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Archive for November, 2006

CHANCE OF SNOW

It is eighteen degrees here today, and the streets have that hot asphalt and rain smell. I even wore a t-shirt to take the english class and still got hot.

The class was good by the way, we talked about our favourite (favorite) places, and one woman loved the Sheraton and the Hilton so we had to work out words to describe that, like lavish, and extravagant, and then I thought that maybe I was getting a bit abstract, because when you can hardly speak english you tend not to say words like lavish. Then things got even heavier when I asked everyone to speak about a picture of a painting they had chosen from a pile I had cut out of an art magazine – and ask each other questions about their paintings – do you like it? why? etc, which I hoped would bring up words like interesting, colorful, things like that; but instead led to a discussion about what ‘abstract’ art is, and then Frieda Kahlo’s eyebrows.

So then the rest of the class was focused on the text book and a section on conversational skills about work, what is your boss like, the pay, the benefits etc, because the class should be fun, but it is also about learning enough english to find a job or speak on the phone. I sometimes feel a bit panicked that I am not teaching well enough. It is fine I think.

So, evidently there will be thunder storms tomorrow even. AND THEN on Monday the weather report says it will be between 2C and -4 C and that there is a chance of snow. Not sure what the chance is but I am pretty excited. CHANCE OF SNOW! Eighteen degrees, to minus four is extreme. How interesting.

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Finally I think all the christmas shopping is done. I had fun last night cutting up apples and decorating. Here are some of them already to be flown across the sea – we could have bought stuff over the internet and avoided present miles, maybe we’ll do that if we are away next year.

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I’ve also been painting stuff for our walls and finally got to take down our hideous Dali Vatican picture and put up this poster, I am not sure who it is by, and some might say it is worse than the Dali Vatican one but I really like it;

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I painted this fluro green picture too which was fun.

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I’ve been reading a book by Zadie Smith, called On Beauty. She is a clever writer, but I didn’t like this book so much. I mean it is really good, it won the orange prize for fiction. I think it was because the book I read before that was Howard’s End which is amazing, I love it, I would like to read it again, and have quotes taken from it to put in my thesis ( have I said that already?). In fact, it was so good that I wasn’t ready to read a book which is a modern day re-write of a book that is still pretty relevant to today. I’ll have to save On Beauty for a while. In the mean time I have a book with a beautiful cover called the Inheritance of Loss, which is so far fantastic. I love the start;

All day, the colors had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water creature across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and depths.”

Like the light here, without the mist.

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poor old doozers

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Christmas starting

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This will be our first ever christmas in Boston, in the Northern Hemisphere, in the winter (with snow, all things crossed – although it has been hotter here than in New Zealand, there is a high of 16 C this week, how can it snow in that weather?) and also the first Christmas me and Mark will have together. So we’ll have to come up with some traditions.

Although, I guess you don’t invent those, they just gradually arrive with time until you get all mouldy and refuse to do it any other way.  A tradition in my family is…  usually a roast, and a BBQ, that we eat before we have the presents and then after that we have dessert.   We also have a cup of tea every half hour, and usually go for a walk and try to have a swim in what is usually rainy windy weather.

We already have a few really pretty decorations that have arrived in various christmas parcels, the first in our christmas decoration collection.  I love them, see them up there in the photo on our stand-in tree/twigs.  Now all we need is some cold weather.

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ian love

 Ian Love

I hardly ever buy a book or a CD unless I heard it was good, or read it was good some place.  In other circumstances I choose books by their cover, not always, but a lot.  I choose CD’s by their cover also, even more,  I always listen to it first, or read the back first though, before I buy it.

I liked the tiger on this CD cover, and additionally the aeroplane on the reverse side, also it is my new favourite music, I love the music, I love Mr Love’s voice, the acoustic and electric guitar, the piano.  Sometimes when you buy music you just listen to in the shop and like it is like you are having a secret conversation with the musician.  You don’t know anything about them, how their style is catergorised, if they are popular or not, if they are widely believed to be crap, or renowned as amazing, it feels more personal.  It hardly ever happens and I like that.  My favourite song is butterfly, followed by hold me now which sounds cheesy but it is not really.  

We ate dinner tonight with a couple from Montreal.  My face hurts from smiling and laughing because this guy is the funniest, really genuinely funniest, person I have ever encountered.   We rolled home full of Indian American Curry, and hot, real melted, hot chocolate from Burdicks.

 I walked four miles to a craft fair today, inside Sommerville High in the East of Cambridge, while M played soccer, and also watched the rugby with his friend from Kenya who knows the words to the haka and the name of every super twelve player in NZ.  To explain where I lived I had to say what super twelve team represented the area.   Anway, it wasn’t such a good fair but the walk was so fresh and there seemed to be huge numbers of birds everywhere.  I wonder if they are arriving from the North on their way to the warmth in the South.

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The Bells and heights

Every weekday morning at 8.45 a bell rings – one like you find in a church tower – for at least a minute in this song that goes; da^ da daaa da da^ da da. It wakes us up usually, except on holidays and when we don’t go to bed until 1am because we have good books to read, and it is dark and rainy outside, or when we are super efficient and already up. I like to think the bells are getting everyone up to go to their classes, but I think that they’ve probably already been living for three hours or so. Not that sleeping is not living but it is not really in this world, I think at 8am this morning I was in a dream that involved trying to order this amazing looking cake in Italy called proscietto proscietto and explaining to Mark that we didn’t have time to play a round of golf before we caught our flights back to NZ.

Suddenly, sometime this week, or last week, things got familiar here. The streets and our house which still smells faintly of our carved pumpkin even though I have burnt cedar wood oil which is the most American forest smell I can think of, and even though we leave the windows open for so long during the day. A big part of that is that we finally have familiar people, people we can go to dinner with, and plan things with, and when our phone rings we don’t automatically assume it is a desperate salesperson on the other end.

We walked to the cemetery today and it reminded me of the botanical gardens in Wellington, but full of graves rather than one of every plant. There are hills there, everywhere else around is flat land. There is stone tower monument to George Washington in the middle of the grounds and you can climb up inside, the stairs wind all around and it is really dark, sort of like climbing to the top of the dome in the Vatican but a lot smaller. At the top you can see all around Boston and Cambridge, I wish we took our camera. Lucky the guy in that link above did.
I love climbing high places with M. At the top I look over to the ground which is really far away which is sort of exciting, and M gets his feet as far back from the edge as he can and grips the rail and peaks over and looks sick. He is scared of heights, they give him the “heeby jeebies”. I find that interesting. There is no way you could fall unless you really tried, but he gets all sweaty at the thought I guess. My brother is the same. I love looking off the edge of high things, my favourite and best is being at the top of a really high stairwell and being able to look down the middle all the way to the ground. I have an embarrassing fear of being under the ground in small caves though, but luckily that doesn’t come up so often in everyday life.

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Thanksgiving feast

Right now I am as stuffed as a turkey and have a five month food baby belly. We caught the train to our friends house and then drove with them down to one of their parents homes in Providence. Both of our friends parents were there, and a sister and her husband and were all so friendly and welcoming, just really nice people who made us feel at home. It smelt like my nana’s house, which could have just been the roasting. I love thanksgiving. It is such a great holiday, because it is non-religious everyone can celebrate it. You don’t give presents, you just hang out and eat a whole lot, and I hear they reduce the price of turkey’s so that more people can afford to buy them. We are going to steal it. Can we do that? It wouldn’t be the same I guess. Maybe when we get home I’ll have to adopt lonely Americans, or even un-lonely ones and thanks give with them.

Can you see it down there by the apple pie? It is sort of flat, actually really flat, and not really an excellent example of pavlova, but okay for my first try and I don’t think they knew the difference. The little girl who I swear is a genius, she can count to twenty and is only twenty months… anyhow she picked up a slice of pavlova in her fork and stuffed the whole thing in her mouth, well as much as could fit. That was cute. But then, she was born in Marsterton. When we arrived at our friend’s house she slipped and fell on the tiles and chipped her front tooth, which gave her a big fright and made her pretty sad but was fine as in not a medical emergency, but I think her Mum was feeling bad and imagining her school photos and things and felt a bit worried – but baby teeth don’t last that long… that reminds me of when I was racing a go-cart down a hill with this little girl, my friend, who was really pretty, and we crashed into a bush ( I was steering) and she got an inch long cut on her forehead and needed stitches. I always felt a bit embarrassed when I saw her when we were older, but she was pretty enough to carry it off and just look interesting, like she had a mysterious past. It made me feel better to imagine that anyway…

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Back to feasting, look at that chocolate cake! It is one of their family traditions to have chocolate chocolate chocolate cake, which is really a nice custom. The bottle of wine is from New Zealand, they have all visited and our friend’s father loved the coffee so much in New Zealand that he bought a machine and has been practicing and training himself to make a real flat white. He hasn’t got the little apple shape yet but it tasted fantastic, I think he was pretty proud, who would have thought that little old NZ would have good coffee?

So we are back in Cambridge now, after our trip to Providence. I changed the theme on my site here, I decided to try “day dream” by mr whimpy. That chuckles me up. It is raining relentlessly outside, big pools of water gather on the redbrick sidewalks which is I guess why so many people wear gumboots, well mostly women and only the striped or tweed looking, or spotty types, rather than the black farm sort. It’ll be nice to go sleep while it is raining and with my big full tummy.

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