Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Long Day

The day started out taking my mother to the beauty shop at Atria for her 10 a.m. appointment.  The beauty shop is not open on Fridays, but Lucy, the beautician, made an exception and came in especially for my mother, so she would look good when I take her to lunch with her friends in San Rafael tomorrow.

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The transformation was striking.  She's been looking like the Wicked Witch of the West for weeks now.  Her old self would be appalled at how she looked going to meals at Atria.  But once she got her hair washed and set and her curls brushed out, I loved how happy she looked.  Sadly, it is obvious that she will never be able to do this by herself again.  The beauty shop has moved upstairs and it involves (a) knowing that it's upstairs, (b) finding the elevator, (c) knowing which button to push, and (d) navigating TWO hallways to get to the place.  It was blatantly obvious that my mother was incapable of doing any of those things, so I guess I'll be taking her for hair appointments from now on.  It takes about an hour from start to finish and I read in the shop for awhile, but the chair was uncomfortable, so I moved to the couch outside and that was better.  Now that I know how long it takes, next time I might get something done while she's in the shop.

She can't retain the fact that we are meeting her friends tomorrow, so each time I mention it to her, it's like a fun new surprise all over again which, other than being tedious for me is kind of fun watching her get excited about it.

After a long nap that left me completely disoriented for a few minutes (I thought it was morning, not afternoon), I got a bunch of stuff cleared up on the internet and then we headed off to Elk Grove to our Mexican daughter Marie's restaurant, Todo un Poco.  She had invited us to come because she knew it would be a slow night for her and she would be able to visit more.  She was hoping we could come this day because her mother is visiting from Mexico and though we never have chats (there being a language barrier), we do smile and laugh and hug.

The restaurant doubles as a unique art gallery, and Marie sat us in a corner under this little unassuming portrait of Zapata.

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The restaurant is filled with such amazing paintings, some with a touch of humor, such as this pairing.

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Marie got us settled with two bottles of wine and 2 glasses each, figuring we would do a wine tasting of two different wines.  I told her that as the designated driver, I would only drink a little.  She brought us menus to choose our meal, but in the meantime she went off to get "a few appetizers."

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This included meat balls, some Mexican gnocci, a spaghetti dish with cilantro and something I couldn't quite identify, but which had mole sauce.  When we had eaten our fill of these, out came a bowl of paella.

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Then she asked if we were ready to order dinner!  We told her we had just eaten our dinner, so she brought out fried bananas and churros.

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...AND cookies her mother had bought that afternoon.  We were stuffed and she sent us home with all the leftover paella. And a bottle of wine.

We had a chance for a long visit.  This girl, who came to us, very nervous, at age 18 in 1989 has had the most extraordinary life, has accomplished so much, has so much about to happen to her.  The walls of her restaurant are filled with accolades for her restaurant, which has been "restaurant of the year" a couple of times, and Marie was Elk Grove's Citizen of the Year in 2012. I am proud that we were a part of her "coming of age," and of pushing her out the door to go do something for herself. 

It was 11 when we got home (after stopping to buy cottage cheese for the dogs) and I have to get off to sleep if I'm to leave early tomorrow to get my mother to her luncheon.  I suspect that in familiar surroundings, with old friends, and with her new hair do, she will be more like her "old self" for a few hours.  I am very much looking forward to experiencing that.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Yesterday at Logos

It seemed so soon to be back at Logos, when we had just returned from Boston, but it was Thursday, so there I was.  Sandy didn't stick around long and I moved into the chair behind the cash register to check out a dad and his two kids, a little boy who bought 2 books on trucks and trains, and a girl who also bought two books, one about the circus and another one.

As they were leaving a woman came in with a copy of the "Oracles of Nostradamus" from the bargain table outside.

A young man came in with a bargain book and asked if there was any chance of employment at Logos.  When I explained that we are all volunteers, he paid the $1 for the bargain book and gave $1 as a donation.  He also took information to talk with Susan about possibly volunteering.

I decided to read Eve Ensler's play "The Good Body" and was so engrossed in it I didn't pay much attention to the several people looking at the books until an older man in a floppy hat came up to buy three books by Ogden Nash.

A guy came in looking for a specific book about oil rigging, but said he didn't imagine that wasn't the sort of book that would find its way into a town like Davis.  I suggested he check the Avid Reader.

I thought I heard someone outside somewhere playing the flute and was appreciating the music floating overhead.  It was an hour or so before I realized it was the radio playing in the store.

A sad looking Asian woman bought a Contemporary Fiction book.  When she smiled, her whole face lit up.  I was entranced at the difference a smile made.

A Mom and daughter came in.  Mom was the kind of athletic, blonde, middle aged woman, in well matched shorts and t-shirt, with the perfect accessories that you see jogging and biking all over town.  The kind of woman who runs most of the most active committees and accomplishes many things for Davis.  She was looking for the "Divergent" series.  Her daughter, probably in her 20s, was a bit chunkier, dressed in short-shorts and a tight, low cut hot pink t-shirt.   She spent her time looking through the Fantasy section.

A man wearing a green "Ithaca is Gorges" t-shirt was looking for sports books, but ended up buying 3 philosophy books and Bill Bryson's "The History of Everything."  I commented on my love of Bill Bryson and he said that this was the first book of his that he had read.

A cheerful guy with a big envelope came in, held out his hand, and introduced himself saying "I work for the Davis Enterprise."   He was surprised when I said "I do too."  He was there to sell advertising, so I took his information to give to Susan and Peter.

A young woman with impossibly thin legs in skin-tight jeans came in.  She stayed roughly the length of time it took me to write that descriptive sentence and then left.

Then was the most fun experience of the day.  I looked up and was looking at this wall of different shades of green approaching, stretching across the distance the width of my desk.  Two women with five toddlers, all dressed in various patterns with green, and a baby in a green stroller came in.  I don't think any of the kids was over 5 but they were very well behaved and one of the women whispered to me that they were using their "library voices."   They stayed in the children's room for about 10 minutes and I heard barely a sound from them and I sat there making silly faces at the baby to keep him from crying.

The "library voices" ended when the group started to leave and one of the girls wanted a book that the women were not going to buy, then there was an impressive tantrum, but on the whole I was very impressed with how well behaved this group of children was.

A guy in dirty clothes, with dirty fingers, holding a dirty box and waving a piece of paper I couldn't read asked me if I could buy some of his candy to help an organization I didn't hear the name of.  The candy looked like it had been under his mattress.  I told him I didn't want to buy any of his candy.  He asked if I'd like to buy some of the candy for him.  I told him no.

"My friend" came in at 5 and bought 2 bargain books and a book about Japan that he was excited about.  He asked how our trip to Boston had gone and I told him all about the shows and the ball game.

Susan arrived hauling bags which I guess contained treats for the night's poetry reading event.  While we were talking some guys passed by the front of the store pushing another guy in a recliner down the street.
My last customer (and only the second charge of the day) bought a copy of "The Hobbit."  

Walt came and we went home to discover that we had no TV reception.  Apparently there was a wide ComCast outage that wasn't fixed until about 8, but we could still watch shows recorded on the DVD, so I was able to get caught up on some of the programs recorded while we were in Boston.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Last Thoughts about Boston

I did do a "Today at Logos" set of notes, but I'll save that for tomorrow.  I was pretty sleepy today and for a change did not want to work.  Fortunately it was another slow day and I kept crappy notes.

But as we traveled around Boston I had a few thoughts that did not make it to the journal, so I'll slap them on here as a P.S.

For one thing, did you know there are more than 100 colleges and universities in the Boston area?  Everything from the big prestigious places like Harvard and Boston College to the middle sized Berklee College of Music to small cooking schools and schools where you can learn to be a foreign language interpreter.  When you get on public transportation in Boston, most of the cards in the overhead advertising space are for colleges you can attend. Boston is very big on education.  I don't have a clue what the reputation of its school system is, but education as a concept is very big.

(Oddly enough we passed by a college called "Wentworth," which caught my eye because it's the name of a dark, dangerous, fearful prison in "Outlander," but it turned out this was a trade school.)

When you get down to Boston's version of Fisherman's Wharf, it's a place where redcoats and revels work together in harmony to instruct the tourists about the history of the place.

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The lowly toothpick first achieved polite societal acceptability here.  Human beings have been picking bits of food out of their teeth ever since they learned to use tools, but a guy named Charles Forester, noticing what nice dental hygiene the natives of Brasil had, vowed to make a fortune producing wooden toothpicks so cheaply by machine in this country that he could export them to South America. But since people had been used to making their own toothpicks whenever they needed one, he found it difficult to sell them to Americans.

Toothpicks.jpg (150896 bytes)So he decided to get them into restaurants and he hired Harvard students to go into restaurants, have a lovely dinner, and then demand a toothpick. When told the restaurant didn't have any, they made a ruckus and threatened never to eat there again, so when Forester came by the place a few days later, pedaling his toothpicks, the restaurant would buy some.  They were eventually served on silver trays to everyone at the end of their meal. Chewing toothpicks in public soon became fashionable among well-to-do men, and after a while young women began taking up the practice. One Bostonian observed that at lunchtime "nearly every third woman met in the vicinity of Winter and West streets has a toothpick between her lips."

The picture at the left is a display at the Union Oyster House, which tells the history of the toothpick and each of the little sections is filled with toothpicks.
When you buy something from the gift shop at the Union Oyster House, you also get a little package of toothpicks with a brief history of how they happened to have them here.

I wanted to try a lobster roll, since people rave about them so much.   I know I prefer crab, but I'm open to new taste sensations.  So I was happy to see that they sold lobster rolls at Fenway park when we went to the game the other night.   $29.00 for a simple sandwich?  I came home having had Dunkin' Donuts, but no lobster roll.

I didn't realize, though that the tollhouse cookie was invented near here.  Good old Bostonians!

The list of famous residents and former students of Boston reads like a who's who of paparazzi today and yesteryear.  Folks like Ben Affleck, Julia Child, Jack Kerouac, Henry Winkler, Matt LaBlanc, Leonard Nimoy, Barbara Walters, Malcolm X, Jay Leno, Bill O'Reilly, Howard Stern, Robert Reich, and legions more.

The first anti-smoking law was established in Boston in 1632, though we saw more smoking in Boston than we see around here.  Guess they let up on policing infractions after a few hundred years.

A yellow traffic light means go faster to get through an intersection before it turns red.  I drive Jeri crazy in California actually slowing down for yellow lights.  I didn't see a single car that slowed down for a yellow light.

The Boston Public Library is the first publicly supported free municipal library in the world.

The first World Series game was played in Boston in 1903 and the Red Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5 games to 3.  They weren't doing that well Tuesday night!

I love how much a part of life dogs are.  From the water outside businesses for dogs, signs in the window saying dogs are welcome, to the community of "friends" Lester has all over the neighborhood.

And in response to a question Jeri posted on Facebook yesterday, it appears that the three women who assured me that "black coffee" came with milk in it were just idiots.  REGULAR coffee comes with milk--and sugar.   But BLACK coffee is just what I should have ordered.

Bev 1, Dunkin' Donuts zip.

Chat with my mother today.

So where is your next trip?

To France

FRANCE???  (we have discussed this numerous times)  What are you doing in France

I tell her.

How long will you be gone?

When do you leave?

and then in the very next breath she says "I may have asked you this before, but -- where is your next trip?

It is also sadly clear that she will never be able to go the hairdresser alone again.  They have moved the place, which used to be right next to where my mother worked her puzzles, upstairs and it involves takin the elevator, knowing which direction to turn and then going down two different corridors.  There is no way she can remember that, so I will have to take her to all of her hair appointments now.   We made an appointment so she can look presentable when I take her to lunch with her old friends in Marin County and when we left the salon, she turned to me and said "If you were to leave me here right now, I wouldn't know how to find my apartment."  She didn't realize she was on the second floor and when the elevator came, she started to push the button for the third floor.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

There's No Place Like Home--Again

Promptly at 7:30, a cab showed up at Jeri & Phil's house, and we all went outside for the goodbyes and off to the airport.  It was sad to say goodbye, but I was ready to come home.

As we left and started to get into the rush hour traffic, I noticed that the leaves were starting to turn a vivid color.  It will be weeks before they are at "peak" but it was nice to get this preview.

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The cabbie quoted us $40 for the ride to the airport, saying it would depend on traffic, and then he proceeded to weave in and out of back roads and by the time we reached the airport, our bill was only $34.50.

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He had a conservative radio station talk show on, and the callers were all attacking Obama.  The cabbie said something about he didn't know about Obama.  He said "I guess he might be a nice person."  I said "I think  he's a nice person."  He said "Well, I guess we have to disagree..." and then he turned off the radio station.

We walked through the front door of Logan airport and a guy at the United counter, seeing me with my cane, immediately asked if I would like a wheelchair and when I hesitated he pointed out it was a long walk to the gate so, heck, yeah!  He stamped my boarding pass and sent me to sit down and wait for someone to help me.

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A very nice lady from Ethiopia (whose name started with "G") gathered all of our papers and IDs and rushed us through Security, pushing everybody aside and even unpacking my computer for the screening.  Then she took us to the gate where she settled me into the disabled seat for pre-boarding.  I dunno if I was taking advantage of the system or not, but I was sure happy for her assistance and for knowing we would get to board first.

We had 2 hours to wait because we had arrived so early, so we had breakfast and then, just before the plane boarded, Walt took his last chance to get some of that Boston clam chowda.

FootPlanejpg.jpg (126415 bytes)When we were all crammed into our seats, Walt and I had aisle seats opposite each other.   The woman sitting next to me made herself comfortable and spread her stuff out all over the floor.  Now I'm the last one to criticize spreading and cluttering, but I did draw the line at her relaxing with her right leg across her knee and resting her dirty flip flop and her bare foot on my knee!

Naturally I took a picture and then posted it to Facebook before we had to turn off our electronic devices.

Not one to complain, I did finally get up the nerve to ask her to move her foot. Other people's feet kind of creep me out anyway and I did not relish having that woman's foot in my lap for the flight.

She responded somewhat icily that she didn't realize what she was doing and I thought she sounded like a real bitch, but fortunately, as the flight went on (and there was no repeat of the foot-in-lap incident), I discovered she really was quite nice, though she got up so many times!  It's always a big production for me to haul my body out of the plane seat and it seemed I had to keep doing it over and over again.

However, I can't really complain because Walt had two guys sitting next to him who got up continually.  He may have spent more time letting them out of their seats than he did actually sitting in his seat with his seat belt fastened.

Despite a delayed departure time, we arrived in San Francisco on time, happy to see black clouds rolling down the hills (supposedly the first rain of the season will hit the Bay area tonight...not sure it will move far enough to give Davis a much needed drink, but any water is welcome!)

Walt was trying to rush home to get to a 5:30 meeting, but though we managed to avoid as much traffic as possible, the backups were just too much and by the time he would get to the meeting in Woodland, it would be just ending.  Besides, he's been in transit for hours and was exhausted.

So we are home, my laundry is finishing up, tomorrow I have to visit my mother and pick up her laundry and then work at Logos.  The week just past already seems like a dream, but such lovely memories.  But now I'm going to go climb under a Chihuhua and get some sleep.  It's 3 a.m. Boston time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Learning the Lingo

One of the things I wanted to do here was to have breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts, which are perhaps more plentiful than Starbucks.  There seems to be a shop in every block.  Dunkin' is everywhere.

So this morning Walt and I went off to the closest Dunkin' Donuts, about 2 long blocks from Jeri's.  We were happy to note that Dunkin' now boasts dark roast coffee.

My go-to donut is always the raised glazed donut, with second being a sugar donut. Well, Dunkin' doesn't have sugar, so I ordered 2 glazed and dark roast coffee.  She asked if I wanted it black.  I said yes.  She asked if I wanted sugar.  I said no.

When the coffee arrived, it had milk in it.  I complained that I had ordered dark roast, black.  Turns out that "black" means you want milk in it!  Who knew? A Bostonian on Facebook tells me that I must have misunderstood, and that "regular" means milk and sugar, but not one, but three people told me that "black" coffee came with milk.

The donuts were terrible.  I mean, I'm sure they were fine, but too sweet for me.  I like my glaze to be minimal and this was anything but minimal.  (I don't like Krispy Kreme for the same reason.)  But I ate them.  Then we walked home.

By the time we got here, the donuts were not settling well in my stomach.  Our plan had been to go to the Maparium at the Christian Science Center Library, which is just a block from Berklee, but all I wanted to do was lie down until the donuts settled, so I sent Walt off on his own, knowing he could cover more ground and probably have a better time without me anyway.  I was asleep in minutes and didn't wake up until Jeri returned to drop off Lester and head off to work.

I was feeling better, so I had some lunch, which sat well, and watched some stuff on my iPad. Walt came home shortly after Phil and we made plans to leave for the Red Sox game.  We met Jeri near her office and walked to Fenway Park.

Our seats were in the last row behind home plate, but that's where we sit for Giants games and I love it.

This was not a good food day for me.,  Walt got me a hot dog, which I requested with mustard and onions.  I'm not sure exactly what this is.

It was served on a slice of bread which fell apart the first time I picked it up, the mustard was gloppy and the onions weren't chopped raw, as I'm used to, but cooked limp with green peppers (which I don't like).  I ended up just eating the meat and leaving everything else.

The game had its highs and lows, and its dramatic moments...

We had hopes that when the Sox scored a run in the 4th inning and kept it through the 6th inning that maybe things would turn out all right.  That was before Tampa Bay scored 5 runs in the top of the 8th.  We stayed till the bitter end, but the final score was 5-2.

When the game was over, we walked to the T stop and road the T to where Jeri had parked the car earlier in the day, and then drove home.  We are all exhausted.  Walt and I have a taxi call for 7:30 and I still have to pack, so when I post this, I am shutting down the computer and won't connect again until we are back in Davis.

This has been just a fantastic week and I'm so glad that we came!  (But I miss our dogs, so I'm ready to go home.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Life Is Complete...

...I have seen the Beer Can House in Houston and now the Paper House in Rockport.  I can die a happy person.

There is one really fun perk of writing Funny the World for 15 years.  Every so often I get to meet someone who has been reading it for a long time, someone I wasn't even aware of.  It's almost always a joy.

Today was one of those times.  Mary M. has been reading my journal for many years, back to when Rob Rummel-Hudson was first writing about his "wordless daughter" Schuyler, who is now 13.

I actually don't know if Mary has ever commented on a post or not, but I have several Marys that I know and it's difficult to tell which is which.
But when Mary learned we were coming to Boston, she wrote to ask if maybe we would consider coming about 50 miles north to Rockport to have lunch with her.  I was delighted.

We left here a bit later than anticipated and it was tricky navigating our way out of Boston, but once we had left the city behind, Mary had sent perfect directions for how to find their house and we showed up around 10 minutes after noon,.

Mary lives with her son, daughter-in-law, 2 grandsons (age 12 and age less than 12), and two Bernese Mountain Dogs.  These dogs are huge, very happy, and eager to greet guests.  I fell in love with them immediately.

(this is Mama, Tosca.  The puppy is Chariclo)

Daughter-in-law Beth had made us an eggplant lasagna, which was absolutely fabulous and we had a great lunch, getting to know each other. Mary says it's weird to be sitting with someone she feels she knows so well, but whom she has never met!  We found we had similar senses of humor, which is always a good sign. She is a lovely woman and I could not believe that she had gone out and bought Rockport postcards for all of my Compassion kids.  What a special gift!

After our lunch we went into Rockport to a cafe whose name I forgot to get.  We got Gilbert parking in that crowded place.  The view was spectacular.

Mary treated us to an ice cream puff, which is a cream puff stuffed with ice cream and hot fudge poured over it.  It was as delicious as it looks.

But then we saw the pièce de résistance:  The Paper House.  

Located at Pigeon Cove (which Rockportians are quick to point out is NOT in Rockport), this is a house made of Boston newspapers.  Begun in 1922 by Mr. Elis F. Stenman (with the help of his family), newspapers were made into different layers, each having been pasted and folded.  The walls, when finished consist of 215 thicknesses.

Now the house is furnished with paper furniture. Approximately 100,000 copies of newspapers have been used in the construction of the house and furniture.  The furniture consists of table, chairs, lamps, settee, all made in an octogonal motif; desk made of the Christian Science Monitor; a cot containing some papers saved since the First World War.  There is a piano covered with paper rolls

There is a radio cabinet made in 1928 during Hoover's campaign; a writing desk made of Lindberg's flight.  A bookshelf is made of newspapers from foreign countries

...and more.  The work covers 20 years of Stenman's life.  The place is so small that entrance is "on the honor system" and you are asked to leave $1.50/person in the mailbox of the house next door.  This was definitely a unique thing to see!

We drove around and saw beautiful scenery, including this weatherbeaten fisherman's shack at the harbor entrance, known as Motif #1.  It's really a nothing shack, we were told, but it is a popular subject for artists and photographers...like me!

I won't talk about the ride home, which took considerably longer than the ride up and somewhere a map book was lost.  Suffice it to say we did get home in time to meet Jeri and Phil at an Indian restaurant and take them to dinner for their belated 6th anniversary.  The food was so good and the chat so lively that I forgot to take pictures, until after dinner when we went to J.P. Licks ice creamery, named one of the top 10 in the country.  (To tell you the truth, I like Toscanini's in Cambridge better!

We have had another wonderful day here.  Tomorrow we go to a Red Sox game and then we are headed home.  Ashley tells me she's been using our dining room table to make her wedding veil.  I hope we have given her enough time to finish it!

Dessert at J.P.Licks

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Hub

Well, my plan to finish last night's entry and then go watch this week's Outlander on my iPad didn't quite work out.  I forgot the time difference between here and California and at the time I finished writing, Outlander hadn't yet aired on the west coast.  So I just went to sleep....BUT when I woke up at 3 a.m., there it was, so I watched it then and then went back to sleep.  "The Wedding" was the best episode yet (and the thousands of Facebook posts this morning seem to agree with me!) 

Jeri was participating in a bike event in Boston (Boston Hub on Wheels), with a group of thousands of other bikers, and rode some 35 miles through the scenic, historic and back roads of Boston.  She seems to have had a marvelous time, despite getting a flat tire at the end.

Phil went to yoga and Walt walked to the arboretum, which was a rest stop on the bike event.  He was able to bring Jeri her sunglasses and sun screen, which she had left at home and texted about before the race started.

He came home reporting it was quite humid out and I probably was glad I had not gone with him.  I lay down on the couch to read (since Lester was using the chair) and fell asleep, dreaming of being in the shower surrounded by thousands of flying insects and one gigantic multicolored beetle, the size of a pot lid, in one corner.  I did the logical thing--screamed at the insects and ran for the camera to take a picture of the beetle who, by the time I got back with the camera, had opened its wings and revealed it was a huge parrot.  That's when I woke up. I almost never have dreams like that.

By the time I woke up, Jeri had just arrived, with tales of her adventures.  She was exhausted and went to take a nap.  Walt and I went into the living room and first he napped in the chair and then I fell asleep for about 2 hours on the couch.  

While we were all sleeping, Phil was "puttering" and by the time I woke up, he had this gorgeous "beer can chicken" just about cooked on the Weber.  He also had other goodies prepared...he had been a busy bee during naptime for the rest of us.

We staggered outside and he served us appetizers of fabulous bread, thin slices of cheese, avocado slices and tomatoes (regular and heirloom) that tasted--gasp!--like tomatoes used to taste.

Jeri, Lester, Walt and I sat in the garden, drinking the "Pretty Things" beer we had purchased yesterday, and watched Phil work.

When dinner was ready we went inside and enjoyed the fruits of Phil's labors.  He had even baked a delicious peach pie.  He had lost my crust recipe (which is really Julia Child's) and asked if I remembered it.  Turns out I have it in my "notes" file on my cell phone (I need it when making a pumpkin pie at Alice Nan & Joe's house).

While we were eating our pie and the ice cream Jeri went out to get, Jeri read today's comics to us.

Now it is 9:30 and everyone is going to bed.  Jeri is exhausted from her long ride, Phil is exhausted from his day of puttering, Walt is exhausted because he's old and I'm not quite exhausted yet because I've had two solid naps, so I think I'll watch Outlander again, by which time I should be ready for sleep again too.

Best of all, I have had no heartburn at all today.  It's been uncomfortable the last 2 days, but it seems it has finally passed.

Shhh...don't tell Polly!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hangin' in JP

It was a low key day today.  Jeri and Phil went off to a yoga class at 9, while Walt and I stayed at home.  Phil had walked Lester at 6, so there was no need for Walt to walk the dog.  I borrowed a sweatshirt from Phil, so I was finally warm.

The kids stopped at a bakery on the way home and we had a sweet and savory breakfast of muffins, some incredible onion-garlic-spinach-and other stuff bread, and sausage rolls for "brunch" while Jeri read the comics to us.

Phil was working today, so the rest of us (including Lester) took a walk to the nearby farmer's market, and checked the "open studios" along the way.  This is an event whereby people can drop by and see some 200 artists in their homes and studios. It seems very festive.

I love the look of this neighborhood, and all the houses in their own unique style.

We stopped in a school yard where several artists had set up booths, and Lester got to meet some friends.

We also went to the Farmers Market, which had lovely produce for sale. Jeri bought stuff for a BBQ tomorrow night.

After the farmers market, we went to the main street and saw a guy making sock monkeys, which he then uses as models for his photos, which he sells--along with the monkeys (he said he had to make them himself because where else could he find a sock monkey with six arms?)

We went into a liquor store when we saw a sign that said they were giving away samples of "pretty things," which we discovered was a brand of beer.  Lester could go into the store too and was all excited because she knew that there were dog treats at the check-out stand. The rest of us tasted the beer.

We discovered Jamaica Plain is very dog-friendly and businesses leave water out for the dogs everywhere.

We all came home and had much needed naps.

After our naps, we got back on the bus and went to a concert hall for Berklee College of music where we saw the....

Teams were announced 24 hours before.  Writers and musicians worked all night to come up with the idea for a 15 minute musical.  In the morning they gave the script and the music to a team of directors and actors and they had all day to rehearse it and present it.  This was the first time Berklee has done this and they did a great job.

The first play was the weakest because they were reading from the script and there was a lot of flubbing.  It was the story of a queen bee and searching for honey.  The second group did better with the script because their story took place on a space ship and the configuration was like the deck of the Starship Enterprise, using music stands, on which they had their scripts (they were also better prepared).  It was the story of 3 women going into space for a year and one of them confessing she is pregnant.  Musical #3 was my favorite (and seemed to be everyone's favorite).  They didn't need a script, the actors were very good and the story (a couple dining at a restaurant and having sexual encounters off stage) hung together.  #4 was two brothers confronting the contents of a chest left behind after their mother's death...Mom is a ghost.  The 5th one was a little confusing but it dealt with a murder in a hair salon...and the murderer was a surprise to everyone.  We rode home on the bus with one of the writers and it was fun to talk with her about the process they went through.

Now we're home and everyone is going to bed and I'm going to test out the thing I've been looking forward to all day...to see if I really can see tonight's episode of Outlander on the STARZ app on my iPad.

Friday, September 19, 2014

You Heard it Here First

Tonight Jeri and Phil took us to see the out of town run of Finding Neverland, the new musical by James Graham (book) and Gary Barlow & Eliot Kennedy (music and lyrics), with choreography by Mia Michaels.  It is based on the movie of the same name starring Johnny Depp as J.M. Barrie.  The musical is amazing.  Best musical I've seen in years.  My prediction is that when it gets to Broadway (assuming they don't try to screw it up), it will sweep the Tonys, whatever year that happens to be. This is only our first day in Boston, but already I know that this will be the highlight of our trip.

Looking back over today, I am SO glad we changed our original plan, which had been to drive to Rockport to meet Mary, who reads this journal and who invited us to come for a visit.  We were going to meet Mary today and June, from the Swap Bot discussion group on Monday. 

But I mistakenly thought our tickets for Finding Neverland were for tomorrow and when we considered driving to someplace we have never been and then trying to find our way back in Friday traffic for a 7:30 curtain, we decided we would sadly cancel our visit with June and go to see Mary on Monday instead.  Having now seen traffic between Jeri & Phil's and Cambridge, where the play was held, I am so glad we made that change of plans.

Also, I must give credit where credit is due. Gilbert outdid himself in finding parking places tonight.  It is very, very crowded around Harvard and I challenged Gilbert to find us a space.  My god the poor man has been taking care of my parking since 1986.  No rest for the dead!  Jeri dropped us off and went looking for a place to park and came back reporting that her experience had been nothing short of miraculous.  She had, in fact, been able to "paaak the caah in the Haavad Yaad."  Thank you, Gilbert.

But long before all that happened, there was "our day."  We woke up around 8, just in time to see Jeri and Phil off to their respective jobs.  Walt took Lester out for a walk and we were going to go downtown, but first, I just wanted to "lie down for a bit."  "A bit" turned into a 2 hour nap. 

By the time we left, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and it was a gorgeous day.  It wasn't even cold, though I brought a scarf/shawl with me in case I needed to wrap in something.

We took the bus and then the "T" into downtown Boston.  I haven't been on public transportation (especially not in a big city) in a long time, and I was endlessly fascinated by the diversity in age, ethnicity, dress, etc.  And it's hard to remember when 3/4 of the people you meet on the street or on public transportation are not plugged into some kind of device.  Heck, I'm not that plugged in even at home where I have a desktop to get me as plugged in as I want to be.

We got off at State Street and joined the throngs headed for the center of tourist activity.  First, I had to take a picture of the Old State House, which opens every episode of Rizzoli and Isles.

I passed a beggar guy sitting on the street and commented that I liked his sign.  He asked me about my cane and about then Walt came along and we left, but later I decided I wanted to take a picture of him and his sign, so gave him $1 and he was happy to pose for me.

At least he's honest!

We got down to Fanueil Hall, which has served as a market and meeting place since 1742.  There in front of it is a stately statue of Samuel Adams.

I wondered what ol' Sam would think if he knew that the crowd behind his statue was watching a couple of break dancers entertaining the crowd.

We didn't exactly go into Fanueil, but headed for Quincy Market, kind of Boston's answer to the spice market in Istanbul, behind it.

Over on the left there, you can buy tickets for what I think has to be the dumbest tourist activity in Boston.

(Notice that the bags of "tea" are solidly wrapped with rope, so I am assuming that after you have dumped the tea in the haaba (harbor), they haul it back on board the ship so the next load of tourists can dump it all over again)

On our way to Quincy Market, we found bigfoot, whose footprints we had been following for some time.

We walked halfway through Quincy Market, but our ultimate destination was somewhere to get some of that famous Boston Clam Chowder.

We found there are lots of options in the Market, but Walt was looking for his favorite restaurant, which he discovered had gone out of business.

But he did discover the Union Oyster House, established in 1826, which purports to be the oldest restaurant in America.  Naturally we had to go there. They told us first that it was a 40 minute wait so we went to get a beer while waiting and asked if there was a place to sit while we waited.  She said it would be a 20 minute wait and then told the woman behind us that it would be a 30 min. wait.  In actuality, I think we waited under 10 minutes and Walt had just gotten the beers at the bar when our name was called.

Here I am enjoying a Sam Adams (it seemed only right).  You can tell from my hair that it is hot and I am sweating!

Walt had oysters, I had crab cakes and we both had the "chowda," which was delicious.  This was kind of a more spendy place and Walt decided it was worth it just to listen to the waitress's thick Boston accent.
The restaurant was right across the street from the Holocaust Memorial, so we went there, though we didn't go through it this time since we had gone through it before and we were both starting to fade.

After we walked up to see the "Old Corner Bookstore," which opened in 1711.  It is now a Chipotle with a plaque saying that it used to be the Old Corner Bookstore.

It was across the street from a memorial to the famine in Ireland in the early 1800s and the immigrants who settled in Boston hoping to find a better life here.  It's a nice little memorial with a sign asking people to respect the memorial and not to feed the birds there.  Nobody told the birds, though.

By now Walt and I both felt the need for a nap so we headed back to the T, then the bus, and then home.  I said I needed to lie down for just a bit.  So did Walt.  Two hours later, we woke up...and then the play.
What a wonderful, wonderful day.  I've had such a great time.  I could go home and feel I'd had the best time ever...but there are still more days to come.