adventures


13
May 24

And how was your aurora?

Not sure what all the fuss was about. This was our view Friday night, and Saturday night. Seems like we never get the good views. Meteorites, eclipses, auroras, there are always clouds in the way. But the chimney looks cool.

I’m not jealous of the incredible photos I’ve seen online. I’m glad everyone got to see the celestial light show. Now, they can tell me all about it, and that’s nice.

Sunday was a first for us. My lovely bride and I were able to see both of our mothers on Mother’s Day for the first time since we’ve been together. They live about 900 miles apart, so there are always logistics and schedules and logistics. But this year, my mom, of course, was visiting with us for the last few days. We took her to the airport on Sunday afternoon, after a nice deli brunch. From there, we drove up to see my in-laws and had a lovely dinner with them. So it was just lovely all the way around.

And for all of you other mothers out there, happy belated Mother’s Day, please enjoy this virtual flower.

The rose bushes look great just now, here on the inner coastal plain — where the heavy land and the green sands meet.

Standing in my in-laws yard last night, there was still no luck. But the stars look nice.

We drove back to our place today, because the cats will want our attention. Which is a nice way to work into the site’s most popular weekly feature, our check-in with the kitties.

I opened a new box of food for them recently and, as ever, the most important thing was the box itself. Phoebe approves of her new hiding place.

And, right now, Poseidon is wondering why I am busy pecking away at the keyboard. That’s probably a cue.

There’s a fun-filled week ahead here. I hope that’s the case for you, as well. Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk flowering things and music and probably one or two other things that come up between now and then.


10
May 24

One paragraph of weather, 900+ words on everything else

It was a damp and chilly and otherwise gray and rainy day here today. It also sprinkled. And moisture just simply hung in the air, like we were looking out over a moor. And it was also grey and dreary and it drizzled and it was cold. Furthermore, it was dank and slippery and nothing in the distance, such as it was, looked appealing. The clouds, not content to just pass lazily by, ground to a halt, and then lowered themselves upon all of us. It was the sort of day you might best address with hot tea and a horror story. Ridiculous for the second week of May, but ideal for sitting around and taking it easy. And, anyway, the pest control people were due between noon and 4 p.m.

He arrived at 4:35.

So it was good, then, that it was a day for blankets, because if we’d sat around and did nothing on a beautiful day waiting on that guy to show up and wave his high pressure sprayer around … that would have been a real … buzzkill.

Anyway, he got some spiders and ants and wasps. We will see if I should remain skeptical.

But while we visited away the afternoon, my mother had some serious cuddles with the cats. I realized that I inherited the “an animal is sleeping on me, and thus I can’t move a muscle in fear of disturbing the creature” thing from her.

Poe took a lot of naps.

We watched King Richard. It was OK. Two or three great scenes where you wonder if they were real, dramatized or Disneyfied. Probably a movie about Venus and Serena Williams, specifically, would be more engaging, but Will Smith can’t play those parts yet. AI can’t do everything, you.

We also watched the first episode, of three, of the new documentary on the Boston Marathon bombing.

I was driving to campus one fine, sunny Monday when those bombs exploded at the finish line in Boston. And I remember listening to the Boston et al scanners online in my campus office later in the week, and wishing people would stop trying to “report” from what they heard on scanners.

Scanners are endlessly fascinating. I grew up listening to them. For my entire childhood my grandparents had one sitting in the living room and it was either on, or I’d turn it on. But that’s where the sausage is being made in the first responder’s world, and that doesn’t at all make it valuable information for a regular audience, particularly in the most stressful circumstances, like, say, a vicious gunfight after a week-long manhunt.

That, too, was fascinating to hear, in an intense and morbid way, but that doesn’t always merit continually commentary from everyone else.

Anyway, the documentary is in three parts, and they’ve got a substantial handful of the key law enforcement types as prominent interview subjects. They are all speaking pretty candidly, which is delightful. The documentary will have to at least touch on the online sleuthing for suspects, but they surely won’t spend a lot of time there. I bet they won’t talk about the scanners at all. I bet David Ortiz makes it into the documentary.

They did not talk about the best part of the whole horrible experience, the one detail I’ll always shoehorn into a conversation about that particular story, and the part I hope to never forget.

NBC Sports reported people crossed the finish line and kept on running, running to Massachusetts General Hospital, where they donated blood for victims.

That’s just the most beautiful damn thing.

Then, so many others were moved to donate blood that Mass General and the Red Cross temporarily stopped accepting blood donations.

Regular people, working in the interest of helping other regular people. That’s why the bad guys can’t win. We won’t let them.

Out in the backyard, the black cherry (Prunus serotina) is flowering nicely. And, if you would, I’d just like you to stop for one brief moment here and contemplate the focal plane of this photograph.

This is how it worked. Our sellers left us a list of all of the wonderful growing trees here. It’s terrific, really. And on that list, it simply said “Cherry trees.” They were very helpful in many ways, the sellers, but I think a little map would have been fun. It would have eliminated some mystery.

But the discovery is the fun, you say! And you are right! And we are still discovering things!

Late last summer I figured out which of the two trees were the cherry trees. That sounds ridiculous, it’s not like we have 400 acres here or anything, but these particular trees don’t look like how I remember, or envision, cherry trees. These are big. Then one day late last season I had this great idea: look for trees with fruits growing on them.

Viola.

So there are the two cherry trees out back. Tall as can be. I thought they were chokecherry trees, but then I began reading about that species and these two guys are much bigger than those. So I’ve now decided they must be black cherry trees. To be fair to me, according to what I’ve just read, the two species are related.

See? Still discovering things. (And I love that part.)

I’ll try to eat more of them this year.

Speaking of eating, for dinner tonight we went to a local Indian restaurant. This is a new-to-us place, but well regarded, and widely so. It sits in an old bank light to look like a new age church and people come from far and wide to try the food. Indeed, when someone who’s been around here a long time asks where we moved, and we tell them, they ask us if we’ve been there yet.

And now, having gone, I’m quite disappointed it took us almost a year to go.

This was so good.

I had the lamb biryani.

The menu describes it as “Fragrant basmati rice are layered with a spicy and delicious Lamb curry made of succulent chunks of lamb leg to make this classic flavorful rice entree.” That’s enough for two meals, easily. And so that’s dinner tomorrow, and I’m sure it will be even better in that way that the best spiced dishes often are.

My lovely bride and my mother each tried different chicken dishes, pronounced them both incredible, and we were all quite pleased. Especially since the guy said “We only do reservations on the weekend, but come right this way.”

Every plate that passed by looked intriguing. Most of the things on the menu was calling out to me. We’ll be back there, and probably quite soon.

Have a great weekend! We’re going to do something this weekend we’ve never done before!


9
May 24

Those dance steps

Today, the final scores finally tabulated, everything cross-referenced and cross-checked. My spreadsheets agree, and my final grades were finally submitted. It’s a nice feeling.

We celebrated by going to …

Cafe Mezzanotte was our dinner selection, just a few blocks from our ultimate destination in Wilmington. I had the hot dog. Actually the fettuccini alla panna. It was quite tasty. I’d go back there, even if we did lower the average age of the the restaurant by a solid 30 years.

The big fun of the night were two historic Motown acts guaranteed to make you smile.

There’s still a surviving member of the original Four Tops, though Duke Fakir stopped touring in 2022 — at 86 or so. Otis Williams is the last surviving, and still performing, member of The Temptations. He’s a spry 82. They’re essentially legacy acts at this point, and they are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Mostly legacy acts, anyway. The Temps put out a new record in 2022, “Temptations 60.” It celebrates the 60th anniversary of the group. I believe that was their 43rd album. Two singles were released came of it, numbers 108 and 109 in their long and storied history. One of them a collaboration with the equally timeless Smokey Robinson. They sang that one tonight, but without Robinson. It’s a good tune. My mother bought the CD. I’ll probably pick it up one day, too.

We only knew about this show because I saw it in the theatre’s program from another event last year. I’m glad we were able to make this work. It was a lovely evening.


8
May 24

Get the sand between your toes

After a morning at the house we set out for other locales. Because we have company, and because we are close to it, and because the weather was nice, and because it is still uncrowded as we’re still technically in their off-season, and because my mother likes the ocean, we went to the beach.

We walked on the boardwalk in Ocean City. We listened to the waves, felt the breeze, enjoyed the sun and a thoroughly pleasant afternoon.

When you go to the beach, you need an ice cream. This is my lovely bride’s tradition, and some traditions are definitely worth adopting.

We walked out on the rocks of the little jetties.

And we enjoyed the sand, looking for shells and feeling the still quite cold water as it sneaked up to our feet.

It was a delightful and low key afternoon on the beach. We had dinner at a busy local seafood joint, cleverly titled The Crab Trap. Try the tuna steak.


29
Apr 24

Welcome back to the age of jive

Friday afternoon we got into the car, and the car took us to a train. On the train my lovely bride made the Lord of the Flies joke.

She thinks I don’t like mass transit. I’m not sure why she thinks that, except for my dislike of mass transit. OK, that’s not fair. It’s a dislike of buses, and an intense dislike of subways. Have you ever looked at the people on buses and subway cars? The vacant look, the hollow, sorrowful, dead eyes. They all left their souls at home that day. They all left their souls at home because they knew they had to take a bus, or catch a subway train.

But trains, that is trains trains, can be quite nice. They can only get so crowded, and they seldom seem to reach that capacity. This train, for instance, had about two people on it. And a conch shell. And look who has the conch shell.

The mostly empty train took us to New York. We visited the High Line, a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, a greenway, built on a former spur of the New York Central Railroad in Manhattahn. Designed as a “living system,” Wikipedia tells us the High Line draws from multiple disciplines which include landscape architecture, urban design, and ecology. It was inspired by a similar project in Paris. And this one looks much more like New York than Paris.

For instance, instead of a tree, we have a sculpture of a tree.

What’s New Yorker for Le Sigh?

For the third High Line Plinth commission, Rosenkranz presents Old Tree, a bright red-and-pink sculpture that animates myriad historical archetypes wherein the tree of life connects heaven and earth. The tree’s sanguine color resembles the branching systems of human organs, blood vessels, and tissue, inviting viewers to consider the indivisible connection between human and plant life. Old Tree evokes metaphors for the ancient wisdom of human evolution as well as a future in which the synthetic has become nature. On the High Line—a contemporary urban park built on a relic of industry—Old Tree raises questions about what is truly “artificial” or “natural” in our world. Made of man-made materials and standing at a height of 25 feet atop the Plinth, it provides a social space, creating shade while casting an ever-changing, luminous aura amid New York’s changing seasons.

It raises questions for me, but not that one.

That sandwich board says that maintenance of the sculpture is in progress. They are repainting it. It’s only been in place for 11 months. And it will come down this fall. That’s the synthetic becoming nature, for sure.

A bit farther down we found some lovely little building art.

In between we found some ridiculous stuff that was either art or a multimedia mixture of yard sale offerings that someone spray painted at the last minute.

There’s a lot more miss than hit in public outdoor art.

Oh, look, here’s another tree, one evocative of modern wisdom and human evolution, backdropped by the not cold and not sterile brick wall of earlier craftsmen synthesizing nature into domesticized bits of symbolism that people live and work in. It is a grouping that resembles places every other city in the country sees regularly, inviting viewers to consider the indivisible relationship of pink parts and some other nouns we threw together.

There’s no artist or art writer in the world, however, that can summon the language to satisfactorily why we brick in windows.

The purpose of our visit, to see the conclusion of a popular concert CBS aired recently.

That’s right, the Piano Man, in his 101st sell out of Madison Square Garden, one of Billy Joel’s last performances in his residency here.

The Yankee brought her parents to a show last year. He was celebrating 50 years of music and they were celebrating 50 years of marriage and isn’t that something, here’s an act who’s been around, or part of, the entirety of their adult lives.

He’s beginning to show his age, which, hey, he turns 75 next month. He still sounds fantastic.

He played most of the hits and some deep cuts. (I was hoping for “Matter of Trust” and “Lullaby,” respectively. The Yankee was hoping for “The Downeaster Alexa.”) He did some covers and introduced a bit of opera. He played all the familiar songs he needed to play. His 30-something daughter came out to sing to him. When he did “Uptown Girl” the cameras found his ex-wife, Christie Brinkley in the crowd. She was having a ball.

I recorded a few things, just because it feels almost musically historic, I guess. I’ll back them up to an external drive, perhaps. But here’s the big finish.

It was a fine show. A lot of fun. It was me, my lovely bride, her god-sisters and her college diving coach. Everyone had a great time. Everyone that hangs out with Christie Brinkley was having fun. After that, a late train back to the car and then back home.

And that was just the beginning of the weekend!

But, for now, I have to go to campus.

Next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways last class of the year for me.