And then I realized I'd forgotten to take with me the mounted photos we were getting framed. ::facepalm::
I figure I'll have missed my intended 86 but that there isn't really enough time to do anything before the next one so I'll just retrieve the photos. I had been aiming for the 3:28 and am now waiting for there 4:05. Around 3:55 an 86 shows up. MBTA Trip Planner had been clocking the trip at 17 minutes. Um, try more like 7 minutes. I hadn't realized just how close Union Square is. (We totally passed Layna's old neighborhood. I also don't understand why for a trip from there to South Station MBTA Trip Planner told me to take the 87 to Davis rather than just returning on the 86 to Harvard, esp. since Harvard is closer to South Station than Davis is.)
I usually have a horrible sense of direction, but I got to Stanhope exactly correctly, which impressed me greatly. We picked out a nice dark wood frame with reddish tones to it and plexiglass rather than glass for a number of reasons but the guy mentioned that glass distorts toward a green tint and plexi distorts toward a red tint so it occurred to me later that that was rather perfect what with the reddish frame and all. He asked if August 23rd ("two and a half weeks" -- though really, that's more like 3 weeks) would be okay and I asked if August 18 (the date the professor is leaving) would be feasible and he said yeah, so he'll be calling some time on the 17th. Nice.
I headed back a slightly different way and missed an important turn so I ended up going in exactly the wrong direction, but I realized my mistake and did it right the second time.
I walked back to Harvard ('cause damned if I was paying bus fare when it was that close; I know Central's walkable from Maria's place, but I only did it the once with Meg so I wasn't about to try it with no directions) and headed to South Station to meet sk8eeyore's bus. Poor dear ended up delayed by about two hours :( But she did arrive safely, and we made it back to my apartment without incident. And she'd brought me "Divine" chocolate from the YDS store (I have not yet sampled it to confirm or deny its claims) and the Spring 2006 issue of Reflections (the YDS magazine, this issue's theme: "Sex and the Church").
Our day started with walking around Harvard Square.* We walked to HBS -- though I don't have after-hours access, so we couldn't actually get in anywhere, but it's still a pretty campus -- and then back to the Square and walked along Mass. Ave and Mount Auburn.
* Edit: I forgot to mention, we took the scenic route from the apartment to the T station because we walked along Powderhouse and missed the Curtis St. turn so we just walked until the road hits Broadway and then doubled back that way. So from the get-go it was a mega-walking day. /edit
Next was Copley for the 10,000 Joans exhibit at BPL. Ten thousand seemed an overstatement, but it was a nice exhibit. My favorites were totally two of the trading cards (yeah, I know, tobacco cards or whatever) -- one was like superhero! Jeanne d'Arc and the other one was like chibi! Jeanne d'Arc.
We learned that Trinity Church has free guided tours after Sunday service at 12:15 but otherwise you have to pay.
We also looked at the cows, of course. I even dragged Sarah to the Pru to see Make Way for Calflings. What happened to the calflings? The Mommy Cow is totally not as cool without them. My suspicion is that they got stolen, which makes me sad. We had lunch at the Food Court and when were finally read to move again headed to the MFA for the Americans in Paris exhibit. The ticket taker was telling most people that there was more Mary Cassatt downstairs that they should check out afterward, but he told us about a just installed Islamic calligraphy exhibit. How perfect :) So of course we checked that out afterward. And it was indeed lovely. I was unimpressed by Americans in Paris I've gotta say. My favorite parts were seeing paintings I recognized from the MFA's permanent collection. (And people kept causing me to hyperventilate by getting so close to the vases bookending Sargent's "The Daughters of Edward D. Boit." Yes, one of the daughters is leaning against one of the vases in the painting, but it's different when it's your house and your parents' stuff and whatever.)
Queer notes (because that is what I do):
-- Ellen Day Hale's self-portrait is very masculine, and I have spent too much time in queer spaces because then I saw Charles Sprague Pearce's portrait of "Paul Wayland Bartlett" and just assumed it was a woman in drag until I actually read the gallery text. [What is the term for those short blocks of text accompanying a work of art in a museum/gallery?]
-- Homer's "A Summer Night" is of two women dancing, with the sea in the background.
-- I do not believe that Pearce's "Fantasie" is of a young man. I read the figure as female and even after reading the accompanying text I don't read the face as male. The text even says the figure is wearing a female kimono (and I totally see bosom swell under that cloth). I want to know how they "know" the figure is a male; like do they have the name of the model or something?
-- At the end is Tarbell's "Three Sisters," and one attendee was saying something a supposed homosexual sexual tension in the painting -- that that's what her audio guide was saying. Huh.
Also, Cassatt is totally pomo sometimes. The gallery text for her "Mother and Child" talks about the realism of the painting and then points out how at the bottom it dissolves into just a series of brushstrokes, "reminding the viewer that the only actual physical objects here are the paint and canvas" (or something like that).
I would like to see Sargent, Chase, Cassatt: Master Paintings from a Private Collection at some point, but we were both very tired, so we didn't. We spent a solid hour in Americans in Paris and had been walking around all day. I love Laura McPhee: River of No Return but wasn't up for showing it to someone. So after the Islamic calligraphy we looked at some of the ancient exhibits and then just sat for a while. We found Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral no problem. And I got to do more of my piecing together of Boston's geography. I sort of knew that's where Simmons was but am not sure I had ever realized how close the Gardner is to the MFA. P.S. Everybody's going to library school at Simmons. Yes, I totally bumped into Liz Lerner the other day. I also bumped into Erika and Petra a few days earlier [not going to library school, just more of the Smith connection]. And yesterday on the Red Line while wearing my Celebration t-shirt a woman seated across from us leaned over and asked, "Are you a Smith student?" She was an album (had a Smith College Family Weekend October 2000 totebag; I don't remember tote bags from when I was there).
So the Orthodox service. There were folding chairs along the edge of the room and we were very glad to sit down. We stood when other people did, but this one woman was insisting that we come over onto the carpet with everybody else. We did but were not pleased. Prepared for the chanting, I focused a lot more and was able to understand most of it. (As compared to the last time I attended an Orthodox service and it all just kinda washed over me.) There was the story of Moses in the cleft of the rock seeing God's backside and also the story of Jesus' Transfiguration (with an appearance by Moses for extra connectyness) and oh how I love "This is my beloved with whom I am well pleased."
The "Lord have mercy" prayer was almost identical to the one they often did at the Emmanuel Lutheran Thursday evening prayer services, so I really liked that. We went outside for a bit and had a ten-minute litany of saints. I didn't recognize almost any of the names, so my ears only pricked up for "enlightener of Ireland," "enlightener of Japan," (etc. etc.), "equal to the apostles," "proto-martyr," and my favorite, after a whole bunch of Slavic names, So-and-so "of Brooklyn." (After that was a So-and-so of San Francisco, but "of Brooklyn" was the awesomest.) Sarah did recognize a lot of the names, though, and was really interested by whom they claimed as Orthodox.
There was some thing with anointing (well, the priest paintbrushed oil on your forehead) and then bread and wine which people took almost buffet style. We sat that one out.
We were attending the "Vigil for the Transfiguration" and I dunno how long that was supposed to go on, but after an hour and a half, when Sarah noticed that some people were leaving, we slipped out. We kept repeating the "Lord have mercy" litany (I felt like I was in a self-flagellating Catholicism out of Flannery O'Connor or something) and getting incensed. I was expecting a very worship-focused service, and instead I had no real sense of why what was happening was happening. (Plus of course if I was sitting I was falling asleep and if I was standing I was falling over.)
We came back to new interior stairs in my apartment. I knew a guy was gonna be coming to take off the carpet, but I hadn't realized just how different it would look. Very nice.
Friday night it wasn't really cuddle-together weather, but Saturday night it really cooled down -- I woke up in the morning a bit chilled. (I was sleeping on top of my sheets.) W00t.
We went to church at College Avenue United Methodist Church. It's off of College Ave., the first time I'd been up in that area since hedy and I went to "HomoCon" (tm her). Ah, memories. It was also nice to get a better feel for how stuff fit together geographically.
The building is big and stone with a big tower (I felt like I was at that central corner in Norwood) but according to the Young Adult Minister has always been a Methodist building.
Their signage says "reconciling" rather than what I am used to -- "open and affirming" -- but the shared meaning is obvious (to me). Their welcome mat says "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors." Their summer services are held in a side chapel, which I actually prefer to the larger sanctuary. And they have a setup in the back where little kids can play, which makes me happy (the JW's are the only other group I've seen do something like that -- though United has the sound system connected to the child care facilities so parents/caregivers can still listen to the service).
They use inclusive God-language which I meant to talk with Sarah about after the service but we got caught up in chatting with the Young Adult Minister and then I forgot. They have a full-page insert explaining why they do this, but they also say in the bulletin "You are encouraged to use the words, version, and language you find most meaningful." I didn't even realized they'd changed "Our Father" to "Our Creator" until I'd already said it and was glancing at the bulletin to see whether they said "trespasses" (they do) but I loved that they used the Doxology I had gotten used to at First Churches (and which I now say wherever I am).
The bulletin says "Celebrations, Concerns, and Challenges" which I think is an interesting way of phrasing it.
Their pastor is on summer sabbatical and I wasn't impressed by the lay minister, but they have a Monday Bible/book study at 7pm -- dinner included -- and the Young Adult Minister said that they really get into the texts. (I was talking about Beginnings and how I said to someone that if I looked for a church home when I moved to Boston my main criterion would probably be if they had a good Bible study because really I don't care about the worship service. She laughed out loud, said she had never heard that before. We know it is so true, though.) I think she said this is the book they're currently doing, though they'll be starting something new in the fall. [And they really mean "Young Adult," as in, people in their twenties and thirties.] Yeah, I am so there. Oh, and she talked about how they have people coming from all different backgrounds and they maintain mutual love and respect, . She is totally the welcome wagon, which puts me off, but I'm glad that she kept talking to us. I mentioned Continuing Ed religion classes and how Nicole had suggested Div School and that makes me and my friends laugh and after my explanation of why she said she thinks Harvard Div School is the most academic least spiritual divinity school probably in the world, so that was encouraging. Oh, and she played rugby at MIT and totally judges other colleges based on their rugby teams and apparently the HBS rugby team was the worst collection of jerks but Smith is v. classy.
I would have loved to have stayed and continued to talk for a long time, but we did have to get Sarah home, so I was glad when Trelawney (yes, I am entirely serious) got up to leave for the vigil in J.P.
sk8eeyore appeared to depart without incident. She really enjoyed Boston, and I had a really nice time with her. She said it would be great if I had a Monday off sometime and could come attend classes with her at YDS. Now that I'm no longer FA to a Course Head ( ::does a little dance:: ) I bet it would totally be possible for me to take a Monday off and go down for a weekend -- go to St. John's with her on Sunday, go to classes on Monday, then come home. (And man, not having to accommodate commuter rail schedules makes out-of-towning so much easier.)