Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Winter Shedding

It seems to be finally spring here in Massachusetts. Mind you it was still rather chilly this weekend, but at least the flowers are out, the trees are in bloom, and possible snow storms are now quite impossible.

When the weather turns, so do my thoughts of reinvention. I anticipate the summer months and the "anything is possible" attitude they invoke. Summer is a distinct season here (unlike in San Francisco) and it seems that whether one is currently associated with a school or not, summer still holds a special and important place in New Englander's hearts that I have not found quite so intensely elsewhere.

Summer means trips to the beach, camping, a more relaxed work environment (I had never heard of "summer hours" until I moved to Cambridge), later nights, and vacation. We know the warm weather will only last for a few months, so it's almost as if an statewide edict has been declared: Summer is here! Enjoy it, now! Whether one wants to or not, one becomes a "summer person" when living here.

I'm looking forward to the break that summer brings, but I'm also looking forward to the potential possibilities. My thoughts turn toward pretty dresses, strappy shoes, and bright colored t-shirts--and all the excitement and new possibility that comes with that.

I'm ready to shed the cold spirits of winter and bring on the new and tender ones. It takes time though. Just as my feet need to adjust to different shoes each spring as I move from heavy socks and boots to more delicate sandals (band aids and I become quite chummy each spring), so do I.

Spring is a bit like a big band aid--it gets me ready for the summer and yet still protects me a bit as I transition, careful not to let me go too crazy. I certainly appreciate spring's care, but I'm feeling ready to move on. I'll patiently wait, but I'm gathering my supplies so I'm at the ready--skirts, new shoes, band aids, and sun tan lotion. See you at the beach.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ghost Stories

I've always been fascinated by ghost stories. I am particularly drawn to ones that involve tragedy and children. I was greatly influenced by a Sunday night Disney Special that aired when I was in elementary school, and whenever I hear of similar stories, I can't help but remember this one. I only remember bits and pieces of it, everytime it returns from the recesses of my memory, I can still feel the mystery and excitement that it evoked in me. I was obsessed. I still am it seems. These are the details that I can remember:

*It took place in New Orleans
*The ghost was girl named Inez who came from a rich and eccentric family
*Inez wore a white party dress and had curls in her hair that were accentuated by a large white bow
*She was responsible for solving her own murder. Only then could she rest in peace.

Does this ring a bell with anyone?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I left my heart in san francisco

I am one of the lucky ones. I recently returned from a lovely visit to San Francisco. After weeks and weeks of non-stop torrential rain, the clouds parted the afternoon my plane touched down in Oakland, and I got to enjoy four days of gorgeous sun and views.

The visit was hectic as usual, but each time I go back I get better at prioritizing friend visits and activities. For example, one of my friends kindly hosted a Monday night dinner party for 14 that allowed me to see many people at once. I felt grateful that so many people came out for my viewing.

I got asked many times if I had any plans to move back. It is tempting, I must admit. I miss my friends, the weather (of course), and the general joie de vivre of San Francisco living.

I also miss being "in the know" about a city. Even though I grew up in Massachusetts, and I've now lived in Cambridge for over two years, I still feel so much more at home in San Francisco. I know the local politics better, I know where to find a good tailor, I have favorite pizza and coffee joints, the knitting store owner still remembers me, and almost every corner holds some sort of memory. I grew up in San Francisco--it's where I turned into an adult.

Although I seriously doubt I ever will move back to San Francisco, not only do I consider myself lucky to have returned from a sun and fun filled few days there, I also consider myself lucky to have lived there for so long. I sometimes wonder if I would be in a different place if I had not (Would I be married with kids, or have a more substantial career?), but at the same time, I wouldn't trade most of it for the world. San Francisco put a lot of effort and energy into making me who I am today, and I thank her for it.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Cupcakes have always been "in" to a certain extent, but during the past five to ten years something of a cupcake resurgence has occurred. I remember receiving a cupcake cookbook sometime around 1996 or 1997, and then soon after that the cupcake was brought into the spotlight by Sex and the City and New York's Magnolia Bakery.

It's of course difficult to resist the pull of the cupcake if it includes the hope that it might make one look like Sarah Jessica Parker sitting in a tiny Roberto Cavalli dress and cutely getting frosting on her nose.

Unfortunately, it seemed that as the heightened popularity of Sex in the City waned, so did the cupcake's.

But stop the presses, or rather the kitchen aid mixers, I've begun to notice a cupcake second wave of popularity. There are multiple blogs devoted solely to the perfection of the cupcake, many brides now choose to serve tiers of cupcakes over the traditional wedding cake, cupcakes can be found in high end bakeries and restaurants, and bookstores brim over with cupcake cookbooks.

There are a variety of theories that try to explain the renewed interest in the cupcake. One believes that in a diet crazed society the small size of the cupcake makes it more appetizing than its cousin, the layer cake. Another states that with the increased interest in design and nesting, the cupcake offers a new canvas on which to impress others with one's culinary finesse and trendiness.

I tend to think it has more to do with the nostalgia theory. Cupcakes remind us of our childhood--birthday parties, baking mixes, and picnics. In this increasingly uncertain world, wholesome reminders of "simpler days" are hard to resist. This is the crux of the popularity of the cupcake.

I think I'm going to pull out the old Betty Crocker recipe book right now.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Devil

I saw the Daniel Johnston documentary this evening. It's called the Devil and Daniel Johnston, and although some of the reviews I read thought it was exploitive, I certainly didn't. I knew nothing about him before I stepped into the theater, but I was enthralled by his story. It manages to be both unique and an everyman's story all at once.

A musical and artistic genius tormented by mental illness, Mr. Johnston makes many grave mistakes in his life, but he seems to always be able to get people to see his talent, and people want to help him make that talent come to fruition. It made me think about what my talent is, how do I want to viewed by people over the long run, and probably most importantly, it made me think about passion---what is it, and where does it stem from? A fitting thought to contemplate on one's birthday.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Things that make you go hmmm...

Is it a bad sign that my current romantic life has many things in common with one of the eighth graders I counsel? Me thinks the answer is yes.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Spring weather turns my thoughts to pretty skirts, sitting outside having drinks, evening movies, ice cream cones, breezy curtains, dogwood trees, trips to Gloucester, and late night phone calls.