Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Today's post is the last one from our travelogue of Boston. Today we travel to Boston's storied baseball cathedral, Fenway Park. Our first stop was the hallowed (in our family) Yawkey Way Store. Gus felt that he needed to add to his collection of players' t-shirts. I pushed hard for Okajima, but he insisted on Pedroia:

A trip to the Yawkey Way Store was always in our plans, but we had heard that Fred Lynn would be making an appearance at a certain time, so we timed it so we would all be there at the same time. As the daughter of a crazed baseball fan and the daughter of the president of the A's Historical Society, I have met a lot of former baseball players in my time, and let me tell you, folks, Fred Lynn was the nicest, friendliest, most down-to-earth player I've ever met. Matthew told him that Gus knew who he was because they played Wiffleball in the back yard and took turns being different Red Sox teams, and Fred Lynn went into raptures about Wiffleball - how he played it as a kid, how learning to hit a Wiffleball taught him how to hit a major league curveball [who knew?]. He was so engaged in their conversation, I actually got uncomfortable for the people behind us in line. Oh how I love that Fred Lynn. Here he is [strangely cropped because of Gus's web-o-phobic father] with Gus:

Look how nice he looks!! And also, strangely, like Ted Williams. He looked like he could still trot out to the outfield across the street and play some innings.

Here is the fabled Green Monster, from the outside:

And from the inside:

Look at how beauteous this chair is!! This team is richer than Croesus and can't paint the seats in the park. I'm glad, though, because c'mon, look how gorgeous:

Look at the wonderful steps!

Here's the view from our seats. The teeny-tiny player at bat is Chicago White Sox designated hitter (and all-time MM favorite) Jim Thome:

I cheered (discreetly) whenever he came up, which earned glares from both of my Sox-o-centric companions, even though the Red Sox were winning by 11 runs.

The next day (our last in Boston), Matthew wanted to walk to the other side of Boston Common and take some pictures of Emerson College, where he got his master's degree. On the way, we were waylaid by the most crisply-played softball game I've ever seen:

We sat and watched these guys for a couple of innings. They were so fundamentally sound and so good at what they did that they were a complete pleasure to watch. It turns out that they were in a league of Boston policemen, firemen, and prison guards. Could they be saltier?? They were also friendly and nice. We lurved them.

When we got up to leave, the first baseman (the fellow on the phone above) asked Gus if he'd like a ball, and of course Gus said yes! Then, as we were walking away, the umpire (as crusty and scary an umpire as you'll ever see), said, "Come here, kid, and give me that ball" I thought he was mad at us and thought we were taking an unauthorized ball, but he said, "Here, this one's better." and handed Gus a brand-new one with a wink and a grin.

That's baseball in Boston.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Images of Boston:

Here are some interesting and beautiful things I spotted on our trip.

From the Public Garden, the weirdly touching Ether Monument (I don't know if that's what it's called. That's what we called it):

Close-up of inscription:

Another statue in the Garden, this one complete with bananas and apples:

I am nutty for metal! Look at this, from the foot of the food-laden statue:


Here is a post finial from the fence around the Garden. Insanely gorgeous!

A weeping willow that we sat under every morning with our coffee:

This was a lamp over a residence door in Beacon Hill:

Also from Beacon Hill, some of the last remaining glass brought over from Europe on the first ships to the New World. Something chemical in the air made the glass turn purple.

Interesting grafitti (from the Duck tour) and a post that looks like a little alien:

Here is probably the best meal I had in Boston, a reuben and a cider at The Sevens pub. Heavenly.

Can you tell I loved walking around this great city? Tomorrow, baseball in Boston, in all its forms.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Aggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's the sound of thousands of fans' hearts breaking - and one hand. Yesterday some &*$(#*& rookie pitcher broke the finger of my beloved Chutley, who was on his way to an MVP season and along with Howard was going to drag that ding-dang flawed team to the post-season. But he's out for a month now at least and I fear that won't happen now....

Oof - I am so distressed.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled posting. More fun in Boston:

A boy who is such a good sport for tagging along to yarn stores with his mom deserves a treat. A treat like......Cathy!!! Yes, mighty Cathy lives just outside Boston and picked us up at the hotel, and we spent a warm and wonderful afternoon at her lovely home with her lovely self and her lovely boys (4 out of 5!). Because she is the Hostess with the Mostest and a Certified Boy Expert, Cathy knows one of the sure-fire ways to a 7-yr-old's heart: Ice cream.

But not just any ice cream! Check out what she had bought for him. Breyers BUBBLE YUM and Breyers REESE CUP ice cream! Yowsah! I was intrigued by the Bubble Yum flavor, as was Gus:

It was.....interesting. The bits of bubble gum inside the ice cream didn't really maintain their gum-like integrity, but it was ice cream. Nuff said. Gus is in swim trunks because he had just spent an hour splashing around in the pool with Cathy's three youngest boys, who were a little older than Gus and thus cooler-than-cool. The boys spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in front of the television and discussing the finer points of Pokemon, so that was pretty much Gus's definition of heaven: Cathy, a pool, hanging with cool older boys, bubble gum ice cream, television, Pokemon, and, after all, Cathy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

[Attention, non-knitters: this post is all knitting.]

In an eerie and disturbing turn of events, for the second time in recent memory [see Long Island trip in January] the day before I left for a nice vacation with a long drive and tons of knitting time my tendinitis flared up again. Excuse me, knitting gods, but WHAT is up with that?? I didn't get to knit a stitch on this trip, which was extremely sad. Once again, I did about 14,000 sudoku puzzles. But just because I couldn't knit, it didn't mean I couldn't shop!

The day that Gus didn't drive the Duck all over tarnation, we did what any respectable and sensible people would do on vacation in a gorgeous city: We checked out yarn stores!! I had three in mind, Newbury Yarns, Windsor Button, and Woolcott. The first morning we walked out of the hotel and saw this, right next door!

I guess it was a decent needlepoint store, but the yarn selection was slim and expensive, not my favorite combination. But that was a unexpected bonus yarn store, so who cares. We kept walking down Newbury Street until we found Newbury Yarns, only four blocks from the hotel!! I forgot to take a picture, because I had heard it was hard to find and we were concentrating so hard, but here is my haul:

Pink and white Tofutsies (made from chitin! which is crab shells!) that everybody is talking about! Gotta jump on the bandwagon! And some Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb in the most delicate shell pink imaginable - dreamy. I usually resist buying laceweight because I like knitting shawls with fingering weight better, but that yarn was so pretty I bought it anyway. And three sets of nice buttons - two pewter and one blue that Gus picked out. It was quiet (the only other customer was another yarn store employee, from NYC, which is funny), but the owner was really nice and knew her stuff. Thumbs up!

We walked back to the hotel and rested up from that onerous journey, had a snack and then ventured out again, this time in the opposite direction, across the Public Garden and Boston Common. We located Temple Place, home of Windsor Button.

Windsor Button rocked! It was the perfect yarn-store-employee-on-vacation store. I'm a very low maintenance customer, so I like a store that's well-laid-out with lots of interesting yarns that I can just poke around in. Windsor Button was such a place - not much customer service, no samples, no single patterns, but lots and lots of great yarn. Here is my haul:

Two skeins of a sock yarn I'd never seen before, Wisdom Yarns Marathon Socks yarn. It's really really soft, kind of like Mountain Colors Bearfoot, but without the mohair. It's 75 wool/25 nylon like most sock yarns, so I cannot account for its extreme softness, but I can't wait to make some cozy socks out of it. Also, a skein of piney-fresh green Harrisville Designs New England Highland, a worsted weight 100% wool. I am so in love with scratchy wholesome 100% wool it's not funny. I could felt it, but I'm thinking a nice cabled Momogus Knits Cable Hat or some nice mittens. And finally [cue heavenly choir], a skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk. I have been looking for this yarn in person for forEVER. They had a dozen skeins. I wish they had had two of any color to make a big old shawl, but it's probably a good thing they didn't.

[We never made it to Woolcott and Company. I was hoping to check it out the evening we went to Cambridge, but the hordes of nutso Harry Potter fans made us want to run for cover.]

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Where to start? Where to start? Well, I finished "Harry Potter" - good stuff. Now I can move about the world again and not worry that someone's going to blab the ending. I have a friend whose mom ripped open the Amazon package and immediately turned to the last chapter to see what happened. I have to admit that I was tempted, but I'm glad that I didn't.

We spent an evening in Cambridge with a friend, and this was the sight that greeted us when we got off the T in Harvard Square:

That is the end of a line that was 10 people deep and stretched around the block - people waiting for the Harry Potter book to be sold at midnight. I took that picture around 6 pm. Ker-AZY Harry Potter fans!!! Just wait until the next morning and Amazon will deliver it to your door! You're going to be too tired to read it anyway!

So anyway, we had a great time and I shall sprinkle some highlights your way over the next couple of posts. Our hotel was across the street from the beauteous Boston Public Garden, so we would buy coffee and sit in the Garden every morning. We had to look at this:

More on the Public Garden later.

Matthew had to attend a conference during the day, so Gus and I poked around the city by ourselves for a couple of days. The first day we took the famous Boston Duck Tour which was great fun. They drive you around the city on the "Duck" (a WWII amphibious landing vehicle) - here was ours, the rainbow-y one:

so you can check out all the beautiful historical sights:

(I know we saw beautiful historical sights, but I somehow only managed a picture of this construction worker doing something interesting with a vat of cement. Gus and I were both mesmerized.)

The best part of the tour is when your Duck plunges into the Charles River!

And THEN....the best part of the Duck being in the Charles River is...when they let Gus drive the Duck!!

The driver asked if anyone would like to drive the Duck, and Gus just walked up to the front and plopped himself in the seat and off he went. I love this kid! When I was his age, no matter how much I would have wanted to, I wouldn't have had the nerve to stand up and do it. He didn't even think it was that big a deal, though he said it was fun.

Go, mighty Duck driver!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm Back!

Phew - I now realize a huge side benefit of taking a vacation is that one has a lot of stuff to put on the blog afterwards. Which I will. But in the meantime, this was waiting for me when we returned last night and I am on page 393 and ain't NOTHING getting done until I finish.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What the Well-Dressed 7-yr-old Packs for a Trip to Boston:

I could not squeeze a single Phillies shirt in there. He even insisted on taking the slightly-scorned "former players' shirts" on the left. We're going to be gone FIVE DAYS. He'll be like Madonna changing his outfit twice a day. Red Sox fans....hrmph.

Bon voyage! See you Sunday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Okay, I can't believe this is happening again. We're leaving for Boston tomorrow. That means twelve hours of interrupted car knitting there and back. I have a million Momogus Knits samples I have to finish pretty soon. Sounds pretty good, eh? But I am in despair, because my tendinitis is flaring up! What?! Does my arm know? It hasn't been this bad since the day before my trip to Long Island! Am I going to miss out on yet another long car trip and vacation of knitting??? Boo hoooooo........ I hadn't even thought of a contingency plan for filling the time if I'm not knitting.....waaaahhhh......

Anyway, I'm nursing the arm as much as possible. Maybe by the trip back I'll be able to knock out some of the smaller samples. And just because I can't knit doesn't mean I can't peruse the local yarn stores of Boston, right? In the meantime, I discovered the most fun thing you can do in your basement EVER. It's dyeing your clothes!!!

Before (too-pale khakis,weird green linen pants, and two-years-ago-favorite-color-but-no-more-orange T-shirt):

After a bottle of dark brown Rit dye and a turn through the washer and dryer:

Beauteous dark brown clothes! Brown is my favorite color this year, and now these clothes have new life! The idea for this (which never would have occurred to me, all the yarn-dyeing I do notwithstanding) came from Annie, the manager of the store. She loves dyeing her clothes. And boy o boy, I can see why!! It's like I got a whole new wardrobe! I can't believe how well the dye took and how easy it was. Now I want to paw through my clothes, feverishly looking for something else to dye!! Matthew has already issued an edict that if I dye any of his clothes, he will divorce me. I wasn't planning to, it will take a long time to go through all of my clothes and dye all of them a different color.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Random thoughts and images:

IDIOTS from Penn!!! You're shaming me as an alumnus! I won't even go into this anymore, except to say.... IDIOTS!!*

Look what I found! My father has been dropping off boxes of stuff from our house, and these were at the bottom of the most recent one I ploughed through. Look! They are........45 rpm...... RECORDS! Remember?? Gus didn't know what they were or how they worked. Waaagh - I am so old!

Thomas Dolby, ABC, Steel Pulse, Ministry - a stroll down memory lane.....

Hear are two questionable culinary enterprises I've come across recently. The first is a business called "Cater Me". Its cryptic motto: "No party is two small"

The second is this restaurant:

Ummmm, no thank you.

*This is why I love and subscribe to "The Daily News". This is about the level of international news that I can handle right now. Plus the headlines make me laugh out loud every morning.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On Monday, sister Laura and son Gus and I took a little day trip down to Baltimore to see Laura's new apartment. Here is the lovely house where she will reside, in a quiet tree-lined neighborhood.

While Gus lolled on the air mattress watching cartoons, Laura hung the curtains:

(don't you love them? They were like, a penny, at IKEA!!)

I washed all of Laura's dishes (I LOVE washing dishes!!!)

Then we went to lunch at this mighty place (where I would go every night for a beer, if circumstances would allow...):

Gus had his favorite, fried calamari:

Laura and I had gorgeous crabcake sandwiches (when in Rome....):

We saw this:

Is this true? I like the civic spirit!

It was a fun day, and I was glad I got to see the Apartment of Denial, which I can no longer deny. But here's the truth: I've been lying to myself. Whenever anyone asked me if I was sad about my sister Laura moving, I'd say, "No, I'm really excited for her. And we've spent plenty of time apart before and it's been fine, so I'm not sad."

But now the day is here, and she really is moving away. And I am sad. I'm sadder than sad. It's absolutely true that I'm thrilled for her and this exciting new chapter in her life. And it's true that we've spent plenty of time apart in the past, and it has been fine.

But she's been right here since Gus was born. She's been there to babysit the baby/toddler/boy, to play Mah Jong with, to tread water in the pool with and discuss the lifeguards with, to have cocktails on the porch with, to gossip with, to attend Little League games with, to go shopping with, to eat wings with, to have a thousand hilarious driving expeditions with, to stop by and have little chats with, to cry about every ding-dang thing with, and to laugh so hard that we almost wet our pants with.

The past year has been an object lesson for me in appreciating how fleeting life is and what great gifts I've been given and how important it is to appreciate what I have and not mourn (too hard) about what I don't. And I'm trying. But I'm really really going to miss Laura.