August 31, 2016

Watertown, MA. August, 2016

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

Watertown, MA. August, 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

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. July, 2016

What else would you expect a pastry chef to have hanging over his desk? Seen here, my friend Nick's daily occupational challenge just above his computer.

August 27, 2016

Peabody, MA. August, 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

Watertown, MA. August, 2016

I'm not making my usual annual trip to Tucson this fall, so it seems that Tucson has come to me instead. This mural in a downtown Watertown parking lot seems a lot more vivid Southwest to me than it does uptight New England.

August 25, 2016

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. June, 2015

While San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is my #1 favorite, I have to admit that the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge comes in a close second.

August 24, 2016

Watertown, MA. July, 2015

I got not a single blue hydrangea from my six bushes this year. What's going on? Sometimes I get so many I can make up a wedding bouquet. And sometimes nada. This year, nada.

August 23, 2016

Watertown, MA. August, 2016

Another look at how August morning sunlight plays against everyday objects and surfaces I tend to take for granted.

August 22, 2016

Watertown, MA. August, 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

Tucson. November, 2015

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

Valletta, Malta. October, 2015

What is this "mid-century-modern" street lamp doing next to this historic old building? Quick, call the Design Police!

August 18, 2016

Tucson. May, 1987

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

Valletta, Malta. October, 2015

I do not speak Maltese. And so, fortunately for me and others like me, the welcoming folks here in the nation's capital have posted their street markers in English, too. Though this one would have been easy to figure out, no?

August 16, 2016

ICA, Boston. July, 2016

Every view at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston seems just so. Both inside and out. Even the guard seems to have chose the perfect spot to stand in reference to the artwork on display.

August 15, 2016

Venice, Italy. October, 2012

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

Watertown, MA. August, 2016

The humidity's as high as an elephant's eye. And the temperature is up there in the 90s, too. No wonder all the windows in my house were covered with drippy condensation this morning. Here's a view into my backyard from one such.

August 13, 2016

WGBH Boston. January, 1983

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

Los Angeles. October, 1981

My friend Artie was giving me the celebrity tour of Los Angeles when we came upon this movie marquee. Faced with the decision about which film title to jump under, Artie chose the right one.

August 11, 2016

Watertown, MA. July, 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

ICA, Boston. July, 2016

Another look at artist Geoffrey Farmer's recent installation at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art -- this one with a real person (allegedly) in there to provide some scale. Pretty mad...for a Canadian. (Click here to see more.)

August 9, 2016

ICA, Boston. July, 2016

More from the mad installation by artist Geoffrey Farmer at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. The galleries were full of his collaged creatures on pedestals, on shelves, on stepped platforms. Hard to forget. (Click here to see more.)

August 8, 2016

Boston. Late 1980s

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

Provincetown, MA. Spring, 1979

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

Dingle Peninsula, Ireland. May, 1992

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

Tucson. November, 2015

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

Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. July, 2016

Every time I walk past these tiles on the underground corridor of Harvard Square station toward my bus home, I can't help but think: lipstick.

August 3, 2016

ICA, Boston. July, 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

Floriana, Malta. October, 2015

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

Gloucester, MA. February, 2015

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.