Monday, September 28, 2009

Waiting for October

I probably title a post at least once a year with this subject line, the title of one of my favorite songs by Polaris, the Mark Mulcahy band that played the opening song to "The Adventures of Pete & Pete," which ran on Nickelodeon in the '90s. Anyone who can attest to having seen that show knows the song and remembers the opening theme montage, with the band playing on the Wrigleys' front lawn.

Anyway, Polaris was only a side project for Mulcahy. His real band, Miracle Legion, hardly reached the fame that Polaris probably did, largely because of "Pete & Pete." I happened upon the only Polaris album ever produced, "Music from 'The Adventures of Pete & Pete,'" while in high school and instantly fell in love with it. I can only assume that all of the songs, as indicated by the album's title, are featured at one point or another in the television series, which ran for three seasons (35 episodes and a couple specials). As a side note, I bought Miracle Legion's "Drenched," and though its sound is a lot like Polaris (mostly because of Mulcahy's unique and distinct voice and musical style), it didn't impress me as much as "Music from 'The Adventures of Pete & Pete.'" For any "Pete & Pete" fans -- or even just plain old-school Nickelodeon fans -- this album is a must-listen, if only for the great music.

It's this third track on the "Pete & Pete" soundtrack that I'd have to say is my favorite. It's hard to describe exactly the feelings it evokes in me, but perhaps that's its biggest appeal. It's better to just leave it be and take it as it is than try to put a label on it.
They're playing in Central Park.
Check out him; he's shouting at the gate,
"Billy didn't tell you everything,
or did he mention the magic day?"

Well, I figured it out from a fig tree.
It's the chosen few all together in silk.
Now you've been bad for 50 years,
and now it looks like daddy's taking off his belt.

Waiting for October,
I cross my fingers, cross my heart and hope to die.
Waiting for October,
I'm in the book, and I'll be learning how to fly.

He's coming down, but he's not alone.
He's gonna bring an army of saints.
He's taking all his bags home
and then destroying what remains.

Waiting for October,
I cross my fingers, cross my heart and hope to die.
Waiting for October,
I'm in the book and I'll be learning to be wings.

Hoping that the end
will start it all again.

And that's when numeral history will die.
I said that's what was so right about the day.
'Cause it all ends in 1999
and commences on the 28th ...
- Polaris, "Waiting for October"
It was a rather uneventful weekend. We had plans to go biking in the woods with Igor but ended up going by ourselves. We wanted to go somewhere new, so we settled on Wompatuck State Park in Hingham, Mass. It's a web of trails for walking, biking, running and horseback riding. The scenery was beautiful, and we were surprised to see that leaves already blanketed the forest floor. It was hard, though, to enjoy the beauty around us, as we were going by it too quickly on our bikes. It was nice to get to use my mountain bike for what it's really built for -- biking in rough, hilly terrain, even though the trails themselves were mostly paved. I was happy to see so many trails available, so we can have some to come back and explore later, but the paths were so poorly marked, we had to stop every couple of minutes to pull out our map and see if we were on the right track. Good thing we had the map, too -- otherwise, we would have gone horribly lost for sure. Though fun to bike on (and we saw lots of fellow bikers as well), I'd say these trails are much better off for hikers, especially considering the beautiful scenery you don't want to miss and the difficulty navigating the many trails at faster speeds.

I've begun knitting again in full force. I'm already a quarter of the way through something I'm making for a Christmas gift. Darren and I went to A.C. Moore on Saturday to pick out some lovely yarn. Once I pick knitting up again -- and it seems to be a seasonal thing -- I always pick it up in earnest; once I start, I can't stop until the weather's warm again. That's one sure sign of fall, if anything.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

I would return the favor, oversleep the rapture

We watch the season pull up its own stage
and catch the last weekend of the last week
before the gold and glimmer have been replaced.
Another sun-soaked season fades away.
- Dashboard Confessional, "Stolen"
Today is the last official day of summer, though it feels like it officially left a couple weeks ago. The days have been warm, usually mid-70s, but mornings and evenings can dip to as low as 40. According to my grandfather, who makes a point to stay well-apprised of such things, the Farmer's Almanac predicts heavy snows and cold temperatures this winter. I figure once Halloween comes and goes, it's all downhill from there. Fall's pretty much over, and the holidays creep in and take over with the blowing and snowing and storming. Somewhere in between is Thanksgiving, but even then, it's not unusual for there to be snow as we're carving turkey with all the trimmings.

Luckily, though, Darren and I plan on being in Tennessee with his sister, brother-in-law, nieces, nephew, and Caleb the maltipoo for the November holiday. We haven't made any flight plans yet -- we never usually do until the last minute, much to my chagrin -- but that's the plan. I'm also hoping we'll get to spend some time with Brian and Neil, two brothers with whom Darren grew up while living in Tennessee. I'd also like to learn how to make Darren's sister's fabled cheese bread and get a proper lesson from a family friend on making traditional Filipino foods, such as pan de sal and adobo. Though with adobo, there really is no uniform, traditional way to make it. Every region in the Philippines -- more accurately, each Filipino household -- has its own way to make adobo, so there really is no "right" way to do it. All you need are the base ingredients (meat, vinegar, soy sauce, various spices), and you can pretty much make it up as you go along ...

And yet it's still pretty difficult for me to even begin thinking too in-depth about the upcoming holidays, though I know any day now they'll be at my front door, waiting for me to greet them. I'm just not ready yet. I'm still trying to hold on to summer, and this is my last day to do it. Still, the prospects of Halloween and the harvest time always fill my heart with nostalgia and all those bittersweet feelings and memories of falls past. I once wrote a sonnet about the season for a poetry class in college that I'd say is the best poem I've ever written. I happen to be on my personal laptop at work while I await the arrival of a new Macbook Pro, since my G4 has become too cumbersome to use, so I can access my treasure trove of poetry to post that very sonnet:
AUTUMN
And once the birds begin to dot the sky
as they make their way to southerly climes,
the leaves — those holy nymphs — cascade in reply
to the Earth as the big harvest moon climbs

in the sky at night. Below, in the dirt
under the aging, graying maple tree,
the children work with rakes in overshirts
to pile up the rocks and fallen debris.

The dying sky heaves and makes one last breath,
exhaling an outpour of icy steam
that signifies the land's impending death
and covers it with a shadowy gleam.

Through all of this, it’s the most peace I find
when watching changing colors of this kind.
(c) Liz Petty
Going back and reading my old poetry like this makes me realize how badly I need to start writing poetry again.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

You can never see yourself ringing all around it

Well, what an August it's been! My apologies once more for lagging in my updates. It's just that we've been running around, doing fun things and experiencing all this wonderful summer has had to offer.

First, my fourth host family from Germany took a trip along the East Coast, their first time in the United States. At the time they originally made their plans, they didn't know I lived in Boston, so when they sent me an e-mail letting me know about the upcoming trip and asking if it would be possible to meet up, I told them I was in Boston, and they altered their plans to spend a weekend touring Beantown with Darren and me. They were flying in on a Friday, and we were planning to pick them up at the airport, but unfortunately, their flight was delayed, and then a lot of planes (including theirs) were being diverted from Logan Airport to Albany, N.Y., where my family's plane landed briefly to refuel. This whole time, my poor family was still in the plane, waiting. After a couple more hours, their flight was canceled completely, and the airline would be providing a shuttle bus from Albany to Boston. At this point, Darren and I had been waiting at the airport (I left work early to go get them) for about five hours, using up meter time for both our cars in the (expensive) parking lot. My host family and I had been communicating the whole time via cell phone, so they called one last time to say it wouldn't be worth it for us to wait any longer and that they'd call us in the morning and we'd meet up then.

So that Saturday we spent walking all around Boston, seeing sights, visiting churches, shopping at Copley Plaza, viewing the beauty of the city from high atop the Prudential building, enjoying cakes, gelato and coffee at Mike's Pastry, and ending the night with dinner at Union Oyster House. It was so wonderful to see my beloved family again -- it had been about three years since the last time I was in Germany and stayed with them for two weeks -- so there was a lot to talk about (both in German and English!), and it was amazing how much the kids, now 16 and 14, have grown since I first met them six years ago.

August has also been filled with little excursions around Massachusetts: biking the entire 10-mile-long Minuteman Trail from Arlington to Bedford, attending cookouts at the house of one of Darren's coworkers, parties with my old Syracuse friends-turned fellow Bostonians, and riding on Darren's motorcycle. On the work front, I've been especially busy now with transitioning from my job at the front desk to a new position as associate producer. I received a promotion, and about a month later, we hired someone to replace me at the front desk. I moved yesterday to my new cubicle near the back of the office with the rest of the producers. I'm so excited for my new job and the responsibilities with which I've been entrusted. It's a lot of work keeping on top of things, but it's work I've grown used to even at the front desk, only now I won't be doing all the administrative stuff that goes along with it. I've been busily training our new girl, and she's really nice and seems like a pretty quick learner. I'm really glad the higher-ups chose someone who so far seems really qualified to take the reins and do all the tasks of an office coordinator.

The air already begins to smell like autumn. It's a very distinct smell, one I've become quite in tune to over the years. Like most scents, it's hard to describe exactly what makes it different from, say, the smell of summer or the smell of spring, but it's a distinct scent nonetheless, at least to my nostrils. After a week or so of excruciatingly hot weather, the climate has dipped to the mid-70s during the day, but true to fall's nature, the mornings are chilly. It seems the transition from summer to fall is coming rather quickly, without leaving any pause for consideration of how great a summer it was and skipping straight on to the next big thing. I relish the feelings and events associated with fall, but I wish there could be at least a tiny shred of summer left to hold on to, just for a little bit longer.

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