Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Updates and Observations

Just back from Chicago, visiting the SOOTTAD for her birthday. Great trip, felt kinda stupid flying back Monday morning rather than staying an extra day. I think the idea was that I'd get back into Boston a little after noon and actually get in a half-day's work. It turns out that I probably could have gotten more work done if I had just staying in Chicago and worked remotely -- somehow the flight totally drained me and I ended up just kicking around the house reading a book rather than working -- I'll have to mention that to the senior partner of the group... right after I let him know about my new nap schedule that I'll be taking up at the office. Right.

So anyway, great trip. We ate well: a fabulous meal at Blackbird (although the one bottle of wine and split glass of port totally schnockered us -- geez we are such lightweights) and then another overindulgent frenzy at HotChocolate. I am amused that in both instances, we were complemented by the server on our manner of dining (lots of apps, lots of variety), and only in the latter occasion did it seem like he was being gratuitously obsequious. I would very much like to go back. HotChocolate, in particular, which seemed like the perfect place to just spend a long leisurely afternoon and evening drinking and snacking with friends. Hopefully the SOOTTAD will write something up about the meals sometime soon.

Of course, the whole getting up early thing went out the window with the hangover Saturday morning. And then sleeping in Sunday, was just, well, nice. Maybe I've never really given this early-rising thing a real chance at taking root, but in my experience, I've been able to feel awake: conscious, alert, ambulatory. Whatever. I'm awake. But I don't think I've ever felt rested. Sunday, getting up around 11, even though it was clear that I could have rolled over and gone right back to sleep, it was really nice to feel rested: refreshed, recharged. Sadly, I want more, but I had to be up before 7am to catch my flight, and now I'm back home and I have to readjust again to get up for work. I haven't decided whether I'll try to get back on that horse or just switch over to a slightly more constrained naturalistic approach. We'll see what happens as the week progresses.

Cat2 hasn't been doing that well recently. He was puking pretty much every day and I finally got him to the vet a few weeks ago. The diagnosis came back Friday (right before I flew out to Chicago) Severe Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He's been prescribed Prednisone and Flagyl, which has been a challenge to administer. They're both pills, the Flagyl cut into quarters, and I'm no stranger to pilling cats (Cat1 was on heart medication for a number of years), but Cat2 has an uncanny ability to disgorge pills even when I get them into the back of his throat, which isn't supposed to be possible. (I guess this figures for a cat that was vomiting daily.) The trick? Put fresh wet food in the bowl, pill, hold mouth shut, then distract with the food. So far, so good. We can only hope that his attention span is short enough to prevent him from catching on.

So, recent observations:

  • On one of the previous visits to Chicago (a rainy weekend, as I recall) we had noticed several large intersections where the traffic was being directed by the police, even though the traffic lights were still working. They seemed kind of redundant at the time. So on Friday, after exiting the train station, I wait at the first major intersection (Division and Ashland, I think) waiting for the light to change so I can cross. I'm not paying particularly close attention to the lights, just observing the traffic patterns, so it takes me a while to realize that the traffic lights are out. Oh. So basically it's a free-for-all and I just have to pick a moment, go, and hope for the best. I make it across without too much difficulty (hey, I've lived in Boston for 15 years) and notice that the power still seems to be on -- it's only the traffic lights that are out. Huh. And then I see a police cruiser reach the intersection. I wonder if they're there to bring some order to the situation. Nope, they find an opening, cross the intersection and are gone. Huh. Chicago is a very odd city.
  • Charlie cards are coming. (Actually, more accurately: CharlieTickets) They were installing new turnstiles at Alewife when I left and they were letting people in free at Maverick when I came back, the old token turnstiles being out of commission (and who knows what was going on at the Airport stop -- the terminal shuttle busses took us to Maverick). I still find it odd that they chose to name the new card system after the character of a song who got stuck on the T and could never get off. And the irony that the song was written as a protest over fare increases and that the new card will actually make fare increases easier to implement is also not lost.
  • We learned on our Oakland trip that Jambong (a favorite Korean noodle soup dish we used to routinely get at a local restaurant in Lawrence) is actually a Chinese dish. At least, that's what my Korean friends told me. I wasn't really having any of it since the only places I've had it have been at three Korean restaurants around the Boston area, and zero Chinese restaurants. Well, I had a hankering for Jambong (did I mention the hangover?) on Saturday and well... wouldn't you know it, all the Korean restaurants we visited that afternoon kept telling us it was a Chinese dish. And then one sent us to the Chinese restaurant that served it. (I may eventually write about the experience over at Foodnerd.)
  • Tomato plants seem to be growing pretty well. Sadly, they don't seem to be fruiting. They're making flowers, but the flowers are just dying off. I'm not sure if it's because of all the crazy rain or if there's a problem with the soil that I need to address. Unfortunately, not a lot of time to hit the garden store these days.
  • The grapes and raspberries, on the other hand, are doing quite well. My only concern is that the critters don't get to them before we can enjoy them.

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