Category Archives: Out and About

Hello! It’s cold

Temps plummeting here so I made Finn a coat. It’s already been modified since its debut.

There’s a polar fleece underlayer and a top layer of gorgeous Irish wool. I know, I know. High quality imported wool for the dog?

Well, yes and why not? It’s been sitting in a bin for twenty-plus years. I think my mother gave it to me. Or it was hers and ended up with me. Since this picture was taken, I revamped the neck edge and moved the straps forward. Not ideal but it will work for the next walk in 7 degrees. Going to -10 overnight. Whew!

We went to Colorado last week. Saw the boys. We enjoyed it, our first gathering in EIGHTEEN MONTHS. One evening at the XGames in Aspen was a bit of a scene and memorable, other nights in front of a fire more relaxed (with YouTube offering much better viewing of the boarding events). C had a GoPro camera strapped to his chest on their days on the slopes, so even though I wasn’t skiing, I was treated to video of their descents.

I’m proud to say that we shopped the first day for what seemed like a huge amount of food, but we very nearly consumed it all. Except for the acorn squash. For some reason, on no night did I feel like stuffed acorn squash. I brought them home in my suitcase!

Our flights out of Aspen were cancelled because of a localized storm, so we ended up driving to Denver. Everyone made it home safe and sound. And no, the passes through Loveland and Breckenridge were not the white-knuckling, guard-rail-free nightmares I was anticipating.

I will never not be amazed by flying. That’s one of the Great Lakes above. K and I got four upgrades to first class. Sigh. The end of an era, since his Global Services status is due to expire. He may try to squeeze a couple of trips to China in before he retires, but given the ferocity of their Covid outbreak, it’s a problematic idea.

You used to have to quarantine upon arrival in China for seven to fourteen days, depending. Even if you quarantined in one city, say Beijing, you’d have to quarantine all over again if you traveled elsewhere, say Shanghai. They’ve dropped those requirements.

It is so odd how China went from imposing the most draconian disease management protocols to having none at all. In our country, we seem to be suffering from a similar lack of will — or is it delusion? Covid is no longer an emergency? Oh really? Is that why 2,000 to 4,000 Americans are dying EVERY WEEK, not to mention the drastic effects of Long Covid beginning to be documented to a horrifying degree?

Two men behind me on the flight home coughed the entire trip.

Adventure at H Mart

At this phase of life and the pandemic, going to H Mart in Burlington counts as an adventure. Lots of other people had the same idea today — packed parking lot, busy fish counter, many, many vegetable and noodle buyers.

I wanted to get the ingredients for this delicious looking Ottolenghi salad (above) — to try something new. I managed to buy red and Napa cabbages, but forgot cilantro and limes. Oh well! Next time. Maybe if we go at 8 am on a regular weekday, it’ll be less crowded.

The good news is that Asians as a rule wear masks.

How fun it was! The exotic dragon fruit, the wall of tofu, mushrooms of every variety. I picked up some pumpkin-colored miso, a pack of soba noodles, a huge bag of rice, some potstickers, and star anise. Also: soy sauce, Korean BBQ rub, and rice vinegar.

The star anise imparted a spicy fragrance to the car on the way home. Lovely!

I bought a couple persimmons three weeks back (shown in the bin above) but they rotted before we could eat them. Oops! I know from my research that the enslaved made a delicious molasses from them. And a woman in Wegman’s who stopped me to ask where I’d gotten them, told me she eats them raw and unadorned. “But let them get good and soft first.”

It’s been friend catch-up time. I can motor along in my life (my fairly isolated life) and forget how good it feels to connect. Even before the pandemic this was true.

Today I was treated to pix of two new grand babies. A few nights ago, there was a really nice 70th birthday party (everyone tested beforehand). Tomorrow: lunch with two friends, one of whom I haven’t seen in person in years! Monday, I’ll see another friend who has been busy driving to upstate New York and Vermont to see her grandchildren.

I’ll close with a photo and paragraph about Pele.

“The ambition should always be to play an elegant game.” I like that.

Dusty west and dry east

On other trips to Los Angeles, it seemed I could not take a bad picture. On this recent trip, however, the landscapes look dusty, uninspired, and ill-composed. I think it was me.

Here on the east coast, it continues to be dry and hot. We missed the scorching heat while visiting my brother, but our plants did not. Through the use of timers and soaker hoses, we were able to preserve a lot, but some astilbe dried to a crisp and several newer shrubs gave up the ghost. I just dug up two of them. I don’t plan to replace them.

I cooked for us all at my brother’s and that was nice but the real contribution of the week was to blow up the solar-powered beach-ball lights that had been sitting in their boxes since Christmas.

It was strange while away to check the daily temps at home and find the Boston area hotter, by five, six, seven degrees sometimes.

It took longer than usual to “arrive” home but here we are. The AC blowing. The dog sighing. Greenery bouncing in a light, hot wind.

Before I sign off, look what Nancy sent me. How nice it was to come home to!

Check out the button! I feel so seen.

Thank you, Ms. Erisman!

A long-winded memory share

K and I went to Charleston five years ago to celebrate my 60th birthday (Did you say FIVE YEARS AGO?)

One of the places we toured was Boone Hall Plantation.

I was reminded of the tour this morning because as I was driving to pick up my new glasses I listened to most of an NPR interview with Nikole Hannah-Jones talking about her enormously influential 1619 Project.

I still have the 2019 NYTimes Magazine

In the interview, Hannah-Jones talks about the anodyne history offered in public schools. How much is missing. How Black history is American history is Black history. And how certain words either romanticized slavery or further demeaned the enslaved.

One of those words was “plantation.” It’s a word that calls to mind Tara of Gone with the Wind. It makes us think of long, beautiful live-oak-lined allees (which Boone Hall has), instead of snake-infested rice fields and all kinds of human misery. The better term, she suggests, is “labor camp.”

When K and I arrived at Boone Hall, they were setting up chairs for an outdoor wedding. I was appalled and said so on Facebook. There I was schooled by a local docent / historian who said that without the income produced by such affairs, many significant historic sites would’ve been turned into condos and golf courses. Okay, but still.

A Boone Hall employee sitting on a chair outside the first of many slave dwellings proudly announced that Boone Hall was “the second most romantic setting for a wedding in America.”

Without thinking, I said, “What’s number one — Auschwitz?”

If I’d been thinking, of course, I would have named an American setting. Perhaps Riker’s Island?

That’s it. That’s the memory.

Small add on — the first time I ever saw an eagle was at Boone Hall.

This popped up on my Instagram feed moments after I posted.

3.9 quake and rain

I was lying in bed in Echo Park when it came. A rumble and a jiggle jiggle. Not very dramatic and I wasn’t sure, so I got on Twitter and sure enough, lots of Angelinos were reporting the same. A 3.9 earthquake. Or as some locals put it, an alarm clock.

It’s our last day here and grey. I’m childishly wishing we could teleport back. You know — close our eyes, nod, and whoosh! It’s another early flight, but at least it’s direct.

These might be the same birds that Nancy photographed recently? (Just kidding)

I’m not glad that the Dodgers lost last night, but since we’re staying pretty close to the stadium, it made our evening trip back to Echo Park simpler. Even though the game was in Atlanta, the revelry might’ve spilled out into Sunset Boulevard.

C. came for dinner and the game last night. It was so nice and also bittersweet knowing we won’t see him again until January. But we have plans for January, as of a half hour ago!

My brother’s condition is much, much improved. Confined to a chair for the most part, but interested in company, in food, in sports, and so much more. There was a long stretch where that was not the case.

His East Los Angeles home is situated on Mount Washington and feels like a sanctuary. So, so lovely and quiet! I can think of worse places to be stuck, I said. He agreed.

P.S. It’s not lost on me that my suburban neighborhood is noisier. Living where I do is to be assaulted by relentless, invasive, nerve-grinding noise on very nearly a daily basis. It’s so much quieter here! In Los Angeles.

I’ll end with a little eye candy.

Love this