Thursday, August 26, 2010


I saw a movie years ago and I would love someone to name it for me. It was about a little boy living in New Zealand with his aunt and uncle. His mother is involved with a wealthy man, who doesn't want or doesn't know about her child. On her way to or from the house to see her little boy, she dies in a ferry sinking. Anyone?


I have an interview next week for a job that I'd like to get. (My last interview was for a job that I really didn't want.) Think good thoughts for me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


From Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, a link to amazing art:
-- tiny sculptures carved into the lead tips of pencils.


The brouhaha over Dr. Laura's use of an unfortunate label and her "First Amendment rights" is, I think, missing the larger point about bias in America. The average citizen perhaps thinks, 'Today I don't discriminate; I suspect only one of my friends ever would; and those times when it could be said that I myself discriminated are so few and so long ago... we as a country are over that now.'

I've said it here before. If you're white, you have no idea. The only reason I have a clue is that I have a biracial sibling who would like few things better than to see the country get over its hurtful bias thing. We are not over it.

To me, Dr. Laura's labeling misfire reveals that, in her heart of hearts, she thinks the 'N' word applies to people of color, describes them in some way that makes sense. I think so because, for myself, if I don't believe that any population deserves the label "gu*nea" or "sp*c" (as examples), then I don't use (and have not used) those words. That some African-Americans use the 'N' word bothers me until I remember that GLBT citizens long ago reclaimed the word "queer" via the Queer Nation. (Now we have to figure out what to do about the word "gay" being a derogatory slur.)

Going a little deeper into it: Every time I hear a person of color say it, my gut churns a little, BECAUSE I know that word used to be uttered, without care or reflection, on the other side of the color line. And I think I'm SUPPOSED to remember. I think we all are.

As to the First Amendment issue, read here:


Even on a sailing trip, I can't resist scanning the beaches for glass. In fact, I go into a near-trance when I'm on a beach, my eyes drawn to the pebble- and shell-strewn terra firma, trying to spot a color or texture that doesn't match.

The pic at top is from last week, when I found a smidge of Rusty (boat #1, with Kiwi being boat #3). Rusty did, of course, wreck -- hence finding bits and pieces. The other pic is from yesterday, when I found a tiny blue that wasn't sharp. (It's not hard to find blue; what is hard is finding blue that is sufficiently weathered.) Yesterday I saw Rusty's keel peeking out of the sand.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Blues Cruise

(No, neither a booze cruise nor the program Blues Clues.) Had a GREAT time on Salem Harbor Thursday night: Vic and I, plus our kids, plus Helen's kids (niece & nephew). Mahi Mahi Cruises and the band The Gravel Project have been going out every Thursday evening all summer, but will do so only once more this year -- and the tickets for the 7pm cruise, which features the sun setting, are all sold out. Call about the 9pm one, August 26: 800-992-6244. Even the food is extraordinary -- basic, as in kebabs and burgers, but excellent.

Moderate Breeze

In a moderate breeze, the Kiwi sails quite nicely. Thing is, she's only 16' long, so unless the swells roll out smoothly, she is a bouncy ride. When the swells DO roll smoothly, it's like body surfing.

You know when you're in the water, and a wave is coming, and just as it reaches you, you lift your feet up and let it carry you? There were moments exactly like that during our sail today, when we were propelled by the ocean currents. Our speed was good, considering that the breeze was only moderate.

Victor slipped a downhaul into the clip at the jib tack and tied it to the head. That worked beautifully. We both tasted salt spray today, and Victor was able to trail his hand in the water. He did miss that experience during the O'Day years.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Yesterday Vic plopped two sunflower heads onto the lawn and said something absurd about "hoping no birds or squirrels" would show interest in them because they were his, Victor's. Loony.

Today we had one, then two, then FOUR squirrels trying to make off with the sunflower heads. I could only get three in one shot.

Monday, August 16, 2010

On the Water

We launched the Com-Pac yesterday and had a very brief sail. The wind then abruptly died out and left us bobbing and swaying in a confused sea -- I was nearly sick. But the preceding period, with a light breeze filling the sails, was quite nice.

It's cool how much on-deck equipment you can reach from one spot in front of the mast. She's so small that it's ridiculously easy to sail and tend her. Also, the engine is powerful enough that she feels like she's really zipping along when under power. (However, the engine is also so heavy that Vic placed a dead car battery in the fore part of the cabin, as a counterbalance.)

In the pic above, she's the blur moored just to the left of and behind the rock.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I had a bunch of unrelated vegetables, purchased pre-harvest, about to go bad in my fridge, so I went here:
and got two very good ideas on what to do with them.

I posted this a while back, but I thought it worthy of re-posting!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


A bee and an unidentified visitor.


Victor thought that mint needed its own location in the garden -- as if it wouldn't sprout anywhere it could gain purchase.


Our rose garden is behind the morning glories at the front. It's invisible from any point of observation, so Vic has been bringing the blooms inside.

August Cones

The poor coneflowers are once again pushed to the very back of the sun bed. I need to move them, I need to plant things, and I need to divide perennials. However, today I need to be grading some course submissions, and instead I'm blogging...

At the Front

The yellow and purple display at the front of the house is kind of cool, if you go by the word of the little girls on our street. Do you see the one sunflower that's hanging its head? Even if we don't plant there next year, I betcha we'll have a sunflower grow.

Mid-August Variety

Some of these blooms had to be searched out in the overgrown, backyard garden plots. The late-blooming hosta is in a corner at the front of the house.

Vehicular Maine

Both of these sights were in Freeport, where we went for lunch. It's the last pic of the Blizzard; she was sold and being delivered to new owners on the very day that we were in the yard. Vic was inspecting her new gel coat.


Vic and I spent a few days in Maine last week. We stayed at the historic Colony Hotel, on the coast of Kennebunkport.

When I say "historic", I mean: no air-conditioning. It was sickly hot.

I ate twice at Bartlett's, where the blueberry pie was pretty incredible.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Massachusetts Life, Part IV

When I knew I would be leaving my editorial job -- both to return to school, and because I could advance no further in my editorial role -- Victor and I decided to buy a house. I truly feared becoming homeless as I left H. W. Wilson, and I wanted some equity!

We chose Malden because of its affordability, ca. 1993, and because of the diversity of its population (I'm from Flint, remember -- not comfortable in a sea of white). We knew when we married that we would be pursuing adoption, and diverse neighborhoods were important when we didn't know who our children would be.

Though we fell in love with this house, and lived there pretty happily for 11 years, I experienced a terrible depression immediately after our move in. Was it the loss of the water view? We had a glorious view of Boston from our hill, and at times we could see Boston Harbor, if conditions were right. What I thought was: Victor's savings made our down payment. As the lesser earner, and as a woman, I felt awful not to have been able to achieve home ownership independently.

Massachusetts Life, Part III

When Victor and I got married, in November 1991, we consolidated rentals (his was in Malden) into this Clark Street, North End unit. Thus I lived on Salem Street only six months.

Clark Street is immediately opposite Paul Revere Park, on Hanover; St. Stephen's is at the top of the street. See the white-wooden, bay-window apartments? We resided one below the top. The view of the harbor (which here just appears as light at the end of the street) was lovely and sustaining for us.

On Friday I took my son, niece, and nephew through the North End to see it and relevant spots for Vic and me. The harbor view impressed the offspring.

Massachusetts Life, Part II

In 1991 I moved to the North End (Gillian moved to the Back Bay). I lived on the fourth floor of this brown-brick, Salem Street, 4-story building -- to the left of the white building -- at the back. The door with the stained glass above it, under the word DRY, was the entry.

It would be lovely to live there now, with the elevated highway gone. But it was pretty damn nice even then.

My landlord ran the dry cleaner, and whenever I told retailers in the neighborhood where I lived, I got special discounts and =very= respectful service. Hmmm.

Massachusetts Life, Part I

I spent some free time in Boston a few weeks ago, and revisited old haunts.

From 1985, once we left the creepy Y (where we went right off the plane), my sister Gillian and I lived in this Fenway neighborhood, in this Fenway building, for the next six years. It's at the end of Westland, which is itself right across from the Christian Science Center, home of the lovely reflecting pool and fountain.

We lived in the unit just above the door, as I recall -- the one with the bow window. We also lived briefly on the ground level. It was a nice place to live, except that I was mugged once at gunpoint near our front door.


We had a huge surfeit of tomatoes from the garden, so I adapted my flatbread, tarragon-squash pizza to suit what we had on hand. It turned out beautifully!

Tomato-Garlic Flatbread Pizza

2 Joseph's rectangular Lavash breads (flax, oat bran & whole wheat)
4 tb olive oil
1 c shredded mozzarella
10 roma tomatoes or equivalent from your garden
10 cloves garlic
1 onion (I used Vidalia)
1 tb shredded or shaved Parmesan
2 tb dried oregano (I forgot that we had fresh!)
1/2 tb dried basil (again...)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Using mandoline or similar slicer, slice tomatoes, garlic, and onion very thinly. (If using fresh oregano and basil, chop them now.)
Preheat oven to 425.
Lightly oil 2 cookie sheets (or coat w/foil, but be sure to oil foil).
Place flatbreads on cookie sheets, and lightly oil flatbreads.
Divide oregano, basil, and pepper flakes; spread over each.
Divide mozzarella, tomato, garlic, and onion; spread over each. Be sure to coat flabreads right out to sides. Use mozzarella first (important!) and, next, tomato.
Again, lightly drizzle oil over vegetables.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Divide Parmesan; spread over each.
Bake 12 min or until Parmesan is browning.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Stepping the Mast

Vic experimented today with stepping the mast on our "new" boat. Then he decided to hoist the sails.

The latter was a very good thing. The halyard on the mainsail is too short! Not sure how it got included with the package, but there you have it. Now we know. One more purchase that, in addition to a change in the bill of sale (available when we go to Maine tomorrow), will result, we hope, in a great sailer once the Kiwi is on the water.