They call them nor’easters up here: howling, maniacal weather that blows down small trees, power lines and any other object stupid enough to be built in its way. They don’t respect the calendar. Nor’easters clobber Boston with rain or snow and leave a trail of havoc behind.
I drew up the shade in my bedroom this morning and, at first, could see nothing except more snow on the ground. Where was the storm? Then I looked again. The street looked hazy somehow, as if a fog had descended. Then I noticed the snow, blowing sideways so hard that I could barely see it. Well, okay then. Here’s our storm. It’s the devil in the clouds and in the wind. It’s dark out by now and I haven’t opened an outside door all day. Schools have been canceled for today and for tomorrow. Tomorrow’s high? 7 degrees Fahrenheit.
I made history yesterday, along with several million people all over the world. I participated in the Boston Women’s March for America. We were 175,000 people strong. By the time we got to the Boston Common, the area was so crowded that we couldn’t hear the speakers, only clapping and roars from the crowd closer in. It took us over two hours just to get from where were stood at the center-rear of the Common to the street where the march commenced. I was surrounded by energy, love, diversity and hope.
I came with 16 other people, organized by my good friend Michele. She gathered family and friends, many of whom came in from other New England states to participate in the march. Some of those same folks left that same night. I applaud their energy and enthusiasm. We represented all ages. Michele (as well as many of us) is in her 60s. She was joined by siblings, nieces, friends of nieces and more. We had a family tree on its way to Boston Common!
It was an amazing day. Our numbers were far higher than anyone had expected. The same was true of marches in other parts of the country. We were a sea of pink pussy hats yesterday and we sent a message, whether or not our new “president” deigned to hear it. Everyone else did.
I’m still floating today. Every news source was full of stories and pictures of millions of people demonstrating and marching. There were marches in Antarctica, Europe, Asia and Africa. The DC event was the largest protest march in history. Our election put our own people as well as people in the rest of the world in danger. As an American, I have a responsibility to rectify that. Donald Trump was not elected by a majority, but by an antiquated electoral system that did not serve the interests of the American people in November.
I feel empowered, for the first time in months. And, I don’t intend to stop here. The marches were just the first volley in our second American revolution.
It’s finally cold outside. I need my winter coat. No snow yet, but the local shops are putting up their displays and the Town is getting ready for a holiday blow out this weekend: tree lightings, caroling, special promotions at shops and restaurants. White lights are draped over trees in Arlington Center and trees are on sale, ready for ornaments all all that.
We’ll probably pick out a tree this weekend, just in time to kick off Hanukkah! I’ll have to dig out my husband’s menorah and remind him to get candles so we can light the thing. My travel arrangements for Buffalo are set and I’m starting to look around for presents to purchase or make.
Okay, so this is feeling cool. I’m getting into it. It’s been a little hard to get into the spirit since my mom passed, but enough time has transpired so that I can feel that holiday joy in my heart.
Arlington has gone whole-hog on the outdoor art scene. We’ve got painted utility boxes, street festivals and art exhibits in public parks. I’m just up the street from one of those parks, Spy Pond, and visited an exhibit called “Art Rocks Spy Pond,” which is going until the end of May. It was a beautiful day, so I took my camera and came back with some lovely pics. Enjoy!
I teach WordPress, using wordpress.com. Unfortunately, that option may be coming to an end. If you’re a wordpress.com user, you’ve probably noticed the ongoing succession of user interfaces (beep, beep, boop, anyone?). I’ve had to rip up and re-write class documentation almost every time I’ve conducted a class, which is usually twice a year. This time my students and I were confronted with a dashboard on top of another dashboard, an “improved posting experience” (which is anything but) and a lot of bloat overall. What’s worse, WordPress.com doesn’t seem to be listening. They’ve dumbed-down the posts and pages editors to make them more amenable to mobile devices. Too bad if you preferred what they had before. You can get to the classic editor, but not without jumping through multiple hoops.
I may have to call it quits on the teaching, at least using this platform. It’s too klugey and too confusing for me and for my students. I work with folks who want to create websites and/or blogs, then get on with life with a minimum of fuss. I can’t offer that anymore.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m seriously thinking about moving most of my websites and blogs over to a self-hosted version of wordpress. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about the class. I have a multi-site installation set up for something else (You can set up wordpress so that it will host its own sites. That’s how WordPress.com is set up). I may simply move there and continue teaching if the school will have me under those conditions. Basically, at this point I have my own web hosting and website network. Yikes! Take me home, mommy!
So, anyway, are you guys as frustrated as I am? At this point I feel like taking an example from my country’s revolutionary beginnings and take some pot-shots at the redcoat wordpress.com army:
Is this the end, WordPress.com? Are we really splitting apart?
Oh, yeah, Patriot’s Day was last weekend. We spent a fun afternoon watching Revolutionary War re-enactors battle it out.
Onto things mysterious. My favorite mysterious photo is of a path leading to a mysterious destination. I’ve got a few of those floating around somewhere but wanted something a bit more current. Since I actually made it outside today, at least as far as the Starbucks across the street, I kept my eyes open for images that ask questions. Like, what’s on the other side?
I found a few other intriguing images. This one was kind of fun, since it caught a lonely object on a window sill of the Arlington Center Starbucks, as well as the reflection of the store and the town center.
Then, finally, this intriguing fellow painted onto a utility box in the Center. He’s just now become visible in his entirety. He’s looking for/at something. What?
The poor guy looks a bit washed out after all the snow.
Well, here we are at 2015. I’m ready for it to be a fine 12 months. I started the year by going back in time. I had to order a new version of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Mine falls to pieces the minute you open it. I didn’t get the requested item for Christmas, so I ordered it online. While I was browsing around I came across another book, intriguingly entitled: “Fannie’s Last Supper.” The author is Chris Kimball, the host of America’s Test Kitchen. He wanted to recreate a meal from the original, 1896 edition. I’m a sucker for stuff like that, so I ponied up and got myself an ebook copy, which I’m reading on my iPad (talk about juxtapositions!).
The book got some bad reviews on Amazon, mostly because the author found most of the recipes in the cookbook to be absolutely terrible. I think he’s being a bit hard on the old girl. That was then and this is now. If you can’t deal with soggy, overcooked vegetables and heavy cream sauce over everything, then do something else. Still, it’s an interesting read with lots of social and culinary history thrown in among the revised recipes and admonitions.
I have a few historical versions of this cookbook: a reproduction of the original, a reprinting from 1918 (with wartime recipes and suggested substitutions, another version from 1951 and another from 1965. The menus change pretty radically along the way, so I guess jellied salad and fish boiled for an hour didn’t withstand the test of time. At some point they swapped out coal stoves and added baking temperatures, thank God. Really, I don’t need to learn how to light and maintain a stove. Checking oven temperature is an absolute necessity, particularly in my crappy old stove. See? If I had the cast iron coal stove, I could have switched it over to gas and it would outlast me by 100 years. So, there, Chris Kimball!
I have to say, I like the book, although he’s very snooty towards Miss Farmer. He did acknowledge her marketing and business sense, since the book is a classic and has been for over a century. It sold like hotcakes the minute it came out. It had precise weights and measures, suggested menus (holy cow!), information about cooking classes at the Boston Cooking School and even a section on cooking for the sick. Toast water, anyone? And how about this for brekkies:
Burp. I’ll get a cramp in my hand if I copy down her suggested dinners. Would I make anything from the original cookbook? Probably not. Some of them really do sound kind of gross and the method of preparation would cook every bit of nutrition right out. Boil that sucker for an hour! Get the deep frier ready and pass the cream sauce.
I decked out the porch, got the candy and put out the pumpkin. Almost no one came! I’m so sad. Even a visit from my little next door neighbor, Arthur, wasn’t enough to fill the gap. Just one fairy princess and then it was on to the teenagers with the chainsaw massacre masks.
There was an earlier storefront trick or treat from 3 – 5 pm. I saw bunches of little teddy bears and tigers out and about in Arlington Center. None of them came to our house, though. Very, very sad!