Measured Extravagance

27 June 2003 - 5:29 p.m.

(Typed up over the course of 6/24 and 6/25:)

Lots of iced coffee, lots of walking. . .lots of frustration with trying to connect to servers. But still, it's Boston. It's wonderful:

  • Monday night, succumbed to terminal irresponsibility and ignored going to bed at a reasonable hour in favor of hoovering down a plate of sweet potato fries and seeing Todd Sharp and his band (Eric Holt, Jackie Street and Vince Santoro) rock out at the Bluebird. Good ensemble; Todd kept asking "Where's the guy that says 'Woooo!'? You know, there's one in every crowd. . . Buy my CD! The money's going to a good cause. [beat] Groceries." Especially liked the songs "I Run to You," (which he'd written for his wife) and "You're the One" (which he'd penned with Christine McVie).
  • That's my excuse for remembering my ratty blue sandals and forgetting my new black flats. And dental floss. Nothing insurmountable, though, and I checked yet again just now to confirm that my delegate card was in my purse.
  • On the flights here, read through Lillian Hellman's Pentimento (keeping in mind Mary McCarthy's comment to the effect that (QFM) "everything Hellman wrote was a lie, including the word "the"), parts of EST [Ensemble Studio Theater] Marathon '96: The One-Act Plays (most memorable: David Ives' Degas, C'est Moi, Howard Korder's Geliebteh, Will Scheffer's Bel Canto and Cherie Vogelstein's Cats and Dogs) and the start of the 1997 collection (haven't finished Edward Allan Baker's Mafia on Prozac yet, but so far it's hysterically funny). My hostess has handed me her copy of Kathleen Hirsch's A Home in the Heart of A City: A Woman's Search for Community - the community is Jamaica Plain - so that will likely be my bedtime reading through the next week.

  • I seem to have picked up the BYM's habit of swearing vehemently at people in the way; either I was still in hyperdrive and/or there were hordes of illiterate slowpokes around at DTW and BOS, particularly on the moving walkways. What part of "stand right, walk left" is so difficult to understand?
  • On the Orange Line, there was a girl standing next to me with a very sweet smile and her tall $3.99 mirror with a pink frame.
  • I'm staying in a Victorian townhouse that used to be a funeral home - the current owners mentioned they finally got around to throwing out the remains of a coffin last year.
  • Geek spirit: chatting with my hostess, I glanced at the chair next to me. When my brain processed that it was indeed emblazoned with the phoenix and "Crescat scientia..." I yelped "So who has the degree from U of C?" Turns out her mother-in-law earned her Ph.D in O-Chem there before WWII. (Hostess herself has a Ph.D in molecular biology from MIT.)
  • Passing by the Christian Scientist plaza - watching a gaggle of kids dancing in and out of the arches of the fountain.
  • Dinner: tapas at Taberna de Haro. We shared a nice sauvignon blanc, the name of which I cannot remember but it's the first one listed on the page, along with spinach (cooked with garlic and pine nuts and golden raisins), roasted peppers filled with brandade, and swordfish and potatoes (they ran out of the sardine special right before we ordered).
  • Dessert: it was too late to order the chocolate souffle at Abe & Louie's, so we made do with coffee poured from a silver pot, and vanilla bean ice cream. The place has a very old-school feel to it - partly the art, partly all of the dark wood, partly the waiters in their pigeon-grey jackets. Swanky bathroom, too - the spout of the sink faucet open on top, like a fountain, and those paper towels so thick they're practically fabric.
  • Was scolded by a Canadian bus driver for not understanding his directions to the correct bus stop (that sound you hear is either the BYM laughing his head off or his eyes rolling back so hard they're colliding with the back of it).
  • Wrestled with a demonically-possessed hot water spigot. (The BYM's probably laughing at this one too.)
  • Discovered a non-cloying brand of Vitamin C lozenges (ZAND). Yes, I feel a cold coming on and I DO NOT have time for it.
  • Didn't have trouble falling asleep, but too many keyed-up trains of thought to stay asleep. I forsee crashing this afternoon, hard. If it doesn't rain, I'm just going to find a spot by the Charles . . . And I typed 546 words of a new story this morning. Go me!
  • Nifty red-and-white ribbons and circles declaring "sale!" at the Anthropologie on Boylston.
  • Passing by an office worker eating lunch on a ledge outside her building, who suddenly burst out (to no one in particular): "Wahw, is it haht!"
  • Eating perfectly-cooked calamari over linguini with fresh tomato sauce at 5 Avenue North while chatting with a delegate from Minneapolis who worked as a chef for twelve years (now working on UMinn's ag campus).
  • Leo Collins (archivist at First and Second Church) suggesting that the signal to Revere and Dawes was likely posted from Second Church (razed by the British for firewood) rather than Old North, and leading the tour group in a rendition of Old 100 (Bay Psalm Book version) in front of the plaque commemorating the original location of Second Church.

  • The "interpretative guides" at Paul Revere House amused me. (Yes, Daisy, I remembered to get your mug.) The one downstairs interrupted a fellow speculating that colonial men must have been so much shorter" to say, "No, they would have been the same height as you and me." (They were around 5'8" or 5'10", at a guess.) The man's wife then said, "But they wouldn't have had as many six-footers as we do now, right?" The guide retorted, "Well, there are more people now, of course there's more six-footers," before launching into an extended list of colonial statesmen who measured over six feet tall (starting with Thomas Jefferson). Upstairs, the guide (clearly a student) insisted (QFM), "If there's anything you want to know, ask me. About colonial life. . . about Revolutionary War events. . .about 1066. . .about the fall of the east-west Roman empire --" "Okay," I said. "What do you think about the fall of the Roman empire?" I think around a dozen people walked through the room (looking at us more than a little strangely) as he expounded at length about the senatorial class and the decline of Latin and the rise of the Franks and non-hereditary succession and local governance, and I finally slipped away into the adjoining room when a woman queried about the casings for the wall beams.
  • And so much more. Missing the BYM, but I love this city. . .

    << | >>
    My book!




    Copyright 2000-2016 by mechaieh / pld. This blog has migrated to

    Hosted by DiaryLand.