Friday, November 20, 2009

Fall in My Favorite Park

Boston's Public Garden is near my office, so I stroll there often. Sometimes at lunch, sometimes walking to the subway at the end of the day. The park is beautiful in all seasons, but the fall foliage paints the park with a particularly stricking palate of colors.

Here's a sampling of my photos of fall in the Public Garden. For more photos, check out my blog Urban Vistas.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Do You Need a Perfect Vagina?

Do You Need a Perfect Vagina? How’s that for a questions? But can you believe this is a trend in cosmetic surgery for women?

Maybe I’m getting old, but I still remember when it was the thing to get a face lift or a tummy tuck. Before that, there was always the nose job. Well, at least these alterations related to the part of your body that everyone sees on a regular basis.

But the vagina? I keep thinking to myself, why? Who’s going to notice? It’s not something you’ll notice every time you look in a mirror. And it’s not something someone near you on the elevator will see. So, why spend $5,000 to have a perfect vagina?

A report by the BBC (New warning on “perfect vaginas”) says some women are embarrassed in front of a sexual partner.

Maybe. Depending on the nature of the encounter. But in intimate encounters of, shall we say, the “first kind”, it’s not exactly what’s he’s looking at. It’s usually dark….all he’s looking for is the entry portal. As he’s finding his way in, his mind is not on the aesthetics of the entryway, that’s for sure! For guys, it’s simple: he finds his way into the “happy place,” the big event happens (hopefully, not too soon), and then he’s happy and maybe you are, too. In my perspective, it’s the presence of the vagina, not the perfection of its appearance, that is the main attraction for the guy.

But, that's only one perspective. There may be other reasons…..some women complain of being uncomfortable in tight clothes or riding a bike. Maybe there are other personal reasons to spend $5,000 for perfection in this private region. Leave a comment about what you think.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Saving My Garden

This year, the killing frost is late. Last year it arrived for El Día de los Muertos (Nov. 2). This year, it was unseasonably warm. But as the week progressed, the temperatures plummeted and some frost was visible yesterday morning. So, even though today is sunny and warm, it was time to save what I can from the garden.

I repotted the geraniums which I keep inside over the winter. I also brought in the parsley, one of the few plants that did well during our short, wet and cool summer.

On the right, that’s most of the cherry tomato harvest below: 9 green tomatoes. There was one ripe tomato we had around Labor Day, and one rotted on the vine before ripening. Oh, well, everyone tells me it was a bad year for tomatoes, and there’s always next year.

Below: my ferocious beast stalking in the wilds of the garden.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

El Día de los Muertos

El Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is tomorrow, November 2nd. It is no surprise that the late autumn is a time to remember the departed. In the northern hemisphere, we witness the temperatures dropping, the sun lower in the sky as the days get shorter, and the death of annual vegetation. Here in New England, this takes the form of a vivid display of bright foliage.

Today (El Día de los Santos, or All Saints Day) was extremely beautiful, unusually warm and even sunny. I took a bike ride to the Mount Auburn Cemetery, one of the most beautifully landscaped cemeteries in the area. It was an appropriate day to take in the beauty of fall while contemplating our mortality.

One of my favorite reflections is found in Psalm 90 where one translation reads: “teach us to number our days that we may learn your wisdom.” Yes our days on earth are numbered, they are finite. But we must embrace our transitory existence and not be afraid of or obsessed with our eventual death. That is the wisdom we must learn, so that we can make the most of our lives.

The Psalm also says “for a thousand years to you……is like the passing of a single day.” This contrasts the eternal nature of God to our brief existence, with an understanding that time can be experienced differently, something that would be embraced in Einstein’s special relativity centauries later. Our lives pass in snippets of time, maybe a century at most. God spans the centuries (“por los siglos de los siglos”).

So, what becomes of us? Do we wither and fade and our life is extinguished, like the annual flowers in my garden with the killing frost? Christianity, Judism, Islam, and other faiths embrace an afterlife in heaven with God. Hinduism professes reincarnation. Others think death is the end. We don’t know the answer.

But while I was there in the cemetery, one thought came to me. I do know what will happen come April. Those same trees now displaying their brilliant foliage, after 4 months where their branches lay bear through winter winds and snowfalls, those very branches will bud forth in a glorious display of spring colors. Hope and life springs eternal.