July 31, 2016

ICA, Boston. July, 2016

Hundreds and hundreds of little creatures. Rooms of them. All from the creative mind of artist Geoffrey Farmer. My friend Patti and I were lucky enough to see his installation here at the Institute of Contemporary Art just days before it closed. And you'll be seeing more of it right here in days to come.

July 29, 2016

July 28, 2016

Boston. May, 1984?

And with this photo of my friend Simon and our pal Marty, we bring to an end some two weeks of recently found photographs. A definite '80s vibe going on here. Marty is rocking something approaching a full clone look. And Simon, well let's just say that Farrah Fawcett comes to mind. What babies we were back then. Sigh.

July 27, 2016

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. Autumn, 1980?

Why am I off-center in this photo? Because my late friend Dali wanted her dog, Harry, to have some spotlight. She and my friend John and I were staying with my former student and current friend Jacques in his family cottage for a nice, fall weekend, including a ride in Jacques's boat, as seen here. I remember feeling so comfortable that afternoon in the boat. I also remember that in the center of town was a small booth with a sign, Information, above the door. Dali, mischievous as always, went up to the woman in the booth and asked, "What's the capital of Delaware?"

July 26, 2016

Stratford-Upon-Avon. July, 1969

Picking up on yesterday's Shakespearean post, here I am on my first trip to Europe. Of course, this English major had to go to Shakespeare's alleged birthplace. I remember staying in a very twee B&B, and attending several performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. (Just to put things in perspective, I also remember that Shaft was playing at the local cinema.) Do you suppose I was the first (or last) person to pose with imagined sullied hands here in front of Lady Macbeth's stature in the Shakespeare memorial gardens? (It looks as if I was sporting a haircut -- and color! -- made popular back then by Twiggy. "The sun did it.")

July 25, 2016

South Orange, NJ. Autumn, 1969

One of the great gifts I received by attending the high school that I did was a love for Shakespeare. Not that we studied him at all well in class, but the Drama Club put on a different Shakespeare play every fall, and those of us who were in them came to know the plays really well, felt comfortable with them and their language, had lots of fun with them. Macbeth (I was Fleance, son of Banquo AND the "third apparition"), Julius Caesar (a citizen), The Merchant of Venice (a follower of the Prince of Aragon) and, shown here, Hamlet (I was stage manager.) As I type this, I realize that I peaked, as far as onstage time, in my freshman year and headed steadily downhill afterwards. Oh, well. This photo from our Hamlet features an old classmate of mine who is now a convicted felon serving time in federal prison. Which one do you think it is?

July 24, 2016

Springfield, NJ. Spring, 1949

When my father worked for New York Life Insurance Company, his corporate newsletter would publish photos of employees' newborns. So I guess this was my media debut. Dr. Blake likes to rag on me these days when he sees photos of the two of us. He is usually making a face; I am usually behind sunglasses and assuming a casual attitude. "You know how to pose," he says critically. What, I'd like to know, is wrong with that? It seems I've been doing so (minus the sunglasses) for a long time now.

July 23, 2016

New York, NY. Summer, 1984?

My friend David (see July 16 post) and I happened upon a lower Manhattan community art exhibit that was showing the work of local elementary school students. This is a detail of a construction labeled 'Dwanna's Museum of Arts and Riddles." We fell in love. My favorite captions within the "museum" are "This is a Fink" (sted Sphinx); "This is a calcium" (sted Colosseum) and (not seen in this photo) the riddle, "What is wind?" Dwanna, we have no idea who you are or where you are now, but David and I have been talking about your artwork for decades and will no doubt continue to do so.

July 22, 2016

Boston, MA. Spring, 1992?

When my friend Stephen showed up for his interview to work at WGBH-TV, he was approached in the lobby by a production assistant working on a series about DNA. She came up to him and asked, "Are you here for 'The Secret of Life?" He didn't know exactly how to answer. My friend Diane and I finally rounded him up for the interview, and I remember ending with the usual "Is there anything you'd like to ask us?" "Yes," he said, "Do I have to wear socks?" He got the job. This photo of the three of us was taken in Diane's office on Stephen's last day. (I'm guessing the date.) Please note the purple press kit dug up in his honor. Stephen escaped with his dignity and sanity. Diane and I endured many more years at what was then touted as "the PBS flagship station."

July 21, 2016

Milton, MA. Summer, 1989?

I call this photo, "Christina's World." Actually it's my old friend and WGBH colleague Howard at one of the company picnics (this one on the grounds of Curry College.) I remember that when I originally showed this photo to Howard (who used to wear monogramed yellow terrycloth jumpsuits to work, just saying), he screamed, "Girl, you can see right up my skirt!"

July 20, 2016

Jersey City, NJ. Sometime in 1967

I have no idea who this is. But I suspect one of my Jersey City friends, with whom I hung out back then, may have given this photo to me. At least that's what the hairdo would suggest. On the back of the photo, someone has written "Janey." No clue.

July 19, 2016

New Orleans. May, 1991.

When my friend Nick told me that he'd be teaching in Jackson, Mississippi, and did I want to meet him afterwards in New Orleans, I jumped at the chance. I'd always wanted to visit the land of Tennessee Williams, so I arrived a day early and did some independent sightseeing. A strange man grabbed me and gave me a big kiss and said, "Welcome to New Orleans, darlin'." And I knew that it was my kind of city. In advance of my trip, my Boston friend Bambi (seriously), who'd grown up in Louisiana, put me in touch with two friends of hers, NOLA decorators who'd worked on a recent SuperBowl show. They were terrific, took us to a gospel concert at Tulane and out for soul food in Metarie afterwards. Imagine my surprise then when the next day I saw the two of them (in somewhat different attire) on this souvenir postcard. Welcome to New Orleans, darlin'.

July 18, 2016

Central Park, New York, NY. June, 1967

Waiting for Barbra Streisand's free concert in Central Park to begin. We got there HOURS in advance to sit up close. And because we got there early, we were able to hear Streisand rehearse with the orchestra (and to lead the early crowd in a chorus of "Second Hand Rose.") I remember that it was terribly hot and dusty. And that people "cut in" to get in front of us. We did see some "celebrities" arrive. The only one I can remember now was Monty Rock III. Google him. Front and center here is our friend Fish (I think her real name was Maria.) And the kid with the blonde crewcut on the right? No idea. Ditto the blonde young woman on the left. The concert, of course, was great...even though we had to leave at intermission in order to get the last train home to New Jersey. (This photo was taken with a Polaroid Swinger. Google that, too.)

July 17, 2016

Scotch Plains, NJ. September, 1971

What was I thinking? To look like that. And to post this photo here. Oh, well, it was the 1970s. This is from my first year teaching, a "welcome to the new teacher" photo in the school newspaper. Think the parents were impressed? And can you tell that I hadn't yet found "a life of recovery"? Nice hair. Nice glasses. Nice everything.

July 16, 2016

New York, New York. Summer, 1984?

I've been going through a box of old photographs and over the next few days, you'll see some of what I found. For example, this photo of my friend David. Originally from Texas, he moved to Boston to attend college. And after he'd made his mark, moved again to New York to pursue a musical performance career. This picture must be from one of my early visits. He still lives in New York, but has given up his cabaret path to become a clinical social worker. Similar skills required. Oh, and the answer to the question posed? No.

July 15, 2016

Boston. July, 2016

The #1 bus (which travels between Harvard Square in Cambridge and Dudley Square in Boston) is always a scene. Always. Sometimes fascinating (watching changing demographics as the bus passes through various neighborhoods.) Sometimes scary (I had to get off after two blocks once when an aggressive, mouthy woman was yelling at another passenger so menacingly.) And sometimes just theatrical (as during last night's trip when this man with a HUGE "arrangement" of branches and flowers was screaming things like, "I'm a real Panther. Power to the people! All the people!" repeatedly.) Never air-conditioned, routinely packed with riders, always a scene.

July 14, 2016

Watertown, MA. August, 2013

On Bastille Day, I repost this photo of my Francophile friend (and Birthday Boy) Kevin, whom I miss terribly since he moved to Illinois. This pastoral scene is from a lovely warm afternoon three years ago when Kevin helped me clean up my garden. I love the photo, I love him, and I love how this shot always reminds me of Manet's Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe. Happy birthday, my beloved friend.

July 12, 2016

Venice, Italy. October, 1981

I have recently heard of two laws enacted in Venice. One forbids the use of roller luggage because of the noise such heavy traffic can make. (Stiff fines are imposed, that is if the law is still enforced. It's Italy, after all.) The other bans the feeding of pigeons in squares such as this one, the Piazza San Marco. One hopes that this law is rigorously enforced. (Any visitor to Venice knows that the number of pigeons shown in this photo is ridiculously and uncharacteristically light.)

July 11, 2016

Tucson. May, 1987

Frequent readers of this blog may be aware of my 34-year friendship with Simon and David, almost unrecognizable here because of their extreme youth. I probably took this on my first visit with them after they'd moved from Boston to Tucson. And I'm guessing it was taken at the Desert Museum, where, if memory serves, breathing was a challenge as this Yankee adjusted to an altitude higher than Boston's sea level.

July 10, 2016

Watertown, MA. July, 2016

As promised yesterday, here's another of the four kinds of hydrangea that I have in the backyard. This one, oak-leaf hydrangea, is a show-stopper, rising high above the other nearby shrubs, it shines bright white in July, then turns into a rusty purple as autumn approaches. But then, don't we all?.

July 9, 2016

Watertown, MA. July, 2016

Several years ago, a neighbor who was thinning his hydrangeas, asked if I'd like a small sapling. I took it, planted it in a shady spot in my backyard, and it has since spread and grown into this magnificent bush. Sun-dappled, no less. One of four kinds of hydrangea in the yard. (Another type posting tomorrow.)

July 8, 2016

Red Bank, NJ. Autumn, 1950

Oh, look at how cute Dr. Blake was as a child. He still is. Dr. B and I have been together 37 years, married three. Married three years ago today, actually. On that same day, July 8, 2013, in Manhattan, our friends Roberto and Marco also got hitched, and I take great pleasure each time the forgetful Marco asks me when his wedding anniversary is. It's an easy question for me to answer. All best wishes to Roberto and Marco, and to all the other Americans (and people in civilized countries around the world) who are now able to marry the people they love, too.

July 7, 2016

Watertown, MA. July, 2016

Nature's abundant harvest. Ha ha ha. As you can see, the tomato crop here on Hillside Road is not overwhelming this year. But the basil seems on track. When I went to pinch back the about-to-flower basil plants, I was left with a healthy bunch of leaves. My neighbor Donna advises I puree them with a little water and freeze the result in ice cube trays so that I can drop a cube into tomato sauces this winter and enjoy the taste of summer. More will be revealed.

July 6, 2016

Napoli. October, 2015

In a city as mad and idiosyncratic as Napoli, this apartment building -- a model of restraint and symmetry -- stands out.

July 5, 2016

Watertown, MA. July, 2016

Oh, no. Did I cause this when, in yesterday's post, I wished that my apple tree would not be so productive this year? Mine, like many others in the area, is experiencing a selective death of some branches while others remain visibly healthy. Google to the rescue! I learned that apple trees are among the most disease-sensitive trees. Blight, fungus, you name it. My plan is to prune off the dead branches and hope for the best.

July 4, 2016

Watertown, MA. August, 2015

The apple tree outside my kitchen door went into overdrive last year, producing hundreds (maybe thousands?) of apples. It certainly seemed like thousands as I had to pick them up, bag them and drag the heavy and soggy bags to the street for curbside pickup. I was not alone. Neighbors all along my running route have told me of similar inconveniences. And the worst part is that the fruit from my tree is a mealy, unappealing type of red delicious. Red, yes. Delicious, no. This year, the tree seems to be less productive. Fingers crossed.

July 3, 2016

Gloucester, MA. July, 2015

It's tomato season again here in Gloucester, and Dr. Blake becomes braggingly competitive about the number of little red globes his plants produce. His plants. Bought and planted by me in containers provided by our friend Mary (who also prepares and enriches the soil each year.) Just saying.

July 2, 2016

Catania, Sicily. October, 2015

A ghostly image on a metal shade over a shop window in this Sicilian port town.

July 1, 2016

Gloucester, MA. October, 2010

This is my favorite beach in Gloucester, the one I run to (literally) each Saturday morning. And this is the view from the midpoint in my run, from the small wooden pedestrian bridge that spans the inlet where changing tides are most evident. It's also my favorite time of year on the beach. Autumn, when the summerfolk have all gone home and only the year-round locals (and their dogs) reclaim the strand. It's no accident that the beach is named Good Harbor.