Monthly Archives: August 2009

So Long, Ted

Blue sky and concept art

The drawing in the pictures is my latest piece of chalk art. Its the shrimp and scallops entree. I was inspired by the Bob Dylan album Blonde on Blonde.

Voodoo in the Lava Lounge

I heard on the radio that Ted Kennedy’s biggest regret was not working with Nixon on national health care in the seventies. Redemption is always knocking, but we have to open the door.

Rain Jogging

Orange slicker

Jessica and I journeyed to the Middlesex Fells Reservation for some trail jogging in the trees. It was raining hard but the canopy shielded us. I was still sore from the longest run of my life – 15 miles – yesterday. We barely scratched the surface of the Fells’ trails and are excited to go back soon. Its just nature out there… trees, trails, mud, stones, dogs, probably dead bodies hidden under the wet leaves. We ate at Subway afterwords, and then went shopping for protein powders at Cambridge Naturals. In addition to a softball size tea-ball, I bought a 28 oz. Blender Bottle, soy milk and 1 LB of finely powdered Life Time Mega – Green Hi – Pro 95 Soy Protein Chlorella & Hawaiian Spirulina. This will make a 400 calorie fluorescent green soy shake with a full 50 g of protein.

The breakfast of champions.

Connecticut Lobster Roll

Lobster Landing in Clinton CT

Something about my grandmother’s death makes me want to run. The morning after she died, I ran ten miles by the Charles River. I was crying, I was thrilled, I listened to music. The ten miles went by in a blur. As I walked home up the side street away from the river, thinking about the James Taylor lyric, “Ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go,” and how that would be the corniest tweet ever, I was hit by a gust of wind. A mighty wind at my back, startling me and blowing leaves all around me.

Running is helping me manage my emotions. It tires me out so that I don’t bring that energy into places where it would be innappropriate. Seeing my father and Happy’s death have sheared away some of the fears I carried for too long. Running is a way to express this new lightness. I am now determined to run 26.2 miles in October.

The Roll seconds before it hit mouth

My aunt and I dined at the Lobster Landing in Clinton, CT. A fun fact; I was the first to review this place on Yelp. I think this is the second lobster roll I have ever had in my life. The first was with Lady C at the beach in Manchester by the Sea. That was a New England style lobster roll, with the meat chilled, tossed in mayonnaise, with celery, lemon juice and lettuce. She paid for the roll and carried it across the main drag right to my towel.

This was a Connecticut Lobster Roll. That’s warm lobster meat served with drawn butter on a hot dog bun. Wikipedia explains… “There is also a variant called the Connecticut Lobster Roll, which is warm lobster, fresh from the shell with drawn butter. According to the book “Connecticut Icons,” the Connecticut roll was introduced in the 1930s at a restaurant in West Haven on Savin Rock called Perry’s, following a request from a traveling salesman who frequented the place. Once Perry’s put the new sandwich on its menu, its popularity spread up and down the Connecticut coast, but not far beyond.”

My aunt excited for lobster

I Love You Happy

Happy reading to us from a young age

My grandmother Happy’s funeral is today, and I wanted to share some photos that my sister and I will be bringing. This first one is in Rhode Island at the cottage Mom and Dad rented every summer. I am wearing a teeshirt that says, “I Love To Read,” but holding a two headed beast in one hand and an angel in the other. Happy has a She-Ra in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

Happy reading to us from a young age

Happy reading to us from a seriously young age

Happy read to my sister and me so many books, from so young an age. Apparently, I had just been born.

Bop Bop and Happy With baby Aunt Judy

My grandfather Bop Bop and Happy looking so incredibly Happy together, and then in Kansas with my aunt as a baby (1942).

Return to Sachem’s Head

Kate and I before a 9 mile run to Sachems Head

My grandmother, Happy, passed away, and my sister and I are back in CT for the funeral. I had plans for Sunday, that we would take care of the unhappy business of packing up Happy’s clothes and bringing them to the Goodwill, but also go out for brunch as a family and maybe a late afternoon run. It all came to pass, which is pretty amazing (a counter example: I’m still trying to take my aunt out to eat in New Haven). We also picked out photos of Happy for the funeral tomorrow.

Wading out into the abyss at low tide

Kate and I ran nine miles from the village green to Sachem’s Head. It was a lovely Sunday evening, and we went swimming in the ocean at a private beach. I think my grandmother would have liked that we did something together, without fighting.

Deep End Dons

McCrehan Memorial Swimming and Wading Pool

Tuesday was the hottest day of the summer, so far. The temperature was in the high nineties and the air was bad, oppressive. I decided not to run, and instead spent the day eating, drinking and swimming. After a disastrous breakfast at The Friendly Toast (who puts hipsters in charge of breakfast?), a dining experience so bad that it garnered my first one star, one word review on Yelp, I met up with my friend Jess at the McCrehan Memorial Swimming and Wading Pool on Rindge Ave. There were hundreds of black people at the pool… which made it very easy to find my friends. They were the white people by the trash cans. The pool was perfect, a dip every few minutes to keep cool and then sun and magazines.

At around three in the afternoon the life guards blew their whistles and ordered everybody out of the water. The life guards then all entered the pool and splashed around for fifteen minutes or so… Just when I thought people were going to lose their minds they let us all back in, and finally opened up the deep end to swimmers. The deep end was twelve or fourteen feet, plenty deep for diving. Dive people did… with a running start, over the hangers-on at the side, into the sky blue abyss. The deep end had its rulers, a group of guys that I called the Deep End Dons. They were the Frank Sinatra and Rat Pack of the McCrehan Memorial Swimming and Wading Pool… arms hooked over the sides of the deep end as if it were a big leather booth in a club.

The Deep End Dons ruled the deep end for their own diving pleasure, and for scamming honeys.

The perfect handstand

Take Me Home, Mullen Roads

Mullen Rd ballerina

Trying to write this post is one of the few times I’ve ever felt self-conscious as a blogger. As I sit here with the computer I feel a little bit like Doogie Howser, minus the eidetic memory. This weekend I saw my father for the first time in a few years, and visited the home and shop he has built on the road named after our family. Simply calling him “Dad” lit up some long-unused area of my brain, and I realized how much I missed him.

My dads Volkswagen pickup

I feel like my fearless sister and I can do anything. The next time I see my father may be in October at the Hartford marathon. It would be my dad’s first full marathon since 2004, but he is worried an injury will prevent him from running the race. I wonder how he feels knowing that I will be behind him, running the half.

Home Cookin’

Vegetables and green tea

Papoon is the name given to sweet corn by the Iroquois peoples. Eliot electrically steamed the local corn and string beans we bought at Frank Scimone Farm. He used the Kitchenware hot water heater. This was the first food cooked in my home since I started living by myself a year and a half ago. It was delicious… the local papoon is amazing. I brewed some gunpowder green tea and we ate the corn and string beans with chilled baby cucumbers and slices of tomato. The salt and pepper I took from the corner store’s sandwich counter.

It was real nice to have hot food in my home… maybe I’ll try it again sometime. The thing is, I don’t know how to cook, and I worry that connecting my stove to the gas risks unnecessary danger.. Another problem is that I have an eating disorder called, “I work in a restaurant.”

Dinner is served at Casa Arturo

Two Against Nature

Eliot and the Vortex

Eliot and I had been plotting a bicycle mission to Walden Pond for a while now, and the day finally came. I was up early in the morning. Eliot met me over my apartment and we looked at the map on the big screen. Street view did not do justice to what happened when the Minute Man Bike Path ended and raw tracking and survival instinct took over. Actually, I jotted down directions on a scrap of paper. For turbo juice, I French pressed some yerba mate from San Mateo. It looked and tasted vile, a pot of bitter, stagnant swamp water. We were off.

3rdarm riding the Vortex

I got us lost (in Cambridge, right down the street from where I live) before we could reach the first leg, and we ended up at the Vortex. These pictures show the very beginning of our forty mile journey. Eliot’s face conveys the knowledge that the scrap of paper in my pocket is not going to save us from the Vortex, and also a lingering shock that I served him the gross yerba mate. My downward glance is out of shame, and slight amusement. After some backtracking and the crossing of major motorways, we hit the Minute Man trail and managed to ride our way to Concord, MA.

MC Escher painting of Walden Pond

On Google Maps street view we had spied a restaurant called Helen’s Cafe; this is where we ate lunch. It was so freaking good (and hunger is the best sauce). We both got the Helen’s Special… a 1/3 pound burger with bacon, two kinds of cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun, and we split a coffee ice cream frappe. I behaved like a black hole and my gravity well sucked in not just my sandwich but also French fries, pasta salad, the rest of Eliot’s burger and cole slaw, and a large Diet Pepsi. I loved it so much that I gave the waitress my lucky two dollar bill. Also, Helen’s is cash only. We needed it to cover the check.

At long last we arrived at Walden Pond, and walked through Thoreau’s bean field… “It was no longer beans that I hoed, nor I that hoed beans,” reads the plaque. With our bikes, we circled the 1.7 mile loop around the water until we got to the beach. With our gear safely inside the encampment of an extraordinarily hairy Massachusetts man (a mane of trust, I called it) we waded into the pond for a swim because its not summertime in Massachusetts if you haven’t gone for a dip in Walden Pond. We swam far out in the middle of the body of water, back to the edge, and then rested on submerged wooden benches bolted to the stone wall. The sun came out. Drying off on the beach, I busted out my shortwave radio and picked up some bursts of Quebecois jazz.

Two against nature

On the ride back home we stopped at two farmer’s stands and bought string beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, homemade fudge and whoopie pies, and the first local corn I’ve seen all summer. By a field of wildflowers I took a picture of Eliot and me. I left the scrap of paper with our directions there by the side of the road. Getting out in the country with a great friend in the summer… doesn’t get any better.

Gordon Inked

Lemurs on lizs leg and my arm

Two years ago I drew a lemur on the back of a limited edition 3rdarm Wutang poster. The poster was a gift for my friend Liz. She and I made a promise that we would get that lemur tattooed in the future. Time passed, I got sober, she got married, but no tattoo. The passage of so much time did not diminish our resolve; if anything, we only became more committed to the idea. Finally, she and I went to Pino Bros. on Cambridge St. and got this little guy inked. The tattoo artist, Matt, named him Gordon.

Two Gordons eyeing one another

Scratch that off the old to-do list.