September 28, 2010. The 2010 MacArthur Fellows were announced today, the “genius” awards for exceptional, non-traditional-thinking individuals, mostly. One such recipient, theater director and actor David Cromer, who, in a New York Times profile earlier in the year, observed, “My mother’s been saying it to me since I was a child, and it remains true to this day: if I do not want to do something, I will not do it. There is no force on earth that can make me. I never did my homework, ever. I would say I was a very unpopular kid. I didn’t have a lot of friends. In high school somehow I found like-minded people, sort of interested in the arts, sort of enlightened nerds, and I found living in that community to be the most interesting thing.” Interesting, indeed. And now award-winning. I wonder who lives in this non-traditional different-drummer “garden” apartment seen here. I pass this building almost every day and smile when I think of the road less traveled by, its differences, its blessings.
September 23, 2017
What visual memories do most people bring home from Lisbon? The water views of the River Tejo. The city’s many hills and steeply sloped streets. The old quarters with their crooked alleys and colorful facades. Color-rich tiles in buildings and on buildings. Beautiful sidewalks, fashioned as mosaics of black and white stones. And, of course, the trolleys, those iconic yellow trams that weave in and out of even the tightest corners of the Alfama. Here’s a memory of mine: the Elevador da Bica. This tram-like funicular runs from its low point near the waterside Cais do Sodré train station up through funky neighborhoods to the top of the Bairro Alto leaving you off near the Miradouro de Santa Catarina, a beautiful lookout in a quiet residential locale. The elevador is a quick and atmospheric way to ascend and you’ll be in the fine company of Lisboetas who’ve learned that it’s easy to walk down to the Mercado da Ribeira to shop, but less easy to climb back home with shopping bags full of daily provisions secured at the bustling market.
September 22, 2017
Jay and I had walked from the port of Tangier up to the old city and through the Friday morning market. When I saw these tangerines and thought of their namesake significance to city, well, I had to take a picture, no? The woman in the market stall started yelling something that I didn’t understand, but which I thought was her urging me to visit her stand next door. I snapped the photo of the fruit and the woman came tearing over to me and raised her hand, threatening to strike. A man nearby calmly said to me in English, “She said no fotos.” Ooops. I made my apologies as best I could given that my Arabic isn’t what it might be, and we somewhat sheepishly walked away. Jay paled at the experience, thinking that it was forbidden to take any photos hereabouts. And each time I took out my camera over the next few hours, he looked frightened at what my snapping might next provoke. Nothing, as it turned out. And we had a wonderful time walking through the maze of the medina and the Kasbah without further incident.
September 21, 2017
Look at this beautiful old store in the Barri Gòtic. It’s a knife store. But it looks as if it could be selling jewelry instead of scissors, switchblades and corkscrews. And that signage! Those arched windows! Doesn’t it look a bit like an old train? The Orient Express? No Target here. No Wal-Mart. Instead, stores that mono-task: gloves, candles, soap, scissors. And the pride that’s evident in the displays. We passed a pastry shop that had its cakes and macarons so lovingly presented...we wanted to wear them. No wonder it’s such fun just to walk in European cities. Windows, stores, even billboards. All eye candy, all the time.
September 20, 2017
September 19, 2017
September 18, 2017
There are so many benefits to living on a cliff, overlooking the “living painting” of the harbor and the sea beyond. And a few drawbacks. Like wind. Unprotected on our precipice, exposed to the occasional hurricane-strength breezes, can sometimes be daunting. So far, nothing fatal. But timing (and placement) are important. We woke up one morning to find that, in addition to the commonplace fallen limbs here and there, an entire tree had been uprooted overnight (shown here under the steadying hands of Dr. Blake.) We called our “tree man,” who was, as you can imagine, rather busy this morning all over town. When he arrived, he sawed off the trunk at ground level, then pushed the dirt and roots back in place. Done. At least the nearby stone wall remained intact. This time.