Thursday, July 29, 2010


Amongst all the (fruitless? time-sucking? addictive? insert your own adjective?) instant-messaging with HBI this past week, I keep forgetting to mention that I have actually been out, meeting people in the flesh.

(No dates, no.  But thanks for not asking.)

This largesse comes compliments of L, a girlfriend from church choir.   In early July, she sent notice to her e-mail list:
"Rooftop Thursdays have arrived!! What better way to enjoy Boston summer nights than from the many rooftop bars across town!  Please join me for fun and drinks for the next six Thursdays at 7PM."
Followed by a list of 6 relatively desirable locations, 5 of which I had never before patronized:  Atlantic Beer Garden (Seaport District of South Boston), The Baseball Tavern (Fenway), Daedalus (Harvard Square), Market (Downtown), and Fiore (North End).

(Woman after my own heart, making the fun come to her!)

A couple Thursdays ago I arrived at the first location (The Rattlesnake on Boylston) to find L and a whole stable of friends from the University of Michigan Alumni Club of Greater Boston.  And you have to understand 3 truths about Michigan alums in Boston:  they are plentiful in number, they are no strangers to socialization, and both "fun" and "beer" is somewhere in their mission statement. 

Last Thursday at Atlantic, at what seems to be the most happening place on the waterfront.  (e.g. a slow-moving, serious bouncer line ....  for Happy Hour, no lie. Crazy.)  I met another dozen Michiganders on yet another moonlit night.  Of course, most are of that "enthusiastic alumni age" of 28 .... but again, not complaining.  The first guy I encountered bought a round for the 5 folks in his immediate vicinity, including me.  One girl and I went nuts discussing yoga.  Talked about knee injuries and running with a guy named Mike, before giving him advice on what to put on an online dating profile.  Talked about international education opportunities with another Mike.  Hedge funds with Brian ... the guy who bought the first round.   Stood with the entire group and cheered "wingman-style" for 2 girls crossing the roof to do a cold pick-up of 2 guys in suit jackets.

I'm excited, now, for tonight.  It's 90 degrees. I need to do a 6-miler, after which a beer or 3 would be welcome.   Might actually encounter some repeat friends, since L's reminder e-mail today noted that "13 of you have perfect attendance ;)...keep up the good work."

Certainly planning on doing just that.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Otherwise engaged

Cousin J wrote this afternoon. She and her boyfriend went canoeing and picnicking yesterday. He asked her to marry him.  She said yes.

(Can I get a woo-hoo?! My queen of advice has made of herself a good example. With a good man.)

This is not a surprise to anyone who knows Cousin J and her man. We all know couples like them .... a matter of when, not if, they'll be together forever.

Thinking of Cousin J finding her life love, though, made me more sentimental than I expected, as much as I expected this event.

On the east shore of Chesapeake Bay,
Memorial Day 2008
Cousin J is my third sister. Maybe closer to me than my own sisters. My dancing buddy. My chutzpah. My stabilizer. A girl whose intelligent stubbornness as a toddler made me afraid. Who as an adult uses those same qualities to overcome her own fears. Who speaks 3 languages. Who has lived in 3 countries. Who remembers the name of every one of my friends since high school and every story I've told about every one of them. Who tells it like it is. Who worries about making everything better than it is, and then tries to, and most often does.

I've written this many times before, but Cousin J rarely fails to make me think about what I really want. What I should tell the men I date. What I should look for in the men I can't seem to find.

Perhaps that is why her finding her man makes me so sentimental .... I'm thrilled, yet selfishily hope that even after marriage, she'll still be my chutzpah, my stabilizer.

This is what I wrote her, in way of a congratulations.
"I have some vivid memories. Standing in my kitchen, making cookies, as you told me about that "friend of Michael's" that you had, spur-of-the-moment, decided to go camping with for the weekend.

"Then at the Obama inauguration about 3 months later, as you were detailing how much fun you were having when there was no pressure to make a commitment to any one guy, since you'd be moving to Nicaragua and you wouldn't be taking any long-distance relationships with you. 

"Then about 3 months later, in my bathtub on the phone for 2 hours while the water grew cold, listening to you nearly crying over this connection that had intensified and how it was always "something," like this enormous geographical distance, that was keeping something really special from your grasp. 

"And then your joy a few months after that, when you came back from that D.C. Spring interim so, so in love. The security and calm you've had in your back pocket ever since.

"Really, joyous news. After all the bumps without each other and even the ones you've had together, you can see the serenity and the certainty in both of you and for that I am so grateful."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Long Run #1: Midnight, Moon

Trust me.

It isn't good, in the first week of a marathon training plan, to find yourself on Sunday night at 11:30, seated at kitchen table with feet up, eating a frozen fudge bar, legs slightly numb from biking 20 miles (up and over none other than the Newton hills) earlier in the evening, IMing with a boy on vacation in California who thinks running for the sake of running is a study in pointlessness, not having run your weekly long run yet, feeling a trapping sort of guilt.

Your choices are:

a) Sleep.  (Which you'd kind of rather and which your boss, expecting you at the office the following morning, would probably really you rather.)

b) Continue chatting.  (Which, considering you've just hit a couple sarcastic zingers at the expense of HBI, you'd most certainly rather.) 

c)  Get your f#$%ing shoes on and subsume the guilt into adrenaline.

(That's a marathon training plan for you:  not empathetic to a girl's need for flirtation.  Additionally, it has this habit of adding mileage and difficulty over 18 weeks, rubbing your nose in it if you dare drop pace.)

So, yeah.

Seven miles at midnight isn't as hard as it sounds.  Not on the night of a full moon. Not at cloudless and 72 degrees, slight breeze.  The city sleeping as you jog over the Fort Point Channel, waving at buddies holding up the bar at Foley's, up Tremont past City Hall and MGH and TD Garden and onto the Rose Kennedy Greenway, crossing the channel again to pick up D Street at the World Trade Center, taking D to West Second to home, clocking 65 minutes with an uphill sprint the last 2 blocks.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Sundays

It's hard to blog on weekends in the summer. 

Harder than defrosting (truly hard) chicken breasts that have sat in the freezer for 7 months.    Harder than sitting in church when the sun is hot and blazing outside, trying not to fidget during a 30-minute sermon, wishing wickedly instead to be  sunbathing. Harder than getting a date these days.

(Which is really hard, since I haven't been on an old-fashion he-asks-me-out-and-pays-and-might-want-to-go-out-a-second-time date since April.  It might be March.  I do not remember the last time.  Which is ... probably a bad sign.)

Who wants to think about writing?  I'd rather just take a Sam Summer and sit in the Adirondack chair on the shade side of the patio and stare at the impatiens.

But, laziness aside, maybe if I were more diligent about blogging on the weekends, by simple equation, maybe I'd bump up the ease factor on getting a date.


OK. Ready, set ....

I love planless summer Sundays like today.  When I slept in until 9, lying heavily in the cool of the air conditioned dark bedroom, hearing the first half-hour of Weekend Edition on the clock radio.  Followed by 30 minutes of power yoga on the patio.  Followed by homemade iced coffee and milk and a cool shower.  Then biking up East Berkeley Street to the Back Bay, no traffic, no need to stop for the red lights.  Wearing the bikini top under the t-shirt with ripped-jean cutoffs and sandals to church, then seeing old friends there, after 4 weeks away.  Catching up with one of those old friends, after what seems like months away, over Pad Thai at Thai Basil.  Decaf iced Americano and the Times, briefly, on the patio of L'Aroma on Newbury.  Over to the empty office to clean a few hours of backlog off the desk, The Decemberists heavily rotating on Pandora.  Feeling good about finishing, which leads to planning a 15-mile bike ride in the early evening (perhaps out to Chestnut Hill and back) through the deserted Brookline streets, to be followed by a 6-mile run once the sun and heat go down, to be followed by a homemade salad of farmer's market lettuce, tomatoes, sqaush and basil (and maybe some defrosted chicken breasts, sauteed in garlic) and a Sam Summer, of course, and then some more sweet, sweet sleep in the cool of the air conditioned dark bedroom.

Ah, not so hard to blog after all.

(Now we'll see if the ease in dating naturally follows.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The catch.


It will be on the 5th day of decent conversation with a dude, when he'll mention that he and his friends are heading this afternoon out to go look at a house.  To buy.  In the town where they are vacationing, in California.  Because one of his friends already owns a house there.  And another friend is probably moving there.  And he is probably going to buy a house there.  And move there when the lease on his Boston apartment ends in September.

The catch.

Well, at least I got 5 days of conversation, some sweet text messages, and the promise of a date in August, some night.  It isn't nothing. But it isn't exactly something, either.

About the time HBI and I were having the house-buying chat, my Pandora station (derived from Iron and Wine's "Such Great Heights") spit out the exact song I wanted to hear at that exact moment:  Beck's cover of Daniel Johnston's "True Love Will Find You in The End."

Of course.
True love will find you in the end
You'll find out just who was your friend
Don’t be sad, I know you will,
But don’t give up until
True love finds you in the end.

This is a promise with a catch
Only if you're looking will it find you
‘Cause true love is searching too
But how can it recognize you
Unless you step out into the light?
But don’t give up until
True love finds you in the end.
Not sad.  Not giving up.  In the light.  Looking.   But I think the true love searching for me keeps getting caught up somewhere else.

(In the meantime, think I'll over-listen to this cover of "Such Great Heights."   Ben Folds, thanks for being my happy thought today.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Number 7

The Top 7 Reasons to celebrate registering for my 7th marathon:

7.  It's Philadelphia, the other birthplace of our nation. Enough said.

6.  Deep deep deep down in my soul .... I have missed Saturday 8 a.m. long runs.

5.  The chance to discover if Saturday 8 a.m. long runs in September could possibly be more enjoyable than those in January and Feburary.

4.  My bikini will, simply, fit better.

3.  I can eat everything I want (and more) for the next 4 months and still, my bikini will, simply, fit better.

2.  I can also, perhaps, convince myself that I can stay healthy and stay focused and maybe, after all this time, run a Boston Qualifier time.

1. My new nephew may very well arrive on Race Day.

(Very, very cool.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Whose job is it....?

Awoke Saturday morning to find this 4 a.m. text from HBI:

" ;-)"
I hadn't thought about HBI in the 4 weeks since we texted each other on the eve of my vacation.  Six weeks since we had ended (abruptly one night in light of his cranky behavior) our series of marathon IM chats.  Pretty much relegated him to the almost-was-but-never-will-be pile.


I returned text Saturday afternoon.  He came back, a moment later, from his vacation spot near Lake Tahoe. We exchanged Gmail addresses.  Saturday night we made and kept an IM chat.  Sunday night we chatted for another 3 hours.  Last night, it ran almost 4, ending when his laptop battery died.

This was and is unexpected.  He's younger (26).  He's a computer programmer with a different life agenda.  I'm fully aware that IM vibe does not always translate into successful in-person. 

And, of course, how much will we like each other in a couple weeks when his vacation ends.

One of our more interesting arguments:  he claims to have liked me immensely, from the start, and was frustrated at how I "rebuffed" his attempts.  I do not recall him ever asking me and claim innocence.

A sample exchange -- which began when he joked that I should be inspired, by his interest, to take photos of myself at the beach and send to him.

Karin:    Hm. We should meet each other first. That would probably help with the inspiration part.

HBI:    I keep begging...

K:   Hm. Not.  When have you begged?

HBI:    I have asked, and suggested, multiple times that we see each other. You repeatedly brush me off though.

K:   Hm. I'll be dead serious with you. I am not recalling any actual request to go out, just lots of insinuation.

HBI:  The night you got blown off [a stand-up I detailed here] I asked if we were going to spend time together soon.  That's about as direct as you can get, I think.

K:  So perhaps I was not taking you seriously, then. Perhaps I thought you were drunk and silly at the time.   At the point previously where we were chatting, I would indeed have met up had I thought you were seriously asking me.

HBI:  heh, I would have been all over it.  I told you I wanted to see you. Told you I wanted you to come see me. I brought it up frequently without putting too much pressure on you. I didn't want to make it difficult to say no.

K:   Ah.  OK, then.   Then I would think we can say I'm not brushing you off. I was probably waiting for the "I'm free on X night. Are you?"  Girls sometimes go for that.

HBI:  Well, I was going to leave the when up to you, since my schedule is always free.

K:   whew. We are a mutually a mass of indirect assumptions, then. Let's just be direct from now on, eh? Girls don't like to ask guys out much, because they think it makes them look lame.   And they tend to think the guy likes to ask, so they wait.....  ;-)

HBI:   Well you are the more mature older woman.   haha, but alright, I will take charge from here on out.  As soon as I get back, I will be asking you out. So, be prepared for that. 

K:    Mature older women like to be asked out. So that works for me.
Funny, this topic came up in our initial chat back on May 24. I had zoned it until today.
K: OK. I do need to go. I, myself, am losing my lovable charm from sitting here so long.

HBI:   Have fun now. If you want there to be a next time, you let me know.

K:   Well, I enjoyed the chat.

HBI:   ditto

K:   Let's do it again. You know where to find me.

HBI: haha, I'll leave it up to you, unless it's really my job.

K:      It is. If I have to educate you in the ways of the world, I will.

HBI:    How traditional of you. I will try to think of a better opening line for next time. Be prepared.

K:   I'm girding the loins already.
But I hadn't been girding anything.  I had been laboring under an OKC veteran's assumption (i.e. glazed with cynicism) that he would follow the trend of 90 percent of correspondents and fail to follow-up.  Meanwhile, he had thought I wasn't interested, because he was waiting for my move .... since older women should want to do the asking.

Which I wouldn't have guessed in a million .... especially since during our last previous chat, on June 2, he was giving me the written equivalent of Death Star decimations.  

Curiouser and curiouser, where this might lead.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Deep Thought: Beach+Sunset = Indeed, Awesome

It's a universal truth
you can't trust a guy on a dating website 
who claims he loves walking on the beach and sunsets.

(Kind of like men can't trust the woman 
who poses for a profile photo with her cat.)

But let's get real.

I'd love someone who loved those things. 

(Even if he was faking it 
just to get a date.)

I love those things.  

Crane Beach, Ipswich  - 6:58 pm

Friday, July 16, 2010

Runs in the family

Missy, Chad and Henry returned earlier this week
from a 2-week road trip to Montana.

It reminded me how long it has been 
since I've posted any nephew photos --
and here he is, pushing his second birthday

(And, via that old cliché about children,
it reminded me just how much they grow 
when you're not looking.)

I was glad to see that Henry,
as he becomes what my mom would call
"a REAL little boy!",
is learning to take after his aunt in all the important ways.

Loves drinking cold beverages with a straw....

....and can empty a bag of cookies in no time.

Proves a whiz at drinking games ....

....and of course, musical instruments.
(Even rubber-band / cereal-box guitars.)

Yoga ..... any time, any place ...

.... and for sleeping, the same.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Short Story of the Long Life of the Almost-Date

Man (M) views Woman's (W) profile.
W views back, interested.
M views W's profile several times.
M sends W a greeting.
W responds to M's greeting, favorably.

Time passes.
W moves on.
W assumes M has moved on.)

M views W's profile several more times.
W views back, curious.
Random night in June, M sends W an IM, says
"I often see you online when I'm online ...
...I feel an unrequited camaraderie with you.

M and W chat for an hour, pleasantly.
(M reveals, among other things, that he reads W's blog.)
W likes the tone of the chat, likes the commonalities.
(Age, location, running, music-loving, quirky, well-read.)
At the end of the hour, M and W mutually decide to meet.
He is leaving for a week's vacation, however. 
She is then leaving for two.
They will do so after, of course.

(Three weeks pass.)

W returns from vacation, writes M to set date.

(Five days pass.)

M writes W, briefly, says
"Sorry, I don't think I want to meet after all," and
"Good luck."

W is disappointed, but not too much so.
(They had never met; there was nothing to mourn.)
W accepts the right of M to change his mind or
Perhaps have found someone else.
(W, herself, has another interest.)

W at first thinks,
"That was kind of M to write at all."
But then she thinks about 
The dozen times M viewed her profile.
That M reads her blog.
That M wrote her first,
Talked to her for an hour,
After which he wanted to meet her.
Until he didn't.

(The vacation kiss-of-dating-death strikes again.)

W doesn't know what would have changed that.
Which doesn't matter, really.
W already figured M's loss of interest

Because he hadn't responded.

But something about M waiting 5 days
Just to say "no thanks,"
Stung W more than expected.
(Why the wait?
Why, then, the sting?)

Leaving W to think, yet again,
After expending effort and emotion

On an M
To zero effect, yet again,

"What the F***?"

For future efforts and emotions,
At what point in the long life of an almost date

Should she wish it had been
Better never than late?

And finally,
What is it with this fallacy
That women are considered the more confusing sex?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Live Blog: 5:34 action on the OKC

Tomorrow I'm going to write the stellar post I intended to write today.

While pursuing said intention to the OKC website a few moments ago,  in order to reference clips off an old IM chat, who else says hi .... but your normal, everyday pursuer of 37-year-old women in Boston .... the 21-year-old college student from Cerritos, California ... using all his charm and more.
Cerritos Boy: hello, do you like big d***
And, as always, I try to provide a public service not only for Cerritos Boy, but for all the women he might go forth and meet. 
Karin:  No.
CB:  why not?
K:  Because that is a stupid-a** pick-up line.
This boy suggests, via his profile, that he considers himself "intellectual."  Blood is evidently flowing elsewhere, at present, impairing brain function.
CB: if i showed you my d*** it won't be.  10 inches of power
Pause (mine).  Blunter tactics obviously called for.
K:  Unreal.
CB:  what do you mean?
K:  I just suggested that was a stupid pick-up line.  You showing it to me would not make a difference.
CB:  yeah it would, i bet you will like it

K:  Hm. You are in denial as to my disinterest.
Now the pause was his.
CB:  oh ok sorry
K:  Just a bit more subtlety might get you a bit more luck.
CB:  its hard to control this thing
K:  I'd recommend trying.
CB:  i will
I'm almost tempted to check back with him in a few days to see if he did.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

RIP Cottonwood Cafe

I know there are many not-so-pleasant things going on in the world.  (Another BP "solution."  Stupid terrorists killing football fans in Uganda.  Boston's day 250 of heat and humidity followed by torrential downpoursHugh Hefner taking Playboy private.  Friends with seriously ill parents.  Add your own.)

Yet I find myself most aggrieved this morning to find out that my Cheers, my chips and 4 salsas repository, my brunch haven, my site of more Choir Boys romance confessions than any other Boston spot -- the Cottonwood Cafe at 222 Berkeley Street -- is, plainly, gone.

Gutted, actually.  Tables and chairs shipped out. Ditto for the potted cactus sculpture. Carpet pulled up.  Bar panelling torn down to the 2x4s.  Sign on the door saying, "The Cottonwood Cafe is closed." 

Since when?

Not fair.  Not fair at all for my regular hangout to not tell me it is closing and close while I'm on vacation. To not allow for one more seafood paella.  One more argument between Balint and the waiter on how a medium-rare Ranch Burger should be properly prepared.  One more round of Sam Summer.  One more tequila and tears on a Wednesday night, late.

Karin & the Choir Boys at the Cottonwood
post 3-beer fiesta,
for Michael's going-to-grad-school shindig.  (June 2008)

There are undoubtedly 150 other restaurants in the Back Bay alone that do better guacamole and have a cooler vibe or have cheaper beers.  And undoubtedly the Choir Boys and I will figure out where one of them are. 

But I'm telling you now ... we don't have to like it

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fabulous Patience (please find some)

I am so the been-there done-that girl on OKCupid these days. Even the most flattering of come-ons makes me roll my eyes.

(Please note:  I really don't like rolling my eyes.  It makes me sad.)

Even this one which, with no irony, came while I actually was in Europe for a vacation. Poor man .... I read it aloud, in full exasperated tone, for Balint to hear:
"i found your profile brilliant and smart and usually i'm not a discount compliments seller.  Anyway i live in italy so i'm definitely out of your range with the only exception once you'll be in europe for a vacation. But maybe one of the metaphisical reason the net exists is the possibility to connect with interesting persons even farther than your hausegarden.  Hope to read about you.  please forgive my english and i'll forgive your risotto."
Man, you are in ITALY.  I'll forgive your English if you would just move to Boston.

And I felt downright mean feeling so ill-disposed towards this man who wrote last night.  But I am so not a fan of the meek and conciliatory pick-up.
Subject:  oops   "I just wanted to say hello. I like your profile pic, and your info too. I'm new to this and need to finish my profile. My mind wanders and i start browsing."

I hadn't yet had time to roll my eyes, or even decide if I was going to. Because about 1 this afternoon, this message, same man:
Subject: dinner?  "Care to meet up for dinner or coffee? I'm bored and want to pamper myself. Dont want to go out alone, or with friends. Would love to meet some one new. Any fave restaurants?"
I had just logged to OKC to look at this suitor's profile, when he then decided to respond the edict in my profile of "You should message me if ... You have yet to convince yourself that the coolest thing ever would be to tell me ad nauseum about your genitalia."

(Y'all know my history with this.)

His take:
Subject:  Not convinced yet  "I have not yet convinced myself of the utter coolness of disclosing the intimate details of my pestle to your mortise, to your ears or eyes."

Well, at least he lives in Somerville.

I just looked at his profile.  In one of his pictures, he is dressed up next to his nephew on Halloween.  The nephew is a 3-ish-year-old firefighter with sooty face and hose; my suitor is dressed as an enormous red, yellow & purple flame, pretending to be put out.  It's adorable.

So what with the pestle and mortise line?  If I write him back I would have to both forgive his English   and restrain myself from thinking poorly of him -- over there in Somerville, trying too hard to impress me -- based on his lack of patience.

Ugh.  I just feel sad.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


A guy I see occasionally is an avid cyclist ... a 15-miles-to-work, 75-miles-a-weekend kind of cyclist.  The last time we met I expressed both great love of my bike and equal regret at not having yet trekked the Minuteman Bikeway from Cambridge to Bedford.

He had no pity for my procrastination.  In fact, I think he told me I had no excuse.

Silly me, though, to pick an afternoon on which torrential thunderstorms were forecast .... and ultimately delivered.  Here was my prime seat, at the entrance to the Alewife T (and the head of the trail), to enjoy watching the 3.3 inches of rain that fell between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

(In any case, I spent my hour of downpour reading this most excellent profile of Roger Federer from a back issue of The New Yorker.  Preferable to taking the Red Line back to Southie and doing laundry.)

As the rain slowed,  I did get out for the 22 miles to the trail-end and back, wearing its puddles in style. Here's the proof.

A sunny day wouldn't have been nearly as fun.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cease whining

Bull by the horns.
Dropped 3
E-mails to 3
Favorite guys of previous
Good repute, asking each to (at least think about)
Having a drink this weekend,
If possible, with me.
Just didn't say I have no other plans, really,
(Keeping clean the facade of being cooler and
Less available than I really am.)
Maybe we could watch the Spain/
Netherlands final on Sunday, I asked the sports-minded one.
Or, I teased the second,
Perhaps this is the weekend to
Quaff that beer we talked about quaffing back in June.
Really, the third is
Someone I've quaffed dozens of beers with,
10 times out of 12 during last call on a weeknight,
Usually followed by further hijinks.
We'll see who bites.

(I'm skipping XY & Z, sorry, and just showing you the Charles River skyline that I'm going to head and run with right now before the sun drops.

It's been too long.

And besides.  I'm a better runner than poet.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back in the saddle...

I must have mentioned in my vacation journal that I don't speak Hungarian.  Or German. Or Slovak. Or Czech.

Then add that I spent majority time with my fine-boned, strong-armed organ virtuoso friend who can do 170 kmh on the Autobahn without flinching and speaks at least some of all the languages listed above and was willing to tell the waiter my order in any of them.  So, generally, I didn't have to.

Which means, I was doing very little attempted picking-up of other smoldering Eastern Europeans ....  in part because, frankly, there were few to be picked-up.  In return they must have looked at my smoldering friend, ordering on my behalf, and figured I was unavailable. Or just sensed my fear of speaking, in general, and mistook it for shrinking violet.

So that's that. (And so much for the bikini body .... now to be mourned under the layers of Milka chocolate around my waist.)

Now I'm home.  Digging out from under the mounds of Schwab applications, at the office until past 7 the last 2 nights.  Observing -- but not yet feeling the energy to clean up after -- the shed job my cats did in my absence.  Sweltering outside. Freezing inside.   Libido itself in the deep freeze.

(Why could these temperatures be not reversed?)

The day I flew to Budapest, I e-mailed the 2 men with whom connections had either ignited (Mr. Reach-the-Beach inquiry) or re-ignited (C-2) just prior to leaving.  (Because in the Bible of Single Life, of course, such things never happen except just prior to a prolonged absence with no guarantee of continuation upon return. I have other examples.)  To both I said, in essence:  let's not let this connection go .... and both replied, in essence:  no, let's not, let's get together on your return.

It's my third night back.  No getting together on the horizon.  Either I'm too tired to make the effort or they're too ..... hmmmm .... hopefully the same.  Hopefully not not-guaranteeing the continuation.

Perhaps by the fourth night, none of this life will feel like the slog of the last three.

Hopefully, indeed.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Vacation Journal VII: And then there was none....

Notes from a 14-hour travel day:

1) If you're standing in the duty-free shop at the Budapest airport deciding whether or not you need a 300g Milka bar for the trip but are wary because you think you might eat it all .... you do, and you will.  

2) Budapest is almost as cool from above as on the ground.

3) I don't recommend descending 36,000 feet of altitude with a freshly-acquired head cold.  Twice.  Now my ears can describe to you why babies scream and cry at same.

4) Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris has friendly gate agents.  Which helps because everything else about it sucks.  Sucks with a capital S, actually.

5) It stands to reason that the only seat available on the 8-hour Paris/Boston is on the aisle one row from the only lavatory in coach class, which is right next to the flight attendant food-cart storage area.  Holy knee bumps and toilet lines, Batman.  Extra bonus points for the 6'5" man in the seat behind whose knees prevented seat reclining.

6) The best thing about American Airlines leaving my bag in Budapest until tomorrow is that I don't have to feel bad about not starting the laundry tonight.  Even if I also don't get to brush my teeth.

7) The best thing about coming home is my very own pillow on my very own mattress.

8) And the second best thing about coming home are, officially, these sweet faces.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Vacation Journal VI: True Vacation

This here vacation has been a vacation in the traditional sense, like I knew it would be .... from work -- cats -- diet -- Boston on the nation's birthday ....

I didn't anticipate a 5-day holiday from the internet.  But wireless connectivity is evidently not common in the cafes and hotels of Prague and the former East Germany.

Which turned out to not at all be a problem. This left plenty of time to visit cathedrals and coffee shops and pull stops for Balint's organ recitals and drink quarts of Schwarzbier (might I highly recommend the K√∂stritzer?) and realize that I need to learn to spreche Deutsche because it would be cool to be less of an American when in Europe, sometimes, not resorting to pointing to menus and shelves instead of giving pronunciation a go.

All good. Except it did leave this here blog in a bit of back-dated limbo.


A brief photo journal of the trip north from Budapest ... to make amends.


Cobbers reunited .... meeting college choir friend Christoph for a coffee, 
for the first time in 15 years .... in Bratislava, Slovakia's main square.

Ah, Prague!

Ah, Prague! (again)
Sundown refreshment in the shadow of St. Vitus Cathedral.


Evening run through Merseburg, on the river Saale.


A musician with the keys to both 
the Merseburg Cathedral organ 
on the same day 
... is having the happiest day of his life.

The organist's assistant, listening for balance, inside the Wenzelkirche.


In the Naumburg square ... after the Weckmann 
and the Bach and one of the world's most revered organs ... 
heading towards beer and the drama of Uruguay / Ghana.


Pipes of Concert I - Merseburg.

Pipes of Concert II - Milznau.

Two Schwarzbiers after two concerts ... all in a day's work.