Toni-Lee, age 30 or so. photo: copyright © Howard Dinin, 2018.

Toni-Lee, age 30 or so.
photo: copyright © Howard Dinin, 2018.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019


My apartment is filled with 20-year-olds.
So full of life, they.

I was like that once.
As was my wife.
Here’s proof.

Happy.
Full of life.
Full-time teacher at Boston University.
Scholar.
Food buff.
Mother of three boys, 5, 7, and 9.
Who thought of death then?
But many years later she’s not with us anymore.

So appreciative to have the 20-year-olds filling my apartment with life.

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Postings Count, Weather Brief, and Dinner

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

My 336th consecutive posting, committed to 5,000.

Time is 12.01am.
On Thursday Boston’s temperature will reach a high of 48* with a feels-like temperature of 41* under sunny skies.

Dinner with Kat’s friends.
Turkey Cacciatore.

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Tick Tock : Marking Calendars and Deep Weather


After 336 posts we’re at the 6.72% mark of my commitment,
the commitment a different way of marking the passage of time.

Two mild days to follow four seasonal days after that and then the first day of spring.  is winter gone?  Tick Tock. In clock language: Enjoy today.

Two mild days to follow
four seasonal days after that
and then the first day of spring.

is winter gone?

Tick Tock.
In clock language: Enjoy today.






 




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Question of the Day

What is Spring?

For jumping out of trees.

For jumping out of trees.

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Elephant jokes to tell at a bar:

Why do elephants have flat feet?

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cafe+life+a+long+pour.jpg

Occasional Notes
by Howard Dinin

Before I go much further in my peripatetic way along a meandering path, following my personal caffeinated narrative here, and a broader cultural history there, I want to stop and offer this note of context. Coffee and cafe life are very broad encompassing rubrics—far-reaching and diffuse. Almost abstract.

I want to look for a moment at a little more localized, more personalized notion for myself and, I believe, just about every person I might encounter.

There is a book out there, published about 30 years ago, and still in print (both digitally and on paper) that really pinpoints the matter. It’s called The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community, by Ray Oldenburg. You needn’t read the book—the title is long enough to make the point—to know right away what Oldenburg is talking about.

Sometimes nothing will do but my favorite form of espresso. Many call it by its Italian designation: a caffé macchiato—espresso with a dollop of hot milk. I like the French name for this treat, a “ noisette”  (means “hazelnut”).  photo © Howard Dinin

Sometimes nothing will do but my favorite form of espresso. Many call it by its Italian designation: a caffé macchiato—espresso with a dollop of hot milk. I like the French name for this treat, a “noisette” (means “hazelnut”).
photo © Howard Dinin

It takes all types to make a hangout. Sometimes even the most gregarious of us needs a little alone time—in plain sight—to recharge. These guys found it at Paulette Glacier (an ice cream parlor) in Cotignac, France. No matter what the specialty, in France everyone serves coffee.  photo © Howard Dinin

It takes all types to make a hangout. Sometimes even the most gregarious of us needs a little alone time—in plain sight—to recharge. These guys found it at Paulette Glacier (an ice cream parlor) in Cotignac, France. No matter what the specialty, in France everyone serves coffee.
photo © Howard Dinin

We all have a favorite spot. Call it what we will, an enclave, a sanctuary, a safe place – all notions about what makes everyday life worth living, from a time before our current age fraught with anxieties and social pitfalls. We all know the cozy comfort of having a hangout we consider a necessary destination, preferably right smack in the neighborhood. Or very close by.

Even if by ourselves, we can hang out comfortably by our onesies. Have a delicious brew prepared, custom, just to our liking. Be greeted by the folks behind the counter, with a smile and our own names, because they know us and appreciate our status as regulars.

For me, as I suspect is true of many of us, I have always sought, and usually found, such a good place—some form of that Hemingway-esque sub specie aeternitatis, his “clean, well-lighted place.” With a coffee maker, and preferably a daily selection of freshly baked goods.

The last one I frequented, as I did for nearly 25 years, was a very local bakery called, in its latest incarnation, The Biscuit, in Somerville, Massachusetts. I had moved nearby just two or three years earlier than my first visit. For awhile it was merely OK, not great. Barely good. Until it changed hands (and names).

Before the still current owners came and began to take the beverage selection seriously, the coffee offering was more gratuitous afterthought than strictly obligatory and gestural. In a few words, they didn’t care if you liked the coffee… but that changed with the new management.

The Biscuit settled into being a true enclave, a preserve for the many Harvard and Tufts graduate students who lived in the nearly affordable housing of the immediately surrounding downscale neighborhood—and consequently for bookish civilian cousins, like myself, who could afford the more costly digs three blocks away on the Cambridge side of the town line just outside the door.

Great coffee is a must. And so, a little romance may be too much to expect. But it does happen, even at The Biscuit. I spotted this intensely hip couple being intense there one morning… bonding over a seminar paper, maybe?  photo © Howard Dinin

Great coffee is a must. And so, a little romance may be too much to expect. But it does happen, even at The Biscuit. I spotted this intensely hip couple being intense there one morning… bonding over a seminar paper, maybe?
photo © Howard Dinin

I loved it there, showing up many mornings as they opened their doors, and wrote untold thousands of words at their diverse collection of heavy oak tables and mismatched chairs—and all before the days of almost compulsory Wifi expected by the customers of the chain coffee shops several blocks to the south of us in the shopping mall previously known as Harvard Square. I likely wrote as much with a fountain pen as I did at a keyboard like the one churning out these words.

Colorful spring garden flowers Anita Martinz from Klagenfurt, Austria - Colorful spring garden

Colorful spring garden flowers
Anita Martinz from Klagenfurt, Austria - Colorful spring garden

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Answer to the Question of the Day:

Spring is one of the four conventional temperate seasons, following winter and preceding summer.
There are various technical definitions of spring, but local usage of the term varies according to local climate, cultures and customs.
When it is spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa.
At the spring (or vernal) equinox, days and nights are approximately twelve hours long, with day length increasing and night length decreasing as the season progresses.

Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and also to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth.
Subtropical and tropical areas have climates better described in terms of other seasons, e.g. dry or wet, monsoonal or cyclonic.
Cultures may have local names for seasons which have little equivalence to the terms originating in Europe.

A willow in Stockholm in April 2016 Jacob Truedson Demitz for Ristesson Ent.

A willow in Stockholm in April 2016
Jacob Truedson Demitz for Ristesson Ent.

Meteorologists generally define four seasons in many climatic areas: spring, summer, autumn (fall) and winter.
These are demarcated by the values of their average temperatures on a monthly basis, with each season lasting three months.
The three warmest months are by definition summer, the three coldest months are winter and the intervening gaps are spring and autumn.
Spring, when defined in this manner, can start on different dates in different regions.

Astronomical vernal equinox seen from the site of Pizzo Vento at Fondachelli Fantina, Sicily Girtompir - Own work  In some cultures in the Northern Hemisphere (e.g. Germany), the astronomical vernal equinox (varying between 19 and 21 March) is taken to mark the first day of spring, and the summer solstice (around 21 June) is taken as the first day of summer.  In Persian culture the first day of spring is the first day of the first month (called Farvardin) which begins on 20 or 21 March.  In other traditions, the equinox is taken as mid-spring.

Astronomical vernal equinox seen from the site of Pizzo Vento at Fondachelli Fantina, Sicily
Girtompir - Own work

In some cultures in the Northern Hemisphere (e.g. Germany), the astronomical vernal equinox (varying between 19 and 21 March) is taken to mark the first day of spring, and the summer solstice (around 21 June) is taken as the first day of summer.
In Persian culture the first day of spring is the first day of the first month (called Farvardin) which begins on 20 or 21 March.
In other traditions, the equinox is taken as mid-spring.

I was given a choice of pocketbook gifts: an elephant or a canary. Chose the canary.

I was given a choice of pocketbook gifts: an elephant or a canary.
Chose the canary.

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Good Morning on this Thursday, the Fourteenth of March.

Today we talked about the vibrancy of youth and its passage.
Today we talked about the number of postings as a way of keeping a calendar, the immediate weather, and tonight’s dinner.
We posted an elephant joke.
And another wonderful entry from HD in his regular spontaneous corner, My Café Life.
We talked about the different ways people around the world mark Spring on their calendars.

And now? Gotta go.

Che vuoi? Le pocketbook?

See you soon.
Your Love