25 December 2008
23 December 2008
19 December 2008
13 December 2008
08 December 2008
The first snowfall of the year produced some overzealous snowball rolling on the parts of Caroline and Paulie. Behemoth the Snowman, with his dead flower afro, lasted about seven hours upright on Sunday until a strong gust of wind blew him right over. Minutes later, Vito the pug peed on his remains. At least he didn't fall down with people around. He could've crushed someone to death.
Paulie was psyched but suspicious from the get go when he heard Santa was going to stop by Jess's holiday party. In a full-on pre-Santa lather, the kids peeked outside looking for reindeer, their ears pressed against the windows listening for jingle bells of Santa's sleigh. But then there was Paulie, the four-year-old skeptic. Well, not so much a skeptic as an intense observer who can uncannily identify the slightest features of the most random places and things. And in doing so, calls the situation as he sees it. For instance, he can predict who will be at the park because he recognizes the cars of each one of his friends' parents. He can pick out someone in a mad crowd at Hannaford just by their sneakers. He constantly brags to other people that he and his friend Bags have the same Spiderman underwear. Earlier in party, Paulie had chatted with Jess's dad, (who is also named Paul) in the kitchen. He loves Jess's dad and said he couldn't wait to show "his friend Paul" the "Asking Santa" app on the iPhone. Therefore, it only made sense that Paul would become the focus of Paulie's intense observation throughout the course of the evening. So, when Santa arrived, all the kids lost their minds over the possibility of presents. But Paulie peppered him with questions instead: "Where are your reindeer?" "How did you get here?" "Are you Santa's brother?" But then Paulie looked down at Santa's shoes and -- like Shaggy unmasking the improbable villian on Scooby Doo -- pointed and shouted. "That's not Santa! That's my friend Paul! Those are his shoes!" We tried to prevent him from further foiling the situation, but as long as the kids got presents, none seemed to care if they came from Santa or Paulie's friend Paul.
18 November 2008
Ahead of my 20th high school reunion this year, everyone was encouraged to sign up for Facebook as a way to reconnect, RSVP, receive info on reunion details, etc. Since then, I've become full-on FB fanatic. I'm fascinated, almost disturbingly so, by the whole thing. People who you were friends with, others with whom you knew on only the most superficial level, and some with whom you never exchanged a word are all suddenly in instant contact, sharing the intimate details of every moment via status updates. If one chooses to do so. And many of us, including myself, do. (The reasons why are best left to the analysts.) For instance, a friend from Latin class that I haven't seen in 20 years knows that I got my eyebrows threaded at a mall kiosk last weekend. I know my friend who lives in Australia has a daughter who likes to drink pickle juice. Others have shared an immediate laugh over swearing toddlers and debated whether or not it's ok to open the wine before 5 p.m. on a Tuesday. There are mobile uploads from iPhones and Blackberries of people's children, Patriots tailgates, the wildfires in L.A., and one shot of a stranger buying a vat of Purell at BJ's Wholesale Club.
Then, one day I logged on to find myself tagged in a prom photo that I'd never seen before. Seafoam green and big bows and even bigger hair. At first, it was as unsettling as the time my friend Rhonda scotchtaped a giant photo of Gary Gnu to my desk in sixth grade. It was open season on FB. You could hear warring scanners being fired up all over Massachusetts and beyond. I realized that while you can control who sees your information and photos, you have zero control over other people's photos and the inevitable tagging that goes along with them. So I figured I might as well just post my own. Some classroom shots and scenes from a Bermuda trip that could serve as a PSA for skin cancer. I've even made peace with all the prom photos. The one I posted here is a favorite because it's such an accurate snapshot of the era: Metallic taffeta, the faint scent of Herbal Essences hair spray and peppermint schnapps.
10 November 2008
As a Sox fan, the presidential election inspired a kindred anxiety -- that familiar fatalism of "waiting for the other shoe to drop." After all, the races had been close in 2000, 2004 as well with a fraction of the passion. And just like Red Sox playoffs, the past two elections were heartattack inspiring events. It could never just be a blow out. It had to be hanging chads and extra innings.
Watching the returns last Tuesday night, I was waiting for the Aaron Boone moment right up until 11 p.m. when Chris Matthews, looking like he was about to spontaneously change gender, announced "Barack Obama is projected to be the next president of the United States."
I expected to cry, but not like this. I thought there would be a few tears, a little champagne supernova, and the traditional lifting up of Vito and marching in a victory circle. Nope. I completely broke down into a full on sob.
I was as surprised by this as I was to learn that I wasn't alone.
[Aside: At first, Jesse Jackson's tears pissed me off because I was afraid he was going to glorywhore Obama's moment -- pull a Peter Wolf, jump on stage and ruin everything. But I realized even his tears were genuine. Regardless of your candidate or politics, it was impossible not to be moved by the profound history of the moment. And I'm sure African Americans were moved on a whole other level that I could never fully appreciate.]
LPD said for us, it was probably as close to understanding what it felt like when the Berlin Wall came down.
In another way, it felt like love winning out over hate, where the country as a whole voted to "embrace the better angels of our nature," as Abe Lincoln once said.
Still, the tears were coming from a different place, it was more than just joy over our team winning, like it was with the Sox in 2004, 2007.
When I heard Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" playing in the background in those amazing scenes from Grant Park, I started to understand all this fierce catharsis. Springsteen wrote that song after 9/11. It's all about rising up from the ruins, starting anew. I think the tears were tears of grief, or rather a release of it, more than anything else.
Even putting aside the epic failures and country-in-ruins, there has been a national 'tude in place for more than 20 years (I'm sure it goes back farther, but this is my memory). For so long, the climate has been divisive and mean-spirited in nature, a collective swaggering and dismissiveness that not only favors but celebrates the darker angels.
Civility and respect have become the lunatic fringe. Debate today consists of little more than a cabal of on-air shitheads seeing who can yell the loudest. Education, intellectual curiosity, and even decent grammar are reviled. Mediocrity is not only embraced but worshipped.
All the divisiveness has been spiritbreaking and silencing for me and people like me who are now so accustomed to treading on eggshells that it's become the norm.
I think Judith Warner from the NYT said it perfectly: "and for so many others of us, of the trampling and debasing of our most basic ideals, beliefs that we cherished every bit as deeply and passionately as those "values voters" around whose sensibilities we've had to tip toe around the past 28 years. The election brought the return of a country we'd lost for so long that it was almost forgotten under the accumulated scar tissue of accomodation and acceptance."
Of course, I'm hoping Obama's presidency will turn the country around, but I also hope his tone and positive message will help usher in a new age of civility. As we know, it's all about hope.
So, I guess my faith in humanity was restored a bit last Tuesday. We're not living under an asshole majority after all. Free at last. No wonder we cried.
That said, my eyes have officially glazed over. I will be detoxing from cable news, blogs and anything remotely political henceforth (or at least until January when we'll likely start crying all over again.)
21 October 2008
No. If the future is horrible, you'd be miserable every day waiting for it to happen. If the future is good, you'd dilute, if not completely wipe out, the joy of unexpected surprise.
First, there is some kind of pineapple theme stalking my existence. Yesterday at the Good Health store, a woman was serving up some souped up pineapple juice and discussing the health benefits of bromelain (which I am now well-versed in.) Last week, I changed my ringtone to "Pineapple Head" by Crowded House. Now this. That said, I am a fan of the pineapple but wouldn't want one as a major appendage.
17 October 2008
Oct 16 2004: The burds boarded a party bus (in wigs) for Auntie’s bachelorette party. It was a traveling circus of sorts where we visited many of the haunts from our roaring 20s. It was also the night of Game 3 of the ALCS vs. The Yankees. With the Sox down 2-0 in the series, everyone was pumped up for the game which played on every screen at every jam-packed bar we visited from the Last Drop in Brighton to The Harp at North Station. Unfortunately, with every stop, spirits plummeted a bit more. When the Sox were down 19-8 in the ninth inning, the wigs came off. The sportscasters admonished that no team in history had ever (EVER) come back trailing 3-0 in a seven game series. It was over. We decided the only course of action was to increase booze consumption, dance our faces off at some club in the Financial District that no longer exists, and then stumble back to the Marriott Longwharf for the night.
A week later, I was lifting Vito in the air and marching in a victory circle, celebrating a historical comeback that made the Sox's first World Series win in 86 years pale in comparison.
Then it happened all over again last season.
Last night, they upped the ante again with "the greatest rally in Red Sox history."
It's impossible not to address the deja vu. It's impossible not to acknowledge those come-from-behind wins that were as euphoric as they were improbable. Still, I refuse to give up my negative attitude. It's all about self preservation. I don't want to stir the gods and re-curse ourselves. For me, "cautiously optimistic" is too arrogant. I'm adopting the mantra of a doomy, whiny Scooby Doo character: "They'll neverrr make it."
16 October 2008
For instance, at any given moment he will randomly blurt out "Next stop, South Station" in a baritone voice. Or "Doors will open on the left. Thank you for not smoking."
If he could choose between a week in Disney World and day of riding the rails, he'd choose the rails.
Who knew there were so many fanatical T- Foamer vids up on YouTube? Some of them make hobbyists like ham radio operators and the bus spotters of Glasgow appear casual in comparison. For instance, in one video, a man named "Jug" unpacks his video camera and a red thermos of instant coffee and proceeds to tape hours upon hours of footage from a single train crossing. In another video, some T-Foamer from JP tapes his entire Orange Line commute from Forest Hills to State Street.
15 October 2008
10 October 2008
07 October 2008
Anytime you hear any of the following words--it's bottoms up!
- My friends
- Hold on there/wait a minute
- Great Depression
- Wall Street/Main Street
- Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae
- Darn right
- Bill Ayers
- Jeremiah Wright
- Keating Five
- Middle class
- Will all due respect
- Failed Bush policies
- Affordable health care
- Osama bin Laden
- You know
- Exit strategy
06 October 2008
03 October 2008
02 October 2008
Last year when Marc & Eileen hosted the family Christmas party at their house, we shared a lot of these stories with Eileen and her family and they agreed that childhood Marc -- the one altering the brakes on others' Big Wheels -- and adult Marc -- the kindest, gentlest and coolest of the lot of us -- are two completely different people. That said, their wedding was both emotional and wild: a beautiful night that reflected on their marriage as well as inspired everyone to dance their faces off. Caroline was a rock star as a flower girl, which made it that much more special for us. It was touch and go for awhile there, however, as evidenced by her 'tude at the hair salon. (More pictorial evidence that we're screwed when she turns 12.) So, here's the crappy low-res slidehsow of my pictures. There are about 900+ more pictures floating around out there that are likely crashing the servers of Facebook, Shutterfly, Ritz and others as we speak. Congratulations, Marc & Eilleen. We love you.
29 September 2008
An outfit consisting of pink tulle, Crocs 'n socks and a fringe-happy poncho would usually require an "I Dressed Myself" button before leaving the house. But after someone -- in taking note of Carrie's clothing choices -- mentioned that "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" (I believe the terms "dirty hippy" and "loony liberal" were used), I beamed with pride and chucked aside the disclaimer.
It may seem absurd to label a five-year-old as a "liberal" but having experienced this lunacy firsthand, I can attest to the reality and the madness. It brought me back to high school in the 80s where being labeled a "liberal" had nothing to do with your idealogy and everything to do with what you wore. For instance, if you wore open-toed shoes, you were a liberal. If you made any fashion choices that didn't involve a Champion sweatshirt (tucked firmly into zee pants --hooyeah), you were a liberal.
My friend N duly noted this bizarre fundamentalist attitude toward fashion was likely a trickle down effect. Most high school students couldn't yet vote so many compensated by regurgitating the political adjectives and labels of one's raving parents, the majority of whom probably spent their weekends beating up organic farmers.
My dear friend JS once looked at my feet and scoffed: "What's up with ya liberal shoes" (translation: non-controversial Sam & Libby slingback sandals circa 1987). It bears mentioning that while he was offering up this style critique, he was wearing an acid-washed denim jacket with the phrase "Too Fast 2 Live, Too Young 2 Die" embroidered on the back. There is too much multi-pronged irony here to even get into. For one, the catchphrase on the back of the jacket came from a biography on Sid Vicious. It doesn't get much more anti-establishment than that.
Then again, I once tucked my tapered jeans into some neon socks. There was my seafoam green shaker knit sweater worn like a dirty slipcover over some footless tights (liberal leggins -- no Gs please) and the pairing of Converse All Stars (more liberal footwear) with prairie skirts ala Maria McKee.
Still, I was more prone to label others with Breakfast Club-style stereotypes than attach an idealogical tag to a pair of sneakers, which still seems way out there in non-sequitur land. I don't think wearing the same sweatshirt every day -- as a fashion statement -- made someone a "conservative," just unimaginative. At least all of the fashion choices of the past were united in their hideousness. As far as the future, if my daughter wants to dress from head to toe ponchos and tulle, more power to her.
22 September 2008
19 September 2008
2.) Pick one: Butter, margarine, olive oil.
3.) When you drink soda, do you prefer to drink from the can, bottle or pour it into a cup?
4.) If you were a superhero what would you wear?
A star-spangled body suit and a cape made of feathers.
5.) What was the last store you visited? What did you purchase?
17 September 2008
My grandmother and her cronies used to pack their giant handbags to capacity with napkins and Sweet N'Low with zero remorse. Then again, they were raised with a Great Depression mentality, the same one that inspired their recycling of tea bags and pantries full of processed tubular vittles known as "food sticks." (don't ask).
Of course, there were the drunken bouts of kleptomania in our youth. I have an entire set of pint glasses from the Field in Cambridge. One time, PG lifted some stainless steel stools from that pizza place next to Copperfield's for no apparent reason and stuffed them into a cab. The cab driver even made room for the stolen booty in the front seat. But that's all bygones.
I couldn't explain this foreign late-30s urge to sneak that gazelle out of the restaurant and hide it in the attic like some latter day Greg Brady and his goat. But I soon learned that many have gotten the urge at least once -- and have acted on it. For instance, there is a galvanized potbellied pig parked on Gwen's hearth that has been masquerading as a well-placed decorative accent for awhile now. Apparently the swine was swaddled in a sweatshirt and smuggled out of a Newport restaurant by her husband. Does anyone ever wonder what happened to that blue stuffed talking parrot that used to taunt diners at Anchovies in the South End? It's at Dillard's apartment. There once was a cool dog painting that graced the walls of the West Street Grille. That is, until Cameo tucked it under her arm and strode down Tremont Street, her clip-on ponytail swinging in the wind. Perhaps the biggest kick came from my father-in-law. James told me the two red leather club chairs at his father's house were actually rolled out of a South Shore watering hole many years ago.
On the restaurant pillaging scene, most seemed to subscribe to the tenet: "if it's not nailed down..." After giving the gazelle a good shake, Gwen declared that, alas, our lean, leaping animal was indeed nailed down. Our waitress came over to investigate the commotion. Gwen pretended to inspect it closely, asking from which corner of the world this knick knack came from? Africa? Malaysia, perhaps?
"Home Goods. Queen Anne's Connah," the waitress said. Apparently the Scarlet Oak is teeming with Home Goods merchandise. Since most of us are at Home Goods at least twice a week, interest in the gazelle quickly plummeted and conversation turned to a fantasy scenario involving Celine Dion in a crosswalk.
16 September 2008
15 September 2008
11 September 2008
12 August 2008
23 July 2008
So I'm switching gears from RN to Serenity Preservation for the next few weeks.
When I boarded the ferry home from Nantucket a few weeks ago, I was surprised at how territorial I was of my own peace of mind, of the serenity I'd earned during four fantastic days on the island. The ferry was nearly-empty except for some loud and annoying French passengers who -- despite having the entire boat at their disposal -- decided to sit on top of me and pepper me with questions about Cape Cod. They even asked if I would point out the Kennedy Compound to them when we got close to Hyannis. Serenity threatened. I was offended. As far as I was concerned, I was still on vacation. I excused myself, grabbed my bag and walked to the opposite side of the boat. I pulled out my giant sun hat, put my feet up and read my book the rest of the journey.
I feel like I have to do that for awhile. Unplug. Step away from the computer. That said, I'm going to take a wee hiatus from the PU. A few weeks or so. The summer is a sea of endless distractions as it is and I'd rather be silent than make small talk for the sake of staying current. I hate small talk.
Aside: We're in the process of finding a pup tent and decent life jacket for Vito so he can come to the beach with us. When that happens, I can guarantee there will be a video posted up here similar to this one.
In the meantime, it's only appropriate that my last post for awhile contains the crappy low-res slideshow of the Nantucket trip --the 10th annual! This year's trip was most certainly in the Top 5. Even with bony cheese haters along for the ride and Kid Rock's abusive texts, it was all about hanging with the burds and mainlining Coronas & Prosecco on the beach. Viva la vida! (BTW, I planned on using that song as the slideshow's soundtrack but thanks to the sphincter that is DMR-protected music, it was not possible. I think I found a decent alternative, however). Enjoy!
14 July 2008
03 July 2008
I want to say Europe but it'd be impossible to just chill out. Probably Australia because you'd get to experience the other side of the world without language issues. It seems like a great place to unplug, not to mention all those puddle-jumping excursions to the Kingdom of Tonga.
2) Which browsers do you use to surf the Internet?
3) On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest), how much do you know about the history of your country?
Sadly, only 5-6 on a good day. While I know certain topics fairly well (certain wars, other events shoved down our throats in elementary school), my knowledge is far from comprehensive. Of course, I've retained all things trivial and useless like a song about Betsy Ross (inexplicably set to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic) that I learned in the 5th grade. Thanks, Sister Albert!
4) Finish this sentence: Love is...
...the best and worst thing that can happen to you, a simultaneously euphoric and eviscerating experience. All good. And so not.
5) What are your plans for the 4th of July?
The annual beach party/cookout with a big bonfire, baked beans, and street dancing with the kids, probably to a continuous loop of Rihanna and Chris Brown. Then, island bound for a few days.
01 July 2008
I think there are several reasons for this. First, the new owners are my dear friends JAL and Mike. I know they'll take amazing care of the place and we'll have many new memories there. Second, the house had gone through so many incarnations through the years. Every time you'd leave for awhile and return, the inside of the house was different -- some of the rooms rendered unrecognizable due to my mother's admitted addiction to furniture rearranging. Sometimes the dining room was the living room and vice versa. Sometimes the walls were different colors. Sometimes it took 15 minutes to find the relocated boxes of cereal. When I left for college, I knew my U2 and Cult posters were being peeled off the walls before I hit the Mass Pike and being replaced by watercolors and guest soaps. So, knowing the place was going to change again was really no biggie -- and I still get to visit. Nostalgia nipped in the bud.
But then I was blindsided. We headed over to the new condo where Caroline and Paul had set up a picnic blanket on the floor. We had some D'Parma's salads, enjoying the ocean air. We talked about how nice it'll be to have dinners here, how the kids will love the pool, etc. Then, Lois said: "Oh, we have a new phone number." I pulled my cell out to program it in and saw the old phone number there: 617-569-5438. It's the phone number I'd had all my life, the numbers that dialed home even when I no longer lived there. I was suddenly paralyzed by sentimentality and couldn't bring myself to delete it. It took awhile, but I finally did it. It was the old struggle, overcoming a connection, this time to a now disconnected phone number. 617-569-5438.
26 June 2008
23 June 2008
18 June 2008
16 June 2008
09 June 2008
Paulie turned four yesterday with much fanfare at the Paragon Carousel. After attending a birthday party there last year, it was the only place he'd even considered celebrating his 4th. We like it there too -- it's a quick hit -- 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., ride the carousel, sing Happy Birthday, pack it up, pack it in. Like always, however, the Nantasket rotunda was a house of joy and pain. First, it was the swampiest day of the year thus far -- 90 plus degrees with all manner of species swarming toward the beaches, spawning clusterfucks at every turn. Second, there was some kind of car show going down right in front of the Carousel which hogged up parking spaces, created a detour, and brought an audience of what one party parent described as "a giant mid-life crisis in a mesh trucker hat." Lots of full-body tattoos and blaring of the Scorpions. Anyway, to make matters worse, this party was organized by the inept Jimmy & Kathy show. As we unpacked the car --Spiderman cake, popsicles, coolers full of water and juiceboxes, etc. -- we realized we'd forgotten the Spiderman paper plates, utensils and napkins. James and SAC quickly scurried to scrounge some generic, institutional replacements off nearby Nantasket vendors. Luckily, the beach traffic and car show detour delayed the party guests a good 30-40 minutes so they wouldn't be forced to eat with their hands. But that quickly became irrelevant as the pizzas we ordered didn't show up until after the party was over. Needless to say, by 11:45 a.m., many of us were looking for something stronger than Poland Spring. The popsicles melted, the cake was a bit congealed, and many parents experienced sweaty vertigo after too many go-rounds in the humidity. But, beneath the shady rotunda, all the kids were completely unaware of the MF mania going on behind the scenes. They came to get down. To them, it was all about riding the carousel until they couldn't see straight. They couldn't have cared less about solid popsicles and utensils. Once again, a lesson in Zen from a group of four-year old sages.
04 June 2008
Surprise fun has been a regular occurrence these days from the early-evening beach hang to the mid-week sausage festival. Last Friday was another example. On a whim, JAL and I decided to meet up after work at LTK for drinks to celebrate the real estate transaction of the century that involves JAL moving into my childhood bedroom. The evening swelled into a “sort of homecoming” gathering with endless plates of grilled shrimp and dirty martinis. EPB, who is back from Down Under, is temporarily perched high above the Seaport in a corporate ivory tower. He and some of his boys (included two Owls) joined us as did Mike P, Cameo and Code Red. P also stopped by "for one" while awaiting a ride to his 15th college reunion. But by 9:30 he was still enjoying a Stella Artois in a chalice "garnished with the body of Christ." After dinner, I had a very pleasant ride back to the burbs on the Greenbush where I discussed the phenomenon of New England Reserve with a very, very baked 17-year-old surfer dude who'd just moved to North Scituate from LA.
It was from Bags. The subject line: "Vindicated." It was a link to this article in Maxim where readers voted Wally the Green Monster "the #1 Mascot deserving a groin punch." Needless to say, this write-up made Bags happier than a rousing match of lawn darts.
3) On average how good are you at keeping a secret?
4) When someone smiles at you, do you smile back?
Of course. Only a total DB wouldn’t.
5) Using 20 words or less, describe your first driving experience.5
Donuts in the parking lot of the Revere Showcase Cinemas
28 May 2008
On a harried and unshowered afternoon about three years ago, Nicola and I were pushing double strollers around Castle Island in an incoherent trance, bonding over a traumatizing evening involving FeverAll suppositories and cracking up, tears rolling down cheeks, over imagined sound effects. Back at Nic's, we plied all four babies with Goldfish and blueberries and lamented the fact that we couldn't even finish an afternoon glass of Mother's Little Helper. It was a time when we were straddling the ridiculously thin line between sanity and postpartum craziness, self-proclaimed “poor little bastards” with Boudreau’s Butt Paste in our hair.
That's when Nic declared that one day we'll be beyond this, things will be easier. "We'll be showered, sitting on our arses, drinking wine, and it'll be someone else's turn." Indeed, the ceremonial suppository torch was passed after the Bags' family's 2006 night with toiletries from Brooks but this past weekend at Jen's cocktail baby shower, we realized that the day has dawned. Things have gotten easier. There we were in the South End: Showered, sitting on our arses, and drinking vino as we watched Jen open gift after gift of bewildering babyware, mistaking several items for puppets. (“Exactly how many puppets did your register for?”) Nic, Code Red and I sat back in cockeyed rebellion, running a commentary like these guys, fancying ourselves pass-out-on-the-roofdeck hilarious. We've come a long way but are still capable of regression when in the company of Jen, etal. As she opened up some receiving blankets, I recalled the evening we took a corkscrew to a bottle of balsamic vinegar, having mistaken it for pinot noir. Then we considered putting Ollie in the Baby Bjorn and heading to Beehive. What a fantastic night all around.
Still --even more evidence that the day has dawned – a Memorial Day cookout at Jess’s house, a true Babypalooza, with LPD, Jess and Auntie fostering chaos on a baby blanket. For us, it was the first year we didn't have to worry about the kids eating pine cones. They were actually able to help out and party with the beautiful wee ones and enjoy them as much as we did. This also maximized everyone's enjoyment of the yodeling pickle that Bags brought. I had to Google it the next day to make sure I hadn’t dreamt it. I didn’t. And it sounded just like this. Best of all, in the spirit of cooperation, all mamas and papas were able to sit on their arses, finish their wine and enjoy some (with apologies to LPD) fantastically plump, moist & juicy steamers. Thanks Jess & Joe!
Enjoy a crappy low-res slide show of a superior afternoon.
20 May 2008
I spent most of the ninth inning last night in child's pose. James wondered when I'd become a muslim. I was reducing Jon Lester-related anxiety at the time -- not actually praying -- but then I figured I might as well while I was down there. I wasn’t alone, either. The entire crowd at Fenway rose up and the camera zoomed in on many fans with hands literally clasped in prayer for a no-hitter. A few weeks ago, I interviewed Michael Borer, an author and sociologist whose book "Faithful To Fenway" was published last month. He writes about the Red Sox as a religion with Fenway Park as the church. How Red Sox fandom is a unique form of worship and devotion, unlike any other in sports. It's alway been this way for New Englanders but since 2004, it's reached a fever pitch: The fairy tale endings, the dramatic come-from-behind wins, the term "walk-off" homerun entering the vernacular, etc. And then there are the heartwarming cinderella stories. Last season, we prayed for rookie Clay Buchholz who went on to pitch a no-hitter in his second major league game. Then, just when you couldn't up the emotional ante any further, enter Jon Lester. The babyfaced 24-year-old who battled back from cancer to win the deciding game in the World Series. Now this! Let's sing some hymns.
But still, Borer explained, our lingering angst is likely an enternal flame. Regardless of the overwhelming sense of things turning around, we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop --so we pray. As everyone knows, Lester triumphed last night and our collective heart stopped racing. But if it caused so much anxiety for fans, I can only imagine what it must’ve felt like for him. A friend was recently talking about the element of loneliness in any kind of accomplishment. That element could not have been any more apparent last night with Lester. James pointed out how none of his teammates would talk to Lester or even glance in his general direction in the dug out. Even on the mound, with everyone at the park chanting his name, he was – as the forever quotable Cliff Poncier once said -- “a self-contained unit, a solo arstist.” Having the presence of mind to finish the game and not, say, collapse into child’s pose on the mound was a accomplishment in and of it self. As long as we don't get too used to it.
In smaller Sox miracles, we headed to the game with P and Maria last Friday night. Pre-game, we jammed into Eastern Standard seeking shelter from the awesome windswept rain until learning the game was postponed until the following evening. So we decided to go have dinner at Cambridge 1 (crazy delicious pizza pie) and then head back to P and Maria’s to watch the Celtics. We hailed a cab, but within a few seconds, P somehow realized that our four Sox tickets had fallen out of his pocket during the slow jog to the cab. We pulled over and he ran back through the throngs to see if he could find them. "Say a prayer to St. Anthony," he said, invoking the patron saint of lost things. He was half-kidding but the rest of us remained skeptical that he'd find them -- especially on a rainy windy night amid a major exodus from Fenway. But he did. They were lined up -- all in a row -- in the middle of Boylston Street. Well, three out of four of them, the fourth likely carried off on the tire of a passing car. Not miraculous, per se, but considering the elements -- pretty wild.
16 May 2008
(New Kids, aging well)
Just a few weeks ago, I was so blissfully unaware of my own age that I unwittingly referred to a woman younger than me as a "cougar." Today, I'm all too aware of my own geezerhood. It started with the New Kids kicking off their reunion tour on the Today Show this morning. I was too old for them the first time around and find this whole reunion to be an affront to my magical thinking. My babysitter, who is 10 years my junior, was all juiced up, recreating some dance steps for Caroline and Paulie that she used to perform in her room when she was nine. I jumped into the fray and tried to bust into that New Kids/Bobby Brown hybrid dance move that LPD and I used to do at 19. Caroline immediately shook her head and deemed it "ridiculous." (Aside: James can just keep quiet about my dancing ability as I've seen photos of him from the early 90s and he looks like one-half of Kid 'n Play.) Keeping the spirit, Katie (sitter/magician) and I put on some PM Dawn and enjoyed some Milanos. She further showed her youth by sharing a dream she had last night about being on a date with David Archuleta from American Idol, one that possibly involved a double deuce of malt liquor. I continued to show my geezerhood as my dream last night was that the new Target planned for my town opened a year early. I was so over the moon about this that I was the first person at the store. And for some reason, everyone that worked at the store was wearing a red gymnast leotard. No more Nyquil on the Rocks!
12 May 2008
We discussed the Mothers' Day Q&A sheets sent home from school:
Teacher: “What did your mother like to play when she was a little girl.”
Paulie: “Nothing! She was just a tiny girl and she was very, very chubby.”
We sat next to two inebriated yet jolly young women -- relentless utensil droppers who told us four times they'd just returned from Asia. One of the ladies snapped our photo while giving a mini-lecture on flash photography. "That’s great, please don’t drop Chubby's camera."
We enjoyed our standard unneccessary nightcap at Sonsie where we proceeded to rearrange furniture and create a barrier between us and a gaggle of manorexic svengalis.
05 May 2008
It’s been well-documented here that my kids stuffed some nickels into my car's CD player and cigarette lighter so I haven't been able to hook up my iPod or Sirius or even listen to an old mixed CD recently excavated from the glovey (dated Feb 2000/titled “Busmalis” after the character on Oz). So, I usually listen to the radio, mostly 'FNX, The River and 'BOS. If you're forced to listen to the radio in your car, you may have noticed that 'BOS recently changed its format. They undoubtedly took a cue from marketing geniuses behind 93.7's totally random, DJ-free experience designed to compete with the iPod (only if your iPod has excessive amounts of Steve Miller and other hideous strains of Redneck rock). Not good. But, BOS isn't totally random, it's totally 90s and is clearly targeting my demographic of nostalgic 30-somethings. Now, I can put on some old tunes, get down and wallow in nostalgia with the best of them, but this format is not working for me. It's not so much a feel-good nostalgia as an anxiety-producing one. It's like a Proustian memory for the ears. Driving to Dunkins, suddenly having an out-of-body experience from 1995: Gavin Rossdale's voice, feeling slightly anxious and hungover. Moments later, snapping out of it: Thank God that now is not then -- and holy crap, it's way too early for Screaming Trees.
2) When was the last time you were on a train?
Yesterday, we took wee brown ones into the city on the Greenbush Line. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience except for a couple of cackling ladies behind us who talked about Edy’s Slow Churn ice cream the entire ride in.
3) What is the most frequent letter of the alphabet in your whole name (first, middle, maiden, last, etc.)?
4) What is the last "silly" photo you took of a person, place or thing?
There are a several silly noun photos. Here we have BG and Paulie at the Playwright on Saturday afternoon. And you can't see it in the picture, but BG is wearing a donkey pinata shirt with "I'd hit that" beneath it. Fantastic. Other recent silly photos of note: intersection ponyrides at the local liquor store, where the hell are my glasses, and the impossibility of recapturing the excitement of the Celtics' win in a contrived post-photo.
5)Have you gone to any high school reunions? Will you attend your next one?
Just one -- a sparsely-attended 15th that was held in a windowless function room at an Italian restaurant in Dedham. Not if it's held in a windowless function room at an Italian restaurant in Dedham.
01 May 2008
24 April 2008
Answer: February 29, 2008.
So: if you've never seen LOST, you can start from the pilot now, view one episode a week (with 7-8 double-headers), finish right before the start of season 6, and see the remaining installments in real time, thereby watching the entire series without hiatus." Wow.
If you still don't have that kind of time, here's a complete recap of the ENTIRE series in 4 minutes, 24 seconds....
22 April 2008
Shuffling down Boylston Street, we were stopped by a twentysomething man in a backwards baseball hat who asked us if we wanted to go see Lynard Skynard with him, then go streaking on the Common. Before we could respond, he started skipping down the street, yelling over his shoulder: “No sa! No sa! Welcome to Boston!” Ok. Then came the food. James had this Flintstonian Bone-in Prime Rib that caused rubbernecking from neighboring diners. We dug into our Abe & Louie’s salads, filet mignon and then a six layer piece of chocolate birthday cake that rivaled the PR in size. Wow. All told, I think we met WMD's goal of eating one's body weight in red meat.
Happy 40th, James!
17 April 2008
It’s off the scale, hovering somewhere in the negative numerals. Last week, the Volvo bus was late picking up burds for S.C. because when I removed the booster seats from the backseat, I found several layers of crumbs and random stickiness. An abandoned yo-yo was welded to the seat with lollipop residue. I can’t blame the kids for this as my car has always been an ankle-deep receptacle of clutter. Besides, my other mamas' cars don’t look like this and they easily could. For me, clutter has become a kind of unfortunate lifestyle. I was eyeing an odd collection of crap on the kitchen island last week: A jar of bubbles, a blue Spiderman sock, glitter nail polish, Vito’s leash and paper plate with phone numbers scribbled on it. And I said aloud: “This pile would never occur at the Bags’ residence.” And it wouldn't. It may be time to call in the experts.
2) With skyrocketing gas prices, what are you doing to conserve?
As a rule, if we forget something back at the house, we can’t turn around and go back to get it.
3) On an average, how much fast food do you consume?
Unless there is a dire craving, not too much. Right now, we're trying to detox Paulie off a KFC popcorn chicken addiction so he doesn't end up on a childhood obesity special on Dr. Phil(DB). Damn laptop meals -- a million grams of fat for $3.69.
4) What book are you currently reading, or what was the last one you read?
"Be the Pack Leader" by Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan. I've learned that, contrary to popular belief, Vito is actually quite balanced; he's simply mirroring my own neuroses. Baby steps.
"The Abstinence Teacher" by Tom Perotta
"The Easter Parade" by Richard Yates
5) What are your plans for the long weekend?
Jame is turning 40. Good God, man. Having dinner at Abe & Louies. I'd like to have a little cake in the kitchen on Sunday if the old man can handle it. Will send out word.
14 April 2008
(Wait..didn't we just have Suppah Club?)
A late-March gathering made it seem that way. For April's SC, we headed to The Square Cafe in Hingham, a fantastic place save its utterly joyless clientele (more on that later.) Dinner got off to a late start after a phone call from Code Red let us know that she and Cameo had pulled into a gas station on 3A to investigate a "strange smell" in the car. It turned out to be the smoking remnant of a Heineken bottle, an automotive dumpling that some inebriated neighbor hurled at Cam's car last December. How rude. Crisis remedied, the table full, and SC in full-effect, we talked about about how Corporate America treats people like naughty little children, how it's fun being the oldest people on Facebook, and how the John Adams miniseries is awesome, but all those "Colonial sex" scenes are tough to stomach.
Then we got "shushed."
Like naughty little children. First, by two keg-shaped hags behind us and then a second time by a high-pocketed man who was probably the same age as us. How rude II. Never in my life have I witnessed such a thing. I won't get into the acoustics of the Square Cafe or the fact that were were a table of seven women or how the periodic eruptions from the bar area where people were watching the Red Sox were also shushed. Bottom line is -- it's not the MF library. If you don't want to dine among the masses, stay at home and whisper in hushed tones in your own dining room. Nobody was barking on a cell phone or carrying on inappropriately. At the very core of the shushing: Unhappy people simply can't stand the sounds of laughter and merriment.
As Mr. High Pockets passed by the window outside, Auntie gave him a passive-aggressive buh-bye wave. Confounded, he lifted his hand to reciprocate, but Gwennie -- not having it -- casually flipped him off. The shusher was flustered; he appeared to wet himself, then quickly flashed his middle finger and scurried down the street. We rejoiced, having chased away a restaurant bully. SC has a zero tolerance policy for buzz kills.
That said, everything else at The Square Cafe -- the waitstaff, the service, the food and wine -- was all fantastic. If they ever institute an anti-shushing policy for the rude and joyless, it'd be easier to become a regular.
In keeping with the "old people on Facebook" theme -- the Status of Suppah Club:
Cameo is...chastised for "smiling too much" during cheesy role play at a leadership training seminar
LPD is...wishing people at the table would refrain from using the term "heavy petting."
Auntie is...loving a good slipper.
Gwennie is...NOT about to be shushed by a man in angle-grazing khakis! .
Code Red is... wondering if they teach that shushing hand motion at Hingham town meetings.
Jess is...just going to drop and roll.
KJ is...is freaked out by wild turkeys
Auntie makes herself a little sick discussing the "many layers" involved in Colonial sex, corsets and such.
Code Red gasses up on Plumtinis ahead of her "old and cold" tour in Miami.
Fetch me a bowl of loud mouth soup!
"A tuna tar, a tuna tar, a tuna tar tar"