Adam’s amazing strengths is his inspired, creative programming,” says tenor David Getty. He and his wife, the late Sarah Getty, joined the group in 1976 when it was still a chamber chorus of The Masterworks Chorale, under the direction of the late Allen Lannom.  “Adam puts together programs for the four concerts each season, each based on a theme, combining works within a program that contrast and complement one another, and showing great diversity across the season,” says Getty.

The group’s annual Pops concerts show Grossman’s ”playful and creative mind,” says Getty. With titles like “Sue Me!” “By the Numbers” and “Come Rain or Shine,” each concert brings together songs from many eras, linked by a shared theme. For the 2014 Pops concert, “Shall We Dance?” the program included favorites from Broadway and Hollywood, mixed with Gilbert and Sullivan, Argentine tango and a sixteenth-century German galliard. One of tenor Haris Papamichael’s all-time favorite Pops events was “Food, Glorious Food,” for which the program was presented in the form of a menu.

“Adam is first and foremost a serious musician,” says soprano Hope Tompkins, a veteran of choral groups large and small, from Manhattan to Boston. “He makes it possible for the Master Singers to delve deeply into and bring forth the sounds of many centuries, from Claudio Monteverdi to Eric Whitacre,” says Tompkins, who joined the group in 2011. She also appreciates Grossman’s sense of fun, recalling the time when at a Pops concert, he handed out giant day-glow colored sunglasses to all the singers for their rendition of “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night Fever.

 A Life in Music

Grossman’s step-brother Joshua Cohen has sung bass with the Master Singers since 1995. He realized at an early age that Grossman had serious musical talent. When they attended a summer music camp in New Jersey together as young teenagers, Cohen remembers that all the campers were given clarinets to try. “I was tweeting around and Adam was playing melodies,” he says. “You got a real sense that he was already on his way.” Grossman pursued undergraduate studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and at Boston University, before focusing on composition as a graduate student at Brandeis University.

Grossman’s career in conducting, composing and music education has made him a familiar figure on many podiums in the Greater Boston area and beyond. He is currently conductor of the Junior Repertory Orchestra on the New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory School, and teaches in the Newton public schools. He is the former Music Director of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, former conductor of the Boston Cecilia Chamber Singers, and has taught at the All Newton Music School, and in the Brookline and Somerville public schools, and made guest appearances with groups including Symphony by the Sea, the Longy Summer Orchestra and Chorus Pro Musica.

Grossman’s style as a conductor, says Cohen, is self-effacing rather than self-promoting. “He’s not a ‘personality’ conductor,” says Cohen. “He’s not someone who spends a lot of time talking about his philosophy of music, or describing things in poetic terms. He believes in putting the music first, not the conductor.”

Master Singers’ founding member, soprano Harriet Chmela, 78, says: “I have seen a lot of growth in Adam’s conducting since he began directing the Master Singers, and the group has grown along with him. This has been a very productive twenty years.” Grossman’s demanding but respectful approach to his singers is an important part of that success, says Chmela. “Singers are treated with sensitivity and trust and this is very important for harmony in the best sense of the word,” she says.

Soprano Catherine Sukow agrees. “Adam’s style is a great combination of respect for the music, respect for the musicians, adventurousness, creativity in programming, and passion for the performance,” she says.  As an educator with a good sense of humor, he makes the whole rehearsal process a pleasure, she says, from “slogging through the difficult parts” to “building cohesion, adding nuances and bringing it all together for the concert.”

 Taking Music to Schools

In 1997, two years after taking over as Music Director of the Master Singers, Grossman started a Children’s Concert series in collaboration with Lexington public schools. “I’m very happy to be able to bring this kind of music to children,” he says. “A lot of kids think choral singing is something you do while you’re in school, or in college, and not only do we give them a chance to sing with us, we show them that this is something some people do for their whole lives.” This season’s free concert will take place at Clarke Middle School, on Saturday March 14, 2015.

A previous Children’s Concert at Clarke encouraged Catherine Sukow to audition for the Master Singers, three years ago. “As a mom, I appreciated the fact that they came to sing a concert for and along with the students,” says Sukow. She wondered about the source of “the crazy, fun rounds that they got the whole audience to sing,” and found out later that they were Grossman’s creations.

Sukow looks forward to tackling a full-scale Grossman composition in the final concert of the season, on May 16, 2015. This will mark the official 20th Anniversary celebration, says Grossman, who will make also an unusual appearance on that occasion as a violinist, in the ensemble accompanying guest artist Frank Powdermaker in J.S. Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor. As for his own composition for that concert, Grossman says: “it is not yet completed or named.” He adds with a laugh, “But we’re talking about May here, so we’re on schedule.”

Grossman’s ability to inspire loyalty among his singers is attested by the long-term commitment of so many members of the ensemble. “I look forward to each season, and hope to be part of the adventure for many more,” says Chmela. For his part, Grossman highly values his enduring partnership with the Master Singers. “No conductor is guaranteed a position,” he says. “Anybody who has the good fortune to be a music director, let alone to work with a group for 20 years, is a very lucky person.”

 


 

 

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Relationship Parenting – A 21st Century Requirement

By Kimberly Hackett, LMHC

Kimberly Hackett, LMHC

Kimberly Hackett, LMHC

“She doesn’t need me. She tells me a thousand ways everyday.”

Don’t believe it. She does need you. Now more than ever.

The parent/child connection is our most precious and enduring relationship. Like Yin and Yang, the sun and moon, Laurel and Hardy, one cannot exist without the other. We belong together. We balance one another. When it works, it feeds our soul. When it doesn’t, it is demoralizing and destabilizing – for both parent and child.

Cultivating relational health in your parent/adolescent relationship, even when your teen is actively blocking you, takes reinvention, persistence and a willingness to look inward. It can be a difficult transition moving from parenting an adoring, pretty-perfect, pre-adolescent child to parenting a teen, whose developmental job is to differentiate from her parents.

Differentiation is that growing space between you and your adolescent, where too much space becomes disconnection and too little space hinders growth. The parent/child relationship from birth onward is all about negotiating that precious space.

One way of thinking about and measuring the health of your parent/adolescent relationship is to take a closer look at the quality of the space between you and your child. This can be measured by how reactive you are around your child. Space brings calm, the ability to see more clearly. It is where the relationship thrives.

The parent/adolescent relationship demands flexibility simply because a teen’s changing needs and sense of self is dynamic and in constant flux. Understanding your teen is much like reading a book where crucial plot points are redacted. Teens are literally hard to read. And because communication changes so drastically during adolescence, it’s critical that parents adjust their expectations and perceptions along the way – not only of their child but also of themselves.

This means, quite simply, that parents must grow alongside their teen. It is a parallel process of mutual growth. It is as much internal work as it is external.

Relying solely on grades, friends or other external factors to gauge the well-being of our adolescent children can be misleading. It takes the parent out of the relational space, making them judge and juror, someone who is watching their life, not part of their life. This leads to a power dynamic where both parent and adolescent struggle with who holds the power between them, creating a match of wills.

A relationship is not one of power, but of connection, that includes mutual respect and self-respect.

Because teens want to keep parents at bay, to insure their social-emotional freedom, kids become expert actors, transforming themselves into who their parents want them to be. When parents attune to the relationship, they see beyond the “act.” Because relational parents work at being curious and engaged, teens are less likely to hide in plain sight.

In an age where cyber friending passes as relationship currency, parents are called upon as an antidote to heightening social and emotional alienation.

Real time connection is fast becoming a 21st century parenting requirement. Our children need parents to ground them, to daily sit across from them, face to face, to talk, to listen, to work through the discomfitures of this most important relationship, and to not cave in to the scowl but insist upon what’s beneath.

Only seven percent of communication is verbal, the rest is vocal, facial, gesture and posture. Parents who zero in on their child’s non-verbal language tune into their teen in a more comprehensive way. Kids need to be seen. All the cyber visibility in the world will never replace what it feels like to be seen in real time.

The 21st century parent/adolescent relationship is much like turning the radio on. When there is static, you automatically adjust the dial for clearer reception. Static is important. Static lets parents know something is up, something needs attention. Static catches your attention. It’s the red blinking light. You know to slow down and focus in, to both yourself and your child.

In 1953, pediatrician Donald Winnicott coined the term, “good enough mother.” The good enough parent is someone who works at it, but is not always successful, someone who doesn’t give up, someone who accepts the messiness and work of relationship.

The success of the parent/adolescent relationship must start with the parent. Many parents don’t like to hear this. Old school parenting thinking creeps in – “do as I say, not as I do.” “How dare she talk to me that way? She needs to change.” But the parent/adolescent relationship must remain an inherently unequal relationship. Parents must be in charge. They must set the relational standard. Your efforts now will be repaid hundredfold in your child’s future relationships, both personal and professional.

Our 21st century teens consider themselves relationship savvy and cooly cynical about connection, especially when it comes to their parents. Yet they are craving authentic connection. Teens today have instant access to escaping any relationship that hints at awkward or scary. This is where relational parenting comes in.

Our children are fast becoming the Disconnect Generation. Whenever they are the least bit relationally uncomfortable, they can block, delete, or un-friend anyone in an instant. Sitting in their room pondering life, sitting with “awkward” or “scary,” without screen escapism, is fast becoming ancient history. Parents are beginning to truly grasp the stark reality that we have no control over what worlds our children enter behind their bedroom door.

All the more reason then, that relational parenting is needed more than ever. Solid, firm and loving connection is the antidote to silence behind closed doors. Our 21st century children are in need of their parents’ presence in their everyday lives. Tenacity is at the top of the list of parenting traits we must all acquire. We must stick to our children with a different kind of glue, a glue that binds parent and child in real time connection.

Finally, parenting takes courage. A lot. It asks a lot of parents to stay connected to children who send strong messages they are no longer needed. But please don’t believe them. You are needed now more than ever.

Everyone benefits when parents commit to relational parenting, to insisting on connection with their child. Our children need us in a new kind of way. They need our presence, our conversation, our ability to be firm and loving and calm. They need us to keep trying, to not forget how important we are to them. They need us to insist on relationship and to remind them that life is all about cultivating those relationships, those real relationships.

 

Kimberly Hackett, LMHC, is a Family-Focused Therapist, Parent Coach and writer. She specializes in struggling adolescents and their families. She helps parents focus on relationship, attachment and connection and helps teens achieve greater developmental well-being.
She is writing a book that explores 21st century parenting.Kimberly is married with four kids and divides her time between her private practice in Arlington and Vermont.
Find out more and read her blog at KimberlyHackett.com. Kimberly can be reached at 617-475-0942, or email – Hackett.kimberly@gmail.com.

 

Parenting Matters is a collaboration between the Colonial Times Magazine and the Town of Lexington Human Services Department. This column is not intended as a substitute for therapy and the contents are do not necessarily reflect the views of CTM’s editorial staff. The information contained in Parenting Matters is for general information purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a mental health professional, diagnosis or treatment.

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Complex Sibling Relationships

If sibling rivalry is an issue that affects your household, you may understand how stressful it can be for everyone in the house to bear. You may be at a loss to know how to stop the fighting, or question whether they shouldn’t just, “work things out.” Let’s first take a look at the basis for sibling rivalry.

Tension between siblings can run in a few different forms. One form that is most common is that siblings tend to look at each other as equal even if their age is not. This may come out as, “Why does she get to have a phone?” or, “Why can’t I stay out that late?” School-age kids especially may be very black and white in their thinking about fairness, such as when they see parents giving preferential treatment to a younger sibling (such as greater physical affection).

A second form of tension stems from individual temperaments. These temperaments, including mood, disposition and flexibility, as well as their unique personalities play a large role in how well siblings get along. For example, if one child’s disposition is to be okay with close proximity, but another child delineates their personal space, it c

Patti Grant, LICSW

Patti Grant, LICSW

an lead to conflict. “But that’s my side of the couch!” Does this sound familiar?

Another form of tension can stem from kids that have special needs, either emotionally or medically. The child who isn’t sick may resent the amount of the parent’s attention that this sibling needs. This child may also not be able to verbalize this feeling well, and it may come out in a way that makes it hard to address, such as, “Why does he always get everything he wants?” Maybe this is a phrase you tend to hear that leads to tension for everyone.

The final form of tension that can impact siblings is their role models. The way that parents-and other close family members-resolve problems and conflict sets a strong example for their kids. If family members tend to yell, call names and isolate themselves, siblings are likely to do the same. However, if family members can work through conflict in a way that’s healthy and respectful, it increases the chance that the children will adopt the same tactics.

So what do you do when the fighting starts? Whenever possible, don’t get involved. If the siblings can work things through in a productive way without your help, that will be the best for their self-esteem and problem solving development. You also risk been seen as taking sides whenever you step in, based on past experiences of the children or simply even the timing of when you step in. However, always intervene in a situation where you feel they might become violent with each other.

If and when you do decide to step in, try to resolve problems with your kids, not for them. Following are some suggestions to follow when stepping in.

Separate kids until they’re calm (as well as yourself). Unless everyone is calm, fighting can resume and the problem solving cannot.

Take the focus off blame, as focusing on who’s to blame only exacerbates fighting. This can be done by encouraging each child verbalize their concerns, one at a time.

Voice your own concerns for their fighting, such as how you feel like family life could improve, or how you’re concerned they’re going to hurt each other.

Ask them to come up with a mutually agreeable and feasible solution that addresses all the concerns. Be careful to throw out solutions that won’t be likely to have follow through, or ones that don’t consider all of the concerns.

Support solutions that children come up with, check their follow through and come back to the table to talk if the solution is attempted and it doesn’t help resolve the original concerns.

There are also some simple techniques that can be used every day to help kids get along. An important one to use is to explain to the child that, “equal is not always fair, and fair does not always mean equal,” in that each child gets what he or she needs, and sometimes one child may need more than another. Another important technique is to set ground rules for behavior. Tell the kids that if an argument starts, they must keep their hands to themselves, and yelling, cursing or name-calling, as well as abuse to objects (slamming doors or throwing things) are not allowed. Explain to kids that they are not responsible for getting angry, but they are responsible for their behavior.

You can also be proactive in getting involved in each of your children’s interests, and make sure you give each child some one-to-one time on a consistent basis. Make sure each child has their own space to do their own thing, either to take space quietly, go outside, or enjoy activities with peers without their sibling tagging along. Tell your kids that you love them both, without limits.

It’s also important to have fun as a family as well. It can be as simple as throwing a ball together or playing a board game, something that establishes a peaceful time that you can all relate as a time that everyone got along well. Also keep in mind that the fighting may be for attention, and if you leave the situation, it may remove the incentive for fighting.

If fighting is occurring daily, you can hold family meetings weekly or daily to review the ground rules and work on solutions to resolve conflicts, as outlined in the bullets above. If children frequently fight about the same issue, it’s a sign that a collaborative approach is needed, with parents modeling problem-solving behavior.

In a small percentage of families, the conflict between siblings is so severe that it disrupts daily functioning, such as the children’s ability to go to school on time or attend extra-curricular activities. Fighting can be so severe that it can affect kids emotionally or psychologically. In these cases, please do seek help from a mental health professional. If you have any questions about your children, you can also speak to their pediatrician, who can help you assess whether you and your family might benefit from seeking out professional help or refer you to local behavioral health specialists.

 

Patti Grant, LICSW (617) 606-7450

grant@copernican.us

Private Practice:

Newton: 44 Thornton Street, Newton,

Lexington: The Liberties, Suite #11, 33 Bedford Street, Lexington, MA 02420

Copernican Clinical Services: www.Copernican.us  “We Help People Change”

Phone: (617) 606-7450

 

 

Parenting Matters is a collaboration between the Colonial Times Magazine and the Town of Lexington Human Services Department. This column is not intended as a substitute for therapy and the contents are do not necessarily reflect the views of CTM’s editorial staff. The information contained in Parenting Matters is for general information purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a mental health professional, diagnosis or treatment.

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