A New England Delicacy

I finally tried the New England delicacy known as fluffernutter. I’m not sure why it took me 18 years to try it since marshmallow is in my top 5 foods list. But the past is the past. Marshmallow Fluff was created in Somerville, MA, hence the regionalism.

I haven’t bought white bread in years, so it was kind of a thrill to buy some Wonder Italian bread. I usually eat chunky peanut butter, but that didn’t seem like the right thing to use in this situation, so I bought creamy peanut butter. And then I bought THE FLUFF.

Fluffernutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wasn’t sure what the consistency would be like. Well, it’s like a gooey paste. I also wasn’t sure of the proportions…how much fluff to put on the bread. On my first attempt, I did not use enough Fluff.

Fluffernutter sandwich

 

 

 

 

 

 

The container is huge so I will have many more chances to perfect the proportions! The verdict is = delicious. A salty-sweet combination is always a winner, isn’t it? I’ve read that there are many variations of this delicacy; have you tried any?

 

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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

I’m reporting on the birthday list out of order because of a sense of urgency.

One week ago, I participated in the Boston Women’s March for America. Although I participated in a small march for water justice for the birthday list years ago, this march is going on this year’s list. It was a rally AND a march…and I have never been to a rally and a march with 175,000+ other people!

I attended with a group of friends. We arrived about an hour before the start of the rally. We were pretty far back, so once more people arrived and filled in, we couldn’t see the stage. But we were able to hear all of the motivational speeches by our mayor, senators, and local human rights advocates and community members.

Boston Women's March for America

An hour before the start of the rally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t put into words what the experience felt like. If I were forced to, I would say it was peaceful, positive, and purposeful. There were people of all ages, gender identities, and nationalities. Many of the signs that people were carrying made us laugh out loud in solidarity. The event organizers were not prepared for the number of people in attendance, so we waited in a logjam for two hours before approaching the start of the march route.

Boston Women's March for America

Waiting in the logjam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The march was great because people were yelling chants into bullhorns to encourage us to use our voices. One of my favorites was “This is what democracy looks like!” By the time we reached the halfway mark of the 1.5 mile route, my friends and I had been on our feet for six hours. Hungry and tired, we peeled off and headed home.

Boston Women's March for America

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing that there were 700+ marches taking place around the world made me feel even more empowered and hopeful. There are millions of people who care about equality for all. As one of the speakers said, “There are more of us than there are of them.”

Boston Women's March for America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I completed the first of 10 actions for the first 100 days. I sent postcards to my senators, writing about which causes I care most about and why. Join me!

 

4, 3, 2, 1

My third favorite band is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. I discovered these guys on December 31, 2000, when they opened for Barenaked Ladies in Boston. I had been a Boston resident for a year and a half, so to me, Guster is synonymous with my entire life in Boston….i.e., my early 20s to early 40s and counting.

Guster had been a band for nine years at that point, having met each other during their freshman year at Tufts University. I dug their music because a lot of it was fun and had a great beat, yet they could also write songs that were serious and thoughtful. And I dug them as people because I found them to be great musicians, as well as being spontaneous, quirky, creative, and comical.

I got to know them well because they toured in New England A LOT, it being their home turf. This is mind-boggling, but between the years of 2001 and 2016, I have seen them at least 27 times. I say “at least” because I know I am missing a few ticket stubs.

January 2016, Boston

January 2016, Boston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What sealed the deal for this love affair is that during my early years of following the band, Brian, the drummer, wrote an online “road journal” about their adventures on the road. I remember laughing out loud until I cried many, many times. My love for this journal led me to send an email into the ether, to Guster’s general email address, to express my appreciation.

And Brian wrote back! We had an email correspondence for a few years. It was a special experience and I really appreciated how he took time to chat with the fans.

There have been many concert highlights over the years, but here are a few:

  • Seeing them at University of New Hampshire in 2003 with a new work friend…we drove up on a weeknight and waited outside after the show and met Brian! So fun. We were giddy and goofy the entire ride home as only 20-somethings who just met a rock star could be. Years later, the same friend scored backstage passes for one of their Boston shows and we met them again.
  • Attending a show at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston on Halloween: Both Guster and the fans dressed up. I think that they also opened the show by descending from the ceiling while seated in chairs.
  • Seeing them perform at Radio City Music Hall and with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
  • Seeing them in my hometown in New York. It was my second time seeing them outside of their home turf of New England. It was sold out, and a friend and I stood around before the show trying to find her a ticket. And at the last minute, we did! It was great to see Guster being embraced in my hometown.

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Guster just announced a four-day residency at the Paradise in Boston in January. Guess who bought a four-day pass?

October and the Trees Are Stripped Bare

Well, my two other most favorite bands are celebrating anniversaries this year, so let’s give them some love, too.

U2 just celebrated 40 years as a band. 40 years! Not many bands can claim this milestone.

I was late to the U2 game. I remember hearing their early hits on the Top 40 countdown, but the first album I bought was Achtung Baby in 1991. So if I had to pick a favorite album, I would pick this one. Because it’s the one that made me fall head over heels. So many of these lyrics are imprinted on my heart.

“Took a drive in the dirty rain to a place where the wind calls your name”

“You gave me nothing; now it’s all I got”

“Love is clockworks and cold steel, fingers too numb to feel”

“If you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel (on your kneels, boy!)”

U2 is an inspiration not only because they are incredibly gifted musicians and perform stunningly good live shows, but also because of their politics (which I happen to agree with). Some of their most popular songs are about injustice, political movements, war against others, war against ourselves. Watch them take on Trump recently.

I first saw them in concert in 1997, right before my 22nd birthday. Two friends and I drove six hours to see them. It was the Pop Mart tour, so I remember the wild graphics and stage setup. I also remember that we were walking around when they started playing, so we freaked and my friends, two tall men, proceeded up a down escalator. I barely made it; they had to yank me up the last few steps.

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The next time I saw them was in Boston in 2001. They played four nights and I attended two of them. They produced a concert film of the shows, which is awesome. Boston loves U2!

2005 is the year I set my credit card on fire for the boys…they played in Boston for two nights in October, of which I attended one. I remember the seats were one of the best I’d ever had at a concert.

…Until December, when they returned for two nights. I attended both. This is where my memory fails me: I remember meeting a guy at a subway stop and buying a ticket from him for one of the nights. When he had bought it, he thought he was buying two tickets because the price was so steep. So he decided to sell it. I remember being grateful to him because he was selling the ticket for less than he paid. It was a super special ticket that allowed me to go to an exclusive bar at the venue before the show and I received a leather folder embossed with the U2 tour logo.

For years, I’ve though that I spent maybe $175 on the ticket. Which is a lot! But I just looked at the price on the ticket: $390.

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Whaaaat! Did I really pay that much? I doubt it, but I’ll never know. But I do know that I had the time of my life at the concert.

It was also in 2005 that I attempted to give U2 a letter. I had read that they were staying at the Ritz. I wrote a heartfelt note thanking them for their music, being an inspiration, etc. etc. With note in hand, I, along with a work friend, walked into the Ritz’s lobby and asked the person at reception if U2 was staying there. The response was, “I can’t confirm that.”

OK. So then my friend and I approached the doorman. My friend was cute so we chatted him up. He didn’t confirm or deny that they were staying there either. But he ended up taking the note and said he would try to get it to them. I’m not hopeful that they received it, but I’m happy that I at least attempted to thank them.

I missed the band’s next visit in 2009 because they played at a stadium outside of Boston and I didn’t have a car or any super fan friends to go with.

Therefore, I went 10 long years without seeing U2. I saw them in Boston last fall. What I love about their concerts is that they always play a perfect mix of new and old songs. The magic in the air at their shows is incredible. There is nothing like belting out the lyrics to “Bloody Sunday” or “Pride” along with 19,000 other people.

U2 is going on tour next year when they release a new album. And I’ll be there.

Art and Science

I told Deb that “we were in for a weird day.”

She had agreed to join me at a performance art event followed by a “sensorial experience.”

Artist Oliver Herring was invited to the college campus where I work to put on his performance art event called “Areas for Action.” He spent five days on campus, creating a different art event each day. He invites the public to participate in these events by being models and helping to create scenes, which he then photographs and films.

I chose to participate in the final event, which was a Foil Ball. One volunteer with a lot of stamina sat in a chair for hours as people came in and added foil creations to her and around her.

foil1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we arrived, a group of teenagers who had wandered in were hard at work creating the state of Idaho out of foil because that was where they were visiting from. A young girl was sitting on the ground in a foil boat that her mother was creating around her. The mother and her other child, an infant, hopped in at some point and a scene was built around them too.

Deb and I got to work, adding pieces to the main volunteer sitting in the chair. We became models ourselves when my colleague walked over with a roll of foil in hand and started creating a scene around us. He gave me what looked like a shepherd’s hook, so I declared myself a shepherdess. Deb became a soldier.

foil2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a fun and creative few hours. As we left, they were setting up for a closing reception soiree. Regretfully, we had to head across the river for an appointment at Le Laboratoire Cambridge. We were trying the Lab’s “sensorial experience.”

lelab1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon arrival, a docent led us through the current exhibit, which consisted mainly of videos highlighting a few bodies of work by a group of British contemporary artists known as Random International. I was most impressed by its Rain Room, which is an installation of pouring rain that one can walk through without getting wet, due to sensors and other scientific stuff.

lelab2

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were then directed to a room where we would have our sensorial experience. The experience is the brainchild of Harvard professor David Edward, who enjoys creating culinary experiments. First, we inhaled some scents through a glass tube. The scents started out as liquids that were then put through a special diffuser that changed them to inhalable clouds. (!)

I realized that I do not have a great sense of smell during the next experience, the oPhone. An iPad was connected to a little machine that pushed out different scents, which you chose on the iPad. Everything smelled the same to me. The idea is, that in the future, you could send a photo of a field of flowers to a friend on your phone, and the friend could “smell” the flowers at the same time. Whaaaaa…

Before Deb and I moved on to the next station, we were handed a lethal cocktail, a lime gimlet. We were told that the lime had been centrifuged. I don’t know if that is the reason behind it tasting a lot stronger than a regular gimlet or if we are just lightweights. But we were feeling pretty good pretty quickly.

Next, we inhaled some different powders that were supposed to give us bursts of chocolate, nutrition, or energy. I tried the chocolate, which was pretty good. But if given the choice, I would still welcome the extra calories of a real chocolate bar…

The grand finale, and my favorite part, was a Wikicells tasting. Wikicells are small balls of ice cream in edible packaging. All of the ice cream balls were composed of the same base of coconut milk, but they were encased with different flavors of “packaging,” which had the consistency of hard gel. If I recall correctly, we tried blueberry, chocolate, and caramel. I like this idea of edible packaging for environmental reasons.

Lethal gimlet and container that held the Wikicells

Lethal gimlet and container that held the Wikicells

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was an inspiring day that made me feel lucky to live in a place where I’m surrounded by seemingly limitless creativity and innovation.

Up next, keeping with the weirdness theme: I report on my first past-life regression session…

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40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

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