Sunday, May 31, 2009


Please check it out while PBS keeps it online. Really. I'm not a TV person. I'm not a PBS person (am, actually anti PBS.) This is actually very good and am rather surprised to see it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Banged my toes up a fair bit. I think I might need new boots.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Apparently there was a bad ice storm this winter that caused an awful lot of damage. One trail that I like, Birchtoft, was closed for cleanup. Did note a lot of bowed white and felled yellow birches on Cascade:

Gateway Birch

Gateway to the South.

Bowed Birch Boughs II

(Of course it got me thinking of Robert Frost. Are you kidding? How couldn't it.)
Well, yesterday I managed to force the house mate into going on a death march with me in New Hampshire. For a number of reasons, it's been a while since I'd been to Monadnock. Was very glad to return, though.

We started off on the Cascade trail with the intention of taking Pumpelley to the summit. However, since we got a late start, didn't make it all the way to the top. Got pretty close, though.

Trail Marker

Between 1/4 and 1/2 mi to the summit, we hit this marker indicating the intersection between Pumpelley and Red Dot trails. Since it was very late, decided to rest and eat something there, then start our descent.


"Alpine" meadow.

Ended up taking the Smith connector to White Cross and following that down to the base. This was a big deal for me, as I'd had a bad experience on White Cross. Wanted to get past that and the idea that I couldn't navigate this place without someone more experienced than me. Both I and the knee did fine. In fact, was amazed at how sure-footed I was. Believe me, I'm not overconfident or anything, there's just some body memory involved now that I didn't know I had. Also have a lot more sense than I'd allowed myself to believe I had.

Pavel Enjoying the View

Still don't like getting close to ledges. Even ledges with short drops, like this one.

Now that I'm the one wielding the camera, found myself having a hard time tearing myself away from the beauty in bloom and of decay to admire the panoramic views.

Trillium II

Trillium. These were endangered species in NYS when I was living there. Was amazed to see their profusion here.


Weird focus. Sorry for that. Was an amazing lichen, though.


Moosewood, aka Striped Maple, in bloom.

Lady Slipper

Lady Slippers, the only orchid indigenous to the Northeast of the United States, has a symbiotic relationship with oaks and maples. Guess one could say that it blooms on decay. Sorry about the poor quality of the image - have such bad luck in low light settings and I hate the flash.

Luminous Birch Bark

Was bowled over by the luminosity of the bark of some felled yellow birches.

Next time we go back (and I think that'll be fairly soon), want to take the house mate up to Monta Rosa. It's a shorter (and less demanding) climb with two peaks for the price of one.

(More pictures here if you're interested.)
Sacre Floof!

Looks like we've got a yew ful of house sparrow fledglings, complete with downy chests, pink beaks, and insatiable appetites. Wow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Turkey Vulture

Today was the perfect day to leave the roost, spread one's wings, be free of the city for a bit.

Now, to sleep the sleep of the just (as Pavel calls it). We earned it, just as we earned the relish with which we ate our dinners.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Last night I dreamed of garlic soup with saffron, so absolutely had to have some this morning. Threw together a broth (veggie stock from the freezer to which I added four sauteed cloves of garlic, some thyme, black pepper and a huge pinch of saffron). While this was simmering and perfuming up the house, made a piece of toast and poached an egg. Buttered the toast and put it in a bowl. Set the egg on top of it, then ladled the broth over this. Sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese over that.

My word, did it hit the spot. Love it when something so simple can satisfy like that and actually get me glowing.
Dispatch #11:

"Hey Bro! Happy Memorial Day! Hopefully the mouth is feeling a lot better?? Sorry this card's going out late - you know how a long weekend messes up schedules...Glad you got the stationery I sent - I'll get some more envelopes + stamps out this week. Anything else you need that I'm allowed to send? This was a nice weekend. Had a barbecue and saw a parade. The weather was gorgeous. Not much else exciting happening. Hey...did you quit smoking? Just wondering (hope so). You take care."
"Again and again...mothers who lost their sons in France have come to me...

American Cemetery under snow

The American Cemetery at Suresnes in January of this year. The Frenchie tells me that each grave has an American and a French flag beside it for today's ceremonies.

...and, taking my hand have shed tears upon it not only, but they have added, "God bless you, Mr. President!" Why...should they pray God to bless me? I advised the Congress of the United States to create the situation that led to the death of their sons. I ordered their sons overseas. I consented to their sons being put in the most difficult parts of the battle line, where death was certain, as in the impenetrable difficulties of the forest of Argonne. Why should they weep upon my hand and call down the blessings of God upon me? Because they believe that their boys died for something that vastly transcends any of the immediate and palpable objects of the war. They believe, and rightly believe that their sons saved the liberty of the world."

-from Woodrow Wilson's Pueblo Speech, September 25, 1919.


Happy Memorial Day.


Update: The Frenchie sent some images from Memorial Day:

Memorial Day in Suresnes I

Memorial Day in Suresnes II

Memorial Day in Suresnes III

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Love a Parade.

For some reason, I thought the big Somerville Memorial Day parade was going to be on Monday. Was kind of shocked when, up in my room reading, I heard actual bagpipes after the sirens. Grabbed my camera & a couple of batteries to see what I could see:

Brass Band

What a profile.

Anchors Aweigh!

Anchors Aweigh!

Shriner Segue

Okay, the Shriners rock. If I'm not too tired, will have a whole post on these folks. Love them.

Rock on, Shriners, with your figure-eights and all.


What's a parade without pipers? Two groups (that I heard/saw) this parade.

Greater Boston's Finest

Boston's Best brought up the rear. There were representatives from Somerville, Medford, Arlington, Cambridge, Boston and Brookline. Made me think about this person. Don't know if he goes to parades, but hope he realizes that there's an awful lot of people who think good thoughts for him and his colleagues.

Happy (and Holy) Memorial Day to everyone out there. This is an important holiday in an awful lot of places in the world. Please keep that in mind. And if you don't know why, please read or listen a bit outside your normal scope.

(More pictures here.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

As a reward for a day well-spent, we got treated to a beautiful, site-transcending sunset.

One way that Pavel's been combating his insomnia lately has been by wandering around the Mystic in the early hours of the morning to watch birds. The last couple times he's gone he's seen and heard all sorts of creatures who don't visit the yew in the backyard.

Yesterday afternoon after everything that needed to be accomplished was done, we decided to take a wander over to see what we might find. Though not as numerous as at dawn, there were still quite a few birds out. Right off the bat, heard song sparrows and red winged blackbirds. I'm pretty sure that I saw some kind of warbler, too, up in an alder. Of course, there were swans, cormorants and geese.


The most exciting new discovery had to be this guy. We knew that he was some sort of wader, but weren't sure what. By the time I got close enough to snap a shot, he decided that he'd had enough of us and flew off. (What the heck was he doing out in broad daylight?)

Since birds move around too much, I confined myself to taking pictures of fruits and flowers. There was a regular cornucopia of potential tasty things either in bloom or ripening, too. Will have to visit again in a few weeks in order to take advantage.

Sumac Fruits

Staghorn Sumac!






Mulberry! I'm particularly happy about this, as when the new bridge went up on Lowell Street, they took down the tree I used to collect berries from.



Made our way to the graffiti'd underpass and decided that it might be a good idea to head over to the Friendly in Meadow Glen for some ice cream. (Good call, Be!) Pavel got a strawberry shortcake sundae and I got something new - a peanut butter and banana sundae. As I'd been craving a banana split since finishing finals, this really hit the spot. Admired the artwork; wish that they sold it or at least had it up on their website.

On the way back, happened upon a fire in the reeds. Have seen this numerous times before, so had often wondered if DCR had some sort of controlled burning program. Decided to call the fire department just in case. (That was good deed number two for the day. The first was rescuing a poor little garter snake off the sidewalk on School Street near City Hall. Put him in the shade. On the trip back home, saw that he had left. Hopefully he's alright.)

Am always amazed at how far from home and the city I feel when I wander around the preserve. For this, I'd say that it has to be one of my favorite around. Really need to get back there more often. It had been nearly a year since I'd last visited and this is a place that should be seen at least once each season.


The aeolian over by the high school in Medford. Can see it from Spring Hill.

(More pictures here if you're interested.)
Am feeling a bit tired and weak today. Hopefully this will pass.

Monday, May 18, 2009

El Sueno de la Razon Produce Monstruos.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

There is no my space, no our space. Only her space.

Cat on Shawl.

Ampersand reclining on a project that took forever to complete and which pleases me to no end. It's a simple garter stitch triangle (CO 3 stitches; sl 1, inc 1, k to end until desired length/width - I got sick of knitting at 200 stitches with a gauge of 4st/in unblocked. BO, block the heck out of it.) inspired by the wonderful, airy Morehouse designs and knit from some of the oldest yarn in my stash - two skeins of crewel wool that I'd bought at the Women's Educational and Industrial Union back when they had a store and were phasing out their needlework department. I'm calling it Wedgewood. (Stitches in more detail here.)

Though I realize that the spare bed is technically her territory, driving that point home by pretending to sleep on wet wool seems a bit silly.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dispatch #10:

"Hope the tooth is feeling a bit better. I have a stomachache right now + have been in a haze for a couple days. (Either it's nerves or I'm coming down with something.) Aside from that, life isn't too bad. Finished exams on Wednesday and am now just resting a bit.

Re: masters degrees - It depends on what you're studying of course, but the average study time is 2 yrs. My problem is figuring out what I want to do - am good at lots of things, and am afraid to pick. (Fear of commitment - snort!) The History classes I was taking were nice, because they were a different viewpoint on stuff we've already heard about + there was a fair bit of writing. I like to write. Take care."

and more catharsis.

Have been following both for some time, might as well put their links on my little sidebar of fame (for what it's worth).

Friday, May 15, 2009


I was wondering why helicopters were circling overhead for what seemed like all morning.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Exams finished; made it through more or less unscathed. Felt myself seizing at about 11/2 hours in, so made a point of getting up and stretching some.

Got all my papers back for the year, as well. Grades were much better than what I thought I'd merited. One paper in particular made me happy and went to talk about it in more depth with the professor during office hours. Offered some other observations on the subject at hand, some other points in time to look at in the continuum, a book to check out. I think I have a nice little something to keep me out of trouble over the summer (at least).

Now to crash. The tension's left the body and I feel like a wet noodle. (Good night.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Works in Progress.

Mrs. Cardinal aside, I've prettymuch put the wool away for the season.

Celestine 3/12

3/12, or exactly 25% of the way through this fun little toy. The yarn is a discontinued one from Lion called Kitchen Cotton. Am making it for a little boy who is allergic to wool, whose mom is a physicist and whose dad is a mathematician. Wonder who will have the most fun with it?

Bea's Birthday Sweater

This will eventually fill out to become a birthday cardigan for a little girl who shares part of a name with me. It's the Color Block Cardigan from this book, and I'm using Lion's Microspun in pink, red and purple.

Cherry Twist Neckline

The yarn for this one was an impulse purchase; normally it's so expensive (to me) that I can't buy more than one skein at a time. However, found five in a sale bin at a price that couldn't be refused. The color's not my favorite (it's sort of a peachy-melony orange), but it's a dream to work with and should feel wonderful when the weather gets even warmer. Here's the pattern; I'm at the neckline. As am making it a size smaller than what I normally wear, am hoping that this keeps up the motivation to keep doing my stomach crunches and pushups. Have lost a fair bit of weight, but am still a bit too flacque to feel comfortable either baring the shoulders or drawing attention to the stomach. That's Trouble in the upper left hand corner, by the way.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Got a letter from my little brother today! These are rare treats. Guess he's on drugs for a toothache, so it's making him a bit woozy. Not much other news on his side of things; is very curious about what's going with me.

When he writes it's usually short, but within I can see the half smile, can hear his voice's deadpan delivery. Love the little glints of him through the fog of the past several months.

Right now he's probably in the best place he could possibly be. Just wish that it didn't have to be this way; that things could have turned differently.
Dispatch #9:

"Sorry to hear 'bout the toothache - hope it gets resolved soon. Beautiful day out today - took a long walk, met an ex-coworker for lunch. We had hummos sandwiches at a local middle eastern place. I LOVE MIDDLE EASTERN pickles!* I don't know how they brine them, but it's good - can only find them @ Israeli or Lebanese restaurants. So - lots of rain by you. Not necessarily a bad thing. It's a little dry here. I have my history exam on Wed. Wish me luck. Will tell you 'bout that + school next time 'round. Till then - TAKE CARE!"


* Maybe not the thing to be saying, given where this note is heading. However, have to be true to myself. I *do* love middle eastern pickles and my brother's pretty knowledgeable on these things, so might be able to shed some light on this in his next letter to me.
Flowering Trees

Mock Orange?


Curried Shrimp and Fiddleheads

Bird Family Values

Cardinal Couple II

Oh, and lots of fretting over school and exams. That's what's going on in my little world right now.

I can't wait until next week when, for better or for worse, the school stuff will be done for the Summer, anyway.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Woke up to the hard rainfall on the roof this morning. Can't get back to sleep, though I am dog tired. Don't need this; have all sorts of stuff that needs to get done later on in the day and that needs a clear, not tired (and upset) mind.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Who could ever forget that laugh?

One of my favorite movies as a kid; must have seen it like a dozen times.

Rest in Peace, Dom DeLuise.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

All plants are still there, surprisingly. Just a little wilted. Watered them twice today, but can't seem to get enough water into the ground. We really need rain.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The lettuce was wilted, the tomatoes pot bound. Since they were all sure to die if I didn't do anything, planted them out back. Will be interesting to see if anything's still standing tomorrow morning. If so, have some chicken wire left from the compost piles that I'll jury rig into some sort of fence.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Sparks and loud pops on the train are fine if they stay outside the passenger area. Kind of neat, actually. Add a bit of piquancy to the commute.

Much less dangerous, too, than silly women who wear stilettos without knowing how to walk in them. The girl next to me (She was wearing nice flips that showed off a new pedicure. Made me glad I've not broken out my sandals yet. My feet need lots of work before they can be exposed.) was stepped on by a woman who lost her balance getting up for the next stop while the train was still moving. What a scream. What a scene. Poor thing.
Dispatch #8:

"Happy May Day! It's raining right now, which is a relief given that the temperature was 102 on the back porch earlier this week. Am taking a friend to the airport today - he's going to Paris for two weeks. Had another friend go back to Paris on Monday, too. Am jealous. Have to stay around here, write papers and study for exams. On an unrelated note: found some mushrooms on the reduced price produce rack at the grocery store the other day. Took them home and made a sort of cream of mushroom soup out of them. You know what? Was *much* better than Campbell's. You keep taking care."
The Good Old Days.

I was in kindergarten when the first epidemic hit. Learned the term 'swine' from the news, in fact. Don't remember if I got a shot (don't think so), but I do remember the first of the two commercials.