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at your book launch party

maura @ 6:31 pm

I haven’t been walking to work much recently. I had this strangely persistent low-ish level head cold for much of the second half of March and early April, during which I convinced myself that it was better to take it easy. Then there was the break. But this week I’m trying to get back on that horse and I’ve walked each day (so far!).

There’s some newish art in the public/corporate plaza I walk through, but other than some flags made of black, white, and silver lamé fabric, which are kinda Hunger Games-ish, the rest is fairly uninspiring. I did take an alternate route yesterday which let me see the other side of the cool word art painted on that garage, but it’s sunnier on that street so I think I won’t make it a regular part of my day.

Today’s walk was nice: cool and crisp, finally, after the early awful heat of this week. And I saw a couple of weird things too. The first was a man getting on a bike near the preschool* I walk by who was wearing a full lower leg boot cast. He just got on the bike and rode away like nothing was wrong. Are you allowed to ride bikes with a broken leg? Call me crazy, but it just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. (Of course this made me wonder how he broke the leg in the first place…)

* This is the preschool Gus went to, which is now only 3 blocks from our house but when Gus went there was a couple of subway stops away. Commuting would have been so much easier back then if we could have walked! OTOH, 3 yr olds are skilled in making even a short commute into a long one.

The second weird thing was a woman pushing a dachsund in a baby stroller. The dog had a jacket on, and she was tucking a blanket around it. Looked like a normal baby stroller and I dunno, maybe she just dropped off her kid and was giving the dog a ride for the fun of it? I’ll also admit that, weird as it is, this made me wonder if we could put the cats in a baby stroller to take them to the vet. Probably not — I don’t think they would feel as adventurous about riding in a stroller as a dog would.

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what you see

maura @ 10:28 pm

Now that things are (somewhat) slower I’m trying to get back to some old, good habits, things I’d stopped doing when I was too busy or too tired. So I walked to work both yesterday and today. Today I even walked the old, preferable way, which is much more scenic and much less vehicle exhaust-y but takes between 5-10 more minutes. Which is nothing, really — barely a drop in the time bucket, practically zip in the great scheme of things. And something I should totally be doing for mental health, etc.

What I’ve missed in the past couple of months is new street/public art, which is everywhere! Photos of the stuff closest to work coming soon, but also there’s a great installation on a building on the scenic way to work. I didn’t stop to take pictures today, and anyway tonight I found much better photos than I could probably take. E.g.:


Really a cool project, and I haven’t even had a chance to walk around the entire building yet. I actually kind of adore that part of Brooklyn, that intersection of Livingston and Hoyt. True that it’s grungy and dirty and rundown and sad, plus the horrible commercial crowdedness of the Fulton St. Mall (where–UGH–xmas carols are currently being played so loud you can hear them 2 blocks away!). But there are amazing and beautiful historic buildings, and a Mexican grocery with 50 cent bags of chips for after summer-camp snacks, and lots of people people people coming and going and just trying to make it work.

Here’s an article about the artist, who sounds like a cool guy.

Image credit: sabeth718


we don’t need any kind of big parade

maura @ 10:45 pm

Yeah, I’m phoning it in tonight. I had 2 classes this evening and, while you’ll be happy to hear that they went well, I am wicked tired. 12+ hrs at work is a long time.

So here are some photos!

This is from the art windows that I pass on the way to work. It’s a mandala made of lots of little things on the floor inside this storefront.

It seems to change every few days. Perhaps this is why:

Yay for public art!


5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0

maura @ 9:08 pm

At times like this I’m glad I have a picture on my camera I’ve been meaning to upload:

I took this picture last week — it’s of the big jello mold art in the Willoughby Windows that I mentioned, one of my favorite things to walk by in the mornings on the way to work. After I wrote that post I searched all around Flickr, thinking that someone had to have taken a photo of the big jello mold on a table, but I couldn’t find anything. So here it is for your delectation.

I should probably join Flickr. I don’t know why I never have, just hasn’t occurred to me, I guess. I don’t take that many photos (though I do take more now that I have a phone w/a camera) and I’m not sure that I would ever remember to upload them. But it would be nice to add to the pool of Creative Commons-licensed images out there in the world, so maybe I’ll take the plunge soon.


everything you say, everything you do

maura @ 9:48 pm

Okay, that last post was kind of a bummer. Sorry about that. We finally turned on the air conditioner which helped enormously with the sluggishness I was feeling (and now it’s cooler again, phew). It’s been on so little this summer that I kind of keep forgetting that we have one (duh).

Last week we took a short but lovely vacation. We drove up to my dad’s in Vermont, stayed overnight, then left Gus there to frolic in the nature with my stepmother’s brother’s kids (who are about his age) while we hightailed it north to Montreal. Bonjour!

After driving an hour or so in the green hills it cracked us up that everything seemed to flatten out as soon as we crossed the border. Who knew so much mais sucre grew in Canada? We passed a hilarious pizza place called Arrete Papa! but went by too fast to get a picture.

We left a little later than planned so by the time we got to the hotel it was past lunch and I was starving. Montreal has a petite but tres charmant Chinatown that seemed about 50% Vietnamese restaurants, so we popped in for some pho + spring rolls, yum. Across the street was this awesome graffiti. Yay for recycling! If only my toilet paper was this happy.

After lunch we went to the library, of course! It’s a really cool huge library, 5 floors and very modern. An entire floor is devoted to music + movies (w/listening + watching stations), and another floor to the kids collection (also watching stations, kid-sized!). There was an art exhibit in the basement and loads of comfy-looking chairs and tables w/desk-type lighting + wifi everywhere. If I lived in Montreal I’d be there every weekend, seriously. Plus there was some more excellent graffiti in the alley near the back door.

We stayed in a small hotel in the historic part of the city (a birthday gift!). Among the lavender-scented soaps-n-things was a box of Everything. I know, seems small, right?

The next day we explored the city. This is the Palais de Congres (Convention Center) which looks like a kaleidoscope.

We walked through downtown which is just like every urban downtown (Starbucks? Non!). But on our way up the hill to see McGill University we passed this crazy sculpture of a crowd of people looking at something. All of the people in the front of the crowd are intently peering skyward, but as you walk towards the back of the sculpture things get kind of weird. Voici le petit homme mysterieuse! (I think I’ve got some gender issues in that sentence, oh well. High school was a long time ago.)

OMG there is an actual mont right in the middle of the city. After hoofing it up intense hills through McGill’s campus we got to the Parc du Mont Royal. These cool stripey rocks were near the bottom of the mont, and begged me to take their photo. How could I resist?

Then we climbed stairs/hiked practically straight up the mont, quite a workout. Luckily it was a gorgeous day, sunny but breezy and not too hot. The reward was this awesome view.

Then we had a little Mont Royal snafu. We wanted to head northeast out of the parc to the Plateau neighborhood to have lunch. But the parc is not very well-signed so in our efforts to not go back the same way we came up we kind of messed up and ended up walking forever only to emerge all the way on the other side of the parc BUT about the same distance from our destination as when we’d started, doh. All hail public transportation! We waited 15 minutes for a bus and were eternally grateful that it accepted paper money as well as coins.

I was starving (again) and exhausted by this point, and happy that we’d planned to eat at Cafe Santropol, a sort of funky crunchy crafty lunch place. There was an enormous garden and we snagged a table so far back next to the little pond that it was nearly hidden. And there was a tuba planter on the fence behind Jonathan.

This is my amazing and delicious sandwich, the Sweet Root: carrot salad with raisins and walnuts and curry on brown bread. Plus lots of extra fruits + vegetables. I’m getting hungry just looking at this, it was so good.

After lunch we thought about going to the archaeology museum, but I was too tired to read exhibit signs so we just went down to the river and hung out and read and watched the boats and people. There were some segway tours so of course we gawked at them, how could we not?

The next day we were headed back to the US, but not before going to the depanneur (= bodega) to buy a whole mess of chocolate bars in varieties not available on domestic soil. On our way out we stopped on two island parks in the St. Lawrence River. One was natural and one created for Expo ’67 (the world’s fair). Some of the old pavilions are still there and used for various purposes. This Buckminster Fuller-designed one was the US pavilion and is now a small environmental museum.

And then it was time to say Au Revoir, Canada. I’d like to go back sometime with Gus — we didn’t hit any museums and it seems like there’re lots of kid-friendly things to do. Not that he missed us, what with all of the canoeing and swimming in the pond and riding the alpine slide and making ice cream he did with his grandparents.

On our last night we made smores over a real campfire, though Gus preferred his toasted marshmallows solo. Because I hate marshmallows I just ate chocolate and graham crackers. Together we make a smore!

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that’s when their eyes got big

maura @ 5:28 pm

You may remember that time last year when I saw a manhole cover with the word TELEPORT on it. (Or maybe you didn’t, which is why I linked back to it just there.) And then I couldn’t find it later.

A couple of weeks ago I thought I found it again, except that I’m not exactly sure that this is the same one I saw before. I could swear that I saw the other one a few blocks away, but I haven’t walked that way to work in a while.

It’s funny, it never even occurred to me that this could be Art, but Jonathan suggested it might be so the last time I passed it I looked verrrrry closely. And it looks as solid and authentic as any other manhole cover. Plus, it’s right near a big old Verizon building and there are other manhole covers in the vicinity that feature the same hexagonal patterns (though they all read BELL TEL or have a bell on them).

That’s the boring explanation for its existence, though. I’d prefer it if you could really teleport. And, as Jonathan pointed out, there are little rocketships in between the hexagons. Interesting…

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