November 30, 2016

Kadıköy, Istanbul. June, 2007

What better place to bid farewell to November (farewell to anyone and anything, really) than in a train station. Think of all the movie farewells that take place in such terminals. Here, a particularly exotic and evocative one across the Bosphorus on the Asian side of Istanbul. From here you travel East to Iraq, Iran, and all the -stans. One night at a meeting in Istanbul, a young man told me that he was taking the train to Teheran the following morning. He would have left from here. And what wonders he must have seen on the way and when he arrived. Oh, to travel.

November 29, 2016

Watertown, MA. November, 2016

Astute readers of this blog will always be able to tell when its author is on a diet. Most of the entries are about food. And most of those are about food rich in sugar and flour and buttery goodness. Like these baklava espied at an Armenian church bazaar in my neighborhood. It's bazaar season here in Watertown, and my calendar is already marked for the next one on December 2. Why do I torture myself?

November 28, 2016

Kadıköy, Istanbul. June, 2007

The meze display at Çiya, one of my favorite Istanbul restaurants. Indicate which items you'd like (all of them), and the server will portion out a plate for you and charge you by weight. The plate's, not yours.

November 27, 2016

Watertown, MA. November, 2016

Well, yes, I'm avoiding bread for the next month. But I still like this photo of one of the ladies at an Armenian church bazaar in my neighborhood. When I asked if I could take her picture, she assented, but reminded me to mention her necklace made from pencils. Done.

November 26, 2016

Waltham, MA. November, 2016

To me, there are few things more wonderful than a new puppy. Especially someone else's. Meet Betty. Held here by my friend Linda, the little Golden Lab's roommate, who says, "She brings me such joy." Well, yeah. Calm, non-barking and cute as all get out: joy guaranteed.

November 25, 2016

Watertown, MA. November, 2016

The so-called "Black Friday." The first official shopping day before Christmas. When news media report on feisty women punching each other to be the one to grab a widescreen TV or an X-Box gizmo. Overly tattooed and beefy guys slugging it out over parking spaces. You will not find me anywhere near a mall or a big box store between now and the new year. Instead, I delight in finding vintage (aka "used") items in thrift shops and at white elephant sales. Like this box of clip-on bow ties recently snagged for $3 at a nearby Armenian church bazaar.

November 24, 2016

November 23, 2016

Gloucester, MA. November, 2016

Autumn's blazing and colorful leafy display. Going, going, gone.

November 22, 2016

November 21, 2016

Watertown, MA. November, 2016

The blazing foliage of early autumn, almost gone. Enjoy its warmth while you can.

November 20, 2016

Somerville, MA. October, 2016

In addition to the remarkably good food here at Sarma, a quasi-Turkish restaurant where reservations are understandably hard to come by, the decor is warm and welcoming, too. Here, a wall of Turkish ceramic plates, a feast for the eyes.

November 19, 2016

Watertown, MA. October, 2016

When I go for a walk in my neighborhood, I tend to notice more when I have my camera with me. Like this wall made of masonry and pebbles on the outside of a small business not far from my house. Looks like salted nuts or granola, doesn't it? But then, my mind has a tendency to run toward food.

November 18, 2016

Watertown, MA. November, 2016

In spite of the outcome, I had fun working at the polls on Election Day. Laughed when I saw that I was an "official." Many characters, many stories. A long day (6:30am-8:30pm), but not as hard to handle as the morning after.

November 17, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

Dr. Blake recently sent me an article, with photos, about Russian military supply ships sailing down the Bosphorus en route to Syria. Scary to think of our beloved waterway as being filled with warships. Seen here, yours truly cruising the Bosphorus in happier times.

November 16, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

Spices for sale? Or paint pigments? You have to be careful about which type of market you're in. (This time it's pigments.)

November 15, 2016

Watertown, MA. November, 2016

More pickles. Yesterday, the Turks. Today, I give equal props to my Armenian neighbors whose homemade pickled vegetables you see on sale here at the St. Stephen's Armenian Church bazaar earlier this month.

November 14, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

Does anyone make more pickles than the Turks? Seen here, a wall of illuminated pickle jars in the (now gone, alas) excellent restaurant, Haci Baba.

November 13, 2016

Zurich. June, 2007

The last time I was in Zurich, it was June and warm enough for dinner al fresco...even as we saw snow-covered mountains in the distance as we walked to the restaurant which was located on "Gas Meter Reader's Street."

November 12, 2016

Eyup, Istanbul. June, 2007

The Turks certainly know how to do a farmer's market. Even knowing little or no amount of Turkish, you can recognize many of the items on sale here, right?

November 11, 2016

Watertown, MA. October, 2016

Dahlias. Too much trouble for me to grow. (Who wants to dig up the bulbs and bring them inside before winter comes, then plant them again outside in the spring?) Evidently not too much trouble for my friend Donna, whose autumn garden cleanup resulted in this lovely gift, currently enhancing my dining room table.

November 10, 2016

Dover, MA. October, 2016

Party guests mingle (cautiously) at Sage Farm's autumn get-together.

November 8, 2016

Gloucester, MA. July, 2016

Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus famously described the moral challenge of his generation: "If not to reduce evil, at least not to add to it." See you at the polls.

November 7, 2016

Zurich. June, 2007

Sometimes I forget that Zurich is surrounded by high mountains. And then I look up.

November 6, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

Who's the night owl, up late on a weeknight here in my Galata neighborhood?

November 5, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

The big market on the Asian side of the city. Can you tell that cherries and green plums were in season when I visited?

November 4, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

The "swoosh" heard 'round the world.

November 3, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

Today I have my annual physical exam. The doctor will tell me that according to the "formula" in his computer (which tracks age, family history, exercise habits, smoking history, etc.), I am at risk for a heart attack. Because I don't want to take medication, I counter with, "Suppose I had no family history, had an ideal height/weight ratio, never smoked, exercised regularly, but was still over 65?" He always answers, "Your age alone makes you a candidate for medication." So everyone over 65 is a candidate for medication? Who made this formula, the drug company? At which point, he takes my blood pressure, which is, understandably at that moment, sky high. The conversation closes with my saying, annually, that I will control everything by diet. Which probably means giving up every food that I enjoy, like cheese (several varieties of which are on sale here at the market next to Istanbul's Spice Bazaar.)

November 2, 2016

Zurich. June, 2007

What item do you suppose they sell in this store?

November 1, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

Today is All Saints Day. Tutti i Santi. Todos los Santos. Toussaint. A holy day of obligation for practicing Catholics around the world. (And a national public holiday in Italy, Spain and France.) Just another day for the rest of us. Here, a Turkish man quietly selling notions (butane lighters, packages of tissues, etc.) outside one of the many, many mosques in the City of the World's Desire.