Sunday, December 30, 2007

Oh I Love It When it Rains

Ah, home... the loaded word. For me, this month, it meant leaving my so-called, self-established one and visiting the one I've known longer than any other. The trip fell, as it often does, just when I needed it - after a very busy period at work, and in the midst of disgusting, dog-pee-yellow weather here in Boston. I couldn't wait.

It's crazy when your little sister graduates college - I know 'cause mine just did. December graduates often receive little fanfare, nor do they necessarily want it, but I felt we couldn't let the occasion pass without tooting a few horns. So Mom and I not-so-surreptitiously arranged a little party for Amanda, which turned out to be a lovely affair.

As I often do when I'm home, I spent lots of time poring through old journals from hilarious and often painful years of my life. This time, though, a main character reappeared in the flesh - my long-time friend Catherine Edgerton, who offered to give Matt and me a tour of Durham from a local's perspective.

Catherine is an artist and a musician; she helped start Bull City Headquarters, an arts space in Durham, and plays in a great band called Midtown Dickens. We went to see them play later that night at Local 506, and I've been listening to their CD since the summer. Check them out here, and if you only listen to one song, check out "Airplane". It's my favorite, and this post's title is a reference to it.

The other friend I saw was Meredith, who you should know well by now. Why do I always seem to photograph her at Cafe Driade?

One of the most exciting things about being in NC this time around was the biking - for Matt, that is. I should back up and explain that he's applying to grad school for next fall, in urban planning. Turns out UNC has one of the best programs in the country, and has gradually become Matt's first choice, occasionally challenged by MIT. I know it's jumping the gun a bit, thinking about where we might live this far in advance without even knowing where we'll be next fall, but... Durham just seems to hold a lot more for our interests than Chapel Hill. So Matt, being the die-hard biker he is, wanted to see how reasonable it was to bike from Durham to UNC's campus every day.

The verdict? It ain't bad, even in spite of the narrow shoulders and drivers bewildered by the presence of a biker before them. And so far, NC bikers seems waaaay more embracing than those here in Cambridge who call you "sir" if you don't fit their mold exactly! Matt has timidly started writing a bit on urban planning and hopefully will cover his Durham impressions soon.

The weekend before Christmas, Jesse and Rachel stopped by the farm on their way to Florida. we took 'em on a farm tour.

I got locked, briefly, in a shed.

Can't tell you how many of these guys I saw while home. Mostly while cruising by them with the brakes slammed on.

Jesse and Rachel also helped us pick out a good (and somewhat homely) Christmas tree for the house.

That picture reminds me... on Sunday morning, we awoke to news (from a neighbor's phone call) that all four donkeys had escaped and were up the road a ways. Mom and Dad went out and lured them safely back. Damned fence.

We did a little more Durham exploring - here's the American Tobacco Complex near downtown. Not sure if it "works" or not, but it's a pretty impressive effort at revitalization.

Sunday afternoon, gloriously, it started raining. Seems everyone else was less excited about this than I was.

Christmas itself was lovely and warm and happy.

The next afternoon Matt and I walked through the woods to the old cabin in the woods that was once part of a hippie commune. It's seen better days. I can imagine it 40 years ago; it would have made someone a comfortable and useful home. I think I heard that the house even had a darkroom once, small as it was.

Back in Boston and a little under the weather, I reveled in the dwindling days of my freedom and didn't leave the apartment for almost 48 hours. Those two days weren't entirely unproductive, though: I finally finished lining the kitchen cabinet with the paper I bought from Paper Source before Christmas. It really adds some flare to our tiny kitchen.

I finally got around to putting a bit more art up on the walls, too, mere moments before a holiday party we threw the week before Christmas.

I leave you with our little Christmas tree - a gift from Matt's Grandma Dudek from a church craft fair. It's made of safety pins and clear plastic beads, and stuffed full of twinkly lights.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas for me without a little kitsch.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I Toast To You!

Congratulations to Matt for getting his personal statement done, after many long, sleepless hours of toil. One down, 4 to go! I love you!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Trying a new way of showing you pictures, thanks to PictoBrowser Builder. There are three photo sets that follow. Feedback welcome.

First, going back a couple weeks, Mom and Dad came up to Boston to visit me and Amanda. We ate out a lot and took long walks along the river.

...Thanksgiving itself is always wonderful.

And I still can't get over the colors these days.

And last night, safely back in Boston, we brought in the season the right way: with traditional decorations, traditional singing, very traditional sweaters (Matt). It was a lovely affair.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Can You Handle It?

Matt almost was unable to. The rest of the bar where we watched it, however, had a ball.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall in Short Chapters

Around The Avenue...

The apartment perpetually coming together...

Sofa, plants, books, bike.

Semi-frequent jaunts to NH on photo shoots...

Early morning waffle breakfasts on the road...

Deep cleansing...

Familiar happy presences...

Quiet moments alone... or so it seems...

And the cake-taker... rainy days at home together when nobody has to leave the warm house.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Travels of the Mind, Body, and Palate

Last weekend I scrambled desperately to reach the top of my workload, and Matt and I rented a car and drove to Quebec City, chasing oranges and reds and yellows the whole way up until Fall was undisputedly in its full glory. We were going to meet up with our Boston friends (now Ottawa friends) Marie and Jamie. If you've been reading this blog for a while you've seen their faces many times before.

Here are some more photos from the trip.

Yesterday, after shooting a little event at Community Servings' new location, I stayed in JP while Melissa and Georgia went shopping and made dinner. They just moved into a new house with a huge kitchen and separate dining room, and even got a piano to fill up some of the space and add warmth.

While I'm not particularly culinary-inclined myself, I've been especially inspired lately by blogs like twelve22 and, subsequently, port2port. So here are a few images from their incredibly autumnal dinner of pork chops with apples and onions, kale, and baked pumpkin squash with butter and brown sugar. For an appetizer Georgia roasted the seeds I'd extracted from the pumpkin squash in soy sauce and some other ingredient that escapes me.

I am lucky that people like these not only feed me, but let me sit around and take pictures while they cook. Makes a very happy Jessie.

Matt has been up to here in the books.

When he needs a break he practices his track stands in the livingroomkitchen.

On Friday, giddy at the prospect of an afternoon and evening free, we went to our beloved Cafe Sushi, and then set out into the city to get those red bean paste filled sesame balls from a bakery in Chinatown. Because we live in the city, because the world is at our fingertips, because we can think of anything we could possibly want for dessert and go out and get it just like that.

All hinging on the theory that the MBTA works like it's supposed to, which of course I'd forgotten it does not. We skipped down to Central and waited on the platform while three trains went in the other direction, but we were still smiling. The platform filled up with people, and finally we heard a train coming our way - but with a toot of the horn, it flew on by without stopping. An announcer told us through thick static that the train was running with delays, as if it wasn't obvious. Finally a fully-packed train pulled up and we managed to squeeze our way inside, determined to stay in good moods. At least we were on the damn thing.

Twenty minutes later, after sitting unmoving just inside the tunnel practically cheek to cheek with the other passengers and after getting word that there was both a disabled train and "police activity" at the stop ahead, and after waiting to move for 15 minutes and then finally not moving ahead but backwards into Central where the doors (begrudgingly, it seemed) opened and let us fall out, we slumped back home and drank a bottle of wine and watched a movie. Chinatown is more elusive than I thought. Good thing I like staying in.

Oh, and for those of you who don't know my other news.... friend Johanna had a baby!

(Did I scare you? Come on. I better not have.)

Johanna's little baby is named William Zeriah, and after a brief stay in the hospital in Boston, he finally got to go home with mommy and daddy. It was pretty special to see her with him... she's my first close friend to have a baby, and it was a little foreign, I have to say. Fortunately, it's so natural on her and she makes such a wonderful mom already that I think I'll get used to it pretty quickly. I can't wait to go visit again.