Waiting to go home yesterday was a shy looking, tan, labrador-esque dog. Her owner stroked her soothingly and she sat quietly as the trains came and went.

Another woman cooed at her and made kissing noises, and the dog made no move of acknowledgement other than looking warily at her. After a few minutes, the dog stood and turned towards where I was standing. We made eye contact; I smiled softly, mouthed “hi puppy”, and stopped staring.

The dog wagged her tail, slowly came over. I looked back, put my hand out softly – she sniffed it, looked up, wagged her tail again, went back to her owner.

My train came and I got on, blessed.



Trouble on the Tracks

I took the train back Boston with some friends, for it is generally a much more pleasant and short trip. This time, however, it took four hours to get back, not including the fact that it was already 40 minutes late.

First, we stopped to let an express train pass. Second, we stopped to let another train go the opposite direction. Then, as we trundled along, a splintering noise sounded beneath the wheels.

“What was that?” My friend asked.

“Sounded like sticks.” I replied.

The train stopped. People, seething, mumbled amongst themselves.

“What’s going on?” An irate passenger asked of the conductor.

“We hit a deer and need to check for damage.” Came the reply.

It was not sticks, we all realized. The crunching and scraping under the wheels was flesh and bone and sinew.  It was the tearing and snapping of something warm and once very much alive.

“Attention passengers, sorry for the delay. We had a deer strike…”

I can still hear it.

Ripping and popping and then utter silence.

It was sticks. It was sticks. It was sticks.


On Books: A Violin’s Life

The Book: Antonietta – John Hersey

“Read me,” said the book, “for I have been waiting on the shelf for a very long time.”

And so I did.

Antonietta follows the life of a very special Stradivari violin from its creation to modern times.  The book takes form in five acts, with “Intermezzi” in between each, which allow the reader to follow the instrument as she encounters such famous entities as Mozart (and all who know me know why this book was rescued from a tag sale), Berlioz, and Stravinsky before finally ending up with a businessman named Spenser.

What really intrigued me about the novel was the fact that each act was a different writing style:  when the instrument is being built in the home of Antonio Stradivari, it is that of a regular novel; in Mozart’s presence, the story continues on in the form of letters.  With Berlioz, the story is written in a series of movements (as would be found in a symphony).  With Stravinsky, the point of view changes between a trio of characters.  When Antonietta finally reaches Spenser, the tale is in the form of a screenplay.  Each different ​style adds a fresh perspective to the violin’s life.

I found that the three “Acts” in the middle of the novel (Mozart, Berlioz, and Stravinsky) were the strongest.  The chapter with Stradivari was very technical due to the fact that it surrounds Antonietta’s creation, and at times I found myself skimming the more tedious details of her construction.  While this did not make the chapter unenjoyable per say, I did feel a bit bogged down by minute bits of information.  Mozart’s chapter I found to be the strongest – and most entertaining, as I laughed out loud at a lot of the letters – but this could be due to bias.  That aside, the back and forth was at times heartbreaking as well as funny, and I felt that Hersey had done Mozart quite well.  Berlioz and Stravinsky were also moving as characters – their chapters were well written and dynamic.  However, the final chapter with Spenser was by far the weakest.  Perhaps that was the point, as Spenser claims to be tone-deaf, and because Antonietta had changed drastically between its previous and current owner, but there was a lack of passion and respect for the instrument that had been at the forefront of the other chapters.  The characters also seemed flat and stubborn, which was also probably intentional, but it left a sense of dismay by the end of the novel.

That being said, I did enjoy the book overall.  Hersey was able to bring Antonietta to life, and her story was quite compelling.

I also found myself wanting to look up some music by those composers in the novel who are not as familiar to me (Schoenberg anyone?). Thank God for YouTube.

Overall score: 4/5 stars



Apples make apple pie

Apple pie tastes like cinnamon

Cinnamon smells like fall

Fall in love with a picture

Picture a child dancing

Dancing in the rain

Rain in spring

Spring is here


On Tea: Earl #1

The Tea: Earl Grey Tea, Typhoo.
Caffeinated: Yes
Water Temperature: 212° (boiling)
Milk/Sugar: I put in milk, others can put in sugar (alone or in addition) or neither.
Aroma: If you’ve ever had Earl Grey tea before, you know the smell. A sweet, citrusy aroma specific to this type of black tea.
Taste: Tangy, slightly bitter citrus flavor as is typical with Earl Grey (go bergamot!). A fragrant cup.
Would I venture to buy a whole box?: I would, mostly because of the dapper fellow on it. This isn’t the best Earl Grey I’ve had, but it is a decent tea to drink in the morning.
Overall score: 3.5/5 stars


Morning Godsend

There was a tiny puppy on the T this morning while I was commuting to work: tan in color, with white speckled paws and big chocolate colored eyes. The poor thing was terribly nervous, but not enough to inhibit it from being curious.

The puppy sniffed at every person around it, eventually receiving a gentle pat on the head from a man who was reading a Kindle book. Its owner kept making kissy noises at it, as if calling a cat, but the dog wanted simply to explore, though its tucked tail highlighted its wariness.

At one point the leash came off its harness. The owner was quick to replace it, and the puppy had no idea anything went awry.

My neighbor was jumped on – they froze slightly, gave the dog a quick pat, and moved soon afterwards.

Curious as ever, the puppy squeezed itself between the seats and sniffed my bag. I reached down slowly (since I did not wish to scare the baby – after all, when you are so small, everyone else is a scary giant) and let it sniff my hand before petting it and scratching behind its ears. The puppy immediately jumped up and put its feet on the empty seat next to mine – the owner apologized, but I responded that it was OK, I have four, and I looked back at the puppy and continued to stroke it, asking it if it was going to get all the way up on the seat, if it was being good… All the while the puppy looked at me with those big brown eyes.

My stop came too soon.


On Tea: Autumn Flavors

The Tea: Maple Apple Cider, Stash.
Caffeinated: No
Water Temperature: 212° (boiling)
Steep Time: 3-5 minutes
Milk/Sugar: Neither – others can add sugar if they are so inclined.
Ingredients: Rooibos, hibiscus, cinnamon, maple flavor, nutmeg, apple flavor, caramel flavor
~100% Natural Ingredients~
Aroma: Maple caramel appley goodness!
Taste: Sweet caramel and maple followed closely by a distinct apple flavor. Though the former two tastes are sweet, the apple adds a tartness that balances the cup nicely. The cinnamon brings out the tea’s fall essence, and the rooibos does not overpower the other flavors but instead compliments them, which makes the tea quite enjoyable.
Would I venture to buy a whole box?: I would consider, as I liked the smoothness of it.
Overall score: 4/5 stars


Today I got crumbs from a breakfast bar in my eyeball.

“How the heck??” you may ask.

Well, the answer is: I’m truly a smooth human being.

Can’t recommend it though. 0/10 stars: causes irritation and headache.