July 23, 2017 (Sunday)

by Yule Heibel on July 22, 2018

Beautiful sunny morning, low humidity, lovely. I’ve opened the windows and doors. It smells like chemicals, though, which is the exterior paint, specifically the primer. The crew worked hard again all day yesterday, although “only” till 4:30 / 4:45p.m. They continued scraping, and also sanding (deck railings), as well as priming. We kept all the windows closed, kept the AC on. If we hadn’t had the AC we would have kept the windows open (and steamed in the humidity which has descended), and then the whole house would have been infiltrated by paint dust large and small. So, thank you, mod-cons.

A. and I took a walk around noon; he’s now grappling with how his project with R. should continue. By the time we got to I.-Park, I got a text from W. – he was at T.-café. So we headed over as well; W. was sitting with B.H. who had also stopped in for a coffee.

When we got home, I buckled down to work, baking two (2!) Orange-Semolina-Almond Upside-Down cakes, one regular, the other vegan. The recipe is a ton of work to begin with, but now doubled and adapted, too. Instead of butter I used vegan margarine, which is revolting but easy (and which acts predictably), but for the five eggs I substituted 15 tablespoons of chickpea water. I beat it before  adding, just to punch in some air, and it actually fluffed up nicely. The finished cakes looked almost identical, but after several hours or more, the vegan version had lost about a third of its height. Its texture was also very different – not bad, as such, but it was much “crumblier.” However, the taste was excellent, as good, really, as the regular one, except the vegan margarine had salt in it, which came out a bit too strongly.

Then it was time to clean up everything (and I also had laundry to do), tidy, wash up some pans (again) by hand (from our last-for-a-while BACON and eggs breakfast, which I’d cooked), finally take a shower, and head out for the airport. A bit more traffic going in than the previous day. Picked up E. and Ax., who both were tired but looking good, then home. It was a very overcast day, and I had to convince Ax. it wasn’t pollution, but humidity. He thought it looked like Beijing, and I thought he has no idea what real pollution is like. Well, we drove back via Rt.1A as is my wont these days (so pretty to go along the Lynn Shore Drive), but holy cow, by the time we got to Wonderland we ran into miles of the mother of all traffic chaos as thousands of cars were making their way to Revere Beach.

Totally hadn’t realized it was the 14th Annual Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival (aka Sandcastle Competition)…

Last year they got one million visitors. This year – it’s still on today – about 900,000 (according to the Boston Globe). Good fucking grief. I had no idea. But it was kinda fun to see all the hullabaloo, even if it was traffic gridlock literally for miles. The cop who got out of his car and directed traffic (finally!) at the intersection of North Shore Rd. and Revere St. was a joy to behold: take no prisoners and tell all Massholes what’s what. We phoned in wraps from Wrapture, picked them up, had dinner at home, and pre-birthday cake afterward. Sat and talked till about 10p.m. and then our travelers were zonked, ready for bed. I was tired and achy myself; all that kitchen work.

At the end of meditation, Andy always instructs us to let go of the focus and to let the mind do whatever it wants for just a bit before coming back to the body, the senses, etc. Today he said something I hadn’t heard before in quite this way: not just let go of the focus, but also, he added, “or the distraction.” That is, it’s as if the mind were binary, either in (or on) focus or in (on) distraction. Which I found very interesting. We tend to think, I guess, of focus as one thing, and distraction as many. But what if both were just one thing – a state of mind – yet both are able to produce the many?

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