Summer reigns

Dear media outlets,



Thank you.

Summer Picnic


Odd lots

+ At a midweek lunch, my co-workers and I debate Iggy’s vs. Clear Flour bread while sitting in a tiny park in Bay Village taking an extraordinary amount of time to eat egg sandwiches and smell the roses. Is this phlox? Are these mosaic benches from Marshalls?

+ At Otto’s for a slice, I can’t stop laughing when a child dissolves in tears when his slice comes with no cheese, as if his bike were stolen by a thug. I’d cry too, kid. Everything should have cheese, especially pizza.

+ For three days I wear my rain boots, anticipating a flood. Gorgeous days, of course. Today will be the pick of the weekend those same meteorologists said, so I pack my beach bag in foolish anticipation and wake up to what feels like the London soup. Instead, I plan to clean the basement, which does not promise the same fulfillment.

An anglophile’s nostalgia

Today on the train, I am transported to the swampy fens of England and the dry, windswept moors of Yorkshire—away from the grim wetlands of Revere, the working Chelsea River, the city, and people. Spartan places a world away that geography has trouble mapping. Something in the rain, the sky silvering at the edge of the horizon, says more England than New England.

The air is heavy and British, full with the promise of fog.

A van crossing the bridge to Saugus becomes a lorry carrying cream from Devon. A white heron that alights in the marsh calls in a British accent. The tracks that run to the rail yard in Boston become tracks that extend to the outermost tip of Cornwall where they head straight off the cliff into the ocean.

Happy spring!

March should not be bathing suit season, but we’ve had too many snowy spring equinoxes, so no complaining. The parking lot was packed at the local beach this weekend—you know, when it was still winter. People piled their kids in the car with a pail and blanket and declared it a beach day. I was wrapped in multiple layers, but the Salem University kids toughed it out in shorts and flip flops, shivering. But what’s better than stretching out on a blanket, hoodie drawn tight, while the sun directs tentative spring rays to sun-starved skin?

Devereux Beach, Marblehead

We may be in a four-day stretch of 80-degree weather, but this kid shrieked after two seconds in the water. August water it is not.

October summer

Columbus might have worn a fuzzy, cable-knit sweater and thick woolen pants when he cruised the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria up to these here shores. But on this Columbus Day in New England, more reminiscent of August, boxers would have sufficed. It’s hot. The windows are open and the beach was packed with celebratory sunbathers. Global warming, we welcome you.

Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester

People swam despite the water temp and dogs frolicked and romped, savoring the surprise summer day. Clouds took the day off.

Even the kites got into the holiday.

What’s up with the wind?

In the past few years, I’ve noticed an irksome type of weather that’s starting to bug me more than snow: wind. Is it not bad enough that the winter is cold and snowy but that it has to be windy enough to exfoliate your skin without any pretense of a spa? Not only that, but the wind has been infiltrating the summer too; beach umbrellas? Nearly impossible to plant the last couple of seasons. They tumble off down the beach, stopped only by an unsuspecting, drowsy sunbather. Not only does my beach bag come home with a pound of the Cape, but my scalp totes home a layer of salt and sand—so much that I wonder if there’s any beach left.

I’ve wondered if this extreme windiness was just my perception or if it had any basis in fact. Turns out this article in Discovery News confirms the worst: the Earth is getting windier. Scientists can’t say if this is a result of global warming or if we’re just in a windy cycle that could stretch over decades—a mere blip in meteorology history. I don’t know either. But I do know one thing: I don’t like it. And I’m pretty sure this mother duck doesn’t like it either:

Snow: before and after

It has been snowing here in New England for nearly 15 hours straight. It’s pretty for the first 12 hours when you’re lounging around in your pajamas, enjoying your free day off of work until you realize that 1) the day off serves only to allow you just enough time to shovel out so you can make it to work the next day, and 2) shoveling sucks.

It’s great if you like winter sports and don’t mind the cold. It’s hell if you don’t like hats.

My blog friend Kim posted that she was jealous about the snow out here. Kim lives in sunny California. If I were to say that out loud, you would hear an edge in my voice called bitterness. Don’t make me come out there, Kim, and beat you with my shovel. Don’t worry, I can’t even open my gate.

I know most Before and After photo sets really make you appreciate the after. This is not one of those.

My patio before and after:



A snow day To Do list

Sometimes a snow day can be the most productive. I’d suggest the following:

Get up late. Really late. Aim for the afternoon.

Consider getting up and then grab a book.

Listen the plow rumble by and the neighborhood shoveling brigade.

Consider shoveling.

Laugh uncontrollably.

Crank the heat to be warm if it goes out.

Eat breakfast while watching relentless but compelling Blizzard of 2010 coverage.

Be grateful you don’t have to park on the street, or evacuate your beach house, or sleep at the airport.

Do yoga online and discover it’s easier than going to the gym and that no one crowds your Warrior Three.

Layer up, grab a shovel, and open the door.

Close the door.

Bake chocolate chip scones that come out like puffy cookies. Eat more scone cookies than you think you could.

Mentally prepare yourself to shovel.

Wedge open the patio gate and watch in slow motion as a gust slams the gate into your head.

Consider the possibility that you have a concussion.

Rejoice at the possibility of head trauma if it means you can get out of shoveling.

Resume the inevitable.

Engage in a cardiac workout that will eliminate the need to work out for eight months.

Go back to bed.

Resolve to stay there if it ever snows again.

Waiting for the train

When it’s 26 degrees outside and the wind chill factor is, well, major, meaning it feels more like 18 degrees, I find the formula can be extrapolated to mean that if the train is three minutes late, it feels like it’s actually 11 minutes late, and waiting a long 11 minutes on a cold train platform means that the train is going slower than X, whatever X is, and that you may never get to work, and if you do get to work, you will have to wear all four sweaters on your office chair until your limbs regain feeling.

Oh, look, it’s raining

Rain, rain, go away; come back again another day. My grandmother used to recite that during gloomy stretches like the one we’re having in New England. I don’t remember if it worked when I was six, but I can tell you it’s not working today. Forget buckets, it’s been raining oil drums. My co-worker and I were contemplating that other saying made popular by the song It’s Raining Men. We’ve been stuck indoors for eons, so perhaps we’re overthinking it, but as great as it sounds, we’ve determined that should the sky open up and rain men, we might be seriously injured. Also, they might be seriously injured. We thought about teaming up to catch the smaller ones but even then we might break our arms. In conclusion, we feel the raining men forecast might be dangerous.


Good lunch

When it’s nearly 70 degrees in December, you must schedule face time with the sun at lunch. My happy moment: stealing away to a cafe that serves breakfast all day and devouring an egg, bacon and cheese sandwich on a stool by the  propped-open door and a breeze blowing in that whispered summer. And a mostly-tackled crossword puzzle. And an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.

Wait a minute

Boston, you’re so fickle. Today, I’m in love: you’re in the 60s. Tomorrow, you’re still pretty amazing for November: hello, 50s. Saturday you’re looking average, 40s, but I’m sure we can work it out. Sunday, damn you, you’re gonna be in the 30s, so we might have to break up. I refuse to look at Monday’s forecast.

Summer is NOT over

Just a warning: if I hear you say anything like “Wow, summer went by fast” or “Fall is right around the corner” or you mention the word “school” or anything that even suggests that summer is on its way out you might get decked. Fair warning. Summer is not over. And if there is any seasonal justice, this fall will be ridiculously summerlike after the rainy summer we endured. Aside from that melty heat wave, I carried that damn sweater with me more days than I wore a skirt, and that is not right, Mother Nature. Not right. But the ocean is still warming up, naysayers, and there are plenty of beach days left. K?


How to beat the rain

When I ducked out for lunch today (as in, I looked like a duck with my rain slicker), I saw a group of co-workers headed back to the office with food from Subway and D’Angelos. Now, I’m a snob about lunch in general (ew, chains with bad food), but today, the 189th day of consecutive rain, I was especially not having it. Instead, I took myself to a fancy lunch at Bina Osteria, and Italian restaurant near the Ritz on the edge of Chinatown.

You should really do this to cheer yourself up, because when you walk in to the restaurant, everyone will be happy to see you because of 1. the recession and 2. the deeply depressing weather. You will feel loved by complete strangers. When the waiter asks if you’d like some bread, say yes. Proceed to eat the entire assortment of bread in the adorable wooden bowl, dipping the crusty goodness in olive oil and salt as you go. Because it’s cold and damp out, order a comfort food like the pasta carbonara for its warmth. Devour the entire thing without pausing. Gaze outside and appreciate that you are not a tourist visiting Boston this week. Repeat the next day. And the next, until the sun comes out (then, switch to their outdoor patio).

Rain again. Really?

After 72 consecutive days of rain, mist, fog, and drizzle, the weather forecasters have run out of words to express, “moisture.” declares that tomorrow will be “thundery rain.” 

I’m starting to play this game where I pretend I’m in England. I listen to the Beatles on my iPod, spring open my cheery brolly, and plan my date with Prince William—er, my trip to Covent Garden.

Happy summer

I love weird weather. After a cold spell swept through New England, I’m looking forward to tomorrow when balmy 50s are predicted. My friend finds these freak changes in the atmosphere disturbing, but I love them. In fact, a warm day out of the blue can sustain me for weeks, especially if the heat wave comes as a surprise when I step out onto the porch for my morning weather check.

I get crazy, thinking I can break out the sandals or a skirt and take luxurious walks along the river. I’ve been known to take a day off based on an optimistic forecast. I dig out my bathing suit, just because. Usually, I end up having to endure a light jacket, but in the winter, 50 can feel like a day in August. A day without a scarf, hat and gloves is like a day at the beach, all that exposed skin seeking the sun. Ah, sun. You glorious burning beauty. You’d better come out tomorrow.