Thursday, October 30, 2014

Farewell, Mayor Menino

Boston lost its best friend today. The streets, the trees, and the changeable sky seemed filled with spirit of Tom Menino. I sensed him everywhere I went. This is still his town, and it always will be.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Abundance

It's nearly November but the local farmer's market is still loaded with veggies that aren't turnips, potatoes, and cabbages. Check out the colorful options below. You can still get tomatoes, too.


The market is filled with apples and pears these days. You can often find tasty "antique" apple varieties, like Winesaps and Rome Beauties, along with the usual Macouns,  Honeycrisps, and Golden Delicious.


One of these days, I'm going to bring home a squash and roast the darn thing. I fear I'll have trouble hacking it into pieces beforehand since I don't have a huge chef's knife or cleaver. And then I'll have more trouble persuading the other MOTH (Member of the Household) to eat it, even slathered with butter and spices.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Calling All Anglophiles

Spare me the raucous holiday sweaters, but I've got nothing against a pair of tasteful holiday PJs. I think we all know somebody who'd love these pale-gray, brushed-cotton "Cosy Pyjamas" [sp] from Boden in a "festive London" print:
Here's a close-up to help you better identify all those beloved sights:


For those of us who work at home, PJs and robes are business attire, so $88 should not be considered a shocking price, given that a tailored, professional wardrobe is an investment in our futures, etc. So those of us had better snap these up ASAP before they sell out. That happens with the best stuff at Boden these days. Dig around online for a coupon to save: usually you can find one to the tune of "Everything 15% (or 20% or 25%)  off" — with free shipping and returns.

Happy Gotcha Day, Harris!

Two years ago today, we raced ahead of Hurricane Sandy as we drove from Connecticut to Boston with a tabby kitten settled in a carrier in the back seat. We knew he was sweet and adorable but we had no idea idea just how much personality he had, and how he'd transform our lives.

It took us forever to name him. He's named for a cat I loved and lost right after college.

All of our other cats were rescued from outside, but Harris was born indoors, to a mom who'd been rescued by a kind family while she was pregnant. He was loved and nurtured from birth. Is this why he has such tremendous self-esteem? (We refer to him as the M.I.C., the Most Important Cat, because that's clearly how he views himself.) Is this why he is the greatest Snuggler ever? He's already jumped in my lap twice today to purr, cling to me, and roll around like a baby.

Those giant feet!

Harris is our most photogenic cat. With the others, I hope to catch a good pose while they're in action or ignoring me. Harris stops, stares into my lens, and waits, making sure I get my picture:


As affectionate, charming, and purely self-interested as Harris is, what I think we love most about him is his utter lack of maturity. He finally grew into his oversized feet, and he's more than two years old now, but he still looks, acts, and plays like a baby:






We feel so lucky to have him! And he makes sure that we spoil him accordingly.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Random Walk

For more than thirty years, I've been fortunate to live in a very elegant and historic neighborhood. While I sometimes take it for granted, I almost never spend more than a few minutes outside without enjoying the beauty of Back Bay's buildings, bricks, gardens, and trees. I drink it all in with the fresh air. It makes me happy; it "restoreth my soul," assuming I still have one. Back Bay feels like it's in my bones by now.

In the recent years that we've been house-hunting, I can't help comparing other neighborhoods with mine, and although there's a lot of beauty all around Boston, there's no place like home. (And there's nowhere more convenient or centrally located for a walker like me.) But it looks like we're going to have to leave here, since we seem to be priced out of this market. So nowadays, every walk I take around here is bittersweet, and I admire, and savor, and drink it all in more than ever.

Here are a few quick photos I took last week on an ordinary, cloudy day, during a typical, nothing-special walks. I am utterly spoiled, as you will see. It's going to be wrenching to move away from here... in so many ways.






Saturday, October 25, 2014

Recent Adorableness: Supper Time


Meals are far more momentous for the cats in this household than the humans. (I think that many of their meals are more expensive than ours, too, since they are getting premium lamb, rabbit, and duck, while we omnivores go light on the meat around here.) 

We used to give them four meals a day but now that everyone is beyond the kitten stage, we're feeding two larger meals, reducing the time by half. There is great enthusiasm from everyone, either way:


Some of the cats are beginning to get a bit fussy about their food. This is a surprising new development, since for months everyone was chowing down as fast as possible so they could then steal food from other bowls. These days, Harris turns up his nose at Tiki Cat Koolina Luau Chicken (despite its costing about $3.50 a can) while Lion walks away from lamb (unimaginable, given his voracious appetite as a baby). Wendy gives me dirty looks if she's given duck. Possum still eats everything, and Toffee isn't too picky, either.

These days, one of us always stays in the kitchen and watches while they eat, to swap bowls around if necessary and make sure everyone gets a fair share and no one's stealing too much food or going away hungry. Meals can take up to 15 minutes since Wendy is a slow, dainty eater. It gives us time to enjoy watching them. Five happy cats going "Nom, nom, nom" can be a pretty splendid sight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Postcards from Maine: Subtleties

Here are a few more colorful scenes from our long weekend on Mount Desert Island.

I love berries. I could photograph them for ages.

Soft shading at the Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor

The popular view of the Bubbles from the lawn at the Jordan Pond House.

The suitably named Ivy Manor Inn in Bar Harbor.

Golden leaves against blue water and sky...

Weeds. In fall, they're almost up there with berries as a photogenic subject.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't Try This at Home: Pool Style


If you crave a swimming pool but don't have the funds, or even a yard, pick a room and cover the walls, floor, and trim with light blue paint, wallpaper, and wall-to-wall. You'll get a similar, underwater effect without all the maintenance hassles (or wetness, or liability issues) of a real pool.

When I tried and failed to learn to swim in college, I spent too much time walking around on the bottom of a deep, chilly indoor pool, looking upward in hopes of spotting the ladder. When I saw this house listing on Redfin.com, I had an instant déjà vu experience.

If this concept appeals to you, consider adding a "lap lane" with a long runner, and putting a (fake) diving board on the second floor landing. How about attaching a raft or life preserver to the ceiling, and a metal pool ladder to the staircase?

And surely someone sells chlorine-scented candles for the perfect finishing touch.

Postcards from Maine: Autumn Color

Maine's foliage in mid October was not as "loud" as I expected but it was beautiful enough to provoke continuous oohs and aahs as we toured around Mount Desert Island. It was hard to know when, or if, the peak had happened; friends who'd been there for ten days before us, including an arborist, weren't positive, either. They were still hopeful that the peak would announce itself within a couple of days, before they had to go home. While some trees had already lost their leaves, many others were still green. Evergreens further confuse the issue, of course; there are plenty of areas with mostly green trees all year round. It seemed to use that the color show was more subtle this year, but longer lasting.

 Asticou Azalea Garden, Northeast Harbor

 You can see a mostly bare tree, at right, beside a green tree that's next to an orange tree.

I took lots of photos of shrubs, weeds, and berries on this trip, as you'll see.
A colorful, tangled mess of berries, vines, and leaves appeals to me, 
perhaps because I don't see such things very often in Boston.

Acadia landscape, still mostly green, with touches of color and lots of bare trees.

The landscape was more colorful and coordinated around the Rockefeller Boathouse. 
Even nature makes more of an effort for that distinguished family.

Flower boxes by the footbridge in Somesville, one of the most-photographed spots on the island.