Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall in the Boston Area means a lot of things for a lot of people. For us, though, it means library sales. Pavel's been doing his research and it looks like we've got at least one library to visit each weekend to the start of December.

Yesterday, only made it to one. This was because, between everyone having "town day" and all the lane closings for construction, we spent an awful lot of time in traffic. Still, at Bedford, found many wonderful things. Today, it looks like we're going to try to visit Wellesley, Acton and Medford. We'll see what happens.
Pavel's back from his annual trip to shores farther north of here, so the household's seeing a fair bit of activity.

Am really really happy he's back; the house is too big and lonely otherwise.

Friday, September 25, 2009


If I'm not a regular consumer of Twitter or Facebook Media, how am I to know what the hell's going on?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Got a really good, concrete something that validated at least one of the struggles over the past couple years. (slow release of breath).

Am relly pleased with myself, but also had an amazing amount of support. Couldn't have achieved what I did without those who'd helped me roll up the sleeves, who'd dealt with my moods, who'd spurred me on. Thank you. Thank you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just read that Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary passed away the other day. Remembered hearing this song as a kid and wanting to learn how to sing (and dance, laugh, have fun...all while keeping the beat):


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The problem with goals is that, once one is achieved, another one needs to be set.

Unfortunately, this usually entails a couple things I'm not good at: choosing and committing.

(I know I go on a lot in this vein, but am at a juncture and am struggling a bit.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Revolutionary Color.

Pavel sent me this link to some Russian color photography from the beginning of the last century, including the only known picture of Leo Tolstoy.

Though these images were made at about the time when my grandparents were born, they look as though they could have been taken yesterday. Amazing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Made the mistake of talking to my mother tonight. Feel like hell.
There were so many thing in the Eighties that were so wrong; aesthetically and otherwise.

Patrick Swayze was something right.

(click here. Embedding's disabled.)

Rest in Peace.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In flux.

Took a wander out to Great Meadows today. Decided to leave the camera home for a change so as to really get a good look at things. Noted that the swamps had been drained and some of the greenery had been cleared away. In others areas, it was left to grow beyond what I'd ever seen before.

As always, the area was teeming with birds and other animals. This time around, though, their activity seem almost frenzied. Noted more snowy egrets than we'd ever seen there in all our visits. Saw and heard at least two blue herons. Ducks and geese could be seen in the reeds, nurturing what seemed the last broods before migration. In the newly-drained areas, we could see (and hear) what looked like common snipe chicks and possibly some yellow-legs. Also heard marsh wrens and (I'm pretty sure) the cries of fish hawks, both young and mature.

The main causeway was nearly covered with at least three different types of frogs. Caught one slow one and gave it to Pavel to hold for a while. Marveled at sunfish leaping out of the water to catch gnats.

Oh, and the plant life: tasted some wild grapes. Wished I could get close enough to sample a lotus pod. Were amazed to find what looked like a couple different types of dogwood (?). Decided that maybe, just maybe, a bouquet of loose strife (bad, bad loose strife) and goldenrod might not be such a bad thing. Over all, the setting sun was gradually changing the variegated sky from different shades of gunmetal to golds, purples and pinks, all while drenching the rest of the landscape with gold.

Chatted for a bit with one man on his evening constitutional. He'd noted the draining of the swamps and the decision to cut some areas while leaving others overgrown; was perplexed a bit by this. I mentioned that, though there was always a lot of bird activity, this seemed like the richest I'd ever seen things. Pondered on the politics of managing the wetlands area.

At that point, the sun's rays shifted, both changing the colors of the cloud kaleidoscope above and highlighting a (until that point unnoticed) band of early-changing sugar maples.

"We're in flux," he said. "The seasons are changing and this is a wild time for everyone. It's all happening so fast."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Airplane Knitting.

Stork's Nest Scarf

Storks nests aren't covered in Audubon's survey. Figured the lace pattern inspired by their nests looked good against the book cover art anyway. The scarf's being worked in Green Mountain Spinnery's Sylvan Spirit, color Antique Brass.

When I fly, I generally plan for little if any human interaction. There's so much technology available on planes nowadays for shutting one's neighbor's out. (Doesn't help matters that am pretty painfully shy; shy to the point of looking rude.)

For the last trip, packed two sink-one's-teeth-into lace patterns and a couple of books I've really been savoring lately. Didn't make much headway into anything, as both flights were filled with much more social interaction than I'd have expected.

Was a bit surprised to see a familiar face in the security line at Logan: turned out that an old friend from school was heading out to wherever his company outsources their manoeuvre to nowadays. Since it was a jam-packed 747, about the only place we could go to catch up on things was in one of the emergency exit doorways in front of a toilet. Somehow we managed during our chat to not annoy anyone too much (I hope) and to not get cricks in our backs from standing hunched over for as long as we did.

Returned to my seat to the gentleman next to me rousing from a nap. "You're getting home late. Where were you all this time, Young Lady?" Told him that I ran into someone I'd not seen in like 15 years. He expressed (complimentary) surprise that I'd be old enough to know someone for that length of time. His wife, the graceful, egret-looking French lady next to him, laughed.

Over the course of the rest of the flight, learned an awful lot about them: where they worked, where they lived. How they met,* why they chose Boston for settling down, why they went back to France every year, etc. The lady seemed fascinated with what I was knitting, so showed her the pattern and talked about the yarn I was using, which came from a mill in Vermont. (Later learned that she had more than just a passing interest in Rudolf Steiner's educational theory; knitting's a major component of the curriculum.)

Of course, given that this was an Air France flight, we talked about the two downed planes earlier in the Summer. That led to talk about 9/11: they'd actually flown one of the first AA flights out of Logan after the attacks; said that it was a strange, but generally positive (and surprisingly spiritual) experience. Talked about air rage**, fears of stuff falling from the sky, our worries about the world in general. The news was just coming out about one of the Lockerbie bombers being freed soon, something no one was happy about.

Made it to our destination early, though had a fair wait in immigration due to something like six other planes arriving from different parts of Africa. Got to introduce my new friends to the Frenchie, who offered them a ride to their hotel. Turned out that they were going in exactly the opposite direction from us, so said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.


* The Frenchie, who's a 68er himself in spite of his denials, told me that how they met is a classic scenario for that generation.

** Over the past six flights, have seen three particularly pointed incidents, all with European males losing their tempers. The Frenchie tells me that American airlines have a bad reputation in the French papers for their tough approach to these situations. I don't like to make sweeping generalizations on these sorts of things, but am not so sure that cause-and-effect or an understanding that the world outside one's day-to-day might be different from what one is accustomed to are particularly valued/nurtured in this part of the world.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Am happy for a gray day today, as sunshine still makes me sick.

Here are posts from two folks from the New York side of things. Have to say that I agree with and understand both their points.

Am also thinking about a conversation on my last flights over the Atlantic regarding both the recent Air France mechanical disasters, as well as the terrorist-caused ones.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Underpass Graffiti II

Underpass Grafitti III

Underpass Graffiti IV

Underpass Graffiti I

Took another wander around the Mystic yesterday; saw all manner of interesting things, both man-made and natural. (More pictures here, if you're interested.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Am a little bit tired out today, as had trouble sleeping last night. When I'm tired I think of food,* so why not share a couple recipes I fiddled around with recently?

Sunday night, was out heeding the Call of Nature, so got home too late to make a proper dinner. Still, we needed something warm and filling. Ended up with a quick and dirty butternut squash "veloute:"

Butternut Soup

1 12 oz package frozen butternut squash
2 tsp chicken bouillion powder
2 c. water
1 onion
2 small (2-3" diameter) potatoes
1 tbl olive oil
curry powder to taste
1 c yogurt

Slice onion, saute in olive oil until transparent. Dice potatoes, add to pot with chicken bouillion, water, squash. Bring to rolling boil; cook until squash is thawed and potato is soft.

Transfer all to blender and puree.

Pour back into pan, add curry powder to taste (and a bit of salt and/pepper, if you'd like), and heat to a simmer. Stir in yogurt.

Makes a really filling meal for two or a more reasonable one for four. Goes well with fresh, crusty bread, cheese and salad.


The crab apples are best harvested after the first frost. We haven't had a frost yet, and I really had an urge to make jelly, so ended up experimenting with something I'd been wanting to try for a while:

Burgundy Jelly

3 1/2 c wine (I used a *very* cheap burgundy)
1/2 c fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 c sugar
1 pkg sure-jell pectin

Decided to try a 1:1 wine/juice:sugar ratio to see what I'd end up with. Followed the pectin package instructions and let Sure Jell do its magic. I ended up with 5 8 oz jars, one 4 oz jar and a saucerful of leftover jam. Worked like a dream.

Pavel smeared a bit of the stuff over some goat cheese on an ak-mak and told me that it was actually pretty good. I'm wondering if this might be nice over vanilla custard or ice cream. In any event, am thinking of making more to give as gifts, it's so lovely and inattendu.

*We used to call this tired-hungry thing the "hungry horrors" at my last job.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

"...For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)/it's always ourselves we find in the sea."

Ripples in the sand at Sandy Point.

Spent some Quality Time with the Pavel and his sister on Plum Island yesterday. I share the quotidien with Pavel, so often miss the forest through the trees in his case. Anna, though she lives so nearby, is someone I don't spend nearly enough time with. This is hammered home each time I do see her. Idem for the Sea. (More pictures here, if you're interested.)

Paulie and Anna

I was trying for a candid shot of Anna, but Pavel ended up walking on scene. Love it when he does that. Adds interest.

Toured Hellcat Swamp, looked at* birds at Sandy Point, then had dinner at The Grog**. Really, could there be a better way to end Summer?

Anna III

Off into the sunset.


* As opposed to "birdwatching." We see birds and identify them. We do NOT go out to remote places with expensive equipment and identify plastic shopping bags as eagles.

** For an appetizer, we had squash ravioli with a cranberry-apple-apple cider sauce. Anna had the Sole Almondine with a really nice homemade pilaf. I had the Meatloaf special (luscious!), and Pavel had the burgah of the day. Wasn't totally happy with it; said was kind of gilding the lily with the port wine cheese and rosemary ham. Oh well, two outta three ain't bad.)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sometime this week, my blog turns six and my cranky medicated cat turns 16. Funny how time flies.
There must be, in addition to the lone fledgling from the surprisingly infertile cardinal nest, a brood of late-blooming jays somewhere near the house. They've been loud and vocal, and there's just too many of them squawking around for long periods to make this a territorial dispute. Actually, it's a nice thing to wake up to.

Also nice to wake up to is the relatively healthy cat curling up next to me under the slightly not-enough for this weather quilt. The housemate has my other, too-warm one from Maine. Should probably run the 'just right' one through the wash and throw it on the bed. Am sure that we're going to get some warmer weather again soon. (We have to; it's still Summer.) Still, it's better to be warm all over and to sleep through the night, rather than be waking up from a nightmare caused by chilled toes and a cold-stiffened knee.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Well, I've been back for about a week now, but really wasn't much up for writing. The house was a disaster, for one thing. Also, I always feel a bit blue when I return from a trip Over There. Aussi, il faut admettre that I've been cheating on the blog a bit with Facebook. Facebook's kind of nice in some aspects; am happy to have gotten in touch with some folks I'd lost track with over the years. On the other hand, it's not really made for much beyond quick, off-the-cuff things.

Anyway, if you're interested, here's the latest round of pictures. If you decide to look for me on Facebook, just follow the wherever the little button on the right takes you.

Wedding Leftovers

Left-behind wedding flowers, Granville. August, 2009. Before anyone asks, no: not my wedding. Plan on being single for some time.