Thursday Morning, August 17

1) Really nice to have three young alumni friends over for dinner last night, and to get out not just the "good stuff" but also the old yearbooks.

2) One of my guests eats a vegan diet, but I was able to come up with something delicious and accommodating:

Waldorf Salad
(made with vegan mayonnaise)

Rotini Pasta with tomato sauce
Insalata verde molto semplice

Raspberry sorbet with fresh blueberries

2a) Four bowls, 12 plates, 12 glasses, 17 pieces of silver, plus one serving bowl, two pots, and a variety of kitchen utensils.

3) The one thing was that my central air conditioning seems no longer to be working. The outdoor unit was clearly working overtime, but I was more than breaking a sweat indoors. The unit indoors showed signs of condensation. Amateur diagnosis is that (and this will not surprise you), something is not working inside. Time to call the repairman.

3a) First I break a tooth, and now this. Plus the general cleanout of my office right now which is seeing me through out an unprecedented amount of stuff. I feel like I'm preparing for battle.

Wednesday Morning, August 16

1) Four and one-half hours of sleep. I've essentially been awake since just after 3 AM. Early morning parlor breakfast, news, housekeeping before a dental appointment.

2) As it often does, the pace quickens in the last half of August. It's kind of like the week before returning to school as a child. Only instead of a trip to S**** for new clothes and that sort of thing, it seems to be an increased number of meetings and a sense of clearing the decks for battle.

3) Blesséd, blesséd coffee.

Monday, August 14

1) Awake since 4 AM, up since 5 AM, dentist appointment at 8 AM.

2) That's Boston for you. One moment you're sitting in the Bornheimer Room of the Athenaeum when a party of ladies and gentlemen in Victorian costumes pop in to look at the pictures, the next you're walking past a late-night basketball game outside English High School.

3) Dinner at C***** N***** with a seldom-seen friend: bacon-wrapped shrimp, surf and turf with a slab of au gratin potatoes and a gesture of spinach, and wonderful conversation.

Sunday evening, August 13

1) Fourteen years ago today I became a homeowner. I have unwittingly been celebrating by some attempts at housekeeping today, but am now officially celebrating with a gin and tonic on my back porch.

2) On my way home from the food co-op, I passed an overturned shopping cart. The words PRODLY STOLEN were written on on that folding plastic panel in the basket thingie, with a U on the line above between the O and the D. Says so much. . .

3) Vegenaise.

Friday Night, August 11

Dinner at Gasbag with three close friends:

1) Arriving early, I pregamed at the bar with a cat's pajamas cocktail. "Mmm, rye!" I said to myself! But it came with so much orange and whatnot and turned out to be as sweet as a Claude Upson daiquiri.

2) Turns out it's Restaurant Week (I had no idea - i'm such a provincial) so I enjoyed the prixy fixy menu with a salad of heirloom tomatoes concealing some mozzarella business as though it was an escaped criminal, salmon with a sauce both delicate and savory, and then the most exquisite dark chocolate truffle cake with just a hint of lemon zest. Oh. My. God!

3) My knowledge of 21st-century television is so limited. I know there's something with a throne, and something else with a crown, and that Mad Men of Downton Abbey has been over for awhile. And something with some dead people that keep walking. All I can say is, I miss Laugh-In.

Thursday Night, August 10

1) Spent most of the afternoon at an office "collaboration fair," an opportunity for other units from throughout MIT to check in with the Association and see where we might work together. Some interesting conversations, and it's surprising to find out who knows some of my volunteers.

2) Drinks at the home of a South End friend, then hobbled home for light dinner and a long "tough love" conversation on the phone. I have to say, my feet are killing me.

3) Without intending it, I'm in the middle of about five books now: Unleash Your Inner Company, So Near and Yet So Far, John Julius Norwich's history of Venice (I forget which one since it's not in front of me), Vital Friends, and Death on the Nile.

Thursday Midday, August 10

1) It's so important to recognize when you need help. An expert colleague has offered at least twice to help me sort out my office, and today we finally started exploring. I'm still a little shocked by how much we did - and how much was disposed of. There's still quite a ways to go, though . . .

2) For mental recreation I'm rereading Emily Kimbrough's So Near and Yet So Far, her account of touring South Louisiana in 1955 with five of her college friends as well as two of the Old Ladies of my Childhood, the cultural and political force that was Emma Michie, and Clara Gebson. So what a coincidence that the office cafe was serving jambalaya today.

3) "Enough1 Enough! I'll take their diamond necklace
And show my noble stuff by being gay and reckless!"

Wednesday, August 9, recollected

1) Dined last night with a group of volunteers in the lush Brookline back yard of a committee member. All the elements conspired to make a lovely evening: mild weather, good food, unassuming good manners, and good talk.

2) As an alumni relator, getting dropped into a group of people who have known each other well for decades is one of the challenges one has to face. It's important not to dominate the conversation (it's their night) and just as important not to sit there like a lump. A basic strategy is to ask a question that will start people on student reminiscences. On this occasion, one of the many topics brought up was the history of women at MIT. There I had something to contribute, since I've met and worked with several women who graduated in the 1950s and earlier. And some of the alumnae I mentioned were also fondly remembered by those present. Wonderful stories.

3) I had no idea that Barbara Cook was the original Cunegonde, or that Glenn Campbell had recorded "Southern Nights." So I have been enjoying for the first time the former's recording of "Glitter and Be Gay," and remembering hearing the latter on KLOU many times in my early teens.

Weekend of August 5-6

1) Of the six pieces of writing I wanted to get done this weekend, I completed two, made some progress on a third, and didn't get to the other three. Oh well, progress not perfection! But I do feel good about getting those two pieces done.

2) A Saturday night of Ealing Comedies at Worcester Square: Whisky Galore!, which I'd never seen, and an old favorite, Kind Hearts and Coronets. Delighted seeing the former to recognize Gordon Jackson (Hudson on my beloved Upstairs, Downstairs), Jean Cadell (Mrs Pierce in Pygmalion with Lesie Howard and Wendy Hiller), and Basil Radford (who has the small part of Sir George with Charles Laughton in Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn).

3) You can certainly tell that the third-floor children are home from summer vacation.

Saturday morning, August 5

1) Beautiful back porch coffee on this cool summer morning. After so many beautiful weekends away this summer, I rejoice to have a beautiful weekend at home.

2) There's a lot of readin' and writin' to do this weekend. And every moment I can think of something new to add to my do list.

3) Sometimes the most daring thing you can say is, like they say in Hollywood, "We can do anything we want." The trick, then, is to figure out just how to do anything you want.

Friday Night, August 4

1) I'd like a Foppish Dandy, please, over ice. Garnish, easy on the fop.

2) Floundered through my first swim at the pool since before Reunions (!), and halfway through discovered that they'd opened all the skylights.

3) "They are not long, the days of summer linen."

Friday Midday, August 4

1) A vendor just punted on a teleconference he initiated with me and one of my more demanding volunteers. You know punctuality is my thing - it's how you show respect - and the volunteer in question already has an unhappy impression of this vendor. Now I'm going to have to spend time talking a volunteer off the ceiling, and possibly (horrors) finding another vendor.

1a) In the words of Miss Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time f'that!"

2) On a much happier note, my calendar is filling in with great opportunities for conversation, and that makes me VERY happy.

3) Weekend! Weekend at home! Writing, friends, planning - and a NAP.

Wednesday midday, August 2

1) Feeling more focused and energetic today, even after lunch.

2) August is shaping up to be a busy month. And that's good . . . and, um . . . good.

3) Quote of the Day:

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday morning, July 25

1) As someone whose speaking voice was, in early life, often mocked and compared to Snagglepuss, I sympathize with J**** K******. That doesn't mean I don't think he colluded with the Russians, but I don't think he needs to be raked over the coals because of the way he talks.

2) I, for one, don't really mind this little cold snap we're having right now. Thinking people have already turned off their air conditioners to save energy . . . and money.

3) Yesterday I sent this article to some friends. In subsequent discussion I referred to Dr. Dre, who was a childhood idol of the subject. One friend replied. "Let me me adjust for a moment to you [emphasis mine] referring to Dr. Dre."