I've been very good lately, sticking to my no-flour/no-sugar eating plan. But sometimes you just want pizza. And when that craving appears, there is no stopping it. Well, there is a way to stop it: Make a pizza. Here's the onion pizza I made to stop the craving. And my bow toward respecting the diet? I only made one instead of my customary two. And said, "What a good boy am I."
August 30, 2016
Last spring, I planted a number of summer-blooming bulbs and tubers. Recently, when some of them seemed like duds, I threw away all the packaging that identified the plants by name. Of course, the very next week these colorful shoots emerged in all of the places I'd planted them. And, also of course, I have no record of what they're called. Late bloomers. Literally.
August 28, 2016
August 27, 2016
What is summer without a cookout? And no one throws a better (or more anticipated) one than our friends Felix and Pablo. First of all, it's bilingual and Dr. B and I can drift in and out of the Spanish conversation if we dare. Second, seen here, Pablo's rich assortment of grilled meats, rivaled only by his signature rice and gandules (pigeon peas), a container of which he generously sends home with us. Muchas gracias, amigos..
August 26, 2016
August 25, 2016
August 24, 2016
August 23, 2016
August 22, 2016
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, etc. So because of the record-breaking heat and humidity, I've been staying indoors the past few days and appreciating how light plays on everyday objects and surfaces. Like the patterned sunlight that traces my etched-glass front door onto this George Nick painting that hangs over my mantel.
August 20, 2016
I grew up in a mid-Atlantic Irish-Catholic family where you quickly learned that you were not supposed to talk about your feelings. (You were not supposed to talk about much, actually, unless it was to criticize a neighbor or a relative who had fallen out of favor.) So maybe that's why I'm drawn to warmer climates and warmer ethnicities whose feelings and emotions are right there on the surface...even posted and adorned as is this sad memorial to a young man who'd recently died on this spot.
August 19, 2016
August 18, 2016
Yay! My beloved friend Simon (above, left) is in town for a few days. (Alas, not with his husband David and late faithful friend Betty, seen here in 1987.) Simon's visits back to his New England origins usually take place on either the coldest or the hottest days of the year. And as I type this, Boston is experiencing record high temperatures and humidity. Just saying.
August 17, 2016
August 16, 2016
August 15, 2016
She is risen. Today is the Feast of the Assumption. And here is a view to my favorite painting in the world, Titian's Assumption, as seen hanging in the spot for which it was painted in the Franciscan church, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. (When I brought Dr. Blake to the Frari in 2012 to show him the painting, sadly it was obscured by some nasty scaffolding. Click here for an unobstructed view.) Here are some things I've always heard about this feast day that honors the physical assumption of the Blessed Virgin into heaven (Google for accuracy): That it was a bodily-related feast, established by Pope Pius XII after World War II to commemorate the vast amount of war-related human carnage. That many Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans believe there is a miraculous cure in the seas on this day, causing thousands to flock to the waters and dunk themselves in the allegedly healing brine. When I was a Catholic a long time ago, even I used to do this. But then again, I love ritual of any kind, especially those that are beach-related.
August 14, 2016
August 13, 2016
Count those megapixels! Or what passed for pixels in this blocky and primitive digitized photo, part of an early online experiment called Teletext that we were trying out with local schools more than 30 years ago. What with technology advancing so quickly, Teletext, novel as it had been, was soon left in the dust. Do you recognize the subject of the digitized photo?
August 12, 2016
August 11, 2016
Oh, no. Not a cat picture! Well, yes and no. Let me explain. I am not a cat person. But I love my neighbor's cat Frankie who thinks he's a dog. None of that feline attitude. He comes when he's called. He submits to being petted at all times. He has a luxurious coat and a full, lush tail. He is an outdoor cat who has taken up occasional residence in my backyard. When his owners call him in at night, a simple shake of the "treat box" will bring him running home. A nice cat. Seen here: Frankie as King of the Pachysandra.
August 10, 2016
August 9, 2016
August 8, 2016
A possible SAT "word problem": If my friend Dali (pictured, left) were alive today at 77, instead of having died of cancer at age 51 in 1990, what are the chances that advances in diagnosis and treatment would have kept her alive these past 26 years? Instead, she remains alive in so many memories of so many people -- larger than life sometimes and still making us laugh all these years later.
August 7, 2016
Happy birthday to my baby brother, Brien, seen here (right) in happier times. Brien has had a full life, a tough one, and it's often hard for me to imagine two brothers so unalike. Or are we? In any case, we seem to complement and learn from each other in so many ways.
August 6, 2016
When my mother died, I thought it might be a good time to distract my father by taking him to Ireland, a place he'd always wanted to visit. I practiced patience for ten days as we drove almost a thousand miles and stayed along the way in bed-and-breakfast accommodations of varying levels of comfort. Like this one here. Kidding. Sort of.
August 5, 2016
It looks as though my working at the polls this November 8 will prevent me from visiting my friends Simon and David and walking down their hill to the All Souls Procession. Maybe a year off will allow me to figure out exactly what this group from last year's event was trying to convey.
August 4, 2016
August 3, 2016
I first saw this cube made of pins by artist Tara Donovan when Dr. B and I visited the Institute of Contemporary Art as part of our 2008 "staycation." We were told that the pins that made up this approx 4-foot x 4-foot x 4-foot structure "held themselves in place." How could that be? This time, visiting the ICA with my friend Patti recently, we got a guard to allow that "the artist is very secretive about her process." Maybe next time we'll hear that there is an internal support of some kind, maybe something magnetic. (Click on this link to see another of Donovan's creations.)
August 2, 2016
When we first came upon these odd structures, while descending the many, many steps from the historic center of Valletta to our sailing ship, we had no idea what they were. (Guesses? Anyone? Anyone?) Only later did we find a small sign indicating that these formed part of a "cat café" with motel-like accommodations, available on a first-come, first-served basis (I bet) to any of the countless strays in the neighborhood.
August 1, 2016
Every year on this date, I think of my friend Nick's grandmother who used to say, "August is the beginning of winter." Of course, she said it in the dialect of her Italian town of Grottaminarda, where maybe the nights were cooler in August. (SLS reader Miguel from Coimbra tells me that in his native Portugal they also say primeiro de Agosto, primeiro de inverno -- “first of August, first of winter.”) But as I type this in Watertown, MA, we're experiencing a most unpleasant heat wave, and winter doesn't seem like such a bad alternative.