Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who is this guy?

I went out to breakfast with my father this morning, briefly escaping the depressingly dark and powerless house, and a woman I'd never seen before stopped briefly next to his chair to say "Hi, Henry." I was surprised, because his name is Dick.

"She calls me Henry Fonda," he said, taking this as his due, and continuing to peruse his menu.

My mother told me the girls used to call him Robert Taylor, so he's morphed.

- Mobile posting.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Manitas de Plata

I was looking for a particular Django Reinhardt piece on YouTube yesterday. (Found it.) And got sidetracked. To this:

Bios always say that Manitas first played in the United States at Carnegie Hall in December of 1965. But I attended his true first American performance—at Spalding Auditorium at Dartmouth, the night before. I think his agents or handlers or whatever wanted to let him warm up for what was likely to be the biggest moment of his young career. The place was packed, 800 or so strong, and we went nuts for the next hour plus. And when he was done, we wouldn't let him go. I have no idea how many encores he took, but it wasn’t enough. It remains perhaps the greatest concert performance I’ve ever attended.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If West Virgina is almost heaven, what’s this going to be?

Thanks to a mention in Andy Howell’s blog, I’ll soon be spending time here...

...at the Maison Willert, in Lescun, on the French side of the Pyrenees. I’ve got my Kev Reynolds. I’ve got my Carte de RandonnĂ©es. I’ve got my little, light rucksack in training here on the floor of my office. (I find that a well-exercised and at least moderately fit pack complains less than a flabby one.)

I am, in short, ready to roll. Not everyone on this trip is a walker, which is too bad for them, but otherwise pretty handy. A and I, and sometimes P, can stroll off in the morning, wander along our route, appreciating gorgeous lakes, impressive summits, and stunning views, fighting off bears and marmots, then return to elegantly prepared repasts and flagons of local wines carefully chosen. A Floc de Gascogne, of course, either to start or finish. Or both. We can do this, if we like, every day for a week. I’m pretty sure we’re not going to want to come back.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Divine Jane

 Thanks to MR for letting me know about this:

 More here about  A Woman's Wit: Jane Austen's Life and Legacy at the Morgan Library.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I’ve been wasting time (and nearly missing a business call), playing with Xtranormal, a site that lets you make your own “movies.”

Yesterday, I finished Randall Fuller’s superb From Battlefields Rising: How The Civil War Transformed American Literature. There is a lot of Emily Dickinson in it. Oddly, Fuller never mentions her interest in Ferlinghetti.

iPad “sheet” music

How cool is this? Cheap, yes. Easy to carry around, yes. But it’s the access, stupid.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Silver linings

No walking this past weekend. My broken toe was pretty good, but H decided to emulate her father (historically unwise), and she matched me with a tender tootsie of her own. As far as we can remember, these are the first broken bones either of us has suffered. Togetherness is nice...

... but we can think of better iterations.

My lower back had also started acting up ... increasingly common, and probably a defense mechanism to the pile on the floor featured in the previous post.

So my checklist remains the same and we merely had a great weekend.

A minor league baseball game got things rolling Saturday night. The home team Manchester (New Hampshire) FisherCats beat the Akron (Ohio) Aeros, 5-3, surviving a late-innings scare after shutting the visitors out for seven. We were all there, including sweet B’s best friend, K, and her dad, P. B was very interested in why people were swinging and missing, and urgently needed to know why number 7 threw his bat. Deep discussion of frustration and sportsmanship.

Sunday was damp, but there was a bit of riding on the pushbike, and a rather elegant tea party, also with K and P, and some favorite dollies.

Monday morning was pouring, but there was time for a little engineering ...

... before heading out, not forgetting the dragon wellies and tiaras that a fashionable young person just doesn’t leave home without.

A crew of us leaves for Lescun in less than two weeks, so there will be plenty of mountain blogging soon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Beauty and grace

The other thing, beside making music, that I most regret not being able to do. Marginally less impossible to manage in the time available, I suppose. Then again, I get seasick.

A shot from our glorious days in Maine.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

High (mountain) hopes

I’ll be heading north this weekend for what I hope will be a couple of days on this route, which weather kept me off three years ago. This time I won’t be solo, but one of a trio, with H and A on hand to drag me up the steep bits. Of course, the weather report is iffy again, but it looks like standard-issue rain, not thunder, lighting, and hail. Views might be limited on what many consider this most beautiful of White Mountain walks, but that will just give us motivation to return.

It’s been so long since I was out for more than a day that my floor looks to me as if I’m preparing for an expedition to deepest Nobedestan. Sleeping mat? Tent? Stove? What is this stuff? Maybe I should take a satellite phone and a machete if I’m going this extreme.

I’m making some adjustments to my McHale pack, based on how things worked out in New Zealand. Different hipbelt pockets. A little pocket on my left shoulder strap for my glasses. A new arrangement for the water bladders. A different top flap. Just dinks, really. This pack, once called a 0-SARC and now apparently called an LBP (Little Big Pack), is old-fashioned in its ruggedness. (It’s now available in new-fangled, much lighter and maybe even tougher Dyneema.) But it’s still notably lighter than most commercial 50L packs, and carries exceptionally well. It’s also flexibly sized, with Dan’s excellent P&G Bayonet frame extension system. I doubt I’ll ever need anything larger. Even with that big box of rescue flares.

I was in New Hampshire for 10 days or so until last Sunday, and while I was there, we went out a few times with sweet B on her little pushbike. She’s beginning to get the hang of this balance thing.

We took her to the local park for a swim, too ...

... and while we were drying her off afterward and changing her out of wet and into dry, she effected an escape. A little naked person in tiny Keen water sandals running around trees and through the playground. We were laughing too hard to be especially effective in pursuit. Fortunately, she took a gentle spill and her mommy was able to grab her up, wrap her up, and kiss her up.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Big day in Boston

I’ve been in Concord for a week or so, shuttling sweet B and coddling a broken toe. (Dramatic and sensational circumstances ... a Pyrex container fell out of the fridge and zeroed on on the unoffending appendage, turning its elegant, slender, yet macho pinkness into the purple piggie of pain. I can confirm that my command of basic Anglo Saxon remains fluent. So can the neighbors.)

Yesterday H, B, and I headed for Boston to meet some family and friends and take in the Chihuly exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. We had a high old time. B loves the T,

and we wandered through the Public Garden to check out the ducklings. We even had a ride on the Swan Boats. Lovably familiar material to three generations of Robert McCloskey fans.

B squealingly enjoyed the carousel on the Common with her Aunt D ...

She and mommy tested the waters in the Frog Pond ...

and a slightly manic B showed herself to be a surprisingly agile and aggressive climber at the Tadpole Playground.

The whole crew enjoyed a great outdoor dinner.

Then the three of us went off to the Chihuly exhibit. Which we couldn’t get into. Sold out.