Thursday Morning, September 20

1) Yesterday was a lot about getting questions for which I didn’t have an answer: on parking (“Where is the exact entrance to the garage?”), on tech support (“Why can’t I see that on my screen?”), and forensic accounting. I had to rely on my colleagues, especially for tech support.

1a) Leaving the office later than hoped (worried I would not get to the dry cleaner before closing), suddenly this came into my head: Chopin’s nocturne opus 9, no. 2. My sweet Gramma used to play it, my mother used to play it, and I used to play it, too. And I never think of it now, so it was like a gift yesterday evening to bring me calm.

2) Plans to spend the evening communicating with a small list about a special event and working on an Etiquetteer review of Dinner in Camelot were dashed with the info that the condo association’s insurance inspection was the next day and that I would need to install new smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector beforehand. Now I can shake up a fabulous Colony Special martini, but I can barely tighten a screw in a doorknob, so you can imagine how that news left me. Thank goodness for my capable third-floor neighbor, who good-humoredly came down with his toolbox and got the job done.

3) Yesterday’s received wisdom: it’s easier (and a lot quicker) to destroy than to construct.

Wednesday Morning, September 19

1) Yesterday’s Scorpio horoscope read “Have you been thinking about changing careers, Scorpio? You might hear of some opportunities today, possibly through a colleague.” Well, yesterday evening a friend invited me to participate in a professional project next month that, while hardly indicative of a career change, really energized me.

2) Black.

3) The price of four consecutive weekends away from home followed by two weekends featuring one full work day is that I am living in domestic chaos.

Monday Night, September 17 - Conversations

Such an interesting evening of (sometimes) mixed signals:

1) When you find out the recommendations you asked for are all unworkable bullshit - and that the person sending them must have known they wouldn’t work before sending them.

2) Hearing great news about someone - and having to keep it a secret because other people closer to it haven’t been told.

3) Fab musical theatre history of drinks at the soon-to-be-closed Brasserie JO.

BONUS: The horrifying, horrifying discovery that the email you received means the exact opposite of what you thought it meant . . . and that you replied to it 24 hours ago.

Saturday Morning, September 15

My first weekend day at home in a month!

1) My Fycebykke fydde today is full of babies, concern about Hurricane Florence and the terrifying gas explosions in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, Massachusetts; birthdays, travel for business and/or pleasure, and love of the city of Boston.

2) Oh, I could have gotten up at 6:18 AM, but no. For a rarity, I went back to bed and enjoyed two more hours of semi-consciousness. #bliss

3) In the midst of laundry and reading the news I came up with an ambitious one-day weekend list, as I’m working tomorrow. I’ll never get it all done, but having been away so many consecutive weekends, it just feels good to be restating a routine.

Friday Midday, September 14

1) Overheard at the office: “If you close your eyes while typing a budget, you can almost see yourself on the beach.”

2) A colleague sent out an email offering the last sprigs of basil of the season, which prompted some bad poetry from me, to be sung to the tune of “The Last Rose of Summer”:

‘’Tis the last sprigs of basil, left blooming alone.

All their herbal companions have faded and gone.

No seas’ning of her kindred, no pleasant buds are nigh

To reflect back her fragrance and give sigh for sigh.”

 2a) Of course the best version of this I could find is the incomparable Grace Moore in One Night of Love:

2b) Watch out for a quick shot of my beloved Jessie Ralph.

3) Some people have been extremely kind to check in on me after hearing about the gas explosions in Lawrence and Andover. Those towns are far removed from me, but the situation is terrifying to contemplate. My prayers are with the residents of those towns, and with all in the path of Florence.


Thursday Morning, September 13

1) This morning’s Back Story in the Times (at the end of the Thursday briefing) was about the Ig Nobel Prizes, at it brought me back to the days when the Igs were still at ye Instytytte and I was on its Board of Governors. That’s how I got to meet Russell Johnson from Gilligan’s Island.

2) Four consecutive weekends away from home have played havoc with my routines. I am really looking forward to spending Saturday in my home.

2a) But only Saturday. Sunday I have to work a memorial service.

3) Depression can lead you many places, and I’m afraid last night it led me to dinner at ye Cyrrie Nytion, with the best damn bacon macaroni and cheese ever. AND chocolate cake. Significant cardiac event in two years and counting . . .

Friday Morning, September 7

Wow, offline for almost 14 hours. Fabulous.

1) So wrapped up in Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France that after work I sat on my back porch in the fading yellow-gray light with a glass of wine and kept on reading until it was too dark.

1a) And then kept on reading over dinner at Doyle's until her surprising and sad story came to an end. Not a heroine, not a traitor - someplace in the middle like most people.

1b) But what I found most appealling about this story is that Priscilla is actually the author's aunt, and he began it with his childhood memories of her and their relationship: watching old movies in her bedroom on one of the first television sets, her scent, her love of couture, visiting her sunbathing in a secluded part of a walled garden (nude; he'd have to announce himself in advance so she could cover up), and years later discovering in her scrapbook his own baby picture on the first page. You wouldn't have found any of my aunts and uncles sunbathing nude in a walled garden or dressing in couture! But it did give me an opportunity to reflect on the relationships I had with adults when I was a child.

2) Yesterday was really just a big fatigue-a-thon after a poor night's sleep and an 8 AM dental appointment, but miraculously I powered through the afternoon and got stuff done.

3) A couple responses to my column on Not Upstaging the Deceased have really touched me.

Wednesday Night, September 5

1) The horror of discovering a typographical error in a column that's been up all day. It's consensus, not concensus! #iknowbetterthanthat

2) Anybody know a good restaurant near a metro station in Bethesda? I'm taking some people out on Saturday.

3) Trying not to have a mood, mostly because I just have too much to do to spend time within it.

Thursday Morning, August 30

1) My excitement over National Toasted Marshmallow Day this year had led me to sleep very badly the last two nights. This led to a sort of existential meltdown yesterday afternoon (after beginning the day so happily), and I am hoping not for a repeat today.

2) Impromptu pool party last night made moving from one air-conditioned space to another during a heat wave more pleasanter. :-) Plus, good talk!

3) Just keepin' on keepin' on, ready for a beautiful Labor Day weekend on the Cape.

Wednesday Morning, August 29

1) Back porch coffee at 5:45 AM. The dazzling, perfect whiteness of the just-waning moon. Teh barely-cool breeze indicates a hot day to come.

1a) Yes, I know "dazzling" is overused, but it's accurate.

2) Preparing a fun Etiquetteer post for tomorrow . . .

3) The news.

Tuesday, August 28 - National Bow Tie Day

Today has felt like a creative renaissance after a period of a few weeks in the doldrums:

1) Why yes, today was National Bow Tie Day, and I took all those photos within 10-20 minutes early this morning - and still got to work ten minutes early. #mbtawin

1a) I had planned to do this for some time, but then - whoops, suddenly it's the day! Glad I got it done, but while done is better than good, I wish I hadn't put myself in a situation where I had to rush.

2) A bit of a breakthrough in a presentation I'm working on for next month's conference.

3) Because of an iimpromptu invitation for tomorrow night, I ended up rushing through a special project for Etiquetteer (that you should be on the lookout for on Thursday . . .) that involved moving a martini, martini shaker, lawn chair, and candelabra into the garden while wearing full-on black tie - during a heat wave.

3a) And I should mention that I popped not one but two buttons from my formal black waistcoat. My waistline has become entirely too Victorian.

3b) And the best part of it was the appearance of my third-floor neighbors, intrigued, amused, and supportive - especially the children. We ended up have some wonderful talk!