Category Archives: General

Langham Love & One Last Time Around the Boulevard

17langhamny1

It’s been a rough summer, and it’s only a day old, so to lift our spirits I ordered tickets for the final performance of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ for Andy and myself, and booked a weekend at the Langham Place New York. Happiness will always be a hotel room for me, and this is my first time trying a Langham. I’ve marveled at their Boston property for years, with its celebrated chocolate buffet and one very chandelierious (and richly appointed) bar lounge ~ Bond. This time I’ll actually get to sample their hospitality, and it’s something we need right now.

As for the show, my history with ‘Sunset Boulevard’ runs wide and deep. The first time I saw it was with Glenn Close in 1995, and ever since then I’ve wanted to attend it with Andy. We’ve seen a few lackluster productions in the last two decades, and no one comes close to Ms. Close, so when a couple of third-row tickets showed up for the very last show, I jumped at the chance. The only final performance of a Broadway show I’ve seen was the last one of ‘Bullets Over Broadway’ and it was fascinating to see performers going through their parts for one last time – emotional and moving and thrilling all at once. I have a feeling this last one by Glenn Close will electrify and astound, and I will bring an extra tissue or two just in case.

Continue reading ...

Flowers and Photographs

17beautlm091

Flowers and photographs may fade, but digital files, for the moment, seem to last a little longer.

That’s why I take so many photos and save them to a storage drive.

They can’t evoke the scents or the tactile features, and they can only approximate the feeling, but there will come a time when they are all we have. Memories fade too, sometimes quicker than photos.

Is healing just another kind of forgetting?

 

Continue reading ...

Beauty Never Dies, It Fades Graciously

17btyfade01

“We were once enwombed in the earth and the silence of the body remembers that dark, inner longing. Fashioned from clay, we carry the memory of the earth. Ancient, forgotten things stir within our hearts, memories from the time before the mind was born. Within us are depths that keep watch. These are depths that no words can trawl or light unriddle.” ~ John O’Donohue

 “The beauty of the imagination is that it can discover such magnificent vastness inside a tiny space. Our culture is dominated by quantity. Even those who have plenty hunger for more and more. Everywhere around us, the reign of quantity extends and multiplies. Sadly the voyage of greed has all the urgency but no sense of destination. Desire becomes inflated and loses all sense of vision and proportion. When beauty becomes an acquisition it brings no delight.” ~ John O’Donohue

“In the light of beauty, the strategies of the ego melt like a web against a candle.” ~ John O’Donohue

Continue reading ...

Ever More Beauty

17morebeaut01

“THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH IS THE FIRST BEAUTY.

Millions of years before us the earth lived in wild elegance. Landscape is the first-born of creation. Sculpted with huge patience over millennia, landscape has enormous diversity of shape, presence and memory.” ~ John O’Donohue

“Our neon times have neglected and evaded the depth-kingdoms of interiority in favour of the ghost realms of cyberspace. Our world becomes reduced to intense but transient foreground. We have unlearned the patience and attention of lingering at the thresholds where the unknown awaits us. We have become haunted pilgrims addicted to distraction and driven by the speed and colour of images.” ~ John O’Donohue

Continue reading ...

A Bittersweet Recap

IMG_3470

There are some weeks you don’t really want to remember, weeks that are filled with sadness and strife, loss and suffering, or just thunder and rain. You don’t want to remember those weeks, but you know you must, if only to feel better about other ones. This past week we lost Andy’s Dad, so if postings have been a little slim, you’ll understand why. [Here is the online obituary from the Times Union.]

The peonies stole most of the show, and we were grateful for their beauty.

A sunny coreopsis.

A shady nook.

The bashful and the beautiful.

Black and white.

A voyage.

Father’s Day.

 

Continue reading ...

Asleep

IMG_3408
Sleeping in the Forest 
By Mary Oliver

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.
Continue reading ...

Journeying On…

IMG_3138

NO VOYAGE

By Mary Oliver

I wake earlier, now that the birds have come
And sing in the unfailing trees.
On a cot by an open window
I lie like land used up, while spring unfolds.

Now of all voyagers I remember, who among them
Did not board ship with grief among their maps?—
Till it seemed men never go somewhere, they only leave
Wherever they are, when the dying begins.

For myself, I find my wanting life
Implores no novelty and no disguise of distance;
Where, in what country, might I put down these thoughts,
Who still am citizen of this fallen city?

On a cot by an open window, I lie and remember
While the birds in the trees sing of the circle of time.
Let the dying go on, and let me, if I can,
Inherit from disaster before I move.

O, I go to see the great ships ride from harbor,
And my wounds leap with impatience; yet I turn back
To sort the weeping ruins of my house:
Here or nowhere I will make peace with the fact.

 

Continue reading ...

Butterfly in Black-&-White

17butterbw01

A butterfly in black and white peruses one of the Chinese dogwoods in our backyard. Its wings flutter slightly, almost in slow-motion. The effect is magical. Calming. It is a much smaller thing than these photos might make it appear. I barely noticed it.

When you stop to look closer at the world, it opens up to receive you.

Continue reading ...

Shady Corner of the Pool

17poolpeace0

After the ride home from Boston, a badly-needed dip in the pool was just what was needed. The only problem was that with the removal of a decent-sized cherry tree that once provided a shaded corner, the entire pool is now wide open to the sun (and in just under an hour I had already gained a minor burn on my shoulders for being out for the first time in months).

I improvised with a colorful umbrella, a leftover from last year’s absence of a proper canopy. Now that we have the latter, the extra bit of portable shade could be moved closer to the pool, where I hung myself on the edge, dangled my body into the water, and graciously gave thanks for the smaller charms of a hot afternoon.

Continue reading ...

Post-Game Recap

k martinez 101

A practically-perfect weekend in Boston – with Skip for our third annual Red Sox game – was exactly what was needed and just in the nick of time. More on that in greater detail, for now let’s slide into this steamy Monday in a quiet and simple way – looking back at the week that was…

All about the garden, with one peony and one weigela, a jack-in-the-pulpit, a Baptisia, a begonia, a dogwood and another peony.

James Franco nude.

Kinky pride peek.

The Great Comet of 1812.

A best friend’s birthday.

June hunks included JJ Yosh, Nathan Lee GrahamBryce Eilenberg, Grant ForemanMatthias PanitzJunior Lazarotti, and Karlo Martinez.

Continue reading ...

A Multitude of Dogwood Stars

17dogstars01

Not every dogwood tree is the same. Not only is there a vast difference between the American dogwood and the Chinese dogwood, there are also subtle variations within each variety. This Chinese dogwood has pointier “blooms” than some of its brothers. Though that makes them less showy individually, they make up for it in quantity and number. Peering up through the branches as the sun goes down behind them, one can see an endless canopy of stars – they seem to go on forever.

Underneath the dogwood in bloom is where I want to be.

Continue reading ...

A Blighted Beginning

17containbeg01

Though our lawn is loving this rain, the containers that I planted, with the exception of the papyrus, are loathing it. I’m with them. Too much rain makes Jack a sad boy. It also makes for impossible germination in the case of the heat-seeking castor bean plant, which I made the misfortune of trying for the first time in this bad weather beginning. It’s also wreaking havoc with our hanging sweet potato vines, which are drenched in all the runoff from the patio canopy.

Beneath it, however, the begonias – probably the most sensitive to overwatering, are doing splendidly because I haven’t watered them once in their protected section. Here they are, giving the only decent show on the drenched patio right now.

 

Continue reading ...

Baby June Recap

nevins 102

June in its infancy is a magical moment in the calendar year. Everything is fresh and new, and given the rain and cooler temps we’ve had, it’s retained that freshness. The peonies are taking their time to open, and I’m glad. There is a benefit to all this wet stuff (even if I already noticed some mildew starting on their leaves – way too early for that!) On with the Monday morning recap…

Memory of the desert.

Mourning dove in mourning.

Pink silver lining.

Wet but not a mess.

‘Hamilton’ in Chicago.

Easy spritzer.

Turns out I’ve already worn a man-romper.

Doggy-style.

Gus Kenworthy in his underwear.

Smutty Saturday.

The racist jackhole Gideon Yapp, in a post he doesn’t want you to see.

Smutty Sunday.

My upcoming weekend guardian.

Hunks of the Day included, and were limited to: Cory Zwierzynski, James Blunt, and Scott Nevins.

 

Continue reading ...

Do Not Share This Post About Racist Gideon Yapp

gideon yapp racist

His name is Gideon Yapp. Neither he nor his family wants this shared anywhere, which is precisely why I’m doing it. This is a bad week to piss people off, and I’ve had enough. If you’re going to act out like this in public, you don’t deserve forgiveness. Not until you clearly illustrate that you deserve it and have changed and grown. That doesn’t happen in a month or two, so until such time this is the lesson, and here is the video that Gideon Yapp and his family don’t want you to see or share:

Even if you want to think the best of the kid, even if he’s going through something difficult at home, or having a horrible time with some unknown ailment, that still doesn’t forgive this kind of behavior. My best friend lost her father when she was fifteen years old – she came back to school a few days later and never acted like this. Not because she wasn’t upset, not because things didn’t bother her, but because at that age, you know enough about how to behave. Even if you were raised in less-than-ideal circumstances, you still know. And if you genuinely don’t, well, let this be the learning experience and lesson to enlighten you.
Gideon’s father, Robert Yapp, and his soon-to-be-likely-defunct Twitter account, may give further clues as to how this kid was raised and why he’s acting like such a monster. Check out the screen shot I grabbed of his last tweets – they’re lovely:
After the video was posted, Gideon’s brother reportedly sent out requests that it be taken down because it could ruin a young man’s life. Hopefully this does the opposite and saves it. When you see yourself in such a light, when the world reflects an image of yourself from a perspective you clearly don’t always get, that offers the opportunity for change. For improvement. For forgiveness.
Hatred is learned behavior. So is swearing and disrespecting other human beings. So is using the n-word. And anyone who does that is a racist. Sorry Gideon Yapp, if you don’t want people to see you act like a racist, hate-filled asshole, then don’t act like one. You have the power to turn this around – not by pretending it never happened, but by facing the hate within you, examining why you have it, and showing the world that you can change.
Continue reading ...

When Doves Cry

17whendoves01

Andy told me about them first. As is the case these days, I listened and then shoved it from my mind. There is too much sadness to think about it all right now. After a few minutes, the ploy worked: the story was gone from my head. His harrowing tale, more sad than frightening, was successfully purged, and in short order too. Thinking nothing of it, I hopped in the car and drove away, singing along to ‘Hamilton’ (the King of England’s trio of songs are my jams!)

Just as I rounded the turn, mastering my snooty British accent in song no less, I saw them. One dead, one alive. A pair of mourning doves on the road.

Andy had told me he had seen them. A flattened bird, and its partner, refusing to leave its side. Immediately, I burst into tears, as much for the sad lonely bird as anything else that’s been happening lately, and in my rear view window I watched the forlorn dove walk in a little circle. I cannot fathom the frantic desperation of death. My heart cannot stand it.

I returned home and tried to be kinder to Andy. That is all I know how to do when faced with suffering.

The world turned upside down.

Continue reading ...