Monday, December 31, 2007

Rain, Sleet, Snow, Kiss

When I got up this morning at my usual ungodly hour, it was sleeting out. I went through the usual ritual, though at a slightly more leisurely pace having the day off. A little later than usual I headed out to the gym and the sleet had turned to snow.

The workout went well. Better than usual in that I didn't feel rushed to get to work on time. Hot shower and then out the door to go home and the snow had turned to rain.

I decided to forgo my usual walk home from the gym and take the train back to my neck of the woods. The sidewalks and streets are covered with a thin layer of treacherous slush and I didn't feel up for a half hour of sliding down the sidewalks in the freezing rain.

Jumping off the train at Hynes, I crossed Mass Ave and as I got to Boylston and turned the corner a 55 bus made an unscheduled stop. It was a handsome driver that I have been flirting with, off and on for months, waving me over to the bus. I got on board and we exchanged pleasantries as the strange route back to my neighborhood wound its way through, just the two of us on the otherwise deserted bus.

Finally, the bus stopped at the corner of Jersey and Queensbury. With a huge grin on his face he said, "Come here." Leaning over he grabbed the back of my head and pulled me into a kiss. Then releasing me he said, "Happy New Year."

I did the only things I could in the circumstance and throwing my maidenly reserve to the wind. I pulled him into another kiss and then wished him a Happy New Year as well.

Maybe I'm getting old, but that was one of the sexiest things that has happened to me in a long time.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday recap

Another Christmas has been safely navigated. I managed to start things off right by wrenching my knee on the ice last Weds. and waking up with a miserable cold on Thursday morning. Nothing says the holidays like being too sick to get out of bed with a fever.

By Saturday, I was starting to feel a bit better and by Monday, I was feeling fit enough to go out and have lunch with my beloved Mike in Davis Square, near to where he lives. We had a nice visit and I have to say that Mike is looking very handsome sporting the hyacinth curls. (I didn't really think it was possible for him to get any better looking, but I guess I was wrong)

I was suppose to get together with FB, for my special Christmas present, however he had managed to come down with the same thing I was recovering from. I'd like to say that sucked, but the whole point is that it didn't.

Yesterday, I spent the morning running up my cell bill, calling friends and relatives. Then it was a pretty quiet day until I went over to Wahz for dinner. It was our traditional Christmas and everyone had a great time. Delicious food, too much champagne and good friends.

Today, it is back to the grind. Not too much happening and there won't be for the rest of the week. Campus is deserted. So far, the only people I have seen are other staffers.

For me, the holidays are over. I don't celebrate New Years. Though, C is taking Wahz and I out for dinner on Friday, so perhaps that will be the official end of my Solstice revelries.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. That every one of you were able to enjoy the holiday and like myself, spend some time with people you love and who are important to you.

Now. We just have to get through the rest of the winter!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

All I want for Xmas

As if the Niece didn't rock enough, what with the L'Occatane gift certificate, I just got a package in the mail. Cashew Brittle. No, not just cashew brittle, HOMEMADE cashew brittle. Which I have no intention of sharing.

I'm telling you, it doesn't get much better!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best Xmas Ever

Recently there have been a lot of break ins in my neighborhood as all the meth freaks get their holiday high on. So, I have been trying to remember to shove my faithful MacBook, Della, into my murse when I leave the house.

This has reminded me of one of my all time favorite Christmas stories.

A few years ago, on Christmas Eve, I had to go into my old dentist to have an emergency root canal done. This woman was nothing like my current dentist, who aside from being all hot and yummy, is a really nice guy and a good dentist.

She on the other hand seemed to harbour some personal grudge, though she could well have been this way with all her patients. At any rate she hustled me into the chair and started in on me before the novocain had kicked in. I am pretty sure the shot was administered with a rusty blunt needle. She then got out a dull wood chisel and a ball peen hammer, though it could have been a 5 pound mallet, I'm a little fuzzy on that and performed a root canal.

Finally after about 2 hours of torture I was released with a temporary crown and a much lighter wallet.

At the time, I was still trying, foolishly, to play nicely with the ex. So as I made my way home I stopped in a few vintage bookstores looking for a 1925 edition of "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds". It is one of my favorite books and I had introduced the ex to Anita Loos. He had always envied my 1925 edition with the Ralph Barton illustrations. As luck would have it, the last shop I checked in had a 1926 edition, but still with the Barton illustrations, so I figured good enough. It's not like we were having sex and I headed off home, warm in the glow of a good deed.

When I got home I had some trouble with the front door. When I walked into the Ganome Lair, I discovered why. The local drug addicts had been doing some holiday shopping of their own. Aside from relieving me of all my stereo equipment and electronics, they had also helped themselves to all the wrapped presents!

With one thing and another it was not the sunniest or merriest of Christmases. There is no silver lining to this story. No one came riding to the rescue helping me replace the stolen gifts. I had let the apartment insurance lapse, so I had to go through the long slow replacement process. Oh, and the dentist screwed up the root canal and a couple of years later I had to pay another dentist to correct the situation.

So why the best Christmas ever?

Whenever people get into those dreary conversations about the worst Christmas of their lives, I pipe up with this story and invariably everyone shuts up for a few seconds and then some always says, "Okay, you win." End of conversation.

So I guess there is a silver lining after all.

It could be worse.

I was going to do a very cranky post about what a crappy day I had. And believe me, today sucked out loud.

However, on the bright side, the Niece gave me a very generous gift card for L'Occatane and 2 of my orchids have thrown out spikes.

Therefore, no bitching. Regardless of how tempting it is, since today really, really sucked, but a couple of really cool things happened too.

It's always good to maintain some perspective.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Office party

I managed to survive the office holiday party. Actually the food was good. As a non drinker I didn't mind so much that they started to run out of beer in the first hour, though it was too bad. Our faculty at the best of times need all the help they can get in any social circumstance.

Overall, it ranked about 5 on the utter boredom scale. The poor soul who had to organize the thing I did feel bad for. She had had to cancel the event last Thursday because of the snow storm and reschedule for tonight. The food was good and there were a couple of real cuties from the catering company wandering around, but I have to say, the Math Dept. does not do holiday parties well. If this had been an English Dept. when I was younger most people would have shown up half lit, and when the booze started running low, some of the faculty members would have pooled some money and sent out for more.

However I don't think you can really expect too much from work parties anymore, so I am happy that I managed to get myself seen by the Department head and the HR officer so that I was out of there in under an hour.

Only 3 more days and I have a long weekend which I hope to spend with friends enjoying myself. I might even have a drink.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Unit of measurement

Since Tater wanted to know how I measured the snowfall, I thought would explain how I did it.

I whipped out my big 10 inch of course!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snow day

We were given our lunch break in the seminar. I ducked out to grab something to eat, as I came out the door a couple of snow flakes fell down. Then, I guess they were motivated by our speakers and began to behave in a dynamic and proactive way. They optimized their resources and decided to act in an exciting and effective manner, maximizing their impact and creating a tangible and effective change in their work environment.

In other words it started to snow like hell. Did I mention it is also is colder than a witches tit in a brass bra. (Another useful Vermontism.)

The forces that be decided to close the school, so I was able to wander off, free as bird.

I was grousing to myself. What a bunch of big babies! It's not that bad! Then I got to Memorial Drive, looked across the river to where Boston is suppose to be, and damn if some bastard hadn't stolen it! Seriously. The Charles is not all that wide and you could not see across the river to Boston.

I am figuring we got a little over an inch the first hour and this is suppose to keep up until midnight. Getting into work is going to be so much fun tomorrow.

On the upside, I did get out of the class early and I am home drinking tea. The walk home was not that bad, and I beat at least one bus into town by walking. I am pretty well provisioned so I don't think I will actually have to go out in this mess again. High school really never does end. Snow days still rock, even when you are on the far side of the middle age hill.

UPDATE 4 hours into the storm and we already have about 6 inches of snow, this may be worse than I thought.

Gray day

I am currently killing time at a coffee shop, before heading off to one of those pointless training seminars that workplaces decide are vital for your "development" as an employee. What this is going to entail I am pretty sure, is being psychobabbled at for 8 hours.

The good news is it gets me out of the office for the day. The bad news is that I will be psychobabbled at for 8 hours.

The coffee shop is also getting a mixed review. The breakfast sandwich was pretty good, the coffee is fair and the wi-fi is free. On the downside, there is a herd of very loud teenagers hanging out. What is this shit? It's a school day! I know Xmas vacation hasn't started yet. I know, I know, pretty soon I'm going to wandering around in my slippers wearing pants with the waistband up under my armpits, yelling, "Hey, you kids get off that lawn. I know your mother!"

Well, important lesson learned. I know that there is another joint down the street, with yes, free wi-fi and it is populated by grown-ups. Not that, as I'm sure everyone has noticed, age is any guarantee of reasonable behavior.

They are predicting that the lovely weather that has been clobbering the midwest is now headed our way and we should see it starting sometime this afternoon. I am sure it will work up a nice head of steam by late afternoon to that we can have are really interesting commute home.

Yup. I got the blahs.

Who knows, maybe I'll finally meet Prince Charming in the psychobabble class, we'll run away to someplace warm and live happily ever after, after having discovered the secret to eternal youth. Did I mention he's going to be rich AND generous.

Okay, enough. I have to go off and learn how to implement dynamically or whatever horseshit they will be shoveling up today.

I hope everyone else has a great day and is in a good mood all day long and gets laid and finds a big bag of money. No. Really.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Evolution

Monkey and I are on break and he is telling me about the Christmas ornament he bought for his mother.

Monkey: I got it for one of her Christmas trees.

Me: One of her Christmas trees?

Monkey: Yeah, she has 3 trees, one tree for each of her types of ornaments.

Me: That's even worse than Doris.

Monkey: Yeah, Doris is just looking for the perfect tree. My mother always wants more of everything! She just needs portion control for her whole life. (pauses) I swear that's why she had 4 kids. I mean from an evolutionary standpoint it makes sense, more is better. But the line stops with me! I'd be really surprised if my sibs reproduce.

We start to walk back towards the office and I think about this in relation to his sibs who I've met.

Me: Can they be arrested for pissing in the gene pool?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Me & Alice



Okay, everyone else is posting pictures of their pets and since Alice won't leave me alone at the computer, I am victimizing the big lump and taking her picture. Hey! It's not like she does any of the housework.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

TMI

I'm having a tough time coming up with a subject to talk about. Not that I don't have a few ideas wandering around in my otherwise empty skull, halloooing and checking out the echo. I am just having a hard time focusing in on one single topic.

I mean there is always sex, or in my case the lack thereof. The holidays. I had thought about boring you with my recent bout with a stomach virus, but how many ways can you describe shouting at the commode? There are any number of things that I have been giving some thought to or that have thrust themselves on my attention.

I am often stumped for a subject when I am feeling the pressure to get a post up on my blog, but I think it is more frustrating in some ways to have some perfectly good ideas, but having them get into an argument about who was first in line.

I will try to get some order going, decide who needs to take a nap, and see if I can't get something written down. But first I am going to have to get all these fucking ideas to shut up!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh Tannenbaum

Say what you like about my parents child rearing skills, Christmas was always a big deal around the house. I think this was due in part to my mother's childhood experience of the Great Depression and the old man's toyless childhood. My Pepe was of a rather stern disposition and felt that children did not need to be playing with toys, they needed to be out working. In contrast, my Grandma did what she could to provide the furniture of childhood for my mom and her brothers and sister, but there wasn't much money. While some of this influenced my Dad's own parenting technique, he did make sure that there were toys under the tree, come the morning of December 25th. The fact that the situation by lunch time had deteriorated to a state of trench warfare didn't matter as long as the presents made it under the tree.

In this spirit, every year our family went through the agonizing ritual of “The Christmas Tree”.

My mother would announce that it was time to go out and “get a tree, before all the good ones are gone.” we would be shepherded into the Ford and off we would go on the annual quest.

My mother had been in charge of getting the tree, ever since the now infamous episode in our family history, where the old man had been allowed, while shithammered, to go get the tree unsupervised. To this day my mother still brings up the unlovely specter of the “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”.

After that my mother exercised due diligence. The disgrace of the “stick” as she also referred to it, was never to be repeated and the entire family was dragooned into going out to find a decent looking tree. In all fairness to my mother, the tree did really look like it had been grown on a bare rock and then napalmed just before it was harvested. The specter of this tree seemed to haunt her every holiday and no matter what the circumstance she would dutifully head off in the direction of the tree lots even when she was actually sick as opposed to her ground state of hypochondria.

At the time, she was the only female in the house. There were my father and my 2 brothers to boss around, but my older sister had flown the coop by the time I was 8. Neither of my brothers had any patience for this, nor did my father. Eventually the spirit of rebellion against this holiday tyranny formed in the breasts of the male population of our household. Finally, my father and brothers refused to go tree shopping. However, it was also decided that my mother could not be expected to deal with a six foot plus Christmas tree by herself, so at the age of 10, I was volunteered to accompany my mother on her tree buying expeditions.

Among my mother's eccentricities was the belief that the perfect tree was at the next tree lot. What this usually entailed was visiting every Christmas tree lot in the area, only in the end to wind up back at the original lot, to purchase the first tree that she had liked.

Thus every year, a couple of weeks before Xmas, Mom and I would get into the car and start our search. She knew exactly what she was looking for. A Scotch pine. She had a deep seated dislike of firs because they shed too much. She did not like small trees. They had to have the right shape. She favored broad conical trees, big fat pyramids that could hold what became a vast collection of Christmas tree decorations. Over the years things changed and grew. Ugly decorations made by the eager hands of children were replaced by carefully chosen glass balls. The old fat incandescent Christmas lights that I still love with their saturated colors were replaced by the modern fairy light type of tree lights. The only constant was the angel that sat on top of the tree, “Suzie the Christmas Angel” which my Mom had purchased when my older sister, Susan had been a small child.

Being a little fairy, I really didn't mind. The prospect of decorating the tree was always a big deal for me. My mother was willing to spend ages making sure the ornaments were just so and if it meant taking every last piece of tinsel off the tree and starting over, so be it.

The penultimate tree experience came though the year I was 14. By then we had graduated to the 65 Plymouth wagon, a car that could seat 10 people with comfort. It was a car designed for my mother to finally indulge her every Christmas tree related fantasy of excess.

Our first stop was at a new lot. This was unusual in that ordinarily the first place, and usually by virtue of it being the first lot, it would be our ultimate destination was Polino's greenhouse, after having scoured every other tree lot in central western Vermont.

We looked around a bit and my mother was dismissing the offerings as being not nearly as nice as the trees that she usually got at Polino's, when she saw, “the tree”. I can only imagine that Ahab got the same look in his eye the first time he saw Moby Dick.

It was quite the tree. It was a scotch pine and it really was something else, thinking back, the tree had to be 8 feet tall. She made the man selling the trees hold it up for her as she circled it seeking out imperfections. At the base, it easily spread to a width of 6 feet and it was full and beautifully shaped. It was the type of tree usually only encountered on Christmas cards or in lavishly illustrated children's books of the more treacley holiday variety.

Still my mother is my mother. She sniffed and said she would have to think about it and off we went to look at what else was on offer abroad. However, she had the gleam of that tree in her eye. I might be making this part up, but it seems as though she was somehow motivated to seek out an even higher pinnacle of Christmas tree perfection after coming across this holy grail of the Christmas tree world. Through the cold dark evening, we scoured every lot she could find, as she tried with all her might to find a tree that would outdo this vision of perfection. Tree after tree was examined as we worked our way through every tree lot in the lower Champlain Valley. All were found wanting. Nothing could compare with the beatific vision that had been imparted unto my mother in that first full moment in the initial tree lot.

Finally, having exhausted every other option, we returned to the original tree lot, my mother filled with anxiety that “her” tree would have been snapped up by some other lucky family.

But the Xmas tree gods that had first inspired man to gather wood at the darkest time of the year and build bon fires to bring the sun back smiled upon my mother. Her quarry was still there, waiting for her in the cold, clear winter night. It was destiny. There probably should have been flights of angels, a celestial chorus and a ray of light beaming down from the heavens as my mother completed her transaction and we laid claim to this paragon of treeness.

We put down the back seat in the station wagon, and I loaded the tree into the back, while my mother supervised, continuously fretting that something might befall the tree to mar its perfection, finally, with my mother holding the top of the tree, I closed the tailgate and with the rear cargo window open, we drove off into the night headed for home, my mother radiating the same glow of satisfaction that some tribal huntsman must have displayed when bringing home the fresh kill that would sustain his family for a few days more in the harsh northern winter.

The next day my father had his first opportunity to admire Mom's tree.

“Jesus Christ, Mother! Why in the hell did you buy a redwood. We're going to have to cut a couple of feet off it just to get it in the stand. Well, I'm not going to do it till the weekend.”

What happened next was my father's own fault, by that point he'd been married to the woman over 20 years and he should have recognized the look on her face.

Dad went off on some self appointed errand that distinctly had nothing to do with Christmas trees and Mom went in to mix herself a drink. As the day wore on, my mother started making “we really ought to get the tree up” noises. My brothers were both off somewhere and it was just she and myself in the house. A couple of drinks later, my mother announced that we could get that tree up by ourselves and she wasn't going to wait around until dad was in the mood, or it might not be put up until Christmas Eve!

I found myself being instructed to drag the tree into the house. I expressed a few doubts, to which my mother answered, “Well, if we can't get the tree up, then your father will just have to do it, since he won't have any choice once it's in here.”

It was one of those flat statements of my mothers that over the years I had learned to just not argue with.

As I manhandled the tree into the house my mother, well, mother henned her tree with many an admonition to me to “be careful”.

Inside the house, the tree really was looking pretty big. Actually it was looking huge. I think even my mother was beginning to have some doubts about whether her goal could be achieved. However, my mother would not be my mother if she was not equal to giving some hair brained scheme a sincere effort and a will to die if necessary in the attempt.

We had got out the tree stand, the lights and the decorations beforehand and a saw to take off what I thought would be a good sized chunk off the bottom of the tree.

As I prepared to start sawing off a couple of feet from the bottom of the tree, my mother let out a shriek. “What do you think your doing?”, she demanded.

“Well, Dad said….” I began.

“You just saw off a few of the lower branches so we can get the stand on. You're father doesn't know everything, in spite of what he thinks.” I was informed in imperious tones.

I guess I felt as though any trouble I got into in the future with my father would be nothing in comparison to the trouble I would be facing immediately if I didn't do as I was told by the old lady. So I sawed off some lower branches under my mothers careful directions and baleful glare.

As it turned out we did have to saw off about 8 inches from the bottom of the tree to get it even close to fitting into the stand. With more cautious removal of lower branches we proceeded. I held the stand up to the stump of the tree.

“We're going to have to cut off a little more,' I said. 'the stand is still a little to small.”

“You are not cutting anymore off of my tree, young man! You just wait right there and I'll show you what we're going to do.” I was informed.

At this point I didn't dare disagree and besides, I was intrigued as to what she was going to do. She disappeared into the kitchen and I heard her rummaging around in a drawer. A few minutes later she was back with a hammer.

“Now, I'm sure you can just tap the stand onto the tree.” I was informed.

The tree wasn't in fact all that much larger than the opening on the stand and while it took a couple of whacks to get it over the widest part, after that it was more like getting a fat lady into a girdle, it just took a little wiggling.

After the little knurled screws in the stand had been screwed into the base of the tree the moment of truth arrived. We hoisted the tree up and the legs on the stand immediately splayed out flattened to the floor. The tree began to sway.

My mother made a mad grab for the tree and caught it before it could topple over.

“ I guess we're going to have to wait for dad to come home and….” I never got to finish the sentence.

“You just hold this tree up!” I was commanded.

At this point, my mother had the light of battle in her eye. She disappeared into the kitchen once more and once again I could hear the rattle of the utility drawer. In a minute she was back with a hand full of nails. She stood back, looking appraisingly at the tree and began to have me position the tree so that it was upright. Once it had been adjusted to her satisfaction, She told me, “Just nail the tree to the floor, that should take care of the swaying.”

“I don't think Dad is going to be very happy if I start putting nails in the floor.” I offered weakly.

“I'll worry about what your father thinks, you just nail that tree to the floor.”

I was faced with the immediate threat of not nailing the tree to the floor and dealing with the consequences of not doing what my mother told me and the future prospect of my father coming home to find a scotch pine nailed to the living room floor. I looked at my mother and took the hammer and crawled under the tree.

Let us leave our hero for a moment industriously nailing a Christmas tree to the floor of the family living room while I explain a little bit of history about our house that will illuminate what was to happen next.

My parents bought the house they live in, in 1960. When we moved in there was no heating system, no plumbing and the electrical wiring had been installed in the early 20th century. Over the next few years, the old man installed a furnace, baseboard heat, plumbed and rewired the place and dry walled and insulated walls, so that by 1969, two things of historic significance occurred. The Americans landed on the moon and the old man had finished dry walling and painting the first floor of our house.

After I crawled out from under the tree, I got my first good look at it. It was pretty impressive. The top of the tree practically touched the 8 foot ceiling and it stood there in all its holiday glory.

Slightly swaying.

The damned thing was still about as stable as a top that was winding down. My mother however was not about to have victory snatched from her when she was so close to her goal. However, her plan was going to need the full support of her meager troop of one. But drastic times call for drastic measures.

“Why don't I just fix us both a drink while I think about this,”, she said and we walked into the kitchen while I wondered what Mom had in mind and exactly how much more trouble this was going to get me into. That being said, at the age of 14, a cocktail in the hand was worth an asskicking in the future, and with any luck would help to, at least metaphorically, soften the blow.

Mom made us gin and tonics and then began to rummage through drawers again. Eventually, she pulled out the roll of kitchen twine that usually only made an appearance when she was making roast pork or gigot. She sipped her drink thoughtfully as I tried not to gulp mine down. She tapped on the glass for a minute with her fingernail and then told me to go down cellar and to get a couple finishing nails. Not quite sure what she was up to, but having a bad feeling none the less, I at this point was resigned to my fate and dutifully went down into the basement secure in the knowledge that at least when my father killed me for whatever was about to happen, I could meet my maker not entirely sober.

I came back up the stairs with the nails and a sense of foreboding. My mother was waiting there, hammer in hand. She took the nails from me and then walked over to the newly painted and plastered living room wall and carefully tapped the first nail in. She then went to the other side of the tree and repeated the process.

“Dad's really going to…” I began.

“I told you, I will deal with your father, now hand me that twine.”, was the only answer I got.

I have to hand it to her. The guy wire system which she devised, going from one nail around the tree and to the other nail really did the trick! The tree was now standing straight and tall and not weaving drunkenly.

I guess Mom felt that one sober person, or in this case tree was plenty. I think she also felt like she had thrown caution entirely to the wind anyway, so she made us both another drink which is probably why we decided to string the lights without the assistance of my father.

Now, my mother is 5 feet tall, and if I am remembering correctly, at the age of 14 I was still a bit shorter than her. Somehow, with the aid of a step ladder and a lot of direction from Doris, we got the lights strung on the tree in a manner that met with her approval. At this point I was in a happy haze of gin and I guess my mother had the feeling of , in for a pence, in for a pound, because the decorations came out and over the next hour or so we got out all of the garland, ornaments and tinsel and decorated the tree.

Finally, my mother had me do the honors and I plugged in the lights. The tree was beautiful. The angel was bumping its head against the ceiling, but finally, my mother had found a suitable canvas upon which she could demonstrate her vision of what a Christmas tree should look like and it held every ornament that she had collected over the years without looking crowded or having to banish any of the glass balls for another year and another tree.

We stood there, gin in hand admiring our handiwork and the old man came in the house.

He just stood there for a minute, agog.

“How the hell did you get that thing up by yourself? Jesus Christ, Mother! Why didn't you wait for me to trim it down. It's touching the ceiling for Christ's sake!”

“I think it looks beautiful.”, was my mothers reply.

“Yeah,' I announced happily under the influence. 'We had to nail it to the floor.”, with the happy idiocy of a tipsy teenager who knows he’s about to die and is beyond caring.

“What”, the old man bellowed. Walking over to the tree for a closer look he saw the nails in the fresh walls.

“God damn it all!', he yelled. 'Who put nails in my fresh walls?”, he demanded looking directly at me.

“I did.” Mom announced flatly.

Glaring like a thunderhead, the old man stomped into the kitchen to get himself his first beer of the afternoon with my mother directly at his heels. I could hear a lot of muffled “God dammits, Jesus Christing, dammits, a couple of Jesus H. Christs an assortment of shits and knowing Dad, I am sure the words stupid bastard and son-of-a-bitch had a prominent part of his side of the discussion. There was also a fair amount of muffled but stern sounding Mom sounds that tended to indicate that things had better go the way that she had decided that they should go, or she was damned well going to want to know why.

I will never know what Mom said to the old man. Or should I say what instructions he received about what his behavior was to be, but I never heard another word about the nails in the floor.

After a few minutes, the old man stomped out of the kitchen without a glance at me and went into the TV room and threw himself into his recliner to steam in front of the set.

My mother and I returned to our contemplation of the tree, It was in its own way the most perfect thing of its kind we had ever seen and we basked, cocktails in hand, in the warm glow of a job well done.

It was at that moment our 20 pound tomcat, Boots chose to make his annual attack on the Christmas tree.

And with the exception of a couple of ornaments falling to the carpet in front of the tree, I have to say, Mom's cable stay system held up beautifully, even as she shouted the cat out of the tree.

That may well have been one of the happiest Christmases of my childhood.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sweet old world



Larry died of AIDS in December of 1984. I still miss him every day. Until I can find words of my own to say how I feel, these lyrics by Lucinda Williams, sung by Emmy Lou Harris, do a pretty damned good job.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

back to normal

Just in case any of you were too nauseated by my earlier post, you'll be happy to know that the Uberboss did in fact pee in my Wheaties. We are now back to our regularly scheduled programing.

Good morning

While I usually spend my time like a good portion of the rest of the world bitching about things, I have to say today has started out well.

Yesterday, I was feeling pretty crappy and was convinced I was coming down with a cold. I blew off the gym, slept in and wound up coming in late for work. (Late for me, as in on time and not an hour early.) I dragged through the day and managed to make it till 5 o'clock at the office. I went home, fed the cat, made myself eat something and collapsed.

This morning against all expectations, I woke up feeling pretty darned good. I managed to get out of the house on time, hit the gym, chatted up the other Anthony that works our there, who aside from being handsome as all hell, is also a nice guy. I had a good workout.

Stopping at my regular coffee shop, I was as usual, greeted by the pleasant young lady that works there. We talked a little more than usual, and she told me that this would be her last week of working in the morning and that she was looking forward to sleeping in the morning. She also hastened to assure me that the fellow who was coming back would take good care of me. It was just a pleasant, friendly exchange. It reminded me of why I frequent this place and what living in the city can be, if people put an effort into it.

I then headed off to Park Street Station and as I was coming down the stairs I saw a train on the platform, I picked up my pace, though I was pretty sure that I wouldn't make it. A woman on the train saw me and moved to hold the door. I put a move on, and darted into the car, making sure to thank her.

All in all, it has just been a pleasant morning. Nothing extraordinary. Just pleasant. People have been courteous and even helpful. I have been able to step away from my usual ground state of mistrustfulness of my fellow creature and instead respond appropriately. It makes a difference.

I don't think that I am embarking on some perfect day and that little bluebirds and small woodland animals are going to pop out of nowhere and start singing in harmony and performing choreographed routines on my desk. I feel pretty confident that the day will bring its irritations, but it's nice to also realize that sometimes if you put some effort into it, you can say good morning and mean it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Crematorium

With all the cooking over the past few days I have been giving the microwave quite a workout. It is getting on in years and I think its time is coming soon to be retired. I’m going to be sort of sorry to see it go. I don’t think that you could say that I have a sentimental attachment to the thing, but how I got it does have a bit of an odd history.

It all began with my having what was perhaps the most bizarre in a long history of bizarre conversations with my mother.

I had just moved into the apartment I am now living in. I don’t think I’d been here over a month when the phone rang. It was my mother. As usual, she asked how I was and then not waiting for an answer launched into here chosen topic.

“You know your Uncle George and your Aunt Rose have never been good at planning ahead.” , she said. “Well…. Your father and I have sold them part of our burial plot. There will be plenty of room, since this cemetery will let you cram as many people as will fit, so if you are cremated then there will be plenty of room for us and all of their kids too. As long as we’re all cremated. Now your father doesn’t want to be cremated, but even so there will still be plenty of room. You were planning on being cremated weren’t you?

I allowed that cremation was what I had planned on, not adding that I didn't have the least intention of spending eternity in the same burial plot as my nearest and dearest relations.

“And we’ve already had everyone’s name put on the headstone…”

“Uh, there’s already a headstone?” I asked.

Well, we got a really good deal on it, and it was going to be cheaper if we just had everyone’s names put on it. With the birth dates, so all they have to do is fill in the rest of the information when we “go”., she said.

“You’re telling me my name is on a headstone up in Vermont?”

“Now don’t be like that. So. Do you have a microwave?”, she asked.

At this point all I could think was that my mother was going to suggest we perform home cremations in order to cut further costs.

Uh…. Nooooo? I ventured.

Well, George and Rose are paying us in installments, since they don’t have all the money to pay for their share of the plot. And George just won a microwave oven in the church raffle…. Insert long winded exposition on, why is it that other people have all the luck, my mother never wins anything, the personal shortcomings of the parish priest and several members of the congregation and why doesn’t anyone dress for church any more.

….so your Uncle George is trading us the microwave for part of the price of the plot.

At this point I was a little lost and I think I said something brilliant like, “that’s nice”.

Well…. We already have that new microwave that your father is always making popcorn in. They really are handy, you know you can cook hot dogs in them in 2 minutes….. Insert lengthy discourse on the wonders of modern appliances, how if my mother didn’t watch every forkful of food that goes into my fathers mouth that he would have killed himself with another heart attack by now, the failings of all his siblings in their eating habits and how their respective spouses were neglecting their matrimonial duties by not making everyone’s life a dietary purgatory.

…..and I don’t believe she’s letting Aldore eat SHRIMP!”

“Well, said mom, I already asked your sisters and the boys if they wanted the microwave, but they already have one, so I thought I’d call you up and see if you wanted it.”

My dear little mother, god bless her, has a way of taking the joy out of anything and this was among the least gracious offers of generosity that I have ever received, but a free microwave was free microwave so I accepted the offer.

A few days later I had my new microwave. A couple of weeks later my friend Juanita was over and I was telling her the story. When I got to the part about my mother asking me if I had a microwave in the middle of the burial plot story, Juanita just looked at me and asked, “Is she expecting you to do home cremations?” I told her that that had been my first thought. We got a good laugh out of the whole thing and Juanita dubbed the oven, "The Pelletier Family Crematorium".

As I say, after 15 years, the oven is on it’s last legs and I am going to have to think sooner rather than later about getting a new one. I do know however that I wont’ be able to get one that was part of a barter deal for a burial plot. Unless anyone out there is in need of a final resting place. I can get you a spot in exchange for a new microwave. The cremation we’ll have to negotiate on.

The morning after

I have managed to survive Thanksgiving and against all expectations, I do not feel like a bloated corpse.

The problem with developing good eating habits is that they become a habit. While I did have such delightful items as asparagus and cream cheese wrapped with prosciutto and garlic mashed potatoes, made with butter and heavy cream and duck with a pan gravy, I found myself eating reasonably sized portions.

This is so wrong!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pre-paid

I am getting ready for the eating orgy I am planning on Thursday. Saturday and today, I really knocked the shit out of myself at the gym and tomorrow and Wednesday are shaping up to be more ass kicking.

Why, you ask? After all, I'm the guy who is planning quiet day at home, right?

Just because I am going to spend the day on my own reading, doesn't mean I am not going to get into the spirit of the thing. I already have the menu planned. Roast duck, with rosemary, lemon, honey, cranberry sauce. Garlic mashed potatoes and Savoy cabbage. Okay, I know I'm weird, but I love cabbage. For dessert I am making pumpkin pie with a pecan short crust. Salad and snack type food will also feature in there somewhere. Monkey was telling me about asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, which just sounds too good to pass up as an appetizer. The possibility of cheddar biscuits is also looming on the horizon in a tantalizing manner. Basically, I am planning a carbohydrate and fat festival. I might even go crazy and have a glass of wine or 2 with dinner.

Also, to let you know I am not completely pathetic and friendless, I am planning on going to the MFA with a couple of friends on Friday after the gym (hey, I'm going to have to work off the excesses of Thursday) to see this exhibit of decorative arts from the Napoleonic era.

Then it will be a couple of days of goofing off and of course, more penance for enjoying our national celebration of one of my favorite vices. Gluttony.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Contrast

Yesterday morning stepping off the train and walking across the campus, the skies was filled with roiling dark gray clouds. The cold rain was coming down and the wind was blowing and chasing the leaves out of the trees like flocks of frightened, brightly colored birds, swirling crazily through the air.

By the time I headed home, walking across the Mass. Ave bridge, night was falling. Looking west, the last of an autumn sunset was outlining the horizon. A thin band of glowing orange, the few clouds left, a deep purple and the sky going from a deep vibrant lapis to deepest indigo, where a waxing crescent moon somewhere between quarter and half hung like a lantern. A Maxfield Parrish sky.

To the east the sky was black and the skyscrapers downtown were still lit. Yellow and pale orange light still illuminating the windows, red lights on top of the buildings warning air craft and making the city look like a giant Christmas ornament. Off in the distance the Zakim bridge barely visible in the half light, looking like it was spun from gossamer. The contrast at that fugitive time between twilight and night was magical.

This morning I went off to the gym first thing. When I got there, there was no one yet there and I began the days torture. As I started going through my routine people began to trickle in.

I went upstairs to use one of the machines. A member I had never seen before was there. He was young handsome fellow, though handsome in that regular featured sort of way that I have never found all that appealing, but he was handsome none the less.

Observing him as I rested between sets, he was doing the set round on the machine circuit. One of those people who either because of the blessings of youth or good genetics was able maintain an impressive physique just using machines. I will admit to more than a twinge of envy. I have to be unrelenting with the free weights or it's all over. I finished my sets and headed back downstairs to the free weight room.

As I was working my way through another set, one of the regulars I am familiar with came in. I have seen him for the past 2 years that I have gone to my gym. He is 80 if he's a day. He literally totters around and looks incredibly fragile. But he comes every day, like clockwork. He works out with the free weights and it is a bit frightening at times, he looks so frail. Yet he persists.

As I watched him out of the corner of my eye, I thought to myself, will I have that much determination in 25 years? What, I asked myself does he see, when he looks at me? Does he feel the same resigned envy that I felt looking at the young fellow upstairs in the bloom of youth, able to maintain a handsome physique with what seemed to me, so little effort? Is that what I look like to this old gentleman?

It was a bit like the day yesterday. Two extremes. A cold grey rainy morning, with its own beauty, and then the clear cold walk home, walking a bridge between the end of a day and the beginning of a night.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Slow news day


It is turning into a typical holiday week. 4 days at work with 5 days of work crammed into it, which makes it feel like a 6 day week.

On top of it all, I have jury duty today. I swear they have it in for me!

Every couple of years, like clockwork, I get called. A few years ago there were a few items in the Boston Globe about this. It would seem that instead of selecting from the entire pool of eligible citizens, they just kept a record of selected jurors and kept calling them as soon as they were once again able to serve. They were suppose to do something about the situation, but it doesn't seem, at least to me, that they have.

I called in last night to see if my pool had been canceled. No such luck. Honestly, I'd rather go to work.

Other than that, not too much happening. They are predicting the first snowfall of the year for Friday, though not so much snow as flurries. As unbelievable as it is, Thanksgiving is next week.

I have yet to make up my mind what to do. I believe I am still invited to Wahz house for the occasion, though I have mixed feelings about that. There will be about 14 people there and as I get older, these big gatherings don't have the appeal that they once did. It's odd, because everyone who is invited I have known and liked for many years now. Just not all at once.

I am looking forward to what I hope will be a quiet weekend. Laundry, grocery shopping and not much else. Exciting huh? I feel like I need some time to myself, so I am actually looking forward to it. So, I can pretty much count on something coming up that will require my attention.

Oh well, off to they gym and then the Suffolk Superior Courthouse for a day of being bored out of my mind.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Huh?

It has been a slow few news days here in Ganome land. The long weekend was pleasant enough, but nothing earth shaking happened. I went over to my friend C's place and watched Ratatouille which I managed to miss when it was in the theater. It was fun, and I enjoyed the movie and the chance to catch up with C. who I haven't seen much of over the past few weeks. If you haven't seen Ratatouille yet, I can recommend it. If you're a foodie, you will get all the gags and if you're not a foodie, it will give you an idea of why people become so passionate about food.

Sunday I spent the early afternoon with RG, so that he could replenish his office drag and get some music. Actually, I got a private chuckle out of the proceedings. Considering the amount of ribbing I have taken from him lately about the "Battan Death March" every time we get together, at his instigation we started from the the Fenway and didn't stop for lunch until we hit Chinatown. Over the course of our shopping expedition there was plenty of eye candy wandering around loose. Though the prize winner for the day was in the Filene's Basement outlet on Boylston St.

We had gone over to the Basement so I could, of course, use the restroom. We were getting ready to head off and were almost at the door when I was stopped dead in my tracks by this absolutely gorgeous kid. RG continued on oblivious. I snatched him by the back of his coat and hissed, "Look!"

RG was all, "Where?".

"Over by the sweaters."

"Huh?"

I grabbed the back of his head and directed him to the steaming hottness that was leaving a vapor cloud where he stood.

I looked at RG for a second, picked the carpet lint off my tongue and then said, "Let's go look at sweaters."

Just as we got within drooling range, the kid took off his jacket. Things just got better. RG turned and looked at me with the face of an 8 year old that has been told that there will be no Christmas.

Undaunted, RG did shamelessly chat the young fellow up a bit. Then it was off to downtown so RG could get some music. RG then decided that it was time for lunch and we should have Dim Sum. It was a great idea. I haven't gone to Chinatown on a Sunday in ages and by the time we got there, the majority of brunchers had cleared out so there was no trouble getting seated or waited on, the little carts rolling around and dumplings, spring rolls and other goodies appeared on the table. We really did stuff ourselves.

After that, neither of us was in much condition to move, so we went our separate ways.

That evening I was contacted by my friend L. and wound up having an evening which featured a fair amount of naughtiness and then some dinner. At his suggestion, we went to a burger joint in Kenmore Square. I think what made the meal more memorable than anything else was the company and the forbidden fruit aspect of a burger and fries. I really have to get my eating habits back on track.

Yesterday was gray and cold, a real New England November day and I mostly hunkered down and took it easy. I swapped a couple of emails with FB, but mostly to catch up and talk about getting together in the near future.

I went off to the market in the afternoon while there was still some light and on the walk home I found myself being cruised by a very attractive young man who was traveling in the opposite direction, he with his Whole Foods bags and me with my bags from Shaw's. I gave him a smile which he returned and then we both did the continue on, count to three and look back. Yup, he was checking the old guy out. Another count of three, rinse and repeat. Judging by the evidence of the shopping bags, I am assuming he lives in the neighborhood and next time I will stop, chat the boy up and see what I can get up to.

I mentioned this little cruising incident to RG when we were chatting online last evening. His response was, "you get cruised a lot more than you notice. You just don't notice." I would dismiss this except that Monkey-boy keeps telling me the same thing.

The other thing that occurred, in that light, over the weekend was that on three separate occasions I had people describe me to my face as muscular.

To quote RG. Huh?

Honestly, these ideas of how I appear to others are completely outside of my personal frame of reference. I tend to think of myself as either passable or no great shakes.

I suppose that I should be happy about this. Feel flattered, get a fat head over the whole thing. I can only assume that while I only admit to myself out loud that I go to the gym for health reasons, that I do on some level hope for the ever elusive hot guy status.

On some level, I realize that my friends who tell me I should be cutting myself a little slack are right. I should try and be happy working with what I've got and derive some satisfaction from the goals that I have achieved and balance that against other goals that are still to be attained. But that's how we make progress. Not by complaisancy but by trying to become more than what we are.

I think also that on the whole, I am more worried about whether people think I am a good person and whether I am able to fool people into thinking I still have a couple of active brain cells than in winning any beauty contests.

I was talking with La Simpatica about this when we were getting coffee this morning. She seems to think that we form an idea of ourselves at some early point in our life and that's the image that we walk around with ever after. So, I will probably think of myself as the skinny funny looking kid, when I am not feeling like the dumpy middle aged guy, for the rest of my life.

Still, it is nice to get checked out once in a while.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sunday

Sunday could not have been more different than Saturday. The day was clear and chilly and the sky was as blue as blue could be.

Tate had risen early and called me up to let me know he was ready to stretch his legs so we met up fairly early and decided to take a walk around Beacon Hill.

Making pigs of ourselves on BBQ the night before seemed to have recharged our batteries. And so I once again drove the hapless Tate through the streets, bloviating at him. I was able to point out such historic sights as a townhouse on Mt. Vernon Street where I had once had some of the most boring sex of my life. The only reason I remembered was because the place had been so beautifully decorated. Tater wisely guessed that I was screaming such endearments as "Where did you get that carpet?" during the throws of passion.

The disappointments of the day were that both Gavin and RG were unable to join us. I feel particularly bad about Gavin's weekend long indisposition. Really, he was the impetus for this gathering when he announced he wanted to come to Boston for the weekend to go to a Celts game and things snowballed from there. I really didn't get to spend as much time with Gavin as I would have liked and will have to live with communicating via email for a while until the next time the bloggers gather.

As Tate was being mercilessly pontificated at about the Hill and it's significance in Boston history and more importantly the tawdry history of my now defunct sex life, the phone rang and it was the Farmboyz. The were over at the Public Gardens and ready to meet us for brunch. Tate foolishly thought that respite was at hand but after meeting the boyz at the ass end of George Washington's horse, encouraged by the prospect of fresh victims, I began a forced march up Charles Street, running my yack at a mile a minute until my hapless companions were ready to drop from hunger.

I am not a completely merciless Ganome. I had actually hoped to go to a landmark greasy spoon called The Paramount, however there was a long line of yuppies waiting in line to be ironic about their eggs and hash browns.

I was beginning to understand how the Holy Family must have felt in their search for an inn. I of course in my starring role as the jackass.

So the forced march continued. After a couple more instances of hopes that food and rest were dashed we finally chose a place on the one saving grace that it presented. There were empty tables.

Since having to wait over long for food was a major theme of the weekend, the staff at this little eatery seemed to have got the memo and ignored us. I was starting to think that this place somehow existed soley to lure in expectant and hopeful diners only to torment them with the prospect of food and have them ultimately leave in disgust.

As chance would have it my bb sized bladder was calling for attention and I went in search of the rest room that they claimed to have, which a sign proclaimed was only for the use of patrons. I went up to the counter to determine the location of this exclusive convenience and also informed our hosts that we would like to order.

They seemed perfectly able to direct me to the bathroom, but seemed a bit confused by the concept of paying clients. None the less we did eventually manage to get a waitress and ordered what turned out to be an adequate if lack luster meal. The dessert case however looked very tempting, and having blown my diet out my ass by this time, I ordered the chocolate cake that appeared to feature cake, mousse and ganache. This was my downfall.

Having rendered myself into the condition of a python that has just swallowed a whole pig, the Farmboyz seized my lethargy and fled to Newbury Street to do some shopping and Tater had to get back to his hotel in order to check out and get off to the airport.

We said our goodbyes to the Farmboyz and I walked Tate back to his hotel and we said our goodbyes in the lobby and parted with a big hug.

The weekend was exhausting and I haven't had such a good time in ages. Handsome is as handsome does and all of the guests were easy on the eyes and easy on the soul.

Really, it was a peculiar situation. Meeting people you essentially have only a long distance contact with and then when you meet in the flesh, there is an ease and genuine connection.

Father T has a theory that what attracts us and allows for this ease of movement between the virtual and the real is that we are all curious people. We are interested in other people and their ideas and what makes them tick. I think there is something to this idea and I am looking forward to meeting up with these characters again and hopefully with some additions. Lynette consider yourself put on notice! No more excuses.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fortune Cookie

I got this in my daily dose of spam.

"It is the size of ones penis which determines success"

Is it just me or does this look like a fortune cookie motto?

Saturday (part 2)

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is an eccentric institution to say the least. It is an Italian villa that was constructed by Mrs. Garnder to do double duty to serve as a museum to house her collection of Renaissance art as well as to be her home. It is located in Boston's Fenway neighborhood, behind the MFA and at the time of it's construction looked out over the city dump. The land which was largely a tidal swamp was filled in and now is part of the Emerald Necklace park system and a residential area.

The Niece and I having seen Tate and Gavin off at the streetcar stop headed over to this oddball museum.

Once you have made your way through the admissions area and been exhorted not to take pictures, talk on your cell phone and to check your bags and coats you are greeted with an atrium sculpture garden.

As part of Mrs. Jack's rather complicated will, the museum has it's own greenhouse and a staff of gardeners to continuously refresh the atrium with set pieces, each display dictated down to the last plant changing with the seasons in an order dictated by the will.

The will is as much a part of the museum as any of the artwork. It is an amazing documentary example of how dictatorial one could be at the beginning of the 20th century if one had enough money. Among the provisions are the terms that none of the exhibits are to be changed in any way, (Mrs. Jack had decided where objects should be placed and no others opinion mattered) and that no art was to be loaned or removed. If any of the conditions of the will were broken, the collection was to be broken up and all the art was to be sold. This caused a small flutter in 1990 when the museum was robbed. 13 works were stolen from the museum in a bizarre turn of events, where the robbers presented themselves as Boston Police officers investigating a call and proceeded to tie the guards up and went on a shopping spree. There are a number of theories about who paid for this heist and who received the art, but in fact it remains a mystery and it can only be hoped that eventually the paintings will find their way home to Boston.

The Niece is an engineer by training and managed to avoid art education, therefore the museum was all new and the it's collection were all a fresh experience to her. I gave the poor woman a crash course in renaissance and late medieval art. I told her how Mrs. Jack and her agents stripped villas and palazzos of architectural details to ornament the building. We wandered up the 3 floors past dimly lit tapestries examples of religious art and depictions of classical mythology. I pointed out one set of wrought iron railings that are actually a pair of ornate headboards, where from I have never bothered to find out

With the gloom of the day and the controlled lighting of the facility it was all a bit spooky, the galleries all in a half light. I made sure that we also visited the Sargent portraits of our hostess and told about the, at the time, rather scandalous nature of the famous portrait of Gardner and her famous pearls.

We made our way finally back down to the ground floor and ended our tour with El Jaleo. It wasn't planned but it was a sufficiently dramatic end to the tour, standing in the Spanish Gallery looking at on of John Singer Sargent's greatest works.

But, by this time the hour was getting close to our rendez vous with the others at Redbones in Davis Square.

We took a short break stopping at the pigsty that I call home where Alice pretended to by shy when introduced to the Niece. It was good to get off my feet for a few minutes. I was enjoying myself but I was also starting to flag a bit. After about a half an hour it was time to head off to the T and over to Somerville.

In some ways this was a new experience for me. Hitherto I have only enjoyed the artery clogging goodness that is Redbone's BBQ via take out. I had never actually sat down in the restaurant and so I learned some very important things.

One being that it remains wildly popular and by the time we got there at 6 it was already packed. I also found out you have to leave your name with the hostess and the EXACT number of people in the party. You will not be seated until all of your party has arrived. This was a bit of a problem since I didn't know exactly how many of us were going to be there so I hazarded a guess at 8 and waited for the others to show up.

The first to arrive was Atari, followed shortly by the Farmboyz who had gotten slightly lost on the way from the T stop, but managed to find their way there. I introduced the Niece and people started talking. The topics ranged from urban living, cell phones and the idiots who use them, SUV sized strollers and the evil yuppie assholes that push them and the sensible idea of controlling motor traffic in densely populated urban areas, and the best places to find cheap sex and the conventions thereof in different areas. RG arrived and the talk continued to flow as we were increasingly jostled by the throng either waiting to be seated or out for a Saturday evening drink or 3.

Tate had not yet arrived and I was starting to wonder. RG and I went outside so I could call and we could take a much needed cigarette break. My call went straight to Tater's answering service. All we could do was shrug and hope Tater was on the way and we headed back in to rejoin our companions. We continued to wait and I have to admit, my good humor was starting to flag. I was tired and hungry and by this time the happy crowd of would be diners were starting to get on my nerves.

RG and I went back outside and I tried Tater again. Once more I got his service. At this point I really was getting concerned. I also was getting crankier and I am sad to say expressed this to RG. Fortunately, RG tends to be good humor itself and did the right thing which was to ignore my bad humor. He suggested we just go in and tell the hostess that there were only 6 of us and we would deal with the situation when Tater arrived. Just as we turned to go in, my phone rang. It was Tater. He had been unable to get at cab and had braved the T. He had made it to Davis fine, only to be grossly misdirected when he asked for directions. Between his bad directions and some triangulation via cell phone we met up on the corner of Elm and Chester right near the restaurant. Gavin was not well enough to join us, so I amended the count with the hostess to 7 and good humor was restored.

After all, with such great company how could anyone maintain a bad humor. We were soon seated and began to peruse the menu. We had a cute somewhat goofy waiter. The Niece took pictures of the group and at one point the waiter took a shot so that the Niece could be included in the photos. Dinner got ordered conversation continued and shortly food was on the table. I was not the only one who was hungry it would seem. With the arrival of the plates, silence descended on the table as we all tucked in.

Everything that was on my plate was as good as I remembered, especially the cole slaw. This may require a little explanation. For some reason that I have never understood, Bostonians seem to think sugar is a necessary ingredient in cole slaw. I personally consider this an abomination. Redbones has not bowed to this perversion and it's cole slaw is still crunchy and tangy.

Everyone cleaned their plates in short order, with the exception of RG and Atari, who had ordered the hungry man plates and wound up with the next days lunch in take away bags. We are talking about serious, ovehanging the sides of the plate territory here. A bit more conversation and then time to get out and make way for other anxious diners. Outside the restaurant, RG talked one of the smokers standing outside to take our picture and you can see it over on his blog. By this time, we could see that the heavens had finally cleared and it was a relief to see stars in the cold night sky.

Father T and C decided to stop at Starbucks for some coffee and dessert, and the rest of us were ready to head off.

The T was unusually cooperative and before we knew it we were on a train headed back to Boston. There was more talking and joking around and Tate, the Niece and I said good-by to RG and Atari at Park Street as they headed down one more stop to make their connection for the Orange Line. I directed my charges to the correct platform, with the promise of seeing Tater again in the morning and then was up the stairs and on a street car pretty quickly myself.

I barely remember the walk home from the T stop and I got through the door of the pigsty at about 9:00. I swear I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. It had been a great day in spite of the weather all because of the great company.

Saturday (part 1)


I got home on Friday night well past my bedtime and went into my fractious 5 year old act. I have become a creature of habit and if I stay up too late I have a hard time getting to sleep regardless of how tired I am. I was up and down all night, until finally at around 4:30, my usual rising time I gave up and made some coffee.

Mark Twain has been credited with saying, "If you don't like the weather in New England just wait and it will change". Friday had been a clear chilly day, perfect for wandering around gawking, Saturday, tropical storm Norman had decided to come up the coast and pay us a visit. The day promised to be an example of pure New England.

As nor'easter's go, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being "You call this rain" and 10 being, "Oh shit, we're all gonna die" it was probably a 6. A low 6. Sure it was raining and was pretty damned windy, but it wasn't that black sky, rain literally coming down in sheets, thunder and lightening, water rising up above the tops of your shoes type of day that makes you wonder if it will end, or if you will be washed out into the harbour. I don't want to down play the situation. It was nasty out. Horizontal rain, cold and raw with a miserable dark gray sky and while it could have been worse, it was far from ideal conditions for sight seeing.

After I had poured a sufficiency of coffee I poured down my throat, I sent Tater a text, not wanting to wake him if he was still asleep, asking him to call if he still wanted to go to the gym when he had achieved a sufficient state of caffeination himself.

RG called to tell me Gavin was doing poorly, having injured his back. My immediate reaction was to ask rather pointedly, "What did you do to him?" Somewhat to my surprise, Gavin's woes had been brought on by using a gas powered leaf blower earlier that week and not due to the, er, vigorous attentions of a certain blogger.

Tate called to say he was still recovering from his flight and the late hours and was going to use the hotel pool and call back when he was ready to face the world.

A little while later Tate called to say he was ready to face the day and by around 8:30-9:00 I met up with Tater in Government Center. Tate by the time I met him had wisely given up on the idea of an umbrella and we went off on what turned into a quest for plastic rain ponchos. And a quest is what it turned into by the way. I can't remember precisely, but I think it took 4 tries at different CVS's before we found adult sized rain poncho's.

We then wandered around and killed time before meeting the Niece. I called T. to see what he and C. were up to. They were opting for a quiet day and simply asked for directions to the YMCA on Huntington so C. could play raquetball.

I called Gavin to check in. He was still not feeling well and we headed back over to Government Center to pick up the Niece who had called from the entrance of the T.

So, there was the greeting, introduction and handing off of what turned out to be a very timely birthday present for the Niece. I had given her an Aran sweater, which she found herself in need of. She left Marblehead feeling adequately dressed for the day only to step off the train in Boston to be greeted with much colder weather. That actually became a theme of the day, major temperature fluctuations.

By this time middle aged bladder was calling. I voted, okay I dictated that we would run over to Faneuil Hall so I could make use of the facilities, justifying this with the fact that I had not as yet shown Tater the place.

As we made our way over City Hall Plaza the rain started to let up. Tater said that he was game to try going over to the North End to check out the Old North Church and the Revere House. We entered Faneuil Hall and started working our way through the series of buildings in search of a rest room.

As we moved from building to building the rain began to pick up again and with each successive building the rain picked up a little more. By the time we reached Atlantic Avenue the rain was once again horizontal. Even Tater's willingness to brave the elements gave out and we decided to head to the MFA. We made our way back through the market and as we got to the end of Quincy Market my phone went off. It was Gavin calling to say he was feeling better and wondering where we were. As it would happen, we were in front of Gavin's hotel and before we knew it I was meeting a handsome fellow who turned out to be him. Gavin introduced himself around and then we headed off to the T and took the train to the museum.

It is a quick ride from Government Center to the Museum on the E line and before we knew it we were at the museum.

After we got tickets we headed to the current exhibit of Japanese art, "Drama and Desire, Japanese Paintings from the Floating World" which is an exhibit of depictions of theater, courtesans and erotica. It is actually a beautiful exhibit and Tate almost got thrown out for taking pictures. Though in fairness, you are suppose to be able to take pictures as long as you are not doing flash photography and Tate was using his iPhone so there was no flash involved. I can only assume that the guard was being officious because she could be.

Once we had got our fill of Japanese art, we decided to just wander and wound up in the American wing. One of the first rooms we came to was the Copley room which is all portraiture by John Singleton Copley of Revolutionary Era Bostonians. Tate made the amazing discovery of a portrait of one of the founding drag queens. Really, none of these folks were going to be finalists in a beauty contest, but this horsey babe even had a mustache. A good deal of irreverence was expended at the expense of these portraits and Gavin had joined in and seemed to be enjoying himself.

We worked our way through a few galleries, but by the time we got to the Sargent portraits, Tate was ready for a break and by then Gavin was starting to feel poorly again.

It was decided to head out for something to eat after I suggested we could get something for lunch for a reasonable sum outside the museum. We went a short way down Huntington and stopped at an Au Bon Pain. It was soup weather and for a chain, they do serve good soup.

Gavin decided to pass on food and by the time we had finished lunch, Gavin said he thought he should head back to his hotel and take a lie down. Tate decided that he would go back over to the waterfront as well and the Niece and I decided to head off to the Gardner Museum, since she had never made it over there.

to be continued

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Irony

After a weekend which involved eating chicken parmesan, southern barbeque, clam chowder, beer and such otherwise forbidden items as bread, butter and cream, topped off at Sunday brunch with a substantial slab of gooey chocolate cake, I decided to face the music and get on the scales before I headed off to the gym.

I have lost 3 pounds.

So much for the rewards of virtue.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Friday

Friday the bloggers came to town. I had (as it turns out, wisely) taken the day off from work. I fiddled around the house a bit and took care of a few pressing chores and relaxed a bit before people were due to start arriving. By the time 4:00 rolled around I had wandered over to the waterfront to meet the first arrival, Tater.

As it turns out he had just got settled in, but was game for heading out to see some of Boston. He had a friend's pass to get into the Aquarium and not having been there for a while, I agreed it would be fun. I love the penguins!

However, just as we were walking up a tour group of students were mobbing their way to the entrance and we decided to rethink this.

Thus began the death march. Poor Tate. I dragged that man through historic Boston, boring him insensible with the history of the city and how it was developed. Through downtown, past the common, through the Public Garden into Back Bay and eventually to our rendez-vous in the South End with Will and the Farmboyz.

We got to the Cyclorama in the South End and I gave Will a call. He had already shown up and was just at the other end of the block and we found each other and started to talk about where to eat. The cell went off and it was Father T calling to let us know they had been delayed in traffic and would be arriving in about a half hour. We had already decided to eat at Picco in the the Boston Center for the Arts, so we went in to get a table. Thus began what was to be a theme for the weekend. Waiting to be seated. We were told it would be about a half hour. It is to laugh. The boys showed up and we waited and waited and waited. Eventually, when we were ready to expire from hunger we were seated and I began the weekend long assassination of my diet.

Once we got seated though, all else was forgotten because T and C started to converse. If you ever need to be entertained by anyone with good conversational skills, the Farmboyz are your men. I got to hear all sorts of interesting tidbits about Father T, C, Tate and Will. Dinner flew by and then the Farmboyz brought us by to see the building they were staying in. Specifically, the lobby, which had been Phillipe Stark'd within an inch of its life. Merciful heavens! I will leave it to T's descriptive powers so for the moment, suffice it to say I was... uh... impressed with the use of plastic.

After a quick tour we went over to meet Atari and Monkey. We were also joined by my friends C and Michele. Will and Atari know each other and people were introduced around. Have I ever mentioned that Atari is a little hottie? Just for the record he is. (Note to Atari, the first words out of La Simpatica's mouth were, indicating you, who's the cutie?) Drinks were ordered. Drinks were consumed. At one point the subject of my X rated tattoo on my back came up and as soon as I hiked up my shirt to show off, the cameras came out. I am assuming that Tate and the Farmboyz will be posting. Will got in on the act and displayed his own rather impressive collection of ink. More drinks were ordered and my friend La Simpatica discovered that fat bartenders in gay bars are somewhat immune to pretty women when he looked straight through her and asked Monkey what he wanted. She was understandably annoyed and frankly so were the rest of us. She did by the end of the evening however win the prize, when she told the really hot barback who was clearing glasses that she wanted his baseball cap. He laughed and told her is was dirty and she told him it could be cleaned up. We all got the impression that he was more interested in her than in any of us. And possibly having La Simpatica demonstrate her cleaning skills. Ain't it always the way?

Not long afterward, people were ready to head off and get some sleep. I got home past my bedtime and went into my over tired 5 year old act and could not get to sleep. The rest of the night was spent up and down, which wouldn't have been bad except I was doing it alone. Sigh.

Next up: Saturday, Reflections on New England weather, and how we spent the day and evening during a Nor'easter.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Quick post

I will be posting in greater detail about the blogger weekend here in Boston, but in the meantime here are pictures of Tate, the Farmboyz and Will and some relatives I ran into in the lobby of the building the Farmboyz were staying in.



Friday, November 02, 2007

The Big Day

Well, the wheels are in motion. I just got an email from Tater that he is waiting to board his plane. Odd as it seems the bloggers are coming to town. I am hoping to connect with Gavin, before RG spirits him off to a Celtics game. (I'd rather chew rusty razor blades) How the hell did November get here so fast?

Today is turning into a beautiful autumn day, to lull us all into a false sense of security, since tomorrow they're predicting high winds and rain. Way to go Boston! However at least for tonight Will and the Farmboyz ought to have smooth traveling conditions.

However, I unless I am sadly mistaken, a troupe of gay men will be able to find something to do with themselves regardless of the weather.

I am hoping for special guest appearances from La Simpatica tonight and the Niece tomorrow. Monkey is going to be meeting us at Fritz tonight and Mike who has to be out of town, should be turning up in time for Sunday brunch. I know that Atari is going to be appearing throughout the weekend.

I will have to make sure I pick up some extra batteries for the camera and try and remember to get some pictures of the festivities.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Just to get into the spirit of the day, here's something I found on YouTube. Enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Over at last

With a mere three dozen arrests, a few fires and the odd overturned private vehicle it is at last over. Yes, baseball season has finally ended and now I will only have to put up with the college students in my neighborhood until April.

Yeah, I know I'm just a big spoil sport. After all, it was just high spirits.

Welcoming committee

I spent some time yesterday with Atari and RG hammering out things for next weekend when our out of town guests arrive. Meet and greet will at Fritz in the South End around 8. Saturday morning ( I assume late morning ) we will hit the Freedom Trail. Saturday evening people will head over to Davis Square in Somerville to gorge on BBQ at Redbones, after which I imagine people will figure out how they will be amusing themselves for the rest of the evening. Sunday for those who can, brunch at Canestaro's in my neighborhood before people head off.

The out of towner's will be , Why Oh Why, Tater and the Farmboyz. (No Will, you don't count because you were a Bostonian until a couple of months ago.)

I should point out that this planning was done at great personal risk. In an ill advised moment, I ordered a Bloody Mary, which actually became quite bloody when I cut my lip on a chipped edge on the glass. I'm sure RG is still cursing himself for not getting a picture of me with a napkin stuffed in my mouth. I will have to write some on the quest to get a drink, which was epic and at one point I believe was being compared to the Battan Death March.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Away game

The past couple of nights have been great fun in the old neighborhood. Wednesday night I got to my neighborhood to find the fire department, emergency services and the mounted police all pulling vehicles up on the green space across the street from me as helicopters circled the stadium.

No sooner had I got in the door and fed Alice than my work cell phone began to ring. All I could think was, "What asshole is calling me at 5:30!".

"Hello, Sweetpea!", it was La Simpatica. "I was thinking about you. I'm over here in the Fenway. I've been stuck in traffic for at least a half hour. EVERY asshole in Boston is out on the road."

The poor woman was caught in the log jam that is Boston traffic on a game night because she was trying to get to her daughter's high school to pick her up after cheerleading practice. We chatted for a few minutes and tried to figure out a route that might be less crowded for the return to the North End.

After we hung up, I started dinner, blasting Die Walkure. Finally, it was time for bed and getting out the lovely new ear plugs I had picked up at the drug store I headed off to dreamland. It kind of worked. I didn't get woken up until the game let out around 1:00 a.m. It then took 2 hours to get back to sleep. Needless to say, when I dragged my sorry ass out of bed, I was not going to the gym.

After I had poured a sufficient amount of coffee into myself so that I would not be a danger to myself and others I headed out and stopped at my second favorite coffee place for a cup of motivation to get me across the river. I know the kid behind the counter who goes to Mass Art and we chatted for a bit. He lives right down the street from me and was telling me that there were buses from the department of corrections lined up in front of his building ready to take away any overly enthusiastic fans.

Last night as I approached my house I was greeted with the sight of all the emergency vehicles again with the added attraction of trucks and trailers from the department of corrections and officers in flack uniforms! It really reinforces the idea that sporting events are a wholesome, fun filled activity for the entire family. Bring grandma and the kids! (my tax dollars in action)

I'd like to think that tonight peace will reign in the Fenway. Saturday may be a whole different kettle of fish. Harkening back to the last time the Sox were in the World Series after an away game, thousands of people converged on the darkened stadium because... well it was empty... uh... and it was, ya' know, like the stadium. Besides it was as good an excuse as any to go on a vandalism spree and set a few cars on fire, cause ya' know, they were excited. C'mon! Where's your team spirit?

I sincerely hope the Sox win the next 2 games or whatever it takes to end this and keep them the hell out of town till next spring. Then once the rioting is over and however many weeks it takes before all the news outlets in town tire of repeating that the Sox won the world series (just in case you were trapped at the bottom of a well or in a coma and missed it) life can get back to what passes for normal and I won't have to put up with this horseshit again until next spring.

Maybe by then I will have managed to find a new job that will enable me to leave the country.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, go sox.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Update with illustrations


Early this morning, I was telling Monkey about my day so far. I said something about the woman at the counter and my speculation about her probably complaining that her order was taking too long and that you could see it coming a mile off.

Monkey said something about a truck, I said yeah a truck full of stupid. Monkey then suggested a tanker full of stupidity, being driven by self importance. I told Monkey I liked it. He drew me a picture and I thought I'd share.

Morning report

EG in gym, attempting to kick own sissy ass with shoulder routine.

New guy: What about those Sox?

EG: (nobly refraining from braining straight boy with free weight) Meh.

New guy: Oh.

Score one for self restraint.

EG at regular morning coffee stop.

Woman with yoga mat in front of me insists that the counter person recite the varieties of smoothies that are not only posted on the overhead menu board, but are also on a special menu of their own, taped to the counter. Asks at least a dozen questions regarding said smoothie, orders smoothie, changes mind, changes mind back, pays for small smoothie, changes mind again, pays extra .85 for large smoothie. Walks away from counter. Counter waiter begins to pour coffee for EG, is interrupted by smoothie woman again who is beginning to express doubts about smoothie choice. EG pays for coffee, grabs purchase, (leaving tip, of course) and hurries away before smoothie lady has a chance to start complaining that she is in a hurry and wonders in loud voice why a simple order is taking so long. (You just know it was waiting to happen.) EG refrains from tearing smoothie woman a new one, on behalf of the poor counter help)

Score 2 for self restraint.

I've still got the rest of the day to get through. Whooo boy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It has begun....

Last night I got home from work to chorus of news helicopters hovering over Fenway Stadium. I can only guess that, rather than use stock footage, they wanted to assure the viewing public that the stadium was still there. And empty. And they each needed their own man on the scene to reassure their viewers that no miscreants had walked off with the stadium and no one was actually on the field or in the bleachers.

I won't be at all surprised if they are back tonight for some more exciting shots of the empty stadium, to help build up the suspense. Weds. and Thurs. nights are going to be hell. The news helicopters and the advertising blimps are suppose to maintain a minimum altitude, in order to keep the noise down. Yeah, right.

But if any of you are in doubt, the stadium is still there and it is still empty. Film at 11.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Night at the Opera

At a mere 80 minutes Ainadamar was about 20 minutes too long. I was not alone in this opinion, my regular opera buddy Wahz and I felt about the same.

Certainly, there was a lot good about the production. The set, 3 walls and the floor, painted as a mural by Gronk were spectacular. The lighting design was terrific and produced amazing visual drama and enhanced rather than distracted from the set and the performance of the singers.

Dawn Upshaw once again demonstrated her range and ability to sing just about anything. Jessica Rivera was impressive as Lorca and Jesus Montoya as the disembodied voice of Ruiz Alonso was downright eerie at times.

Peter Sellers production was, well Peter Sellers production. The man definitely has a signature style, which whether it is setting le Nozze di Figaro in Trump Towers or Aiandamar in a dream/nightmare scape he pulled it off. And the restraint in costuming and the highly stylized movement of the chorus helped reinforce the sense of this being a memory or a dream or a bit of both.

I think my major complaints are that the piece is really a cantata and I would have enjoyed the music just as much in recital setting and that the last 20 minutes of the production, to be blunt, dragged. Margarita Xirgu rose from the dead at least twice. I mean, give a soprano a good death scene and I am ready to get out my hanky, however once Violetta gives up the ghost I am not sure anyone wants her to get back up and give you a recap of the action. The material at hand, the Spanish Civil War has enough possibilities of the grand guignol to satisfy even the most blood thirsty opera goer, yet I never really got an overwhelming sense of dramatic imperative. The music explored flamenco, gypsy, kleszmer and sephardic music and on the whole was effective and interesting yet as a piece it didn't seem structurally to hold together.

Don't get me wrong. I am thrilled that Opera Boston is willing to take the risk to mount new productions instead of dragging out the same 3 warhorses year after year. I was pleased to have the privilege of seeing and listening to Ms. Upshaw and as I said the show was not without its merits or moments of enjoyment. If the show as a whole was not something I would go racing back to for a second helping it did have the merit of bringing something fresh to the Boston Opera scene. Next operatic stop, Handel's Semele. Like I said at the beginning of the post one of Ainadamar's virtues was that it was only 80 minutes, Semele on the other hand will try even the most firmly padded backside. I'll let you know how it goes.

Red Sox Nation

It would seem that the Red Sox are going to the world series, or bringing it here, or whatever the process is. woo-hoo. My enthusiasm knows bounds.

I have been giving my deep burning hatred for all things Red Sox some thought. Aside from the rampant vandalism and general asshattedness and I think I have figured out why my disdain is so rabid. It's because they won't leave me alone.

It's sort of like Paris Hilton or fundamentalist chrisianity. Sure, it's there, but why do you have to keep bringing it too my attention. Why, indeed, should I have to care.

To quote the bard, "There's the rub." You can not live in Boston without caring about the Red Sox and you can not live a relatively peaceful life during ball season (which seems to get longer every year) unless you love the Red Sox. You have to be able to listen to people gabble on ad nauseam about baseball and at least affect some interest. Telling someone you really couldn't care less leads to long diatribes about the magnificence of an activity, if something as inherently dull as baseball can be considered an activity,and that there is something intellectually and morally wrong with you if you cannot dedicate yourself heart and soul to THE TEAM. For me baseball is a sport that has all the thrills of watching uranium metamorphose into lead. You know it will happen eventually, but it takes time.

Sox fans also refer to themselves as the faithful. It actually is appropriate. They exhibit a zeal that would have left Torquemada in tears with admiration and joy. Sox fans are like inquisitors or jihadists actually. There is no room for the unbeliever. They also seem to have a fondness for torching things. During the last World Series they burned several cars. Walking to the T station this morning I noticed that the first of what will be many trash cans have been set alight. (Who ever decided that plastic was an acceptable material for public waste barrels?) I suspect that if they could, they would start burning Yankees fans and anyone else who hasn't drunk the Kool-Aid as heretics in order to purify the world for "the faithful". And somehow, this is all acceptable because it's "just high spirits".

It will all be over eventually. For now, I will just have to live with the noise, the crowds of brain dead fans and mornings where the sidewalks which on normal post game days are a slurry of regurgitated stadium food and beer and broken glass has the added attraction of horse shit because they decided to deploy and extra 1,000 policeman, at the tax payers expense mind you, to try and keep the fans under control.

In the final analysis, it is like a plague of boils or Celine Dion. There isn't anything I can do about it so I am just going to have to live with it until it's over and try and take what joy I can in the knowledge that it isn't permanent. I bought some ear plugs to block out the noise from the stadium, the fans out on the streets who are standing around staring at the stadium as if they are waiting for it to levitate and transport them into heaven and the helicopters and blimps that will be droning over the area. Now, I figure if I can somehow score some valium I will make it to the end of the series without any unnecessary bloodshed.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cranky

For some reason I seem to have got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. I really don't have any reason to be cranky. I actually got a pretty good nights sleep, the Uber-boss is out for the day, I had a very good workout this morning and I am going to the opera tonight.

The opera, "Ainadamar" alone should be making me happy. It is being directed by Peter Sellers and Dawn Upshaw will be singing. Ordinarily I am something of a philistine and if it's not in the canon then chances are I am not really interested. Philip Glass I find to be like a toothache. However I have heard some samples of Golijov's music and I think this will be both interesting and enjoyable.

Maybe it's the weather. It is a rather dismal day. Gray, foggy, too warm for October and unpleasantly humid. I think at this point I am ready for short cool days and the weather just seems disconcertingly out of place. I guess I don't enjoy the tease when I know that the misery of winter weather is right around the corner.

It could have been the fact that "the driller" was working out this morning. There is a fellow that comes to my gym that almost exclusively uses the machines. His approach is to assume the correct position to perform the exercise and then instead of actually lifting the weights, will become rigid, lever the weights up and then drop them. It sounds like he's drilling for oil, hence the driller. The experience can be a bit nerve wracking first thing in the morning. In spite of that, I actually had a good workout and continue to keep up the optimistic hope that eventually I will start looking like someone who goes to the gym, all current evidence to the contrary.

My morning trip to my regular coffee shop was also marred by the new kid working the counter. Ordinarily I walk in and half the time my coffee is waiting for me when I get to the counter. This wasn't the case this morning which was fine. I don't know the new kid from Adam. However, the fact that he ignored me for 5 minutes while he had a very animated conversation with some friend standing there, did not win him a new friend in me. Eventually, the young woman who used to work the cash register and has moved on to food prep saw me waiting, got me my coffee and then had to tell new counter boy to ring me up, since he really couldn't be bothered to pay attention.

I wonder if all of this is carbohydrate deprivation. I am trying to get a couple of pounds off, before Gavin, Tater and the Farmboyz arrive for a weekend in the provinces. Extraneous Ganome, hanging over the belt is in the process of being, if not eliminated, at least minimized as much as possible.

I also am trying to create a new data base at work. Well, spreadsheet actually, which involves fighting the evil forces of Excel. I have also had a visitor show up, who no one in the office found it necessary to inform me was arriving, so I had to scramble for non-existent desk space and get him settled in. Still I got it done and that is something.

Whatever the cause of my whiny condition, I hope to have it under control by this evening. Besides, it's Friday and that should be enough to make anyone happy.