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Today on our morning walk we came across a small broken robin egg. Looking closer we discovered it had a baby bird, not yet fully formed, still inside the half-opened shell. The poor thing had fallen or been snatched by a predator and dropped out of its nest. The little bird was maybe half done, big bulbous eyes and tiny body, little wings and feet neatly folded in the fetal position. Afraid it might get squished or eaten, I found a piece of plastic and a stick and scooped it up and carried it back to our house.

I wondered, at first, if it was still alive. I knew it wasn’t likely, that it probably hadn’t survived the fall let alone the time outside its egg. Who knows how long it had been there before we found it. Could we keep it warm? How does the bird even keep growing inside the egg—could I recreate that environment some how? How would I feed it? All these questions of course pointless as the little bird was, I am certain, no longer living.

So I found a spot under the rhododendron bush out front of the house and dug a little hole and laid the little bird with its half shell egg inside. I told the bird it was ok. He would be alright, and he’d come back to earth soon, perhaps as another bird, or something else. His tiny spirit would live on longer than his body did. I covered him up with the dirt and laid a wet leaf over the mound and the stick I’d used on top of it. I said another little prayer then went back inside.

I’ve thought all day about that little bird. How it wouldn’t get a chance to fly or be an early bird for a worm. Did his mama know he was gone? Was she looking for him? Or was this just the way nature works, unfair as it seemed. Nature is at once beautiful and powerful, and often incomprehensible.

This small little bird didn’t have his chance today, but maybe tomorrow. Or some day, years from now. Maybe he’ll be an eagle, or a white dove.

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Ok people,

I know we can do better than this.  Is there no one who wants to add to the story?  Or does it end with our friend Charlie walking down the hill to feed his dozen sheep? (thanks Mark!).  As glad as I am that Mark humored me by playing the game, I was hoping this would start a great thread.  If I can only get my husband to read the blog that we both (mostly) own, well then maybe I should just give it up.

But hmm… maybe this story DOES end with Charlie feeding his sheep.

Perhaps, then, we should begin anew. Yes?

Play? Play with me?

Anyone?

Again, the premise– I’ve started us off with a few sentences.  You read the story and add to it with a few words, sentences, paragraphs,  thoughts, whatever you have time/interest for (oooh–perhaps an illustration? You can email it to me and I will post it).  I will pull all comments up to the main blog body.

Let us begin:

The wind was hot, not at all refreshing.   She sat on the bench with her head towards the sky, watching two crows bounce on the cable line.  Moments passed, and then she was brought to sharp attention by a loud noise somewhere behind her.  The sound of the loud crash rang in her ears. She turned to see what it was, and to her surprise, saw a large man carrying an unreasonable number of cymbals in large bags.  One had fallen to the ground, and he was wrestling with his fat white cat on a leash while trying to collect his dropped cymbals.  Being a percussionist herself, she was immediately drawn to the varying sizes and weights of the cymbals.  She had always preferred the large, marching band staples which effortlessly created a sense of excitement.  She wondered whether she might filch a set while the large man was focused on his cat.  Then suddenly, in the distance, she began to hear the emergency alarms.  It was time.  The war had begun.

The sudden sounding of alarms frightened the fat cat, who managed to escape as his flustered owner dropped the rest of his cymbals to the ground, causing further emotional scarring to the cat who already suffered from anxiety.  The large man stared at the mess of his cymbals on the ground as he watched the cat run away, red leash trailing.  Should he collect his cymbals, or run after the cat?  He couldn’t run very quickly.  What if he couldn’t catch the cat? Who would feed it its Xanax?

Shrugging, he left the cymbals and went after the cat who dashed down the pathway into the thick of the park. “New cymbals will have to wait,” thought the girl as she reluctantly got up from the quiet of her bench to aid the man in his cat saving quest. The sounds of the sirens continued to swirl around the scene, the mix of heat and fumes rising up from cars and trucks stuck in a mass on the street as emergency squads forced their way through the traffic.  The man weaved his way way through the trees and bushes where he thought he had seen the cat go, the woman following quietly behind him.  He was unsteady on his feet, panting and out of shape. As he made his way up a hill, the sound of the sirens from the street continued to grow in number and volume.  “What the heck is going on over there?” the man wondered for a second, before stopping short at the top of the hill. He was absolutely stunned that he saw…

I am sweating. Glowing. Dripping.

It’s too hot. And it’s not even hotter than yesterday I don’t think.

Weather.com says it’s 85, feels like 89.  “Warm.”  Yeah. No sh.t.

Even my fish are looking at me like, “Uhm… the water is WARM, Momma! Yeah, we’re cold-blooded but this is ridic!”

I don’t feel like eating. I don’t feel like cooking.  I don’t even feel like watching TV.  I don’t feel like doing much of anything but laying on the floor with Gordon, sprawled out, limbs not touching anything, cold washcloth on my forehead, wishing the heat away.  Poor Gordon doesn’t feel like doing much of anything either… not even a bone will tempt him.  Ice will though, he loves ice.  We are lucky to have window-units to keep the place a bit cooler, but it still gets warm.  I worry for those with no cool air or ventilation, or who are working in jobs that keep them outdoors or in hot areas.  We saw a worker get pulled out of a construction site today with what appeared to be heat stroke–the paramedics came quickly but I hope he’s ok.

Today I read a terribly sad and beautifully written article from March 2009’s Washington Post about children being accidentally left in cars by absent-minded but deeply loving parents.  On days like today I worry about children and pets and the elderly being transported in cars at all or even being left in their homes with no air conditioning or fans, and hope that their caregivers remember to check on them, to take them (babies/pets/elderly) out of their cars even for a quick errand, or to provide cool water and air when possible.

We haven’t had a good rain in weeks… maybe a month! In sharp contrast to last spring when we had record rains all of June and much of July.  Now, where only last month the grass was green and lush, today everywhere it is brown and dry.  The leaves on trees and plants hang sad and parched.  The pavement stays warm long into the night and the water runs tepid out of the faucet.

Ok, enough for now.  I’m going to give Gordo another round of ice cubes and maybe spray him down a bit with some water.  Maybe spray me down a bit too.  Mark is playing softball and I hope he is drinking enough water!!  It will start to cool off and it’s always a few degrees cooler in Cambridge than it is in Belmont, though only a few miles away.

What are you doing to stay cool?  Please be careful everyone!

As loyal LPE readers well know, Anna and I have enjoyed learning how to bake a fine loaf of bread over the past few years. Usually, we knead, knead, knead away and go through several rising cycles to make a nice, dense sandwich loaf. But just a few weeks ago, a colleague of mine gave us a most special treat — a beautiful loaf of cranberry pecan bread and the recipe for how to make it.

Last weekend I finally tried the recipe. And it’s incredible. Here are the results:

Not bad, eh? Best part is that it’s the easiest loaf of bread I’ve ever made. Check out the recipe here.

Apparently, this recipe made the rounds about 3 years ago after being featured in the NYT and has been popular ever since. The two biggest differences between this and other simple bread recipes are: 1) the bread requires no kneading (but it has to rise for 12-18 hours) and 2) you bake it in a dutch oven so that you simulate baking in a steam oven. You can add all sorts of things to it (nuts, cheese, fruit, etc.), or, just keep it simple. And how cool does it look to have the flour pattern from the towels between which the dough rose on the outside?

So make yourself a loaf today. And invite us over. We’ll bring the soup.

In another installment of my new series, we feature a classic spot in Watertown that’s about 10 minutes from our house. We first saw this place just driving by and thought, “A new restaurant in an old steel car diner! Every one of those we’ve ever been to has been good.” It looks like this:

Just by the looks of it, you’d figure it would have good breakfast stuff, right? But would you guess they’d have a rockin’ gourmet dinner menu? And fantastic dessert? And good beer? And water in fancy bottles? Well let’s see…

Right on all counts! The whole classic old-school diner vibe is evident from the counter…

…to the menus, which feature images of old travel postcards from tourist traps of the U.S.A. (including… wait for it… Ogden, Utah! Which I’m thrilled about, because my Aunt and Uncle live there!). Here I am with a slightly more conventional San Francisco menu:

Anna and I like to go to the diner for just about any special occasion or, well, just about any occasion. Usually we try to sit in the fun circular booths. The last time we went it was super busy for a Sunday night, so we sat at the counter and watched one of the chefs turn out magic on the griddle. Highlights include their “kobe” beef burger, their Thanksgiving dinner plate, their sour cream pancakes, and their split pea soup:

When I try to be healthy, I order my favorite, the Asian chicken salad. Sometimes Anna likes to order it too:

Lately, Anna has been really into their Lime Rickeys, whose color reminds me of Ecto Cooler:

And we both are totally into their one-of-a-kind pointy cupcakes:

In short, the Deluxe Town Diner is the Best of Boston. It will make you happy. If you are in the Boston area, you must go soon. If you live somewhere else and ever come to visit us, chances are we will take you there.

EDIT: We were there on Saturday and the menus have changed! No more olde timey state postcards, now it’s some kind of painting that’s the same on them all. Oh well, farewell, Ogden menu, it was fun while it lasted.


We leave tomorrow for a long trek west (driving first to Ohio for some pre-Christmas cheer in Granville, then jetting to Wyoming/Colorado for some old west fun) and won’t be back until the new year.  We may or may not be blogging, but just in case we don’t see you all until 2010, we wanted to say happy holidays to all!

Wishing you glad tidings and joy for the season, health, happiness and much love.

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!

Love,

Anna, Mark, and Gordon

Just in time for the holidays, we’re giving away soaps to a lucky reader of our friend Ronit’s blog, Two Hippos. Read the post and comment at the bottom for your chance to win your choice of two bars of LPE soap.

Ronit is the ultimate crafter, quilter, baker, vegetarian chef — and history Ph.D. candidate — and maintains an awesome blog! She’s giving away eight different gifts from her own collection and those of friends for Chaunukah, so check back each day for more giveaways! And keep reading Two Hippos after the holidays for more of her craft ideas, recipies, and fun things to purchase.

The title explains it all. Gordon seems to do all of the things that “dogs” do, like searching every room in the house for a place to safely store his rawhide bone for later…

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