Friday, November 11, 2011

Busy Day

There are more than 16,000 steps on the pedometer tonight. That's as many as I'll accumulate during a long day of traipsing around Paris if I don't get lost much. How did I get so many today?

This morning, I went to Fenway Studios to return some materials my husband borrowed from a conservator. I'd never visited there before this week, but I've been there four times now. It's a wonderful place, very evocative of old Boston during the Arts and Crafts and Boston School era. My favorite period of the past.

I picked up a refill at our vet's, in Kenmore Square. Met my husband at the eye doctor in Copley Place. Bought apples and leeks at the farmer's market; forgot to buy pears.

Lunchtime. We walked in a stiff, cold wind to One Beacon Street to find Doré Crèperie. It was worth nearly freezing to death, we both agreed. Their crèpes are good-sized and full of flavor. Mine had sautéed mushrooms and spinach, rosemary ham, and Swiss cheese. My husband chose Brie, rosemary ham, and honey. We resisted having dessert despite the looming presence of many large Nutella jars, which are stacked up just like they are at crèpe stands in Paris. Definitely going back there soon; it's gotta be soon: they close in about a week.

We walked home past the Veteran's Day parade, through falling red and yellow leaves on the Comm. Ave. Mall. I briefly assumed my favorite supporting role, as Possum's mattress, while I warmed up on the sofa. Then we met our broker for  a condo showing in the South End, where we were stood up on the front steps by the listing broker. We drove to Brookline (how I love car heaters) for cat food, groceries, and dinner at Anna's Taqueria. We were having a carb-heavy day, but we truly have reformed our habits, à la South Beach Diet Phase 2 or 3. Instead of ordering two regular burritos, we split a "super" one to reduce calories. It's just enough to satisfy our hunger. "First French crèpes and now a Mexican one," my husband observed. There's something very special about round, flat food, from crèpes and sugar cookies to blueberry pancakes  and tortillas. I think it's called "carbs."

We were briefly home again before walking to the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, which is at the Hynes Auditorium this weekend. We roamed the aisles and saw wonderful things, as always. I held a pristine first edition of A Room with a View (E.M. Forster) from 1908. It was bound in deep burgundy leather with bright gilding; it felt like satin. It looked brand-new, not a century old, in every respect but its craftsmanship. It was a mere $3,200. I saw a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird inscribed by Harper Lee and Robert Duvall (he also signed himself as "Boo").

There were Edward Gorey limited editions, miniature books, signed Beatles memorabilia, gorgeous art books of all flavors, and some first-generation photos of Bonnie and Clyde, along with bullets. I found a Tiffany Blue Book catalogue from 1916, listing diamonds I could sort of afford. Antique etiquette books, children's books, early cookbooks, pastel maps.... A three-volume set of 19th-century prints of Egypt for $264,000. "Step away from that display, sir," I warned my spouse. There was an antique velvet case filled with dozens of glass eyes; not sure why it belonged at a book fair, but books are pretty useless if you don't have eyes....

We saw many wonders but came home empty-handed. Or not quite: many dealers print glossy color catalogues that are nice to keep around for rainy-day browsing.

And we're heading to bed and A Tale of Two Cities, with a smug pedometer and a sore little toe.

We've spent the week mourning a handsome Victorian house in Somerville that went under agreement hours before we arrived at the open house.We'd had the clichéd, love-at-first-sight experience. It was a house worth leaving Back Bay for, we agreed. But maybe it's a blessing that it won't be ours. We couldn't have gotten to any of today's singular destinations from Somerville without driving, long stints on the T, or extra hours of walking. Life in Back Bay is more convenient and probably much more fun, although I'll bet it's lovely to live in 2,600 square feet, with a grape arbor in the garden, too. I guess I'd rather have everything closer to my front door, even when it makes my little toe hurt.

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