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Showing posts from June, 2013

Magic beans

A bean is just a bean.

Except when it's a magic bean.

Except when it's a plate of magic beans eaten at a monastery at the top of a mountain on an island in the Sea of Marmara.

You have just eaten such a plate of beans with shallots and parsley and tomatoes and olive oil, along with a plate of aubergines with yogurt, and dolmas.

And then you hiked down a cobblestone street away from the monastery until you reached the place when the phaetons were, and took a carriage ride back to your hotel, a place that has incense in the rooms and yoga on the patio.

And it's only day four of vacation.

Maybe tomorrow you'll come across a magic fish.

Travel Tuesday: Seoul

Seoul, South Korea
Locking up the love.

Travel Tuesday: Bermuda

Trees in Bermuda.

If only life were so tidy.

A Birthday

It's hard to remember being nine. Often it's hard to imagine being a boy. But if you try hard, you can put yourself into the mind of the youngest gingerbread boy and create an explosive birthday party.


You source 6% hydrogen peroxide, buy alka-seltzer, visit the fireworks store. You purchase nearly a case of 2-liter bottles of diet cola, and enough mentos to make the cashier at the grocery store raise his eyebrows. You research bag bombs -- sandwich bags with vinegar and little packets of baking soda. You clean out small paint canisters for rockets of water and alka-seltzer. You make tee-shirts with iron-on decals saying "Ka-boom!" for each of the guests.

And you make a fudge tunnel cake, in the hopes that it will ooze from the center when you cut it. It doesn't, but that's ok, because it's accompanied by Party Cake ice cream, gross to you, but nirvana to nine-year olds.

The day comes, sunny and 78 degrees, a far cry from the year you did a pir…

Travel Tuesday: Oxford

River Cherwell, Oxford, England

Where would these punts take you?

A Dream

Last week, you dreamt. It was a vivid dream. You were in your mother's house, and it felt the way it used to feel when you lived there--like home--the bits and pieces, the pictures on the wall, the furniture. All of it was like a mix between Mary Engelbreit and a Meg Ryan film set design. It was home, and you were comfortable there.

The problem was that it was June.

It was June, and the Christmas tree was still up.

Friends were coming over, and you saw your surroundings anew, with fresh eyes, with the eyes of someone who might find it strange that the Christmas tree was still up six months past its expiration date, no matter how charming the ornaments, no matter how graceful the shape of the tree.

You are embarrassed. You are embarrassed that your mother had not dismantled the tree. You are embarrassed that you have not dismantled the tree.

How could you have let the time pass--six whole months? How could you have not noticed that it didn't belong there anymore? How could you …

The River

It is 93 degrees. It should not be 93 degrees. It should be 73 degrees, but no one commands Mother Nature, and it's been over 90 degrees for the past few days. The house is hot, the gingerbread boys are hot, you are hot, and the freezer full of Klondike bars is depleted.

After chores, the Gingerbread Man packs up watermelon, chips, apples, water, towels, and buckets, and the four of you walk to the river.

The trail through the trees is cool and green, and already, you feel the heat of the day abating. You come to the clearing and pass by the pond, inhabited by turtles and frogs and cattails, the place you go ice-skating in winter when it freezes over. Right now it's murky brown; it's hard to believe it's the same place of white winter magic. The heat oppresses you, and you hurry back into the trees.

A short boardwalk leads you onward, and after a quarter of a mile, the trail turns parallel with the river. You follow it along passing a sandy area with a big tree until y…