Birds of a Feather

Tuesday Ten (Red Edition) February 28, 2012

Filed under: The everyday — kcfeather @ 5:45 pm

1. I am quickly becoming a Red (Rooibos) Latte addict. So yummy and so pretty

2. Can’t believe that February has nearly come and gone without any snow!

3. We discovered a great new (to us) neighborhood restaurant

4. It’s been forever since we went to the movies, but The Descendants got four thumbs up (two from each of us)

5. I so badly want to join a CSA, but C doesn’t think it makes sense, and sadly, I think he might be right. But I love the idea of the challenge of figuring out what to do with vegetables that I didn’t necessarily choose out at the market

6. An interesting essay: “Cities and Ambition”

7. A recent recipe discovery: Red Lentil Soup

8. Loving the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast these days

9. Sushi is tasty, especially when it is part of a recruiting dinner that you are not paying for

10. I thought that decisions were stressful, but it turns out that indecision is stressful, too!

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New York, New York February 9, 2012

Filed under: Travel Reports — kcfeather @ 2:38 pm

C had an interview in NY at the end of last week, and so we decided I would head out on a Thursday night bus and spend the (three-day) weekend together in the Big Apple (before he took off for yet another week of interviews).  New York can be tiring, but we had a really fun weekend that was a good mix of taking it easy and exploring the city.  Here’s a map with most of our weekend’s activities marked in green (blue markers are from a weekend I spent in NYC in November, and pink ones are places we have yet to check out).

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge

Some highlights:

* A few post-dinner stops at Eataly, mostly just for window shopping (but we tried some Pear Vanilla Sorbet and really loved it – magically creamy and not so icy as many sorbets)
* Our session with Freud (and our friend A)
* Some tasty breakfasts, including soft-boiled eggs at Le Pain Quotidien (a favorite of K) and smoked fish at Russ & Daughters (a favorite of C)
* Walking around the campus of “Columbia University in the City of New York” (and the UWS more generally…or is it just “UWS” with no “the”?  I’m obviously not a New Yorker)
* Seeing the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History
* Assorted tasty treats at Burger Joint, Milk Bar, Momofuku Ssam Bar, and Motorino pizza
* Perusing the booths at the Brooklyn Flea Market and then walking across the Brooklyn Bridge back into Manhattan
* A Sunday morning ride on the Staten Island Ferry (great views of Lady Liberty)

We also tried to hunt down some Vendome macarons, first at Saks and then at their pop-up shop in Brooklyn. But Saks was out (“more on Tuesday”) and the pop-up shop never opened (“We put it on our website that the shop was cancelled.”  Um, no, you didn’t – I was looking at their website – and FB – as they were saying this to C.  Later that day the website was updated).  So we were 0 for 2 in locating what look to be delectable macarons. C’est la vie.

 

Szymborska February 2, 2012

Filed under: Poetry — kcfeather @ 2:01 pm

Wislawa Szymborska died yesterday.  Even though she’s only my second favorite Polish poet, I still love her poetry.  Reading the obituary was a good reminder that I should read more poetry, more often.  Here’s one of my favorite poems that she wrote (I also really like “Going Home”, “Psalm”, “Lot’s Wife”, and “Returning Birds”).

THE KINDNESS OF THE BLIND

A poet is reading to the blind.
He did not suspect it was so hard.
His voice is breaking.
His hands are shaking.
He feels that here each sentence
is put to the test of the dark.
It will have to fend for itself,
without the lights or colors.
A perilous adventure
for the stars in his poems,
for the dawn, the rainbow, the clouds, neon lights, the moon,
for the fish until now so silver under water,
and the hawk so silently high in the sky.
He is reading — for it is too late to stop —
of a boy in a jacket yellow in the green meadow,
of red rooftops easy to spot in the valley,
the restless numbers on the players’ shirts,
and a nude stranger in the door cracked open.
He would like to pass over — though it’s not an option —
all those saints on the cathedral’s ceiling,
that farewell wave from the train window,
the microscope lens, ray of light in the gem,
video screens, and mirrors, and the album with the faces.
Yet great is the kindness of the blind,
great their compassion and generosity.
They listen, smile, and clap.
One of them even approaches
with a book held topsy-turvy
to ask for an invisible autograph.

            Wislawa Szymborska

Translated from the Polish by J. Kostkowska

UPDATE: Since this memory popped into my mind over the weekend, I thought I would share – my first encounter with Szymborska was in a class on Critical Theory, in which (somehow…probably we were talking about translation) I heard not only the English translation of one of her poems, but also the poem read aloud in the original Polish.  It was mezmerizing. If you ever have the opportunity to listen to Polish poetry, take it.

Also, here’s a really wonderful short essay on Szymborska that captures a lot of what I wanted to say.