Trip Wrap-Up

We’re back in Boston, after what I think was a kind of water­shed trip.

As Pam not­ed, we were in a bit of funk before we left. We were focused on the absence of Socrates, and this in turn led us to con­tem­plate the past. This trip to Van­cou­ver helped us make more of a clean break. Instead of dwelling on ‘He used to hang out here’ or ‘Now was the time when he’d usu­al­ly make a cute noise or sit on your mou­s­ing arm.’ it was ‘Here’s where we might live’ or ‘There is where you might work’. We thought about what we’ll be doing in a few months, or what we might need to do a few years down the road. We tried to imag­ine our­selves in a new house, in a new job, in a new coun­try. My friend Andy calls it a ‘Life Mul­li­gan’. I didn’t under­stand the term at first, but he explained that a Mul­li­gan is a term from golf, mean­ing essen­tial­ly a ‘do-over’. You get them in a polite game. I sus­pect it’s named after some des­per­ate­ly bad golfer who always asked if he could retake his dri­ves or putts.

(Hah! I just found it on and it’s appar­ent­ly a Cana­di­an term. Accord­ing to one of the many mys­te­ri­ous ety­molo­gies of the term, a promi­nent hote­lier named David Mul­li­gan (sic) ‘fre­quent­ed St. Lam­bert Coun­try Club in Mon­tréal, Que­bec, dur­ing the 1920s. Mul­li­gan let it rip off the tee one day, wasn’t hap­py with the results, re-teed, and hit again. Accord­ing to the sto­ry, he called it a “cor­rec­tion shot,” but his part­ners thought a bet­ter name was need­ed and chris­tened it a “mul­li­gan.” Per­haps because Mr. Mul­li­gan was a promi­nent busi­ness­man — own­ing mul­ti­ple hotels — the term was more like­ly to catch on.’ At any rate, I like that the­o­ry, espe­cial­ly since the guy is both a David and a Cana­di­an.)

Any­way, Life Do-Over or not, we def­i­nite­ly seem to be restart­ing, and this trip made the Restart­ing line seem a bit clos­er and clear­er. We walked the city of Van­cou­ver sev­er­al times, took the Sky­train way out into the ‘burbs and back again in a big loop. We walked in parks, over the Granville Bridge (much to my dis­com­fort, as I still do not like walk­ing near the edge of pre­cip­i­tous areas like bridge side­walks), and to many places we would like to fre­quent (the Pub­lic Library, the Sym­pho­ny Hall, the Sea Wall — that last one by Pam alone). We looked at poten­tial con­do­mini­ums, watched for apart­ment rental signs, read news­pa­pers, watched some local TV and lis­tened to CBC radio. We bought food at local gro­ceries, pro­duce stands and bak­eries.

As for me, I hus­tled, schmoozed and did my best to learn about the local busi­ness scene, sign­ing up with 2 recruiters, and already inter­view­ing with 2 local busi­ness­es. My expe­ri­ences were near­ly all encour­ag­ing. I have a strong resume, lots of great expe­ri­ence, and I just have to work on how I present my port­fo­lio (a lit­tle rusty at that, I must admit). I found most peo­ple polite, inter­est­ing to talk to, and curi­ous about why a per­son from Boston would want to relo­cate to lit­tle-old Van­cou­ver, which does have a bit of a self-image of being a back­wa­ter eco­nom­i­cal­ly. If this is true, I’m hop­ing that the ‘big­ger fish in a small­er pond’ metaphor does hold true, and I’ll be able to make a name for myself there.

Frankly, giv­en that the cul­ture is so rich with so many immi­grants (tons of peo­ple from Chi­na and India), the cli­mate is so mild, the vis­tas so breath­tak­ing, the local gov­ern­ment enlight­ened and the pop­u­lace tol­er­ant, it’s only a mat­ter of time before the world begins to notice that this is one of the best places in the world in which to reside. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m sure I’ll miss Boston a lot, but with it’s polit­i­cal infight­ing, frigid win­ters, rude­ness, obses­sion with the Colo­nial past and theme park exploita­tion of it’s own her­itage, not to men­tion the abom­i­na­tions of Logan Air­port, the Hynes Con­ven­tion Cen­ter and Gov­ern­ment Cen­ter (ick, yuck and yech! respec­tive­ly), I’m going to have to say that it’s time for me to check out some new places.

A thought just came to me. At Pam’s and my wed­ding, some of Pam’s Aunts came over to us after the reception/luncheon, where we served Vichysoise, Poached Salmon withe some assort­ed sauces, rasp­ber­ry coulis, and Pra­line cake for a wed­ding cake. They exclaimed how they had nev­er eat­en any­thing like that before. In fact, I learned that one of them had rarely ven­tured out­side her 10-mile radius of Quin­cy. OK. Time to go now.

writ­ten while lis­ten­ing to: Strauss — Vier Let­zte Lieder — i. Früh­ling from the album “Strauss: Vier Let­zte Lieder” by Jessye Nor­man, sopra­no, The Leipzig Gewand­haus Orches­tra con­duct­ed by Kurt Masur

The Gates

Yes­ter­day, Pam and I took the Fung Wah bus from Boston to New York to take a look at The Gates, Chris­to and Jeanne-Claude’s instal­la­tion of 7,500 fab­ric-fes­tooned arch­ways along the path­ways of Cen­tral Park. We had a great time, even with the 4 hour ride there and back (although the price was right; $15 each way!). Have a look at all the pho­tos we took at Flickr.

I was struck by how such a sim­ple thing — fab­ric and steel arch­ways — changes the expe­ri­ence of the place. It was no longer a sim­ple walk in the park. Sud­den­ly, it’s as if the whole area were turned into an ant farm, with tun­nels going each and every direc­tion, con­verg­ing, and encir­cling. Add to that, the col­or, which was like an orange shout on the gray Feb­ru­ary land­scape. I wish that I could have sped through them on some sort of scoot­er or bicy­cle, pass­ing through the path­ways at top speed, expe­ri­enc­ing the ever-arriv­ing, ever-leav­ing at 30 or 40 mph. Still, even at a stroll’s pace, I enjoyed the trip and the instal­la­tion. A pity that it will only be around for such a short time. But then, after it’s gone, the ghost of those gates will prob­a­bly linger a lit­tle while, like the smell of saf­fron after the meal is over and the plates are put into the dish­wash­er.

writ­ten while lis­ten­ing to Brahms — String Quin­tet No. 2 in G Major, Op.111 (arranged for piano, 4 hands)- i. Alle­gro ma non trop­po from the album “Brahms — Four Hand Piano Music, Vol. 12” by Matthies, Kohn, Piano