Monday, August 31, 2009

As it turned out...

...I had very little paid work today, but then some stuff came in near the end, and I did some other stuff, and it all got away from me, and now I am tired.

More tomorrow on my lovely weekend. But for now, this: On Saturday morning we planned Dr. Moo's wedding shower in the kitchen. Well, the ladies did. The menfolk watched the Kennedy funeral on the telly, with strict orders to come get us if anything interesting happened (like TK popping up out of his coffin, for example). Sister-in-law asked Little Brother to please make the inn reservation for them for the wedding proper and when he called the inn and mentioned Dr. Moo's name they said "Oh, have you read the article?"

Small town, that Middlebury.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

Tomorrow I meet, for the first time ever, Teri, of Blueberry Pie. She hasn't been blogging in quite awhile but we've been keeping in touch, on and off, through here, and Facebook, and e-mail. She's doing a bit of a New England tour this weekend and is sofa-surfing at my place Friday night. I made baba ghanoush for her. Also for her vegan friend M, who, it turns out, lives right up the street from me.

I got to meet Thursday the blogger from England last year and it was such a treat. I am very, very, very, very, very much looking forward to meeting Teri. Yippee!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baba Ghanoush

Oh, do I love saying that. Baba Ghanoush. Baba Ghanoush. Baba Ghanoush. I got it in my head recently that I wanted to roast some eggplants and smush 'em up into something yummy. Then I remembered my friend Amelia gave me a whole unopened jar of tahini. And today the Polish farmer at the farmer's market had some beautiful eggplants. So I bought two. Later, Dr. Moo and I had a sister vibe moment on the phone when I told her how fond I was of eggplants. "Yeah," she said, "I'd be friends with an eggplant."


Hee hee. But seriously, the Moo and I do assign human qualities to vegetables now and again. It's like anthropomorphizing, but with broccoli.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Edith Wharton loved dogs

She really did. So did her husband. He shaved his favorite dog, Jules, to look like a lion. Which had the unfortunate effect of highlighting Jules' jewels. Especially in the near life-size picture of him I saw on a guided tour of The Mount on Friday.

The Mount is a work in progress at the moment. Some of the rooms reminded me of the Babcia's place in Hampton Falls. Those, of course, would be the rooms that haven't been worked on and look disheveled, Miss Havisham-y. It's strange to think of the time I spent living in such a falling-down house. It almost doesn't seem real. And in fact the Babcia's falling-down house isn't real, anymore. It was completely redone. They moved the kitchen.

You can't go back. I mean this in both the literal and the cosmic sense. I've been lucky to learn this early; it helps me remember to appreciate things as they are, in the moment.

I did that today after I left the office. I stopped by the farmers market by South Station; told the guy at Kimball Farms I'd see him tomorrow when he came to the one near my apartment. The South Station market looks a little lonely and cold compared to Davis Square. I felt very small there.

One neat thing about The Mount being a work in progress is that it hasn't been all roped-off and snootified. There's a sense of individualism in the historic reproductions, as seen in this shot of the dining room:

After our tour of The Mount, H and I checked out the grounds, which includes a pet cemetery. Jules is buried there. I placed my hand on his grave and told him I was sorry about the lion thing but that I was glad he'd had a good long life.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Shaker Swamps of Albany

Had a delightful time visiting JoyceFrances and her husband M. Ate many delicious things, got a Ralph Lauren top for 99 cents at the Sally Army, watched a young girl ram a car into a pickup truck in front of JF & M's stoop, and then watched her try to convince people she hadn't. Which made me worry about the youth of our great nation.

Also spied out of the corner of my eye while we were out on Saturday afternoon a sign for a Shaker historic site. At the Albany airport. Naturally, JF and I went to visit. It was closed. And strange. Here's a video:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bug lover

Or trying to be. This a bug I found on my window screen this morning. It's a cicada. He hung around until it started to get hot, which is when cicadas like to sing, and then he was gone, and I heard singing.

I used to get reallllllllly creeped out by bugs. I still can't take silverfish or centipedes. Ugh, especially centipedes. Everything about them is ooooogy. I also don't like slugs, or any sort of worm except inch or earth. Also flies=gross. Not a big fan of maggots, either.

But wait, this post is titled Bug lover. I did enjoy being able to check out the cicada up close. And I'm totally OK with the stinkbugs that like to crawl around the eaves at the McPolack homestead in Concord, even when they fall from the ceiling onto my...face. I just try not to scream or kill them by brushing them off too ferociously.

Anyhooooooo, I'm off to Albany this weekend, to visit JoyceFrances and her husband M. But first I'm getting up early, going to the gym, then driving out to meet H so we can visit the Edith Wharton homestead. Big fun! Toodles...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why I Wuv Bahney Fwank

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why I hate womens magazines

Here's one of many reasons.

I stopped reading Self awhile ago, partly because of their unrealistic and potentially eating-disorder-causing advice, and partly because their articles are just really, really stupid. (I do give them points for their tear-out exercise cards, which are actually kind of nice.)

I've been reading womens magazines since I was 12. That's nearly a quarter-century. And I can say one thing for sure: not much has changed. It's the same recycled, 95% bullshit advice they've been peddling for decades. Nobody in any of these magazines looks remotely real. I understand this to a degree with high-fashion mags; it's supposed to be art. But to call an image that's been Photoshopped to the point where it is physically impossible to achieve that look in real life "aspirational" borders on being a crime against women, in my opinion.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Biker babe

So yesterday I rode a bicycle for the first time in seven years. And for the longest stretch in 13 years. The last time I rode regularly was my first year out of college, when I rode my ninety-dollars-at-Ames Huffy (remember Ames? my friend Walnut worked there one summer and she would smell like Ames for hours after her shift.) through the streets of Burlington and Winooski, VT. Until I forgot it outside ONE night and it got stolen. A Huffy. I mean, come on. But it may as well have been a Cannondale; 90 bucks was that out of reach for me then.

After the bike got stolen I would walk from my apartment in Burlington all the way to the Grand Union in Winooski. This involved going up and down one very ginormous hill. Then I would stand for hours in the deli. When I worked the closing shift I was in charge of announcing when hot case items and doughnuts went half-price. People would linger, waiting for my call.

But I digress. For whatever reason, I do not purchase big-ticket items. Like, ever. No snowshoes, no cross-country skis, no stereos. And no bikes. I've lived in this mindset of broke for so many years that I feel like it's irresponsible of me to spend money on anything, ever. Because I have zero trust around being fiscally sound. Just one more thing to work on.

But I digress a SECOND time! Geez.

The whole point of this post is this: Yesterday my friend L lent me her bike and helmet and rode with me on from Arlington to Bedford, about 15 miles, on a bike path. It was exhilarating. I'm fast. Two dumb boys passed me and then slowed down, which irritated me, but their slow was pretty speedy, and I decided to let them hang on to their balls--it was Sunday, after all--and didn't on-the-left them.

While I was waiting in the parking lot for L at the end of the ride, some passersby pointed out a red-tailed hawk perched atop a nearby high rise. When I got home, there were tiny bugs stuck all over the front of me, like I was a windshield. I think I must have gotten bugs in my teeth.

All in all, it was pretty sweet.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Free dinner...

...would be something I rarely turn down, especially when it's cooked by this fine woman. I met her at a park near her house and played with her adorable child. Then later I chatted with her fine and manly husband. And then we dined on some recipes she's testing for a cookbook she's working on: a really complex and delicious pickle of apples, onions, cucumbers, some salt, some sweet, and some herbs; chestnut-apple soup into which we tried mixing some compote-you wouldn't think the mix would work but it did, and well; and cider-brined pork chops.

There's nothing like getting to hang out a with an adorable baby whose diaper you don't have to change, followed by dining on tasty chow you did not have to cook and you do not have to do the dishes for, all while getting to chat with interesting, snarky and kind grown-ups.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The end is nearer

The more I've been out in public, the more I've seen people coughing, horking, and sneezing, without doing it into their elbows or covering their mouths. Hello, people, swine flu! Sheesh.

Then, when I was in Market Basket the other day, buying a bag of loose candy, some trashy-looking lady came over, grabbed a piece, popped it in her mouth, and took off. A minute later her teenage daughter showed up. She wasn't quite as ballsy as her mom, though. I gave her the stinkeye and she left empty-handed. Look, I can understand the desire to rob from the rich and give to the poor. But this is Market Basket, not Whole Foods. Pay your nickel or go home.

The one bright spot in humanity this week was at the gym. There was an older woman there with a walker; she looked mentally disabled as well. When I helped her up off one of the leg machines, she told me she has Downs Syndrome and that her husband taught her to read. She'd been injured and unable to walk and was slowly working her way back. When she left the exercise area, she said goodbye to and thanked a bunch of people. Apparently everyone she'd asked for help obliged. On my way home I saw her waiting at a bus stop, reading the paper, and smiling.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Attention, America!

Please stop drawing Hitler mustaches on President Obama. You're embarrassing everyone with your backwoods whiskey-tango ignoramus ways.

In all seriousness, this sort of activity frightens me. And makes me feel a little like an elitist liberal snob for hating all over the stupid pieces of white trash that uncap their Sharpies and run their mouths when they have no clue what they're saying. It is hard to love those people.

Oh, it is very, very hard.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rocky mountain high

Spent the weekend in NH, visiting. Did not get much sleep Saturday night due to payback visited upon me by OSB, whose parenting skills I maligned when I remarked that it seemed odd that in a house with a three-year-old, and 18-month old, a toddler bed, a crib, and two queen-sized beds, there was only room for me to sleep on the sofa. I shared a bed with the three-year old, who needs a nightlight, and didn't fall asleep until after 1, only to be awoken less than 5 hours later by small people running in and out of the room, making noise.

I discovered that mountain climbing is a great warmup for yoga. JoyceFrances suggested we try some poses at the top, and she and I did forearm stand, wheel and side plank, among others. I felt an intense rush of joy immediately afterwards and gave JF a big hug. It was incredible.

I also discovered that if a person decides the best pants to hike a mountain in are light in color, then follows that up by deciding the best way down a mountain, at least the steep rocky parts, is on one's bum, then said bum will get very dirty, indeed. Bonus side discovery: If you let someone take pictures of your rear in front of the general store of a small NH town, the people driving by are going to take notice.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Book nerd

I've blogged before about the time I put on a backpack and jogged to three different libraries in one outing. I love everything about libraries, except maybe for when there are people with BO seated close enough to me that I can smell it. (I believe the library is for everyone, including the smelly. But I have a sensitive nose.)

Anyhoo, we were discussing libraries at the new book club I joined. Four of us were all about them, while one of us was grossed out at the prospect. She didn't say so explicitly, as she was outnumbered, but you could tell. She skeeves on libraries.

When I mentioned I'm in walking distance of a Cambridge and a Somerville branch library, a fellow book-clubber asked how Norman was doing. I knew just who she was talking about. He's been working at the Cambridge branch for 22 years, apparently, which I found out today when I stopped in after my run and saw a big poster announcing his retirement later this month.

Being a New Hampshirite at heart, my tendency is to shun all human contact outside of people I've known for 30 years. Yet my time in Vermont left me a smidge hippie. The sum effect of these polar states has made me irritated by and yet kind of in love with community. And Norman is a part of my community. So I think I'll go to his retirement party, because even though I don't talk to anyone else at the library, ever, it just feels right.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Tales from the T: Truth in Panhandling

While I have rediscovered just how much I hate being confined in a noisy, cramped, cold, windowless office, working outside of my house does have its advantages. For one, I get to ride the T, and experience its endless parade of weirdos.

This morning a guy got on at Park Street and announced he needed a few dollahs so he could take the commutah rail to a custody hearin'. Almost immediately, another guy said "Hey, you were on here yesterday with the same story."

Well the first guy wasn't about to take any of the second guy's crap. "F&*^ you!" he said. "Yestahday I needed a dollah fah a sandwich."

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I spent Saturday afternoon at Walnut and her boyfriend's place in Lincoln. While the bf puttered about doing manly things, Walnut and I watched a monarch caterpillar do Lepidopterly things on the milkweed Walnut had let continue growing next to a rock on the lawn in the hopes of attracting just such a creature.

He started out on one of the lower leaf-levels; there was a beetle doing beetle-y things higher up. Eventually Mr. MC decided he wanted to climb. Walnut and I fretted over what would happen when he reached the beetle's level; we both realized if something bad went down we were going to save the caterpillar. But it turned out to be a peaceable kingdom: Mr. MC gave the beetle the once-over with his loooooong antennae and regular-sized snout, then continued on.

Later he decided it was time for a snack. I taped it. Since I was using my camera, it's pretty out of focus. So imagine this when you're looking at the blurry caterpillary blob in the film below.

Later still, Walnut and I swam in her pool, which is lovely, concrete-floored, and surrounded by ferns, pine trees, and summersweet.

And then we ate.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Someday, maybe

Had another marathon day of work today, including a 12-page single-space multi-chapter jobby that needs a lot of massaging, to use barfy editorspeak.

I was on a break, running through Cambridge Common this morning when a guy in street clothes and sunglasses appeared alongside me, smiling. He was one of three Romanian students. They had a list of foot-related colloquialisms that they needed some help with. So I explained what it means to throw yourself at someone's feet, to get your foot in the door, and to put your foot down.

I had similar experiences in college, only with Japanese students. I'd get approached by a group of girls in the cafeteria or outside. They tended to ask "When you get married?" after which they would giggle, a lot.

When I'd finished helping the Romanians, the sunglassed fellow jogged with me for a few feet. "I run every morning," he said. His tummy seemed to contradict this, but then I run 6 miles 3 times a week dragging two large buttcheeks behind me.

He ran with me for a little bit, then waved goodbye and headed back to his friends.