Thursday, October 19, 2006

Happy Birthday -

To my favorite Wisconsonian!

Have been pretty wrapped up in my own little personal drama, so didn't have time to whip anything more elaborate up...I'm sure that he won't mind a Little Debbie, though. (It's the thought that counts!)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Friday night, in spite of my being dog-tired, I found myself taking a detour up Prospect Hill instead of going directly home.

St. Joseph's Church in Union Square. Very often, when I pass by in the morning, there is a peregrine (or two) perched on the gold cross to the right of the bell tower. Today, I think someone wanted a change of scenery, as they were perched atop the steeple at the Richardsonian-Romanesque church turned condo over on Summer Street.

From here, Boston looks almost harmless.

Widow watches and rooftops in the foreground; Boston's financial district in the background. (That's the Custom House tower between the blue house's brick chimneys.)

A favorite painted lady I pass on my nightly walks home. She's actually halfway down Prospect Hill, heading in the direction of Medford.

Made it home just in time to catch the sun setting over my neck of the woods (Winter Hill).


Yes, this place has its nice points; hopefully it doesn't end up another Ibiza or Nice.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Berkshires and Bouguereau are calling. Off to the Clark, off to Williamstown to get my fix.
(Thank heavens for small favors)

I was trying to figure out why my mom hadn't called yesterday to kvetch about the weather. Apparently her phone's knocked out.

Everybody's okay and managing to keep warm, though no one has gotten their electricity restored yet.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Just got back from the eye doctor. The most intense trip I've experienced in my life till now has to be navigating Harvard Square during lunch hour with my pupils dilated.
Rock-Solid Counsel from someone who's generally spot on when spotting these things.

(Klaus Nomi? Good lord. Kind of makes one wonder what Momus has been up to lately.)
Sleep of reason

A Nueremburg-style trial seems an interesting choice of term for this little proposed spectacle. I'd think that witch-trial or Inquisition might be more apt, though.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Out with the old.

In honor of the sugar maple's swansong, I hennaed my hair this weekend. Though Pavel told me that I should just give up on hair-dye and embrace my blondeness, I think it looks pretty nice.

This image, taken at the same time as the other, doesn't show much of the hair. I'm keeping it, though, because I like the lighting, and it does give a good illustration of the eyes on the Viking side of the family. Also figured that it'd make a good change from the dinnerplate magnolia picture that was in the sidebar for so long.
Fall's arrival was a subtle one this year: first a change in the sun's angle which suffused everything with a golden light both in the morning and evening. Next, the transition of the wind in the trees from a whisper to a gentle rustling or scraping. After that, the honey locusts on Central Street, the vanguards of this year's leaf-turning movement, began to look like aerial patches of goldenrod.

Somerville City Hall with honey locusts in the foreground.

Another view of City Hall. In Fall, even parts of the most densely-packed urban area in New England can have a Currier-and-Ives air.

Today was the first overcast day in what feels like weeks. I haven't seen too many fiery displays against gunmetal yet; I look forward to that. I also haven't smelled the cool dead leaf and rain smell that one normally experiences this time of year. Perhaps sometime over the next few days.

Around the corner from Ali's was the first in-your-face sugar maple of the year:

I first noticed it a week or so ago, when it was much more sharply dressed. Most striking was the shaping of the branches: upswept with a flourish and festooned with color, much like a flamenco dancer or Salome and her seven veils.

Karen and I are two of the few patrons of the lunch cart, though that's largely due to our susceptibility to the behavioral conditioning practiced on us by the kitchen staff (we call them the clients!). Though the quality of the food varies greatly, it's usually edible, which is all we ask.

Today, however, my pizza was not only not cardboard (as it had been the last couple times), but I could have gone for a second piece.

My boss's lunch is a new item: a honey-barbecued chicken sandwich (they put bacon on it!) and fries. I'm hearing sounds of contentment from her office.

Wonder if there's new kitchen training staff?
Word has it that Paris will be coming to Boston again in a couple weeks. Happy Halloween!
Yesterday morning, I stopped by Ali's for a cup of coffee and to wish him a happy technical Monday. Found him somewhat slumped over his counter looking listlessly out the door.

"It's not that bad, is it? Even for the beginning of the week?"

He sighed. "Thirteen days to go."
(Thirteen days? Oh! Right!)

"Ohhh. Well, sundown is coming early now. Why don't you have a cup of tea?"

"Can't drink tea. Can't drink water."

"Gosh, Ali - that's awfully rough. You must be going nuts at night." Told him about my girlfriend who got passed around from household to household in Casablanca one Ramadan and about how she gained five pounds from the experience.

He smiled a bit ruefully. "The trouble is is that your stomach shrinks during this period and, though you see all this food you look at it, you think -I need, I need, I just can't eat it. Your stomach won't let you"

I nodded in sympathy.

"Tell you what, Ali, I'll pray for strength for you these next couple weeks if you promise to do the same for me during Lent."

Since he was too weak/tired to do anything else, he just smiled and nodded back. "It's a deal."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

She mentioned in her email that she wasn't only hopping mad, but pig-biting mad. I suggested that we have lunch out today rather than rush over to the next-door sandwich shop. Though we're always under the gun, sometimes it just makes good sense to take more than the usual fifteen minute break and get the heck out. Time off for good behavior, I call it.

We went to the local Chinese joint which recently got a feng-shui makeover: screens, calligraphic prints, lucky bamboo, etc. (It's amazing how much nicer subgum pork tastes when served on a china plate with real silverware, or how much more refreshing the tea is when it doesn't taste like styrofoam.) There, we sat down, got fussed over by the waitress, and tried to relax. My girlfriend let off a bit of steam in the form of invective and I attempted some humorous commentary on her experiences (always iffy, as, when one is as close to a situation as I am to hers, one can never be sure if they've stepped over the line between dry and bitter. How on earth did Dorothy Parker do it? Oh, right: martinis at lunch).

A few minutes later, a couple of august-looking older men sat down at a table next to ours. Since we were separated by a screen, it wasn't difficult to engage in obvious eavesdropping, a delight, given that what they were talking about was much more interesting than our rehash of the morning's annoyances. For about twenty minutes, we took a break from our petty world to hear them discuss favorite books and authors. I drifted off to Maugham and Waugh; saw from my girlfriend's wry half-smile that she was enjoying the conversation as well.

After they left, she remarked on how nice it was to get a respite from the normal politicking and backbiting that takes place at work. I nodded in agreement.

Though reasonably intelligent, neither of us is what one would call intellectual, or of an academic bent: we're worker bees. There's nothing wrong with that; we don't mind. Every now and again, though, it's nice to be able to put our heads in the clouds and think on something other than office politics, local politics, relationship politics. It certainly helped today.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Such a lucky girl.

I dragged myself home late tonight, wiped-out and down in the mouth. Managed to bring in the mail and the recycle bins before collapsing on my bed.

The phone rang; I didn't answer it.
It rang again. Still, I didn't answer.

Got myself up, schlepped me into the bathroom to rinse off my face. During that time, the phone rang yet again. I managed to pick it up on the last ring; heard Raphaella's voice.

"You're home now?"
"Just got in. Raphaella, they kicked my ass today."
"Yeah, you were gone for so long. They do that to Rosie whenever she goes on vacation."
"God, I don't know how much more I can take."
"You're gonna have to take a lot more if you want to eat and have a roof over your head."

I asked her how her day was. She said that she'd kicked her own ass tying up the fast-fading tomatoes and scrubbing the patio. Asked me if I'd like to take some of the green ones to make relish with (She loves "American" or sweet tomato relish, but doesn't know how to make it. Roberta across the street used to make it, but doesn't bother with a garden anymore now). Told me she wanted to see my new bathroom.

I unlocked the doors, stepped out to meet her halfway and found her in her garden clutching a big, green granny square afghan.

"What's that?" I asked. "It's too warm to need a quilt tonight. What're you doing with that?"

She laughed. "Homemade pasta. I made it for the tomatoes."

She showed me her swollen forearms and arthritic wrists, proof that she'd not only kneaded the dough, but that she'd cut the pasta by hand. "I felt like making pasta today and wanted to save some for you. I kept it in the blanket so it would stay warm. I was thinking about you, and thought you'd like homemade spaghetti tonight."

It took everything for me not to start to cry. How'd I get so lucky?

All I could say was, "Oh, Raphaella, the noodles are as thin as my grandma used to make. This is gonna be so good. It's hot spaghetti, isn't it? Lots of peppers? Thanks, Ma."
Happy Place.

A grotto in the gardens at Versailles. It's on my desktop now, as I find myself myself returning there quite a lot; especially after staff meetings.


"You've got to get out, and get out as soon as possible, Be. If you stay here, you're going to rot. Leave here already, would you?"

-something my boss said to the other day.

(Believe me, I agree 100% with this. It's just a matter of where I end up landing after I make the leap.)



I'd do so if I could decide which was more panic-worthy:

That I'm no longer denying the increased intensity of feelings towards a certain someone or

That in a weak and emotional moment I actually admitted this to my someone.

Oh, for the peace that dissociation would bring.

(From Grimpen Mire)