Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Late Spring Poem

It is late springish, although you'd never know it in Boston. And here is a spring poem, although a little late to post it since it is called "Eastering."
thus, a doubly late spring poem. I think this one captures that weird feeling of spring thaw.

From a lovely little book of poems called Morning Watch by Barbara Pescan.


Why this sadness toward spring?
Half smiles at the first yellow flowers,
Tears pooling for no reason with each rain and sunset?

Each year this green show
blows wide winter's coverings and lets us see
the swell and push of beginning again.

Am I meant to rise too?
To push away what leans against the door of my
pinched heart?
I cannot.
Compassion for myself
is a slow growing crop,
however carefully tended
it yields an unreliable harvest.

These resurrections
ask more than I can give
every time
this hurts more
than the pains of my body
than the old world of sorrows
this offering of love
this unbearable gift of another chance.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Suspicion: Alfred Hitchcock Raises Some Questions

I rented this the other night as one of Hitchcock's Masterpieces. I've seen a few other of his films, and I'm always curious to learn what the fuss is about, this genius of film, this mastermind of mystery ... this guy with the profile.

A few quick facts I learned about this particular film:
Joan Fontaine won an Oscar for her performance. She does have a way with wiggling her eyebrows individually that is fun to watch. But the whole fainting thing always seems silly to me. I guess it isn't unusual for a female character to do that in films those days. Women in my generation of films only faint if they are pregnant or if they have to eat a gallon of grasshoppers in two minutes. When she fainted twice, I kept wondering if this meant she was going to say she was pregnant. Nope, just oh-so upset!

The luminescent glass of scary milk actually had a light bulb in it to create that effect. Cool!

The ending was changed by request of the censors and was not Hitchcock's desired ending. But for some mysterious reason, no one is telling me what he would have done otherwise.

Hitchcock shows up 45 minutes into the film, mailing a letter (I missed this moment).

Question for the audience: What is up with the small cubist painting in their front hallway that the police officer keeps looking at? It doesn't seem to play a role in the film and no one mentions it in their discussion of the film. Yet Hitchcock deliberately lingers on this painting at least twice. I have googled this one to no avail. Does anyone know?

It was a fun film, and certainly did leave you guessing until the end. And even after the end, when Johnny's explanation of his intention is accepted but you remember all the previous lies he told .... is this just another one of his stories? Hmmmm....

Monday, May 23, 2005

Foodquests Not Forgotten -- Flour

I know all of my friends who actually kinda like my food quest posts are wondering about my latest searches, my latest endeavors to find the truly yummy out there in Boston and beyond. Never fear, my friends. My silence is not indicative of the end of the search, but just the same old boring excuse about being too busy to write about them. Oh, they have been happening, believe me. Food quests are an integral part of my week. What meaning would life have without them? It is too grim to even ponder. In addition, I have been lazy with my camera lately, and it isn't nearly as fun to write about food wihtout providing a photo for you to scrutinize. That's something that annoys me about art criticism -- if you can't see the work they are talking about, it drives me nuts. Although I suppose a taste of the food you are critiquing would be more helpful ... hmmm. But I digress!

A few new quests have been attained, even if I cannot prove it outside of maybe a few crumbs.

I've heard for a while about the homemade granola bars at Flour, a highly regarded bakery in the South End. As my new job puts me in this general vicinity, it seemed like a good one to add to the list. And it was definitely worth the not-very-long trek for the variety of interesting treats. I struggled for a moment with the granola bar quest as I spotted "twice baked brioche" and "chocolate banana bread" and "scharfenberger chocolate cookies" and ... and ... whew. I was starting to break into an anxious sweat when I realized I could go back another day. So I calmed down and just got the granola bar. The verdict? It is good. Pretty good. Not weepingly good but good. I'm probably not the best judge as there is no chocolate involved. There's a layer of granola-ish bar, then fruity jammy layer, then another granola layer. Pretty straightforward.

Next time then, the twice baked brioche. Can it compare with the twice baked brioche at the cool bakery in Chevy Chase Maryland next to Politics and Prose, my favorite bookstore/coffeeshop on the planet, the bakery whose name I can never remember? Stay tuned ... an upcoming visit to DC is my opportunity for a brioche smackdown. Hee hee, brioche smackdown. I crack myself up.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Ten Best Boston Sweets Experiences

This entry was inspired by the great blog, Words to Eat By, where she lists 10 of New York's best. She was inspired by an article in the Observer of Top 50 Food Experiences. Why are these lists so addictive? I don't know, but here I am, adding to the craziness. I'm narrowing in on dessert because the larger food list is too overwhelming. Also, this list seems to be comprised of "easy access desserts" -- perfect for tourists or busy professionals on their dessert break, er, lunch hour. I reckon it would be easy to do a separate "sit down dessert" list which would include things like the Baked Alaska at Oleanna ... don't get me started.

Without further ado, my personal list of ten favorite Boston sweets/dessert!:
1. Chocolate mocha cookie from Rebecca's, preferably still warm.
2. Custard filled pastry from the bakery near the gate in Chinatown (preferably still warm too) and a bargain at all of 75 cents.
3. Hot chocolate from LA Burdick's. Or any chocolate there, really.
4. The wet walnut cookies at Athan's in Brookline. They are soaked in something sticky and yummy. I don't know what they are called, but don't miss em.
5. Brownies from Rosie's Bakery (they don't call 'em Chocolate Orgasms for nothing). And I claim these to be the best in town, only after a careful research study with the arduous task of tasting brownies all over Boston. A big claim but I take this seriously
6. The chocolate bread pudding at the Chocolate Bar at the Langham Hotel. Wow. It's made with chocolate and croissants. That is all you need to know. (Not really a quick access one but definitely a good tourist stop).
7. The Schlesinger Sandwich at the Parish Cafe (Ham and cheese on banana bread). Sounds weird; it IS weird. But scary good. It's in the dessert area because it is like eating lunch and dessert all at once.
8. The filled muffins at Souper Salad always crack me up. Gilding the lily, you know? Their banana chocolate chip muffin is the best in town.
9. The torrone from Modern Pastry. My mom makes me bring this across the country for her.
10. The miniature ice cream sundae at Toscanini's, preferably with burnt caramel ice cream. Just right.

Whew. I'm going to need a glass of milk or something.

Feel free to add your own list in the comments area or to your own blog!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Careful What You Wish For

My new job has started and then some. This is a good thing. Not good for a blog, but good for my life in general. I wanted a job where I felt needed, where I was challenged, where I was put to good use. I think I got all that. Oh boy did I get it.

It is always interesting to watch one's response to stress. I generally do well at first (who doesn't) and then over time, funny little things start popping up. This morning I thought I was in a pretty good mood until a small thing happened and then WHAM! I realized I'd better go sit outside on my lunch break and stare at some trees for a while. It had been too long since I had really even breathed.

That was a good idea. I took some breaths, wrote in the journal, took a walk, ate a cookie. I came back to my office and cleaned up the piles of papers. I put up some pictures. I wrote a to do list. (You know you're feeling stressed when you feel too busy to write a to do list). And now I am feeling more caught up. Enough to write a quick blog entry!

So there it is -- entry from Amy the Professional rather than Amy the Doula, Amy the Artist, or Amy the Vigilant Food Questor. This blog isn't the most focused one in the world, but neither is my life I guess. Oooh. Does that count as profound insight?

Anyhow, yes, be careful what you wish for. Or at least remember that when you get what you wish for, it might take you a month or so to appreciate it.

Will I have have photos on this blog again? Time will tell.