Sunday, December 28, 2008

Forty Year Blizzard

I was so excited when the weather forecast a few weeks ago predicted snow. The morning I woke up to see white, fluffy flakes coating everything and still falling I went out with the camera and trekked all over. We only got a few inches that day, but the cold weather stuck around in a very uncharacteristic fashion. We wound up with something like a foot of snow, an odd inch or so of ice, and plenty of steadily below-freezing mercuries before Christmas week was over.
I braved the worst of the storm to trek to work by streetcar, bus, and train, with a fair amount of walking tossed in for good measure. The city slowed to a creep during the worst days, with lots of hospital employees sleeping at work, most of the restaurants closed, and skiers and snowshoers in the streets.
I woke yesterday to pleasant temperatures near fifty, and a Portland that looked more familiar without its coating of snow. The detritus left behind made it look like people had believed the snow would remain forever: cigarette butts, trash, and other messes that people would normally pick up, now exposed by the thaw.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Park

Everything is so closeby here. I went for a walk, intending to catch the bus to the park. Before I knew it, I was there. It was a lovely, warm, sunny, fall day and Imeandered through the park snapping photos to my heart's content. jc was up when I got back, and we went to Marrakesh for a lovely Morroccan five-course meal, complete with ritual handwashing by the server. I sat on a cushion on the floor, and we ate with our hands. At the end, our hands were sprinkled with a fragrant scented water, and mint tea left a pleasant taste in the mouth.
Another perfect day.

The Park

This park is just a few blocks from the apartment. There is a fountain in summer, with children cooling off from the heat. Yesterday, people were playing bocce, tossing the football, and walking their dogs. There's so much to see and do!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fight Hate

I woke up in time to walk to South Park Blocks for the GLTB rally, stopping for a pumpernickel salt bagel on the way. I was disappointed by the size of the crowd and the lack of organization, but it was heartwarming to see gays and lesbians who had shown up to let their voices be heard, so many of them with children. It makes me smile to see these beautiful, loving families with happy children. It angers me that people who sit at home taking their own civil rights for granted would try to strip others of the simple right to marry and adopt children into loving families. There is nothing more hypocritical than that. The Harvey Milk biopic premiered here last night. The top picture is a quote of his. Below is a straight family who showed up to join the protest. Here's hoping that future years find us repealing proposition 8 and similar measures and giving equal rights to all.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

a bit of the Pearl

I stepped out to the Jewish deli this morning for their Nova lox on a pumpernickel bagel. On the way back, I snapped a few random shots of the neighborhood. I've been dying to get out and photograph foliage, but I've been busy with the new job every day this week, and moving before that. Today it's raining a little. Maybe the sun will come out later.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


We're installed in our new high rise loft apartment. Boxes surround us. It's the favorite time for the kitties. Lots of places to play. Odds and ends remain to be completed before we give back keys from the old place. I've accepted a new job. Orientation starts Monday, followed by classes every day next week, and finally floor orientation the following week. I'll be floating to eleven different floors, and I get two nights orientation on each floor before being on my own. My first night alone will be the first or second week of January. That's more orientation than I got in my first job as a new nurse. I also get an annual public transportation pass. I'll be taking the bus to work and trying to sell the Titan. I'm loving the convenience of being in the city. My favorite so far is the food carts. A mile's walk and five bucks gets me Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, Lebanese, Japanese, Korean or Polish cuisine. That's a real bargain, and I get some exercise. Who needs to cook?


random dream journal

Granny was acting strangely. Don't remember the details.

We had a party on the deck for extended family. The guests, including Uncle Junior, were smoking and dropping lit butts and matches on the nicely finished wood deck. Once the deck actually started to catch fire and had to be put out. I started yelling and cursing at them to stop, then stormed off inside.

I went to a movie with a bunch of teenage girls. As I was leaving, Big M and Uncle George came in for the next showing. I made my way through a maze of seats to tell them that they weren't going to like it.

I was somewhere with XBFRN. Can't remember the details.

Sronnoc Esor

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Beginnnings

Moving day is Saturday. I should be spending more time packing.
We're going to see Spring Awakenings tomorrow.
I accepted a job on the float pool at Providence working 3 eight hour nights.
I'm excited about all these things.

Monday, October 13, 2008

dream journal

A man disguised his wife as an indentured servant for the Atlantic voyage. Her English was flawless and she was obviously a lady. The woman who pretended to be his wife spoke and dressed coarsely.

We followed the guide/teacher on a tour. I missed the elevator that the group got on and I didn't know which floor they went to. The elevator I got in took me to the eighth floor. When the doors opened, a young man and woman who had been leaning against the elevator doors making out nearly tumbled in. I went down to the fifth floor where I found the group. They were discussing a sick patient and wondering why the family didn't realize that the patient would never recover. When the group left, I noticed that two family members had been hiding in the room.

A man threw a house party. He invited me, but then ignored me. I think I was related to him. When everyone ordered dinner out, I used his credit card to pay. My sister wasn't sure it was a good idea. The man was a mathematician. He wore a pill cutter on the forefinger of each hand to help him do math. I offered to put the pill cutters away while he was sitting in the living room visiting with his guests, and he became angry and told me to go away. I went to get my coat in Granny's den where several guests were sitting.

The water supply was unusual.

sronnoc esor

Sunday, October 12, 2008


  • signed lease for Pearl district apartment
  • move-in is October 25
  • promising interview Friday- waiting for job offer
  • too antsy too sit in the house- off to downtown


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Update or I Like the City

The above picture was taken at The Grotto. The statuary depicts St. Francis of Assissi, who must have something to do with peace, considering his companions.
jc and I have been spending a lot of time downtown. Quite ironically, we moved to the part of the city that is most nearly identical to the tired, boring, small town we were trying to escape. In addition, our 25-year old condo is badly in need of maintenance and repairs, and the association has decided to go all out now, with roofing and paving going on every day. There's no end in sight. So we started looking at apartments downtown. jc wanted to live downtown to start out with, and we knew that this place was just a way to get to the city. We found a great loft, and we're just waiting for the details to be approved, so we should be moving in a few weeks.
Spending time in the city changes how I think about myself. I find myself thinking more about my appearance than I ever did. In former podunk outpousts where the universal dress code is either coveralls or baggy sweatpants, I've had little motivation to do any better than jeans and a t-shirt. When I have the treat of looking at people who are well-dressed and pleasant, I want to do the same myself.
It surprises me how much I enjoy the city. I grew up as a simple country girl, but every day that I spend in the city, I enjoy it more. Yesterday, I went alone; riding the train, going to the library, reading a book in a coffee shop. It was a successful day. I'll do it again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

More Ambiguity

This blog has always been, in some ways, a place of relative ambiguity . It's inconvenient for me to write in detail on this forum about deeply personal matters. I can discuss my feelings much more freely than the reasons for them. I stopped crying today for the most part. The tears that did come today were completely different from the ones from before. As I told jc, in Scenario A there is something that I thought would make me happy and something that made me very sad. Scenario B involves something that disappoints me somewhat and something that makes me very happy. So I chose Scenario B. I have a twinge of regret over missing out on Scenario A, but I'm not turning back.


Thursday, September 25, 2008


When I was in my early teens, I spent the summer working as a waitress at a summer camp. One of my weekend duties was to clean between groups. As I was cleaning the lodge one week, I encountered a woman who was still there because she was ill. Yet she was sitting up in bed smiling and laughing with her family.

Since then, I've observed this phenomenon many times, but that first experience really stuck with me. The terminal patients on the oncology floor where we did clinicals in nursing school often surprised me in the same way. After reading the chart of a woman who had a very grim prognosis, I went into her room and found her happily listening to Stevie Nicks on headphones. We dreaded those patients the most, but maybe they taught us the most. Not about medicine, but about life.

Today my lovely friend Shewcbn reminded me not to spend life chasing happiness, but to simply choose happiness. I agree with her. I've had some hard days lately and cried a lot of tears, and it isn't over by any means. But this morning in bed, I forced myself to breathe deeply, fully exhale, and go to a happy place, just like I tell nervous hospital patients to do. And despite these difficult days, my happy place is still there, and I can still be happy in it.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tooth Fairy- dream journal

I was sitting with Grandma Comfort, telling her about my recurring dream. I told her that it involved walking from her house, up the mountain, and trying to come out at Big M's house near Port Matilda.

I was in a car with Dorothy Wert and Peg Hisson, going on a trip. We stopped at a remote house, high on the hillside to talk to someone sitting in a car in the parking lot. I decided to get out and walk. I had to negotiate over an area of large boulders and wooden pilings before coming out onto the path.

Next I found myself walking the route that I had described. It had changed into that recurring twilight, wooded corridor. I passed a military looking, open vehicle with two men it. I was concerned that they would try to stop me, but the paid no attention. I walked for a while, then suddenly I had a bicycle. I saw two cyclists coming up fast behind me, so I moved to the side in an alcove to let them by. I saw it was a white-haired couple. They said they weren't really going they fast. They were going to the doctor. They asked me if I believed in radiating poison of some kind that kills earthworms on contact. I said that I couldn't believe in it since I had never heard of it happening. I held the door for them, and they went insisde the hospital.

A tiny little boy was running down the hallway. He tripped, hit his mouth, and knocked a tooth out. I stooped to pick him up and saw that he had a full mouth of teeth despite the fact that he didn't look any older than eighteen months. There was no bleeding and he didn't seem to mind the missing tooth. I stepped into a nearby door and asked where he belonged. They sent me around the corner, where his nurse hadn't really seemed to miss him. I had dropped the tooth somewhere. I was helping the nurse with a procedure on the little boy when a woman who I perceived to be my staffing coordinator came rushing in to tell me they needed me elsewhere because the old lady I had held the door for was dead. I hurried away to help, stopping along the way to find the lost tooth.

Sronnoc Esor

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's Complicated

I haven't posted in a long time. That's partly because gas prices have kept me at home, so I've been nowhere to either write about or take pictures of. It's also partly because I'm somewhat introspective and slightly troubled. It's not anything that I'm ready to talk about, but it's occupying my mind more and more.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I love to grow things, but I'm really bad it it; so I get really excited by small degrees of success. Just to have my seeds come up is a major accomplishment. For my beets to actually be leafy and green and pretty is unbelievably exciting. I'm beginning to entertain the possibility that I'll actually have beets to eat. As a matter of fact, I'm planning to thin these crowded plants and eat the greens today.

In other matters, Ki'il and the Scholar moved to town this week. I'm looking forward to having someone here to meet for coffee. In an optimistic move, I checked The Basic Writings of C.G. Jung out of the library. We'll see how far I get. I'm halfway through at least six books already.

I'm ready for the rains! Have I said that before? I ordered a raincoat. Pics when it arrives.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

IRFD- Barely Flipped

I sat on the train home from the city late this afternoon, thinking about how it was the second annual International Rock Flipping Day and I still hadn't flipped any rocks. I snapped this shot from the bridge.
When I got home, I realized that the dying light didn't give me long to flip, so I headed down the blocked off, dead-end, city street we live on to search for rocks.

I came to this rock-like barricade, much too heavy to lift, but sitting on lots of limestone.
I flipped a few small rocks and was disappointed by fallen leaves. Then I turned this rock over and found ant larvae and this vaguely snail-like looking creature

Another large pile of manufactured rock on top of more rock. If you watched long enough you might see something crawl out of the cracks here. I only saw candy bar wrappers, crushed aluminum cans, and the ashes of a forgotten campfire.
I turned back before heading up the lane to snap this shot of the waxing moon shining over the Willamette River. By now, the bats were swooping in their erratic arcs, a garter snake scurried across the cracked macadam looking for a hole to hide in, and the street light glowed the same pink as the last rays of the fading sun.

International Rock Flipping Day 2008 (links)

Rock-Flipping Day Reports

Pohanginapete (Pohangina Valley, Aotearoa/New Zealand)
Blaugustine (London, England)
Nature Remains (Ohio, USA)
Pensacola Daily Photo (Florida, USA)
KatDoc’s World (Ohio, USA)
Notes from the Cloud Messenger (Ontario, Canada)
Brittle Road (Texas [?])
Sherry Chandler (Kentucky, USA)
osage + orange (Illinois, USA)
Rock Paper Lizard (British Columbia, Canada)
The Crafty H (Virginia, USA)
Chicken Spaghetti (Connecticut, USA)
A Passion for Nature (New York, USA)
The Dog Geek (Virginia, USA)
Blue Ridge blog (North Carolina, USA)
Bug Girl’s Blog (Midwestern US)
chatoyance (Austin, Texas)
Riverside Rambles (Missouri, USA)
Pines Above Snow(Maryland, USA)
Beth’s stories (Maine, USA)
A Honey of an Anklet (Virginia, USA)
Wanderin’ Weeta (British Columbia, Canada)
Fate, Felicity, or Fluke (Oregon, USA)
The Northwest Nature Nut (Oregon, USA)
Roundrock Journal (Missouri, USA)
The New Dharma Bums (California, USA)
The Marvelous in Nature (Ontario, Canada)
Via Negativa (Pennsylvania, USA)
Mrs. Gray’s class, Beatty-Warren Middle School (Pennsylvania, USA)
Cicero Sings (British Columbia, Canada)

Via Negativa has the complete description and link list for IRFD. Thanks for hosting, Dave!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


...definitely doesn't describe me. I'd love to get outside to get rid of some of my bluesy, bored, irritable mood, but it's simply too sunny and hot. I'm seriously ready for the rains to start! I ordered a new coat, specifically intended for rainy days in the city. I'm irritated with the company for being so slow about sending it, even though I have no use for it whatever at the moment. I'm obsessed with political coverage of this very fascinating, historic election, but I'm irritated with that too. Even my five pound bag of nacho chips with all the appropriate toppings isn't cheering me up at the moment. I'm going to brew a fresh pot of tea and be as unpleasant as possible. That just how I feel.
not so rosy

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Grotto

The Grotto is the location of a Servite monastery and chapel.  The Grotto itself is a shrine carved out of the rock cliff.  Outdoor mass is held there weekly throughout the summer.  An elevator takes you to the top, where there is a lovely garden dotted with religious sculpture.  Pictured above is the Peace Pole.  The inscription is repeated in three other languages on the other sides of the pole, and it guards the entrance to the Peace Garden.  I wandered the gardens while the Sunday crowd attended mass at the chapel at the foot of the cliff.  I stopped in the meditation chapel to read familiar words from the Tao Te Ching: words I've been repeating like a mantra lately, "things arise and she lets them come, things disappear and she lets them go."  The monastery is here, secluded, at the top of the cliff; and I can imagine the peace and solitude the garden must offer at sunrise and dusk, when it is closed to the public.   I thought about staying to attend mass, but the spirit of the garden had already filled my soul, and I didn't want to chance spoiling it.




p.s. Click here to view all of today's photos on Flicker.

Monday, August 25, 2008


After four straight nights at work, something I am unaccustomed to, I couldn't sleep last night. I was still up in the morning, so I drove over the Washington border to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. It's a lovely wetland with an auto tour route. When I got there the mist was still settled over the swamps and meadows and the sky was tinged with the pink sunrise. Birds were atwitter everywhere.
Tonight, a warm summer rain is falling on us.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Food Meme

Rules: bold are things I've eaten, italics I have attempted and nearly retched on, and strikethroughs are things I would never put in my mouth. Here we go!

You'll notice there are no strikethroughs. I haven't met anything I wouldn't try. No italics either.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari- an old favorite
12. Pho- a new favorite
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries -like Brer Rabbit: "Bawn and bred in a briar patch"
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters-the sweetest oysters ever came from our late home: Winchester Bay
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut- Wonderful memories of making it as a child.
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel- eel rolls- another favorite
49. Krispy Kreme
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV.
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe- at 70% alcohol, too boozy for me, but I'd try a sip
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu- unlikely to drink this
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox -yet another favorite
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta Especially fried. With syrup.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Everything's Great When You're... Downtown

Since getting back from my trip, I've signed up for several nights at work, but haven't been needed. SPM was here a few nights ago en route somewhere else, so we had a delightful visit with him. Yesterday we watched the opening ceremony in Beijing, which I was simply fascinated by.

We took advantage of a weekend off work and went to the Portland Saturday Market today. It was crowded with people and food and booths of great arts and crafts. Then we sauntered over to the Art Museum for the Klaus Moje glasswork display they have up. Of course we never go to the art museum without stopping to see Monet's Water Lilies. It was a perfect day without too much sun, and yet still without rain.

Now I'm going to watch the Olympics with jc and eat salty snacks. If I'm going to be lazy, I might as well enjoy it.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Da Vinci and Mary Magdalene

It seems somewhat ironic that I received the Bock book in the mail from Laura just days after watching a History channel special on the same subject, but I should begin at the beginning.

I haven't shared with a lot of people, primarily because they didn't ask, that reading Dan Brown's book instigated my first crisis of faith. I feel kind of exposed writing about it here, yet I have no compunction about sharing my story with anyone who is interested, so I will attempt to shed my self-consciousness and write openly. Many fundamentalists, as is their habit, warned churchgoers against reading The DaVinci Code when it was first published to widespread acclaim. I didn't initially have much interest, but jc brought it home from the library, so I read it.

Admittedly, I've always been a sucker for historical fiction, trying to separate the true from the invented. In this case, I was already primed for doubt. I wouldn't want anyone to misconstrue my story to mean that a fictional story caused the disintegration of my faith: quite the contrary. The very fact that I could entertain Dan Brown's fabulous hypothesis indicates that I must have already been engulfed in doubts that I had, until then, failed to recognize.

Coming face to face with my doubt sent me into a tailspin of emotional distress. My faith had been constructed on a framework whose basic tenet was the divinity of Jesus Christ. I can look back and acknowledge that a wife and child need not have negated Jesus' godhood, but at the time the two seemed necessarily mutually exclusive. Nor does frank examination of the evidence available seem to provide proof of either to me. Both the History channel special and the Bock book expose reasons why Dan Brown's claims are full of holes. I am even led to wonder whether Brown bears some malice toward the Catholic church, which prompted some of his fantastic notions.

You may want to ask: if The DaVinci Code doesn't get the credit for my change in beliefs, what does? I was raised in the protective bubble of Biblical fundamentalism. I attended Christian school and Christian college, worked at Christian summer camps, and even taught at a Christian school. I had little exposure to secular science or philosophy until my late twenties. I was taught literal, six-day creationism, and school science texts routinely debunked radiocarbon dating, and cited misconstrued fossil findings as evidence against evolution. Fundamentalists hold that obscure Bible passages and accounts such as creation are all equally true. The truth of the whole is integrally linked to the truth of individual parts. When I began to learn what science has discovered about the origins of the earth, and the history of mankind, I had to reject a 6,000 year old earth and the Adam-and-Eve story of man's origins.

It took several years for my concerns to accumulate to the point, that I rejected the Bible as truth outright. It has been about a year now since I felt that it was important to share my change in beliefs with my family. As I continue to read and learn, I do not regret the path I have chosen. I have more questions than ever, and yet I have no burning need to have the answers. I relish speculating on the questions. I describe myself as agnostic or freethinker, and I have no doubt that many would dismiss my views as secular humanist, a term that my upbringing uses to sneer at those who believe, as I now do, that how I treat people that I can see is more important than what I believe about a god who may or may not exist.

I've come a long way since reading The DaVinci Code, but I don't regret a single step.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I'm still in recovery from vacation. I had to renew my CPR certification yesterday, so that was a slight deviation, but we made it up with a trip to Nicholas restaurant, where I had the vegetarian mezza with lairan, a middle eastern yogurt drink. This afternoon I walked to the supermarket and picked up a Cabernet and a nice smoked pepper cheddar, which I am now enjoying.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Back Home

The few days I had at Mother and Father's flew by. Mr. Clean and his brood were there. The baby is beautiful, and I took every opportunity to "babysit". Baptist Nun was there and Big M and Little M came over every day. Robin and A.E. showed up Friday night, so all the siblings were together briefly for the first time in years.

I slept in the yard in a tent until it turned rainy. I slept at Big M's one night, and on the floor of the living room. My bed at home was welcome after all that.

We had lots of good meals, laughed until I stopped breathing playing Balderdash, had a picnic with extended family, and went to prayer meeting, where I had a wonderful chat with my old piano teacher.

SheWCBN took me to the Waffle House for breakfast and wonderful girl talk. We even stopped at a yard sale.

It was a pleasant trip "back home" and I'm happy as can be to be truly back home now.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Every time I go back to Pennsylvania, I get a sort of fuzzy feeling when I see familiar things. This trip was no exception. I even saw a 17-year "locust" or cicada. Actually they were quite vocal at the campground. I was born in the year of the locusts, so this is their third trip for me. I went for a long tramp in the woods and drank in the musty familiar smell and got the insect bites to show for it. I walked through poison ivy without contracting it. I ate Middleswarth barbecue chips, scrapple, ring bologna, and lebanon bologna: some of my favorite junk foods. Little M made the familiar macaroni saddle with homemade mayonaise dressing. If you know what all that stuff is, you just might have grown up near me.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Girls' Day

My cousin Gaia left the kids with a babysitter and we set out for a fun day. We shopped, went for a hike, got a bite to eat, and visited the family graves. But mostly we just talked. The best kind of day.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Little Buffalo State Park

A day at the pool was welcome after a week of activities. I relaxed in the shade while XBFRN darkened on an adjacent sunny patch of grass. For lunch, Dominic made me an unbelievable sandwich at Original Italian Pizza in Newport. I wrapped it up and had the rest for dinner before sitting on the grassy hill to watch the fireflies and bats come out.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Riding the Rails

I woke up early, feeling like a new person after a good rest. I took the subway to the Amtrak station, dodging early morning heat that must never have dissipated overnight. I relaxed in my seat with my iPod and drank in the scenery from my window seat as we passed town after scenic town with lovely bays full of sailboats. At Penn Station, I was part of a crowded mass of humanity, all looking for the right train platform. The train stopped in a cornfield in Pennsylvania; the conductor explained that there was an electrical problem, but we were only twenty minutes late.


Saturday, July 19, 2008


I dropped Robin and A.E. off at the airport, returned the rental car, took the train to my hostel to check in and store my luggage, and set out to explore the city. I walked through the park down Commonwealth Avenue, admiring the architecture and taking in the monuments. I especially enjoyed the inscriptions on the Women's Memorial. I lingered in the shade in the Public Garden, enjoying the cool beauty of the park. As I emerged from the Boston Common to see the Old State House, it started to get hot. I had left my water bottle at the cottage when I needed it the most.

I meandered slowly down the freedom trail, making the most of shady nooks, buying an apple in an outdoor market, and a bottle of juice in Fanieul Hall. I got swept up by the crowd in a huge outdoor market that seemed to be one-way only, and envied the children running through fountains in the park. By the time I reached the Italian neighborhood where Paul Revere's house is, I was wilting from the heat. I lingered in a souvenir shop for a while before heading straight for the subway station and back to the hostel.

Back at the hostel, I slept fourteen hours, rather the worse for my hot day, but having enjoyed the sights nonetheless.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Last Day

We stayed at the cottage for our last day, swimming, playing on the swingsets, handwashing some laundry, and cleaning out the refrigerator. In the evening we went for one last walk in downtown sandwich and stopped at the Bean and Bagel for iced coffee and a muffin. A.E. could hardly tear herself away from the basket of children's books they had there, preferring it even to her chocolate muffin, or cupcake as she referred to it. A strange woman dug through the basket of newspapers to find a map of Cape Cod and inexplicably flexed her bicep at us in imitation.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Boat that Works

Our grand plans for the Nantucket Ferry or whale watching seemed far too grand this near the end of a busy week. We settled on the Duckmobile instead. A restored U.S. military amphibious vehicle is the ride for a brief tour of town and the harbor, replete with corny jokes from the guide and quacking in unison at passersby. A.E. was enthralled, grinning broadly the entire time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fancy Tea

Today we went to storytime again. A.E. was bored by the story, but fascinated when Miss Mary brought the frog out to "pat". Froggie obliged by getting away and causing a scene.
We went to the tea room at lunchtime for "fancy tea". We consumed a pot of something light and fruity known as Courtship Tea, accompanied by cheese, bread, fruit, and a spicy chutney.
Following a tip, we made the drive to Wood's Hole, where we were told there was a free aquarium with a touching pool for kids. We did slightly more driving in circles than touches ocean life, and the touch pool turned out to be mostly full of seashells.
For dinner, I had my much awaited Ipswich clams, which were somehow unsatisfying. We were happy to make it back to the cottage to swim and swing to our hearts' content.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mayflower II

A.E., lured by the promise of going on a boat, was distinctly disappointed by the hot, crowded Mayflower, which simply sits at the harbor. She insisted, "I want to go on a boat that works!" We promised to make good on that later in the week.