Monthly Archives: May 2011

Walden Pond

Turns out Thoreau was pretty short. And his “contemplative” pose, at least according to the sculptor, was kind of silly.

“Danger! Unguarded Waterfront” – a completely necessary sign, wouldn’t you agree? Much like the sign at another famously dangerous body of water, Lake Michigan (which, to be fair, occasionally has waves higher than ankle-height).

We walked all the way around the pond. Beautiful.

Let sleeping ducks lie…but it’s OK to photograph them with a zoom lens.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life. And see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” And also he didn’t want to pay taxes.

A red-breasted robin sitting still for a moment on a branch. Very obliging of him.

All morning it went back and forth from sunny to cloudy. The rain held off till we left, though. Good timing, for once!

This shot was less than sixty seconds after the previous one.

The water was so clear!

We couldn’t resist swimming. It was warmer than I expected, for May…still pretty cold though.

Playing around the train tracks, always good fun.

Mae has a keen eye for ladyslippers.

Wrapped up the adventure with a visit to The Cheese Shop in Concord. (Monty Python’s Cheese Shop sketch on YouTube here.)

What I’ve been reading: The Last Tycoon, F. Scott Fitzgerald
What I’ve been listening to: mixes for and from friends

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Filed under adventure, elsewhere, friends, plants


Things have been kind of busy lately. I’m getting a few real posts together, but in the meantime, here’s a picture of my great-aunt’s dog in a fireplace.

What I’ve been reading: The Case for Books, Robert Darnton; The Last Tycoon, F. Scott Fitzgerald; Delirium, Lauren Oliver

What I’ve been listening to: Question the Answers and Medium Rare, Mighty Mighty Bosstones; Nasty Little Thoughts and Rip It Off, Stroke 9; Exile on Main Street and 40 Licks, Rolling Stones; Abbey Road, The Beatles; I Don’t Mind the Buzzcocks and Singles Going Steady, The Buzzcocks; The Ultimate Collection, The Kinks

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Filed under animals, elsewhere, random

Sunlight and Color

The up side to having lousy weather a lot of the time is that when the weather is nice, you feel so relieved you’re almost giddy; drunk on sunlight and warmth. If it was perfect all the time, it’d be boring. (Some people disagree with me on this point, and those people remain in Southern California.) I do think, though, that if it’s sunny and 70 every day, even if you appreciate it, you appreciate it less.

When my family first moved to California (January 16, 1994, the night of the Northridge earthquake), my mom sent my little brother and I outside to play every single day. Eventually we realized that, unlike on the East Coast, we didn’t have to seize every single moment of nice weather; we could squander some of them inside, because there would always be more. It was just like¬†this, all the time.

Nine years later, I came back East, and I complain about the weather – rain, hail, snow, sleet, wind, humidity, sometimes all in the span of a few hours – almost as much as everyone else…but not quite as much. Because the sunny-and-70 sameness is boring. (Great to visit during the winter holidays, though. Thank you, parents, for not living in New Jersey!)

And when it’s beautiful here…

…it’s beautiful. Spring here isn’t a noun; it’s a verb.

What I’ve been reading: Born Digital, John Palfrey
What I’ve been listening to: Pet Sounds, Beach Boys


Filed under plants, seasons

Make this, make this now

Right before Passover, a certain recipe was brought to my attention. This recipe, for Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with Gruyere-Popover Crust, requires ramekins, which at the time I didn’t have. (Well, it would probably work in a regular pie pan, but then you don’t get to say the word “ramekins” as much, which is too bad because it really rolls right off the tongue, and also, ramekins are adorable, and if your food can be both delicious AND adorable…there’s no reason not to make that happen, right?)

Anyway, while I was in New York for Passover I went to Fishs Eddy and acquired some ramekins. Which I then proceeded to leave at a cousin’s house. But he very kindly mailed them back to me, carefully wrapped in an entire issue of The New York Times, which is a pretty foolproof wrapping method for breakable objects, apparently, because they arrived intact. And then there was nothing standing between me and tiny delicious pot pies!

I tampered with the recipe, of course. I completely forgot the onion and the garlic, which I’d recommend including if you aren’t so scatterbrained as I am. I did use carrots, broccoli, peas and corn, potatoes, and chicken, as well as salt and pepper, and some fresh chives from my chive plant.

The crust/popover part of the recipe I did follow. And…

I’m making them again tonight.

What I’ve been reading: Born Digital, John Palfrey; The Lover’s Dictionary, David Levithan

What I’ve been listening to: Chicago 17 and Chicago 19, Chicago; Human Amusements at Hourly Rates, Guided By Voices; Live in Japan, George Harrison; Volume 1, Traveling Wilburys


Filed under food, recipe

Sunday on the Charles

Sunday was a beautiful day that we spent wandering around, looking at people’s gardens and walking along the Charles River.

A neighbor’s gorgeous red tulips.

Daffodils growing on the banks of the Charles River.

Boats on the Charles.

What I’m reading: Born Digital, John Palfrey
What I’m listening to: All This Useless Beauty, Elvis Costello; Plans, Death Cab for Cutie; Songs Without Words, Mendelssohn; Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, Mozart

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Filed under city, plants

Spring! Plants! Green!

Two Saturdays ago – a miserable cold wet rainy windy Saturday – the boyfriend and the roommate and I went to the garden center at Home Depot to acquire some greenery. Because we had faith that spring would arrive, eventually (and it did!).

We bought a bunch of plants and pots and potting soil and brought everything into the living room, because we had not got gardening gloves and it was far too cold to work outside. So we spread a bedsheet on the living room floor and got to work transplanting our new plants into our new pots.

The results:

An herb planter with chives, basil, and rosemary. (I’m thinking: cheddar-chive scones? Pesto? Rosemary-onion biscuits?)

Three little strawberry plants, already sprouting white flowers and tiny green beginnings of berries.

Mint plant!

And a cherry tomato plant.

All are doing very well so far, and have been moved outside to the porch. Let the growing season begin!

What I’m reading: Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver
What I’m listening to: Give Up, The Postal Service; Plans, Death Cab for Cutie; The Hour of the Bewilderbeast, Badly Drawn Boy; Elva, Unwritten Law

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The Maine Event

Frisbee season has finally started again! Actually, it started several weeks ago, but now we have nice weather too, which makes it so much more enjoyable. One has to wonder what particular brand of insanity causes one,¬†voluntarily, to get up at 5:45am on a Saturday (that time shouldn’t even EXIST on a Saturday), drive to Maine, play frisbee all day, and drive home, and think that this is a perfectly acceptable idea? Whatever brand it is, apparently I’ve been infected by it. Maybe it’s just a more subtle version of peer pressure: team pressure, exerted via a string of reply-all e-mails.

This particular tournament was extra special, as the playing fields were encircled by a dirt track on which horses were pulling little carts.

Welcome to Maine! I didn’t even know harness racing existed anymore.

What I’ve been reading: The Widower’s Tale, Julia Glass
What I’ve been listening to: Doolittle, The Pixies; Third Eye Blind, Third Eye Blind

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Filed under animals, elsewhere, ultimate