May 31, 2016

Tucson. November, 2014

Picture looking up and seeing this. Do you think you'd ever become so used to it that you'd take it for granted? Living in New England as I do, it's hard to imagine ever becoming blasé about something so remarkably and shockingly beautiful.

May 30, 2016

Watertown, MA. Memorial Day, 2013

Hello, Sailor! I love Memorial Day parades. Always have. My town's parade route passes a mere block from my house and that's where you'll find me today at noon. And while the Blue Belles twirlers are always my favorites, I do have a special place in my heart for the Navy. If you know what I mean. (Update: Mother Nature had other plans this year and our parade was cancelled due to rain. Still, I have my memories.)

May 29, 2016

Hollywood. November, 2005

Never miss a chance for a jumping picture. My friend Mike and I were on a business trip to Los Angeles, checking out the placement of the billboards we'd created for some new headphones from Bose. 1-2-3-jump! (Tear your eyes away from me for a moment and look at those four words on the side of the building below the billboard. What do you suppose they mean? Speak. Consider. Care. Stand.)

May 28, 2016

Watertown, MA. January, 2016

My friend Jeff served a salad last winter that belied the season and tasted remarkably green. His secret: fresh parsley. So, because I am an "all or nothing" type, I planted 12 parsley plants in the garden last weekend, hoping to have an abundant supply all summer. Here is a healthy bunch of that secret ingredient secured (the day after Jeff's salad) at one of the many Armenian produce markets mercifully located a mere two blocks from my house. (I was scolded for not having bought flat-leaf parsley, a mistake I did not repeat when I purchased the plants for the garden. Sue me.)

May 27, 2016

Essex, MA. December, 2015

I have heard through the grapevine (aka her sister) that my friend Mary cannot stop thinking of fried seafood once she read a posting here two weeks ago of our "fisherman's combo platter." So here, for Mary, is an exterior of Woodman's, the fabled seafood shack, that we visit off-season to avoid the huge crowds that overwhelm the place starting Memorial Day weekend. See you in December, Mary.

May 26, 2016

Watertown, MA. May, 2016

Oh, when lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd.... My friend Matt, the grandson of architect/icon Richard Neutra, is allergic to lilacs. Imagine! And so how can I not think of him every year at this time? Because lilacs (especially this dwarf variety -- twice the blooms, half the gangly height) are so beautiful, so fragrant and reliable. I walk out my kitchen door and -- pow! -- this. I no longer have to sneak around after dark, as in my New Jersey childhood, clippers in hand, thieving.

May 25, 2016

Watertown, MA. May, 2016

When a town crew removed a huge (but dying) Norway Maple from in front of my house, the front yard went from shade to full sun. So last fall, I planted 168 bulbs (daffodils and miniature hyacinth.) Once their early spring blooms began to fade, I started to accumulate perennials. Here is my favorite, Sweet William, one of four such plants that now punctuate the vinca/myrtle groundcover. I think of them as the drag queens of the garden.

May 24, 2016

Kadiköy, Istanbul. June, 2007

Though the lahmacun served here are the results of many hands, there is nothing "assembly line" about the quality of the finished product. There was something mesmerizing about watching this team repeatedly turn out the spicy meat flatbreads that keep locals coming back for more. (To see these guys at their staff lunch, click here.)

May 23, 2016

Boston. March, 2016

I am so grateful for the friends I have. So many creative, interesting people. Including these two, seen here prepping some party food for a "green evening" -- green food, green clothes, green everything. Hayden (left) in his KALE T-shirt helping Betsi in her green linen shirtwaist. He's a writer whose talents and versatility are remarkable for someone only 25. She runs Boston's Urbanity Dance, creating works of breathtaking surprises and beauty. I am blessed.

May 22, 2016

Tucson. November, 2006

My friend Miles runs Tucson's Conrad Wilde Gallery. On a day when I was in his "shop" to buy one of his encaustic works, he showed me the "backstage." And there was this large SEE. Appropriate for an art gallery, no?

May 21, 2016

Tucson. November, 2015

Evaluations and certifications. Right.

May 20, 2016

Off the Coast of Morocco. November, 2013

One of the often-enjoyable traditions on Windstar cruises is that repeat voyagers are invited to have dinner with one of the ship's staff. Seen here, center, Jane, the social director on the Wind Surf. Sometimes we dread the other guests at the table, sometimes they're fun. (I shall reserve judgment on the couple seen here on the right, the striped wife of which broke a full wineglass shortly after being seated. Just saying.) We've dined with the ship's Chief Engineer in the past and had a great time. And we've also had some clinkers where we couldn't get away fast enough. Can you tell if we're having a good time in this shot snapped by the Wind Surf's photographer?

May 19, 2016

Essex, MA. December, 2015

Once the weather starts getting warmer, the crowds begin to descend upon Woodman's of Essex for their excellent seafood. Preferably fried. We stay far away during spring, summer and most of the autumn. Winter is our time to take advantage of the fare at this local institution with an international reputation. Summer brings screaming, sunburned, hungry kids and exhausted parents, all stopping for a nosh en route home from the beach. No, thanks. Winter brings an almost empty and mercifully quiet resto in which to enjoy any of the delights listed here. Expensive, but worth it for an annual New Year's Eve treat. See you in December.

May 18, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

I'm not a big candy eater. OK, I like KitKat and an occasional fine chocolate, but that's about it. So I don't understand the appeal of Turkish Delight. Some people I know go nuts over it. To me, this mildly sweet, gelatinous confection tempts not at all. But it is pretty to look at, preferably while in Turkey.

May 17, 2016

Cambridge, MA. March, 2016

Twice a year, in Boston and other cities, local restaurants declare Restaurant Week. (Or as it's oddly called now here for some reason, Dine Out Boston.) Participating venues offer special menus at reduced prices. So it's a great time to visit places whose tabs might otherwise be prohibitive. To my mind, the best deal in town is lunch at Toscano in Harvard Square. Three courses, $20. First course this time around, a salad of roasted beets with Gorgonzola dolce and arugula. So, so good.

May 16, 2016

Watertown, MA. February, 2016

When life gives you oranges, well, make fresh-squeezed orange juice. If you ask me, there are few things better. Especially in February. And especially when the oranges were on sale. What a treat.

May 15, 2016

Montreal. October, 2006

The delights of Montreal's Jean-Talon Market are seemingly endless. And the produce displays are a visual delight. Just look at these berries, for example. Beautiful and healthy, just like us.

May 14, 2016

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. March, 2016

Easter breakfast at my friend Nick's house. Count the circles.

May 13, 2016

Watertown, MA. March, 2016

Last March, the third month in my three-month diet, I decided to try one of those flour-free, cauliflower-crust pizzas, recipes for which are all over the internet. You mix chopped, cooked cauliflower with cheeses and spread it out on waxed paper and bake it. Then you put on your red sauce and more cheese, and bake it again. And what you get, you see here. My verdict: Don't bother. It's a mess, a hassle and doesn't approach the satisfaction of the real thing. Amen.

May 12, 2016

Essex, MA. December, 2015

I am on a diet. My new approach is three months on, one month off. And April was my off month. Consequently I can think only of food. And also consequently, this here blog will be food-focused for a few days. Starting with our traditional New Year's Eve fried seafood combo at Woodman's of Essex, a holiday tradition. This year we supplemented it with a side order of fried calamari. Worth waiting three months for.

May 11, 2016

Watertown, MA. May, 2016

Fiddleheads. Each spring when I see them, I always think of my friend (later my boss) Steve, whose son was a picky eater. When I once asked Steve if his son liked any vegetables, he replied, "Only fiddleheads. The most expensive, and one that's only available for about two weeks each year." Hey, the kid knows what he likes.

May 10, 2016

Hollywood. October, 1981

How many people do you know would lie down on this dirty Hollywood Boulevard sidewalk to be photographed on Mabel Normand's tribute on the Walk of the Stars? Hands? Actually, how many people still know who Mabel Normand is?

May 9, 2016

Garwood or Plainfield, NJ? 1980s?

My cousin Bobby sent me this photo awhile back, with his amusing title of "Beer in the ear." Yes, always a beer or some kind of alcohol with these three brothers (Bobby's father Joe on the left, my father in the center, and my uncle Buddy on the right.) There is another photo in this series, taken later in the day, when the brothers are considerably more red-faced. And they're singing, not an uncommon occurrence, and one to which I've been genetically predisposed (much to the dismay of Dr. Blake and some past work colleagues.) But beer and song aside, what I wonder most when I see this is: Whose outfit is the worst? (For an earlier look at these three bros, along with their paterfamilias, click here.)

May 8, 2016

Montreal. October, 2006

Admit it. Everyone has a sweet weakness. As a child, mine was Mallomars. (Do they still make that magnificent cookie?) But as an adult with more sophisticated tastes, I've progressed to KitKat. Try as I might to escape its clutches, it follows me, even across borders.

May 7, 2016

Watertown, MA. June, 2014

My friend and neighbor Donna reminds me that we have only one month to go before the Greek Festival thrown by the church mere blocks from our neighborhood serves up the best gyros to be found. I've had gyros (or doner at the Turks call it, or shawarma as the Arabs do) in many places from Istanbul, to Athens, to Newton Highlands, MA...and this church festival offers up the best. Unfortunately, word has gotten out, and last year the line at one point was one and a half hours long. People knew enough to wait.

May 6, 2016

Boston. July, 1996

I have no idea who took this picture. Did I? I only know that the gentleman front and center is security guard François, on duty during my years at WGBH-TV. François, a standout character even in this workplace of many unusual characters, had a habit of talking in sound effects. It was not uncommon for him to answer a question (such as, "What time does the building open in the morning?") by saying, "Boing!" or "Ding dong!" One day, after I had been chewed out by Phil, another security guard, for leaving a package to be picked up at the front desk instead of at the mailroom, François took me aside, and in his Québecois accent tried to comfort me by remarking, "She's such a bitch!"

May 5, 2016

Framingham, MA. November, 2002

Another "employee photo," this one taken when I worked at Bose, "the most respected name in sound." Ten years later than the one I posted yesterday. As you can tell from each, I was not the jacket-and-tie type. Fortunately I've always worked in creative jobs where a certain amount of sartorial leeway was allowed. Sunglasses indoors. I had already realized that the eyes age first. I still look like this, right? Ha ha ha. I wish.

May 4, 2016

Boston. Summer, 1992

I recently came across this "employee photo" from back when I was working at Boston's public television station. I still look like this, don't I? Ha ha ha. I wish.

May 3, 2016

Paris. December, 2005

According to old-school conventional wisdom, oysters R not in season in this R-free month of May. But they sure were when I was at the Bastille market way back then. So many varieties, too.

May 2, 2016

Newark, NJ. Summer, 1976

One last entry to bring SLS Friends Week to a close. My best friend Nick and I in what seems like a past life. Did we really look like that? The note that I have on this photo says "Before our lunch at Lutece, 1976." Nick was on his way to Monte Carlo to work at the Sporting Club and never to return, so I splurged and took him to lunch at the famous NYC restaurant. I can't believe I went to Lutece looking like that! Anyway, Lutece is gone now, and Nick did return.

May 1, 2016

Chicago. Summer, 2012

I'm stretching the idea of Friends Week here by posting a photo by a Facebook friend of his young son. I just love this photo. Not only because his son is so cute, but because he's so unaware of the message his shirt conveys. And because it reminds me of how we gently exploit others in our pursuit of amusement. I don't, but others seem to.