Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Wendy's "Gotcha" Day & She Has Grievances

Wendy in a typical pose, indicative of her extreme daily suffering and stress.

Today we celebrate Wendy's 4th anniversary with us. We adopted her as a kitten from a feral rescue organization in Swansea, Mass. They told us that Wendy, her mother, and brother were living in a fast-food parking lot. (It was not a Wendy's.)

Wendy has regaled us with Lists of Her Grievances in past years, and we have been overdue for a new list. Today, she obliged me (for once) by providing this: 

1. Evil Mommy keeps bringing strange animals into this place. This year, she dumped two Bad Boys on me and Possum. I thought I Was Going to Die because they would Kill Me.

2. Those Bad Boys steal from My Food Dish because they eat their foods up really fast, like starving wolves. Whereas I Nibble Slowly and Daintily like a Lady. I am getting really thin.

3. When a Boy is eating in my Food Dish, Evil Mommy sometimes makes him stop. Then I have to run away because it's obvious that Evil Mommy is Going to Kill Me next. (Besides, it makes Evil Mommy look pretty stupid when no one eats the Foods.)

4. After all these years, Evil Mommy still talks to me in a high-pitched voice, like she's my mother, and she tries to Pet Me. And I think I am Going to Die. WHEN will Evil Mommy EVER learn?

5.  Sometimes, one of the Bad Boys snuggles with Daddy on his leather chair. And Daddy allows it even though there would be no Room for Me if I decided to jump up there and spend 20 seconds with Daddy myself. This is Really Selfish of Daddy.

6. Sometimes, Evil Mommy sits in Daddy's leather chair and I forget she's Evil and I jump up there for petting. And we both get Really Confused. It's very mean of Evil Mommy to sit where Daddy belongs. I'm busy and I can't Keep Track of Everything!

7. Sometimes the Bad Boy with the white nose plays with my Green Snakey, my most Precious Toy that I carry around when I sing. He puts it in the fireplace and other Stupid Places. I hate that there's Boy Germs on Green Snakey.

8. The Bad Boy with the brown face is a Total Criminal. I don't know why Possum likes him. He chases me, and I chase him back, and he likes it. It's Totally Mean and Unfair. 

9.  We only get fed four times a day.

10. Evil Mommy took me and Possum to the vet. (Daddy drove and went in, too, but Evil Mommy was behind it all, I just know.)  I thought I was Going to Die. Then we went home.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


We still haven't found our next house or condo, but we have picked out its name: Toffeepot. Maybe giving a name to all of our vague house fantasies will help to make the dream a reality. After 3-1/2 years of daily. dedicated house-hunting, we are willing to try anything, including magical thinking.

I think our new place deserves its own name as well as an address, even though it won't be anything like "The Breakers" or "The Elms." No matter how small and humble it is, it will feel like the Holy Grail to us — the end of a long quest, a years-long struggle, and probably a war, given how many competing and above-asking-price offers local properties get these days. It will be hard-won, that's for sure.

After we reassured him that we wouldn't sell him to finance the purchase, the namesake is looking rather proud of himself:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Postcards from Concord

In Concord on Thursday, my garden club had a tour of Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott and her family lived for 20 years, and the place where she wrote Little Women, the book that finally took them from rags to riches — literally, for they were very poor, due to Bronson Alcott's lifelong inability to earn a living. This was only my second visit to this magical spot, even though Little Women is the book I'd choose to memorize if Fahrenheit 451 ever becomes a reality. (On thinking it over, it's probably too popular a choice; others would get there first. So it will be more useful if I memorize The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West.)

After visiting the house (no photographs, please...), we had a tour of the grounds with a volunteer gardener, a gentleman in a rustic straw hat and well-worn gardening clothes. We learned about the apple orchard that had been there when Bronson Alcott took over the property, and the many vegetables he planted to help keep his family fed. The place is covered in wildflowers and weeds nowadays but it's beautiful. And some very small apple trees were recently planted in the same area where Bronson had his. They are the same antique varieties that were common around Concord in the late 19th century.

Here is a view of the house from a patch of goldenrod and other wildflowers:

Bronson Alcott painted the house this dark color so it would blend in with its surroundings. I think it's much more distinctive than the typical, white New England house.

The front door offers a cheerful, welcoming contrast to the house's sober exterior.

While we were learning about the apple orchards, I was distracted by this romantic-looking gentleman reading on a bench on the property. Engrossed in his book, he reminded me of Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, Hawthorne, and the other philosophers and writers who lived in the neighborhood and probably sat around reading and writing under Concord's trees on fair autumn days.

The gardener reminded us about the passage in Little Women that describes the four little gardens each girl tended, and how their servant, Hannah said she could tell which patch belonged to which sister:
I'd know which each of them gardings belonged to, ef I see 'em in Chiny.
This garden might have been Meg's — she had fragrant flowers like heliotrope and myrtle in hers, and a little orange tree:

After I accidentally poisoned myself at lunch, I did a little shopping and walking in town. It was one of those perfect September days, but Concord lends itself to picture-postcard views almost anytime:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Recovering Nicely

I don't look as cute as Harris when I'm lying around.

Toast is a wonderful thing. So is Possum, who keeps me company. I think I'm much better, but I'll be eating bland food for another day or two, just to be sure. I'm also going to take a break from my pedometer for a few days, to see if it helps the bursitis I have in my knee, whichis fairly painless but looks like a ping-pong ball.  I've been averaging 10,000 steps a day for nearly three years, or about 5500 miles. I think I can take a little break, and my physical therapist is urging me to "slack off" to see if it brings down the swelling.

I emailed the restaurant that served me the soused mac and cheese, to ask them to please fix their menu so guests will know when alcohol is an ingredient in unlikely dishes. It matters to a diverse group of us: people with IBS, former alcoholics, people who take medications that interact with alcohol, Muslims, Mormons, and the list goes on. The manager of the restaurant called me tonight and apologized, saying he'd make sure the menu was revised. He also offered me a free meal for two. I'll happily go back — I'll just interrogate the waiter next time, as I usually do.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Felled by Beer

I was hoping to report on my visit today to Orchard House, the home of the Alcott family in Concord, a trip organized by my local garden club. But at lunch at A charming old Inn afterward, I ordered a crock of macaroni and cheese —  and it never occurred to me that they might make it with liquor. I called the restaurant tonight, and they told me they make their mac and cheese with a substantial amount of Guinness. Alcohol makes me sick; I've been like this for 11 years. I'd wondered recently if I had somehow been cured, and if it might be okay to have, say, a pasta sauce with a splash of wine in it — but it's definitely not.  I didn't taste the Guinness, although one of my friends said she thought she tasted alcohol.

If you have food allergies or sensitivities, always, always ask before you order a meal. I didn't, because I was with a large group of women and didn't want to take everyone's time—and risk being viewed as hypersensitive or fussy. Now I am unwillingly hosting a tiny mariachi band (or maybe it's a soccer team) in my stomach. Don't learn the hard way, as I just did. Just ask.

The person I spoke to at the restaurant tonight apologized, although I think it's my fault for not asking. On the other hand, who puts beer in mac and cheese. And there's this: their new menu debuted today and there are clearly some kinks they need to work out, including key omissions of ingredients on the menu — three friends ordered what they thought was a vegetarian "Alcott" sandwich (we had just learned during our tour that the Alcotts were mainly vegetarians, so a cheese and apple sandwich made sense....). But each one arrived filled with turkey.

I was lucky to spend the afternoon feeling fine as I wandered and shopped in Concord by myself after lunch. I was lucky that I only started to feel strange on the train ride home. I have not been so lucky since I came in the door. I'll be fine. I just need to stay close to home and follow the BRAT+G diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and — my addition — gingersnaps) for a day or two. I hope. Sometimes the band sticks around for a couple of weeks. But I'm going to think positively.

I'm going back to bed. More later.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bits and Pieces on the Web

New York Magazine is much more entertaining than Boston Magazine; I read it online all the time. Today they've got The 50 Most Fabulous (and Famous) Cat Ladies of All Time. Including this one:

Lauren Bacall and two friends. Photo: REX USA/C. Everett

Somehow they missed Audrey Hepburn and Orangey, her tabby costar in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I promised not to buy Frye products, but if someone left these Melissa Harness boots on my doorstep (size 7), I would not leave them there to weather the elements. That would be wasteful (although not as wasteful as cutting down seven mature trees to make room for neglected planters that look like chimneys).

I'm not buying these. I'm not. No, really...


At "casual dining" spots like Sullivan's and Tasty Burger, I dazzle my husband with my newfound knowledge of how those little paper ketchup cups, soda-can pull tabs, TicTac dispensers, and other everyday items are really supposed to work. You can impress your friends and family, too. Just go here.


Colorized photos of our favorite shipwreck of 1912? What's not to love?

 A stateroom. It appears they had "boob lights" even back then. 
Photo colorization: Anton Logvynenko.


I bought this Madewell Outbound Jacket the other day at their Newbury Street store, and I live in it. It's soft, sturdy, and weathered, like I've worn it for years. They make a new-looking, drizzle-resistant version that's lined, if that's more your speed. Madewell offers a 15% student/educator discount. I used that (via my husband) plus a $25 coupon I found in their catalogue, so I only paid $100.

I plan to wear this all winter for walking, with a warm sweater underneath.


When we move, we definitely want feline furniture. That is, about four out of six of us definitely do.

Now that I've gotten rid of 100 books, this much cat shelf space might be possible. 
But not for long. Source: Hamster Sokuhou.


Remember this crazy-painted house in Newton? The price has dropped twice since it was listed a couple of months ago. It would be a very nice house if you could stand being inside it long enough it repaint it:

This still upsets me. Photo: Via


A future post will cover some interesting things I've found on Pinterest, which remains a daily addiction.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Possum Plays

In between thinking deep thoughts, Possum will play for a bit if I keep tempting him with his favorite toys. He even chased the laser point dot tonight for a few seconds while the kittens were taking a break. He says I can't expect him to sit around reading improving literature all the time. Twenty to thirty seconds of intense daily exercise gets his blood flowing and helps him maintain his somewhat sleek physique. I wish that worked so well for me.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

101 Books

I've just removed another 26 books from our shelves, windowsills, and cupboards, so I'll be getting rid of 101 books. I cheated a bit, since 11 books had been in storage, waiting for a buyer on But they've been listed there for years without any interest, so it's time they went. But a book is a book and I'm about to be 101 books lighter. Fifty are going to be recycled since they are crumbly old paperbacks, but the other 50 are newer and in decent shape, and might be of interest to someone. Options include giving them to the Boston Public Library (or the Somesville or Bar Harbor Library when we head to Maine next month) for their book sales, or donating them to Boomerang's. We might see if Rodney's in Central Square will give us credit for some of the better titles. There's also a nonprofit bookstore-café in Waltham that might take them.

But before I decide about that, I've got a lot of work to do — reorganizing many of my hundreds of remaining books. I have lots of empty shelf space so I can add dozens of books that were living on tables, a windowsill, and a couple of other inappropriate spots. The problem is that most of the empty shelf space is up close to our 10-foot-high ceilings, since that's where I kept my least-favorite books.

Fortunately, this is my idea of a fun way to spend Saturday night.

All four cats look forward to having free space on the coffee table for their own stuff.

Current Craving: First Printer's Lobster Roll

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated the purchase of our first new car* in 11 years over lunch at First Printer, in Harvard Square.

We're not usually in the mood for lobster rolls, but we hadn't had any in Maine this summer, and it seemed appropriately celebratory, so we splurged. First Printer's version is served on a soft pretzel roll, and there's a hint of fennel and citrus along with plenty of lobster meat and some mayo. I've read that the restaurant keeps a lobster tank in the basement – the meat was fresh and sweet. The sandwich came with a salad that had pineapple and citrusy dressing, and a helping of thick, truffled fries (and I usually don't like thick fries). Altogether, it was a perfect medley of flavors and textures, which is not something I'm usually subtle enough to notice since I'm so busy feeding my face. Lobster, fennel, citrus, and pineapple are wonderful together! And the salty potatoes balanced the sweetness and tang.

First Printer has been offering a free scoop of their homemade ice cream with every meal. I usually can't eat ice cream, but the waitress told me I really should taste it and that she'd bring me just a small scoop. I chose dark chocolate, and it was marvelous — as dense and rich as frozen chocolate mousse. I finished it and survived. Now I want to go back to see if everything is as perfect the second time around. 

*It's a Subaru BRZ, in silver. It's zippy, affordable, and quite impractical — it holds about 2.7 passengers, needs premium gas, rides like a go-cart on its summer tires, and has a trunk the size of a glorified glove compartment. But it's also a gorgeous piece of "car candy" that makes my husband very happy, and that's what matters most. It also has heated seats (my only request this time around) and a decent safety rating for a car of its class. Our thanks to Some Assembly Required for advising us on this purchase. He compiled a list of cars that met our requirements for us to check out and test drive, and insisted on including this one (even though we're much too old for this car) because he knows my husband's taste.

Hippie Chic at the MFA, Part 2

Here are the rest of my photos from the "Hippie Chic" show (click photos to enlarge): 

One of my favorites: This graceful brown cotton "Tara" dress from 1969, by Betsey Johnson. 
It has a full, flounced skirt, inspired by Gone with the Wind, according to the label. But no hoop.

Another great favorite: this floral silk chiffon floral dress by Giorgio di Sant'Angelo has appliquéd silk flowers along the sleeves and a matching wreath. It was inspired by Botticelli paintings (see Flora in La Primavera).  Why? For some thinkers, the Flower People of the early 1970s — with their idealistic (read "flaky") beliefs about love, beauty, and nature — recalled the similar, Neoplatonic beliefs of Renaissance Florentines. That's, like, so deep! I just really want to wear this dress, man.

Here's another fantasy dress by Giorgio di Sant'Angelo. 
Love the skirt, which appears to be a series of scarves. 
The top looks like something out of a Peter Max poster.

I think my Francie doll had a dress similar to this, with better sleeves.
The label calls this a jacket, by Barry and Yosha Finch, 1970.
I love how the shoes match the tights. We used to obsess over such details — and succeed!

At this point, I got so carried away by the visual and musical feast that I stopped reading 
labels.  This dress has an Art Deco vibe that reminds me of the influence of films like 
Bonnie and Clyde (and, later, Chinatown) on late 1960's and '70's fashion. There was a point 
when every woman wanted to resemble Faye Dunaway. And why not?

More retro-inspired fashions. The bias-cut dress in the background — the whole ensemble, really —
looks very current. Even the shoes are back, although I'm not sure that's a good thing.
I love this suit but something about how it drapes suggests "polyester" rather than "wool."
It could be wool that drapes like polyester — synthetics were much more desirable back then.
I wish I'd checked the label.

In the early '80s, I had ghillie shoes like these, with tiny, narrow kitten heels, and pointy toes.
Mine were gray, and I actually got a job because my interviewer admired them so much.
The dress is made of Peter Max fabric.

What? No cat references in the APB's blog???
Check out the print on the trippy jacket on the left. 
I missed it entirely until a friend pointed it out, having read the label.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hippie Chic at the MFA, Part 1

Here are some photos of some of my favorite fashions in the "Hippie Chic" exhibition at the MFA. I revisited it today as I promised a couple of weeks ago. The security guard who was on duty is an old friend; he was blasting hits from the era on the free jukebox in the show. He told me that working in the exhibition is the most fun the guards can have these days.

Yellow tie-dyed Indian silk dress with embroidery by Thea Porter, around 1969.
Dress made of magenta Indian sari fabric by Arnold Scaasi, worn by Barbra Streisand.
(Click to enlarge; works for all blog photos.)

Beautiful embroidery covers the undyed fabric. I love the bishop sleeves. 

Silk empire-waist dress by Geoffrey Beene, 1970. I'd love to wear this.
With a pair of tall, lace-up granny boots without zippers.

 Coat by Thea Porter, made from a traditional nomadic Iraqi embroidered textile, trimmed with fur and a metal belt, 1969.

Dudes. I love the missing shirt under that fringed suede jacket. The ribbons on the green tunic look like a craft project invented by a strung-out Martha Stewart.

Groovin' fashions from 1972. On the right, a Missoni jumper, synthetic.
On the left, a quilted number in silk and organza by Geoffrey Beene.

On the left, a silk-velvet pantsuit by Halston.
On the right, a silk and velvet crazy-quilt dress by Yves St. Laurent, 1969–70.

And because I like making them, here's another psychedelic album cover featuring our pouting resident rock star, Harris. I hope you'll try making some yourself.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Book deaccessioning continues in fits and starts. I've eliminated 75 books from my library, with 25 more to go. Then I need to decide if I feel like getting rid of another hundred. Judging from how long this project is taking me so far, I believe I've already made that decision.

I found a book on one of my shelves (okay, it's a windowsill, and I hope it becomes an unemployed windowsill again one of these days) that belonged to my husband, so that was a bonus. I discovered several books I didn't know I had, and a few I really want to read.

The cats are no help at all.

Toffee, irritated by book and ladder commotion

Speaking of cats, we took Wendy and Possum to the vet on Saturday for check-ups and shots, and their weights are just right. Wendy is 9.5 lbs, down from a high of 12. Possum is 13.9 lbs, down from a high of 17.5. They don't need to lose another ounce, which means we should feed them a little more to keep their weight stable. If the youngsters would stop snitching food from Wendy and Possum's bowls, all would be well.

All would really be well if we could get into the habit of brushing their teeth. My vet brushes her cats' teeth every day. I've been planning to make this part of our routine — along with more regular grooming for the boys, at least — since these kittens arrived. I have everything I need to get started and our vet showed me how to do it. But the only real progress I've made so far is that I've added feline dental care to my List of Things to Stop Procrastinating about. I won't tell you how long that list is, but there are still items from high school on there. I've also been procrastinating about updating that list.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Whale of a Typo that Wasn't Mine

I'm always finding embarrassing typos on my blog, even though I scrutinize every paragraph before I post it. Honestly, I'm not careless — I'm clueless. It's hard to proofread your own writing.

I found some consolation on The New York Times homepage this afternoon:

There was a story about whales on the homepage, too, which must have had something to do with this. A commenter asked if JPMorgan had really been trading whales, and wondered if that was legal. The headline was corrected by this evening.


Harris has me wrapped around his fluffy tail. He has trained me to give him whatever he wants. 

He knows I spend way too much time on my laptop, so I often find this on my desk chair when I try to sit down:

This is just one of Harris's techniques for getting attention. I pick him up, and he purrs and snuggles. Then we play, or he and the others get fed. We usually play with the laser pointer or with toys on strings. Toffee will join in but he also likes to watch, staring at me as much as the toy. It's clear from his expression that he is trying to exert psychic mind control over me, repeating: "Get distracted. Drop the toy. Go away. Leave the toy to me." 

He would much rather eat a string toy and take a trip to the emergency room than play with it. And, after all, his mind control attempts have been effective at least once. 

 Note the damage to the seat, which someone likes to scratch. There will be no fine or punishment 
imposed for Destruction of Property, of course. I'll fire up the hot-glue gun one of these days.

Harris loves to chase the laser pointer dot a few times a day. If I've been neglecting him, he'll jump on my desk, making room for himself by knocking stuff on the floor. I keep the pointer inside an old Schrafft's candy tin, with other things I don't want on the floor, like keys and sunglasses. Harris tries to nudge the lid open with his nose. He knows I will immediately respond to his fine display of intelligence by "galloping" him. Then we'll play with another toy he can actually catch. 

Toffee still likes the pointer and Da Bird, but he is lazier about it. When he does choose to exert himself, his leaps, flips, and other gymnastic maneuvers are more spectacular than anything Harris does. But, in general, Harris still acts like a Kitten while Toffee is more of a Cat. There'll probably come a time soon when Harris doesn't want to play several times a day. Until then, I'm all his.

Possum ignores Da Bird, which drives Harris and Toffee wild.

Speaking of Cats, Possum and Wendy are often interested in playing with the laser pointer and string toys, too, but they restrain themselves and try to act blasé around the youngsters. Possum will only chase the dot if the others aren't nearby. I have to admit he does look silly charging around after nothing, when he is such a dedicated scholar most of the time — and I think he's aware of it (although I haven't said a word). He must have read somewhere that short bursts of aerobic activity are good for the heart. But he knows the kittens need hunting practice more than he does, so he usually leaves them to it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Name the Mushroom

Yesterday I spotted these unusual mushrooms under a tree in Belmont: 

I've just gone through my four mushroom guidebooks and I can't identify them, although they might belong to the genus Hydnellum. My guides would be more useful to me if they were categorized according to the adjectives I use for describing mushrooms, like "disgusting," "gooey," and "gross."

As I study these photographs, I think these could be said to resemble a poorly shaped caramel-pecan sticky roll with their lightly browned coloring and gooey, gross, disgusting interior. They did not look remotely appetizing in person.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Harris Poses

Harris is going for gravitas in this photo. I like the way he draped his tail over the arm of the chair. But he's not fooling anyone: he's a sweetheart and a snuggler.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Toffee Poses

He looks like a little angel, doesn't he?

We know better.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

50 Books... and 12 Years

September 11, a melancholy day. We all changed when those towers fell. We may not feel it acutely anymore, but we're different, even as we've moved on. Moved on to the point where Massport picked today to ignite some old fuselage at the airport for fire training. Judging from the local reaction, most of us haven't moved on that far.

I'd call today a scorcher — the weather guy said it felt like 104 degrees this afternoon — except that it was so humid that "scorcher" sounds too dry and appealing. I went for a morning walk and it felt like slogging through soup along the Esplanade. My feet were burning and sore when I got home. So I canceled some appointments and stayed in, turned the air conditioning up to a roar, and told myself I'm lucky to have the freedom to do as I please (which is spin for saying I'm unemployed).

I pulled out our ladder, picked some bookshelves, and filled a recycling back with 40 ratty paperbacks (plays and monologues from my acting days, textbooks, my crumbly Tolkien trilogy). I put ten decent hardcovers aside to offer to a used bookstore for credit. Ten books will usually trade for only one or two others, but that's fine.

I didn't find this as hard as I expected, but I've pledged to winnow another 50 books from my library. Those will be more difficult to cull; I hope to start tomorrow. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

In other news, I managed to photograph Wendy today, hanging out with Possum. Usually she hides all day like a little furry Garbo:

Those two will go to the vet tomorrow for their check-ups. I look forward to hearing about their weights, which should be much lower than last year, thanks to their healthier diet. I'm curious to know if we should feed them more; they'd love it.

Our vet hospital is moving five miles away to Forest Hills, next week. I will miss being able to walk to their office in Kenmore Square whenever we need anything. On the other hand, the cats are all so healthy that I haven't had to go there in months. Let's hope that keeps up. Forever.

When it cooled down to about 90 tonight, I went for another walk. The Pru was lit up to commemorate the day:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

NABB Street Fair

On Saturday morning, we went to the annual street fair sponsored by the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay. I look forward to it every September; I've gotten some deals.

The NABB fair on Dartmouth Street

This year, I felt less enthusiasm about going. While we were on vacation in Maine, we went to a number of antique shops in different towns, and I finally "overdosed" on junk. I walked into one shop and had to leave within seconds. I felt stuffed, but it had nothing to do with food. It felt mildly  nauseating and suffocating to be surrounded by so many old family photos, toys, books, musty wedding gowns, and beat-up housewares, everything left behind by the people to whom they once meant the most. It made me sad to think about time passing and lives ending. It made me think about what will happen to our stuff when we're gone. (I have no idea, but my goal is to have a whole lot less stuff by the time we are statistically much closer to that inevitability.) 

It made me want to go home and throw out some junk. We are not hoarders and our place doesn't seem cluttered, except with books. You might think we couldn't have much stuff in 800 square feet of living space but we have enough to make cabinets, closets, and drawers feel too full. 

Doorknobs, courtroom transcription machine, chamber pot. No thanks.

For more than a month now, I've been talking about getting rid of 100 books as a beginning decluttering exercise. It's time to get out the ladder and get to it. I did a similar book purge a few years ago, and so I expect it will be more difficult this time. But it's necessary; I have nowhere to put books that arrive as gifts, and I haven't been able to bring myself to buy a book in months. 

Writing about it here means I'm committing to it. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. After that, it will be time to tackle the rest of the apartment, including clothes and papers, my two biggest problems after books when it comes to downsizing. 

My obligatory photo of a basket of someone's former beloved playmates

Even though September is the best time for antiquing, we skipped going to the Brimfield Antiques Fair, which was also held last weekend. Normally, I love wandering around, eating unwholesome food, buying things I think I can't live without, and taking photos of surrealist vignettes. This time, I couldn't bear the thought of all that stuff.

The NABB Street Fair was small enough that I was able to be there long enough to see everything. I confess I even bought something. I seem to be collecting little spheres. I have slowly accumulated about a half-dozen, mostly in glass. At the fair, I fell for a 2" stone sphere, in dark blue with marbly veins of copper and red, that its dealer told me had belonged to an old spiritualist who'd died recently. He said he picked up all kinds of weird stuff from the estate for a song, including the guy's large supply of weed. I said I didn't need any weed but I bought the sphere for $5. So far it doesn't have magical powers, but that's okay. My husband pointed out that it will make a terrific noise when the cats roll it off of whatever surface I put it on. But it was too late.

And you can never have too many cat toys.