Boston diary

We had an open weekend, so we went down to Boston to be with family. My sister lives there. Dad and his wife were visiting from Florida. We buzzed down to do what we do in the city: walk our feet off, look at city things, and eat like there’s no tomorrow.

It was a fast-and-furious trip, bookended by work and camp on Friday and a concert on Sunday night. And somehow I managed a one-hour nap in the midst. How?

Some highlights of our 48 hours:

:: This gorgeous chicken dish that L made for our first evening together. You could do worse than soak a bowl of rice in the citrusy aromatic sauce from this dish.

:: Oh, and she also made this beautiful, wonderful, summerful roasted chickpea salad. Make it! You must make it!

:: We spent much of Saturday at the Museum of Fine Arts. I found a goat.


:: We saw a beautiful, undulating sculpture made entirely of styrofoam cups.


:: I got lost for a little while in endlessness.

On repeat

:: We said hello to old favorites, like Sargent’s “The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit” and “Mrs. Charles E. Inches.”

Mrs. Inch

:: I stood a long while in front of this face, and wondered at the strangeness that he was staring at me from all those years ago, and imagined what he would think of me watching him.


:: We went back to L’s house and had a siesta. What started out as reading became a nap. Wonder of wonders!

:: Oh, and then a wonderful dinner at Journeyman. Nine delicate, flavorful, gorgeously presented tiny courses (plus a cheese course, of course) and a couple bonus ones here and there. People may scoff at this sort of eating as pretentious or elitist or even just silly, but there’s something very civil about sharing a slow meal made up of a multitude of flavors and textures, accompanied by a satisfying bottle of wine. There’s no rush. There’s lots of laughter, conversation, and amusement (what is that? how do you eat it?), and moments of surprise and even glee when you take a perfect mouthful. Let me just say, if you ever go there and they offer you a dish of Chicken of the Woods mushrooms, tiny roasted potatoes, and a sauce made of pureed buttered toast, ask for two servings.


:: As if we deserved more deliciousness, Sunday morning found us in Chinatown, at our favorite Dim Sum spot. Everything we had was delicious (particularly the steamed scallion dumplings and the red bean buns), but we waited the whole dang time for the sauteed Chinese broccoli cart to start circulating around the room. It never did. What gives? Chau Chow, you owe us broccoli.

Chau Chow City

:: Later that night, back in Vermont, we went to see Iris Dement sing in a small concert hall. It’s been many years since her heyday in the early 90s, but her unique high, quavery voice was as strong as ever. She sang us two new songs that she’d written set to poems by Anna Akhmatova.

:: Back home by 10 pm, tired, but filled to the brim with family, food, wine, art, music, and poetry. Thank you L, thank you Boston, thank you weekend!

52 Photos ~ On the line

Paw prints

Down the line

Grounds crew

Red line

Red line rail


These photos and post are in response to this week’s theme for the 52 Photos Project. You should participate, too! Read about how it works here. You can see a gallery of everyone’s photos for this week’s theme here. To see a list of all my blog posts for this project, go here.

52 Weeks – Summer (29/52)

RSiegel_Week29 - Summer

As you can tell, I’ve been trying to catch up on my posts for my 52-week photo project, so what are the odds that today’s post about summer would coincide with the first snow of the season?

I’ll turn this to my advantage.

How about we create a little space of insulation to ward off the chills by thinking back to a specific summer day?

Okay, here’s mine:

July 21, 2012. We’d taken ourselves down to Boston to celebrate my sister’s birthday.

Mid-day, we walked in town, along the beautiful new Greenway where a mess of highways used to be, walked barefoot through the fountains, scorched our feet on the hot pavement, watched children giggle and run, or stand mesmerized by the sparkling sprays of water.

Later, we took the subway to another part of the city, carried folding chairs, blankets, and a picnic-packed cooler, and walked to the band shell by the river’s edge.

Between acts

Little by little, a little later, the sun set. It cast shadows through the leaves. It made ribbons of gold on the river.


Sun water

Sunset sailors

Then, out came Burton Cummings, the reason the crowd was gathered there that evening.

As a member of The Guess Who, and then as a solo singer/songwriter, Burton had sung the songs of our Canadian childhood summers. His was the voice on the car radio as we sat on beach towels so we wouldn’t burn our legs on the hot vinyl seats, the voice crooning from the albums we saved out allowances to buy. As kids, Laurel and I knew all his songs by heart, every word, every beat, every high tenor note.

We still do.

And just as my remembering and writing this has taken me from this November day to that July day, the concert transformed that crowd of mostly gone-to-greys into teenagers again, whooping and dancing and singing in other summers. One memory leading to another, and then deeper back in time to another, like a series of nested matryokshka dolls, each similar, separate, related, connected.

Burton Cummings

There. I feel warmer already.

Okay. Now it’s your turn… tell me a summer memory.

Quick Start: Curing the mid-winter blues

Use the following procedure to restore your good humor when you’ve been unreasonably glum for too long because of a) lack of warmth and b) lack of sunshine.

  1. Make plans to visit your sister for the weekend in a nearby city.
  2. Plan to arrive on an evening when she is hosting a dinner party, preferably one where delicious home-made Mexican food will be served and to which several interesting, articulate, food-loving guests have been invited.
  3. Talk, eat, laugh, and drink margaritas.
  4. Stay up late and watch silly, fun, grownup television.
  5. Get into a bed equipped with many pillows, warm blankets, and a hot water bottle.
  6. The next morning, do not get out of bed early. Wake up as early as you like, but stay there in that warm bed, thinking your thoughts, revisiting your dreams, and mulling over the long, plan-free, chore-free day ahead.
  7. Check out a delicious Middle Eastern bakery and gulp down a piece of cheese/phyllo pastry in an embarrassingly short amount of time.
  8. Go to a fun movie.
  9. Go out to dinner someplace that does not have chicken fingers on the menu.
  10. The next morning, take your sister’s dog for a walk through the snow-buried neighborhood.
  11. Watch the dog and his friend romp in the chest-high snow.
  12. Run some errands, starting with the best place for cupcakes, and ending at the best place for things you truly don’t need but want anyway.
  13. Drive home on a clear, sunny afternoon.
  14. Arrive home to flowers and a sweet note.
  15. Realize that February is right around the corner. February, the gateway to March.