What will Boston look like?

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm back in Houston. I was going to say, "I'm back home," but after seeing my wife for the first time in over a month and having a very nice day out with her Saturday, I can't really speak of being "home" until I've found a job up there and moved back in with her. As much as I like Houston, this trip has really driven it home to me that Houston is definitely part of my past. I'll miss it, but I really want to move on.

Until Friday evening, when some late-arriving good news on a promising job-hunting lead I'd nearly given up on arrived, the job-hunting aspect of the week was more on the disappointing side than anything else. A biotech job fair (held at the site of next year's OCON) may have yielded another lead, but a second job fair had nothing to offer me, and I had to stand in line for half an hour to find out!

If I hear about a job fair in Boston on a day I happen to be there anyway, I'll consider going, but I won't go out of my way to attend anything I can't get a list of participants in it again. That said, job fairs are only part of my job-hunting strategy. I suspect that contacts with recruiters or my own research will lead to whatever I end up doing.

So Saturday brought a much-needed break to both of us. My wife is at work by eight every day, and often doesn't get home until around nine or ten. She's running on fumes by Thursday every week.

We did manage to meet an old friend -- the one who first introduced us -- and her husband and daughter at the venerable Jacob Wirth Restaurant Friday evening. Afterwards, we returned to my wife's apartment, where we were going to stay in and watch a movie -- but proceeded to zonk out instead. I regained consciousness long enough to turn out the lights around two in the morning.

Saturday -- later than we wanted after she got caught up in something unexpected at work -- we met at Copley Square and finally got to enjoy each other's company for the day. We ran a few errands together, which walking through a charming city like Boston made much more enjoyable than it would have been in Texas. Then, we wandered through town a bit, ending up at Public Garden and Boston Common, had a very nice dinner at another Boston institution, and saw a movie we were saving to see with each other. We were back fairly early since I had to catch a morning flight back to Houston, but we both definitely needed that day.

Here are a few shots I took, roughly in chronological order. The shot of Copley Square in front of the Boston Public Library -- well worth visiting on its own -- is from an earlier solo jaunt there. When I finally took my wife's call Saturday morning, I found myself walking straight ahead on the sidewalk through that scene, as it were, towards the T stop to meet her!

Mouse over images for descriptions and click on them for detail. I love how the height of the modern office buildings puts the spire of Trinity Church in its proper perspective!

I read somewhere later that Boston Public Garden was designed to resemble an English garden, which probably explains why I was immediately reminded of a trip to London awhile back when we got there!

Once we got to the other side of this pond, I even encountered a very odd tree (below) I'd previously seen only in England. These shots are, from left to right, (1) of the outside, showing the distinctive "upside-down" growth pattern of its branches, (2) of its shady inner canopy with plenty of standing room, and (3) its foliage.

Does anyone out there know what this kind of tree is called? It is fascinating.

Oh yeah. The title! It's getting late now, but I was originally going to ponder my future as a writer, given the radical change from the "two" alternatives I incorrectly saw myself as having before my wife matched. Boston, with its cost of living, puts me firmly on what I call the "Charles Krauthammer track": full-time career and writing on the side.

I don't have many answers yet. Life will be very different. When I can write and for how long will be heavily dependent on my future work schedule as well as my wife's activities. Be that as it may, as a writer or not, I will enjoy many things about Boston. This pictorial just barely begins to scratch the surface.

I can't wait to get up there for good! That is home now, and as a writer, I am eager to get out of my present holding pattern.

-- CAV

P.S. L.B. informs me that the mysterious tree is a weeping beech.


: Corrected typos, added P.S.


LB said...

Glad you enjoyed your time in Boston. Could the tree be a weeping beech? There are some beautiful specimens at the DeCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln as well (the park is worth the trip even if much of the art is not). Don't forget to stop by the Gropius house on the way there.

Gus Van Horn said...

Yes. Thank you! (I hate not knowing what something that striking is called!)

Thanks for the other touring suggestions. as well.

Liriodendron said...

I believe the tree is a weeping beech. Don't quote me on that.... but it certainly looks like one. Fagus sylvatica var. pendula.

Gus Van Horn said...

Based on L.B.'s earlier comment and the digging around it inspired, I think you're right.

Dismuke said...

Wow. You've put up pictures of my old haunts. I used to walk through Copley Square pretty much every day. And the Public Gardens are very beautiful. Did you ride the swan boat?

Boston is an incredibly beautiful city. The only real negative is the political climate and the horrible cost of living that results from it. But to the degree you have free time, you couldn't ask for a nicer city to enjoy it in. And there are a million neat things to do and see within a (by Texas standards) short driving distance. If you are up there in about a month or so and have time, do your very best to take a drive in the countryside and see the spectacular fall color - the fall color we have here in Texas is rather pathetic by comparison.

Gee - now you have made me homesick for a place I haven't called home for a good number of years now.

Gus Van Horn said...

We thought about riding the swan boats, but didn't.

It is nice that there are so many day trips nearby. That is something we're both looking forward to.

We're within a 10-15 minute walk of Copley Square, located as she is now (and our place for the following 9 months will be) on the border between Back Bay and South End.

Jim May said...

This is making me homesick for Toronto -- different city, not as old, but also more compact and amenable to car-free living. The fall colors are just as gorgeous (if perhaps a week or two sooner).

Regarding the "Charles Krauthammer" track, please do keep us in the loop of how that plays out; I plan to follow the same track. I finally picked up an Iphone, which will be the centerpiece of my "Getting Things Done" implementation. I hope that will eventually make it possible for me to start writing regularly.

Gus Van Horn said...

I will be the first to admit liking the freedom of a car, but I have always liked to walk. Also, there are aspects of owning a car, like having to choose between the guaranteed, but steady drain on one's income of a new car and the occasional, but potentially large drain due to repairs of an old one, that I don't at all like.

We will get to drop down to one or zero cars here, and not a moment too soon, as both that we own need repairs -- as of this morning -- costing more than they're worth.

Will keep folks updated on the writing, although I won't really be able to start my plan until I get up there.

nhl0214 said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed your "visit" to Boston and looking forward to your move. As others have commented, it really is a beautiful city and certainly one of my favorites.

Do try to get out to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum . . . a fascinating place.

Gus Van Horn said...

I have no doubt that Boston will become one of my favorite cities.

Thanks for your suggestion as well.

Liriodendron said...

Don't miss Harvard Museum of Natural History's collection of glass flowers in Cambridge. Incredible.


Don't know how I missed lb's comment!?

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks again.

RE: The earlier comment: Since I moderate comments here, I'm pretty sure you must have been posting while I was moderating LB's comment or replying to it, now that I think about it.

TJWelch said...

As someone who has lived in both Massachusetts and Texas, I had better warn you that you might not have such a warm fuzzy for Boston after a few months of winter... but I hope you enjoy! (I recommend visting Cape Cod while the weather's nice).

Gus Van Horn said...

I'm moving to Boston because I love my wife and value our marriage. Complaining about the weather -- or even the cost of living -- in such a context is amusing to think about.