Thursday, July 27, 2017

photo shoot

I write down exhibits I want to see. That act alone gets me closer to going.

Even still, I rarely do.

But recently I read that the Irving Penn Centennial at The Met is leaving July 30, so I make a plan to see it.

I meet Robin at 10 (my friend Ellen meets up with us later).

Already the line to enter sneaks beyond the base of the Met's stairs.

But the line moves quickly, and we are soon entering the museum.

The exhibit is energizing and expansive. I particularly love Penn's portraits and fashion shots. His photos seem to mirror a respect he has for each of his subjects. How lucky for him to be able to make a living at his art, and to be given the freedom to travel the world to do it. 

Hanging in one room is a large worn carpet that Penn used as a backdrop. Visitors are allowed to take their own photos against it, just as Penn once did. I could not resist.

Before leaving, we go to the roof to grab an ice tea.  It is no ordinary roof. Even the city looks like part of the art.

It's a great way to spend a few hours.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

rug man

Now that I have clean, unadorned walls, I want clean, unadorned rugs.

I call and make an appointment with David at OnTime Steam Cleaning. I have used this company about five times and they never disappoint.

"We'll be there in the morning, between 9 and 11." That's what I'm told when I make the appointment weeks ago.

Last night Reuven calls to confirm. "We'll be there between 9 and 9:30.

At exactly nine, Reuven is here.

He reviews what is needed. I point out an impossible stain, and he says if they can't remove it, they will turn my rug around so the stain is under the sofa where you won't see it. 

"But I need two men for that, and I only have one. So call me if the stain doesn't come out; I'll come back and if I can't get a space, you can wait in my jeep while I do it with another guy."

In 45 minutes they are done.  My rugs look brand new —the stain (actually all stains) totally gone. And I don't need to car-sit.

If you ever need rugs cleaned (in house), these are the people to call.  

Windows are next.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

unexpected visitor

Friday night around 9:30pm.

"Hi, I'm coming home tomorrow. I'm taking the 5:45 bus in, and the 11:15 bus out. Want to have breakfast around 9?

 If Alexander hadn't mentioned breakfast, I'd have thought he was talking PM not AM.

"Why are you coming in?"

"I have a prescription I have to fill at the pharmacist."

I don't bother asking my son why he doesn't have a pharmacist yet in Philly.

"Sure," I respond. I'll never pass up an opportunity to see my son.

At 8:30 this morning I get a call.

"Hi; I'm here. I'll come home first. I need to charge my phone."

I 'spose that's a good enough reason.

But since he's here, I manage to get Alexander to reluctantly agree to a picture.

We walk two blocks to a local diner called The Green Kitchen.

We order the breakfast special less half the things it comes with.

Two eggs instead of three.  And no potatoes for me.

Alexander choses grits instead of potatoes, thinking grits are something other than what they are.

Once he sees them (a big bowl of white mush) he knows he won't eat them.

The waiter generously offers to replace them with home fries.

Breakfast is great (the company, not the food).

I get to see my son for less than an hour. Still, it's a nice surprise.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

an ordinary life

I get up early to attend a BAFTA Board Meeting at 8:30.

Before leaving, I weigh myself. Up 2.8 pounds from Cape food.

The suffocating heat requires a Via ride home from my Board Meeting. Within two minutes of requesting one, I am sitting in an air-conditioned car, listening to some smooth jazz. I can now take "having a personal driver" off my wish list. Private cook has replaced it.

Come home and spend the morning returning calls, answering emails, and handling the very small amount of non-digital mail I received while on vacation.

See Madhu at the local nail salon and for $31, get a manicure, pedicure and 10 minute massage that feels like 60. I sometimes try new colors but always return to the reliable combo of Ballet Slippers under Vanity Fairest.

And through all of my commonplace activities, I keep thinking about John McCain.

His life altered in a second. A small surgery to remove a blood clot becomes a devastating diagnosis. 

Blogging about the insignificant is what I do most days. I complain about small annoyances. Whine about incompetence. Get angry at some unfair work practice. Or describe some nice night out with family or friends. All of it quite ordinary.

I watch a lot of Dateline — simple lives upended with murders and disappearances from the most unlikely of suspects. Enough to have 25 years of stories to tell. Children go missing. A college student comes home brain dead from North Korea. An innocent bride-to-be is shot and killed by a police officer. Bad things happen all the time to people like the ones we know.

Yes, I need to create more adventure in my life.

There is so much I still want to do. And see. 

I hope to expand my experiences. Do the unexpected. Take advantage of sleeping opportunities. Make a difference. Do more good. Blah blah blah.

But the truth is, I am lucky to be living an ordinary life. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

getting back

Three hours before my plane departs, we are on our way to the airport. There is no negotiating with my mom when it comes to leaving time.

In the car my mom looks at me and says, "I've never seen you with a better tan. It's even, and not too much."

I was certainly more careful than usual. And, I wasn't sitting in the sun as long either, as there was far less of it this vacation.

But my feet. Or more specifically, the top of my right foot. Swollen and burnt. Next time I'll extend my vigilance to my feet.

Before heading to the airport, we stop at Maison Villatte in downtown Falmouth. It's a great bakery, evidenced by its long customer lines. I buy a sandwich for later, a small blueberry muffin, a dessert that looks incredible, and a loaf of cranberry bread that is better than any I've found in NY.

My mom gets gas. And still, we are in Hyannis by 10:15; my plane leaves at 12:54.

So we stop at a Dollar Store. It's my first time in one, but it won't be my last.  I get an orange mango Blistex and two pairs of reading glasses for work. Total cost: $3.

We get to the airport in plenty of time. 

JFK is the busiest international gateway to North America. When I flew out of there last week, I breezed through security. Nothing beyond the usual. My shoes stayed on. My laptop remained covered. And my body was untouched. 

Barnstable Municipal Airport is no JFK. Neither is its check-in. 

Here, I have to remove my shoes.

Then take my computer out of its sleeve.

Then put everything in the plastic bins that go on the conveyer-belt thing.

Then walk under some scanner.

Then plant my feet in yellow painted shoe markers where something like an x-ray is made of my body. 

Then be patted down by a TSA female. Twice.

Then finally, be asked to stick out my hands, palms up. The TSA-person then uses some type of wand to run over my hands. When I ask her what she's doing she says, "I'm checking for remnants of explosives." She isn't smiling. 

Barnstable Municipal Airport is serious about its security. Not like the more relaxed measures taken at JFK.

The flight itself is fine. 

I take the airbus to subway home.

NY is sweltering; the worst kind of weather.

I get home. Unpack, and realize I had left my precious bag of food from Maison Villatte under my seat.

Guess I won't be having cranberry toast for breakfast.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

last day

The weather forecasters get it wrong. Today is supposed to be cloudy.  

But the sun comes out around ten, and never disappears.

It is a perfect (and unexpected) beach day.

I spend it alone.

Do some reading (Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor).

Eat my half-sandwich from Dean's.

Let my feet graze the warm ocean.

And say good-bye to a beautiful Cape beach.


I am not ready to go back to work.

Or face the sweltering heat that is enveloping the city.

Or be without a washer and dryer.

Or focus on anything more than the weather and what to have for dinner.

But I am ready to:

Watch more of The Crown; I'm five episodes in.

Read the paper.

Catch up on local and national news.

And sleep in my own bed.

But in less than four weeks I'll be back. 

Ready again to enjoy the laid-back, low-maintenance Cape Cod life.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

chez jean

My sister is the gourmet cook in the family.

"I have to use up the scallops I bought yesterday, so why don't you come for dinner?"  It's a casual  invitation for what I know will be an extraordinary meal, as all of Jean's meals are.

This spring Jean and Jim sold their house in Medfield and moved full-time to Falmouth. Their beautiful new home is walking distance from both Main Street and an ocean beach. Perfectly situated for just about everything.

My mom and I arrive around 6. Jean is still in the prep stages. She asks if I want a drink. How can I say no to someone who for many years was a bartender and has the expertise (and ingredients) to make about anything? 

I choose Grey Goose and lime on the rocks, which Jean makes into her signature kamikaze. After drinking it, I can (for maybe the first time) understand why people like to start their evenings with a drink.

Jean chops stirs, cuts, pours and sautés, all effortlessly. The result is incredible. 

A scallop recipe she invented that includes maple syrup. Yams that I thought were squash and loved (even though I normally don't eat yams). A beet and fig salad with my sister's dressing that everyone (myself included) tries to emulate but never quite gets right. And sautéed yellow squash that blends beautifully with the other flavors.

Oh, and everything else about the night is as good as the meal.