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Seven Hills

Boston-area exploration, travel notes, crafty things, and other Somervillainy.

Monday, February 26, 2007

No Perfume

Watching the Oscars last night inspired me to do a show-and-tell of a Hollywood-related craft project I've been putting some time into lately: the celebrity snark box.

I'm an unabashed star watcher, which is why I enjoy things like the Academy Awards and Us Weekly so much. But I am also - more abashedly so - intrigued by the inane things celebrities say at awards shows and in publications such as these. Occasionally they are also witty and smart (Cate Blanchett comes to mind), but ... usually not.

A few years ago a friend of mine had the flu while traveling in South America, and while she was stuck in her hotel room she got obsessed with a foreign gossip magazine she'd happened to find on her trip - I think it was from Australia, and hence included a lot of items related to Nicole Kidman. One story in particular gripped her imagination. This was when Tom Cruise was still dating Penelope Cruz, and the story said that Tom had (quite insensitively, I think) bought a case of Chanel No. 5, "Nic's" signature scent, to give as gifts to all his female assistants for Christmas that year. (Who knew Scientologists observed Christmas?) Penelope, however, was having none of it, and allegedly threw all the perfume away, storming, "No perfume for anyone!"

Now, who knows if this story is true, but if it is I say good for Penelope, and I hope those bottles of Chanel broke all over Tom's pressed blue jeans. In celebration of this treasured bit of celebrity schadenfreude I made a keepsake for my friend, using images from the magazine she had so generously bequeathed to me.

I just love that triumphant look on Penelope's face. She was not going to let a case of emotionally loaded designer scent come between her and her man, no way! Nevertheless, inside the box lurks the flower of her secret:

I went for a sort of Almodovar-inspired color scheme, turquoises and reds, with silver lace on the sides and a dash of glitter.

So, that's the Penelope Cruz "no perfume" box. Many other celebrities beckon me with their tabloid sagas, with Brad and Angie probably highest on my list.

But first, the Gwyneth Paltrow "food issues" box. Until next time ...


Thursday, February 15, 2007

First Weather

We've hardly gotten any snow in Boston this winter, but yesterday it:

- snowed
- sleeted
- rained
- melted

... and then froze again.

Now the sidewalks around town are like a giant luge course.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


After talking about it all winter, today we made use of our flexible weekday schedules and headed down to the Boston Common for a chilly afternoon of skating on Frog Pond, an area of the park that I believe in the summertime is a sort of wading pool with sprinklers where little children can play.

The rink is artificial, and we were a little disappointed when we saw it in person, as we had the romantic notion that we would be skating on a natural frozen pond. This idea was bolstered for me by an article by Roger Angell several years back in which he recalled skating with his stepfather, E.B. White, on the pond in the Public Garden (the name of the other half of the park) where you can ride the Swan Boats in the summer, and White's shoes being stolen from where he'd hidden them under a bush, thus causing him to walk back up Beacon Hill first in his hockey skates, then in stockinged feet, in the snow.

This was not a risk for us, as there are storage lockers at the Frog Pond skating facility. On our way downtown, my companion, who seemed inordinately nervous about our impending activity, revealed that he had only ever been skating once before in his life, so I worried that the falling and bruising of bottoms might be our risk instead, but both of us managed to stay upright, only clinging to the railing every now and then. We weren't alone in that.

When we first got on the ice, a waifish preteen boy commented to us, "I'm glad I'm not the only beginner here!" as he skidded by in a knock-kneed pose. Meanwhile, the rink was filling up with older kids, mostly Asian, who expertly bombarded each other on lightning blades, crashing into the walls of the rink like bumper cars. A petite young man with a bleached-out Howard Jones hairdo and acid-washed jeans spun and danced on the middle of the ice to the song "I Need a Hero." The music had clearly been chosen with great care: "Word Up," "Glamorous Life," Prince's "Kiss." It was Friday Night Videos on Ice.

Our path home led past the Swan Boat pond, where it turned out there was skating after all, but only for those with their own skates and the courage to test the strength of nature's own ice.

These hardy folk were all playing hockey; we might want to practice a few more times on the "baby" rink before venturing over here with the big boys, where we'd have to dodge skittering pucks, along with the peril of rough, un-Zambonied ice, with, as Angell says, "frozen ripples here and there to trip you up."

But we have one advantage the hockey players don't - we know not to leave our shoes unattended. Not unless we want a long, chilly walk back to the T station.