Random Selections from the Blog

Click here for another random selection

An English Wedding 9: A Parking Tale

Posted September 27th, 2010
An English Wedding 9: A Parking Tale

Do you know what happens if you are a little late returning to the car you left in the car park just below Windsor Castle? The warden boots your car–locks on a wheel clamp–and charges you 120£ (125£ if you use a charge card instead of a debit card or cash) to remove it. The…

Next Great Artist 8: Significant Form and the Reality of Television

Posted July 30th, 2010

I found a certain irony in Challenge 8. Last week I railed about the triviality of the challenges. I even weighed in on the subject on Jerry Saltz’s New York magazine blog where some of the more interesting discussions about the show take place. This week the Great Minds at BRAVO decided to go with…

Hurricane Sandy

Posted October 31st, 2012
Hurricane Sandy

Prolonged periods without electricity are rather like air travel with long layovers—I get a lot of reading done. I finished the last few pages of Andrew Graham-Dixon’s superior biography, Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane. Every Third Thought by John Barth—a book my Dear One read a year or so ago when Jack sent a…

In Flanders’ Cities 3: Bruges

Posted April 12th, 2015
In Flanders’ Cities 3: Bruges

The forecast was splendid: sunny at 71 degrees, which is to say 22 degrees Celsius. We would be outdoors all day. We dressed accordingly, climbed on a train and got to Bruges by about 11:00. The walk to the Grote Markt, the center of town, is less than two kilometers, two incredibly pleasant and beautiful…

Reading Unfriendly: My Barnes & Noble Is Freaking Me Out

Posted June 3rd, 2016
Reading Unfriendly: My Barnes & Noble Is Freaking Me Out

Went to my local Barnes & Noble to pick up a couple copies of Dan Lyons, Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble (Hachette, 2016).  I had heard most of the interview he did with Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air” and immediately got the book. Just finished it. It’s not only a great read,…

Beautiful Blue Danube 1: Departure

Posted June 1st, 2016
Beautiful Blue Danube 1: Departure

We are deeply grateful to be sitting at PHI and not at Dulles, the airport from hell that sits at the other end of the drive from hell. Nor did the choke points between our home and the departure gate make us gag. I-95 traffic was sluggish now and then but not jammed. A 1:15…

The Fourths in Unison

Posted July 4th, 2009

In years long, long past, we often celebrated the Fourth of July at the family compound  in New Hampshire. Ma’s father’s family had been visiting Squam Lake since the 19th century; first they boarded at local farm houses and later rented a cottage at Rockywold-Deephaven. Eventually GreatGrandFather began to buy parcels of land on Mooney…

Lietuva 4: Stork-Spotting

Posted May 20th, 2012
Lietuva 4: Stork-Spotting

As we approached Lithuania’s border with Poland and Belarus in the south, the tall pines exuded a primeval air despite their relative youth, and twisting roads offered glimpses of lakes and streams. In this countryside, gravity secures huge nests, some seeming to approach the scale of hot tubs, atop roofs, water towers, electrical poles and…

A Marriage Proposal

Posted January 24th, 2010

Just after the stroke of midnight, in the first moments of New Year’s Day, my Dear One proposed marriage. It was quiet there on our couch and I was full of Spanish bubbly and we were watching fireworks explode on television over the Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Of course I said yes. Suddenly there seemed to…

Listen and Follow Directions

Posted March 13th, 2016
Listen and Follow Directions

The most common comment on any report card I received in elementary school was, “Ellen would do well if she would just learn to follow directions.” Teachers stopped saying that as I got older but only because the grading system was about the mark and not about any insight into my approach to learning and…