Archive for October, 2010


October 31, 2010


Nope, no one came trick-or-treating.  No surprise, but I’m glad we were prepared in any case.



October 31, 2010

This charming fellow will greet any trick-or-treaters who come to our door tonight:

Looks like something caught him by surprise

There’s no telling whether we’ll get any ghosts and ghouls coming by.  Last year we didn’t have any and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get any this year, either.  Our house is in the woods at the end of  dead-end road, and as far as we know, only one family on this road has kids of that age.  It seems that if people are out looking for Halloween excitement in this area they all go down to Salem.  Well, we’re ready for them just in case they do show up.  And if they don’t, somebody will have to eat up that candy…

Friends, family, and fruit

October 26, 2010

A couple of weekends ago, our friends Miti and Stephen came up to visit us. It’s always delightful to see them, and this time was no exception. Miti and I did a lot of academic talking, probably boring poor E. and Stephen, but we also played games and enjoyed the sauna and went out to pick apples.

The farm where I’ve been going for milk and meat also has a small apple orchard next to the farmstand for pick-yourself apples. When we arrived, we were surprised to find that most of the trees had been picked over already, but by going further down some of the rows we were still able to find plenty of apples to pick. E. and I got a couple of bags’ worth. We also picked out a pumpkin that will grace our porch with a smile (or maybe a scowl– I haven’t carved it yet) this Halloween.

Our haul of fall fruit

This past weekend we were up in Maine at my folks’ for our annual cider-making. We brought along our contribution of apples, as well as a home-made pumpkin pie to share for dessert. We had a lovely sunny day for it, a little windy but warm nonetheless, and though grinding and pressing the apples is a lot of work, we had fun doing it and came home with several bottles of the delicious result.

Our motley assortment of apples being washed before they go into the hopper for the cider press

October brew

October 12, 2010

The latest homebrewing project:

Pumpkin spice brew

This batch was made with pumpkin, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. I think it turned out pretty well, and it gives me some ideas for more brewing experiments with spices.

Whirlwind weekend in New York

October 8, 2010

This past weekend E. and I were in New York City for the first time since moving away. The occasion was the wedding of my high-school friend Thomas, but we also took the opportunity to visit our friends Liam and Romelle. Kris, as another friend of Thomas’s, was also invited to the wedding, so we got to see her and Daniel, another nice treat.

E. and I flew down from Boston on Friday afternoon. Our flight went smoothly enough, but Kris and Daniel got delayed a bit. We had planned to meet at the airport and share a taxi to our hotels in mid-town, so E. and I took the opportunity to get some lunch at the airport while waiting. After they arrived, we got our taxi and made it to our respective hotels with enough time to change before the ceremony.

The wedding was held in a church just across the street from Scandinavia House, where E. used to work. Knowing Thomas’s strong commitment to traditional Catholic faith we were expecting a grand occasion, and it did not disappoint. The service was full of beautiful music and the rich high ritual of the Latin mass. The four of us non-Catholics sat in the back and tried to keep quiet, stand up and sit down at the appropriate times and enjoyed the music and pageantry.

The reception afterwards was held at the Union League Club, a private club of the sort where one imagines Bertie Wooster and his ilk spending the day. There were cocktails and a greeting line for the happy couple, then we repaired to the dining room for an excellent dinner and entertainment from a live band. Two of my old high school drama friends whom I haven’t seen in ages were also at the wedding and it was wonderful to see them. It turns out that one of them is actually living in Salem!

Everything about the wedding and reception was soundly traditional and was carried off with grace and skill. It was very different from the kind of wedding that E. and I had, but it suited Thomas perfectly (I trust it was just as much to the wishes of his bride, but I sadly don’t know her well enough to say) and it was certainly a night to remember.

It was quite late when we got back to our hotel and tried to get to sleep. We managed some sleep, although it wasn’t entirely comfortable. I’m not sure what size the mattress was, but it was too short for E., which is saying something, and not quite wide enough for two. Nevertheless, after getting up early for our flight and going all day long, we were tired enough to sleep.

On Saturday, we had tentative plans to meet up with Liam and Romell, provided that they were not in the hospital. Romelle was pregnant and her due date was just when we were in town, so there was no being sure. After a disappointing breakfast at the hotel, we went out for a little shopping, planning to get in touch with Liam and Romelle later in the day to see if it would be all right or us to come visit. As we were walking out we found there was a Korean street fair in front of our hotel and one of the nearby avenues was blocked off for what turned out to be a Korean parade. We managed to get through the crowds to have a look in H+M and then in Macy’s, where I found a new suit jacket and E. found some nice sheets very cheap. While we were there, we got a message from Liam announcing that Romelle had given birth the day before and we were welcome to come visit them in the hospital.

Very excited, we found some flowers to congratulate the happy parents and headed to the hospital. Liam and Romelle were both there with their new son (his first, her second). It was wonderful to see our friends again and a beautiful thing to get to see the new life they had brought into the world. Their baby boy was big for only a day old, but still clearly getting used to the strange new world outside the womb. I thought I could see some of both parents in his face, and they say he has exactly Liam’s feet (something I’m in no position to verify). We spent a good long time with them all which was a real joy.

In the late afternoon we made our way up to the Columbia campus, which was a little strange for us both. We haven’t been back to the area since moving out and the feeling of being back just to visit was a little odd. We met up with Kris and Daniel at our old favorite haunt, Pisticci, for a thoroughly enjoyable (and Manhattan-priced) dinner. We shared our adventures of the day and enjoyed each other’s company, something we don’t get to do nearly often enough. At the end of the evening, the found of us shared a taxi back downtown to our hotels.

The next morning, E. and I were up early to catch our flight home again. We enjoyed a nap in the afternoon at home, followed by sauna and dinner before E. had to go to work.