Longtime readers know that every Christmas Les UDs go to Cambridge, Massachusetts…

…to be with family. This year, rather than stay with family or at a hotel (Les UDs have a house in Cambridge, but they rent it out), we’ll stay at a friend’s house on Professors’ Row, a line of beautiful places steps from Harvard.

The term Professors’ Row, Boston Curbed writes, “is used now only with the bitterest of irony, given the costs of housing near Harvard and the pay of most Harvard faculty.” Which is to say that even, for instance, a $400,000 a year salary probably isn’t enough. You have to be edging up toward hedge fund territory.

No wonder Sheriff Ben Edelman sets his consulting fee so high.

UD will of course blog from these privileged precincts. She has been stomping around Harvard for decades (ever since she and Mr UD, a Harvard professor’s son, became an item) and she has blogged, a bit, about her impressions of Cambridge and its university people. She will now do so again.

Giving both of my final exams back to back today…

… so haven’t been able to post. Will do so this evening.

From Munro Leaf’s House in Garrett Park, Maryland…


Ferdinand wishes
University Diaries readers
a bullish holiday season.

The President, The Rock, La Kid


She’s the blond to the right
of… uh… what’s his name.

I found the picture here.

Merry Christmas from La Kid…


… at the post-performance party
for Christmas in Washington,
National Building Museum,
last night.

Broadcast time and date.

La Kid’s credentials for her tenth Christmas in Washington performance tonight…


… aren’t quite right,
but they’ll do.

My Computer Guy Voted!

He’s the first George Washington University student US Today interviewed who actually did vote in the last election. (Watch him here.) Turns out he’s a political communications major.

More importantly, he’s the genius in the basement of my building who responds to my recurrent internet-connectivity anxiety attacks with infinitely sweet, infinitely long-suffering, positively Buddha-like compassion. As I fail to answer even the very first simple query he poses to me, as I stare at him with the frightened blank eyes of a cornered mouse, he draws in a very deep breath, bats his eyelashes at me in a way that just manages to avoid expressing his incredulity, and asks me another, even more primitive question. One that I can answer! I am grateful to my computer guy, and I’m glad he voted.

“[V]eteran singers Mavis Staples and Sam Moore stole the spotlight with a joyfully raucous ‘Take Me to the River,’ backed by … a giant choir.”

La Kid, last night,
was somewhere
in that choir,
doing her bit to
steal the show.


Here she is at the
reception after the
show, looking
impossibly elegant.

With Rachelle,
a fellow singer.


Margaret’s Nature Journal

Wow. Something I’ve never seen before.

On a cold but extremely sunny day, a fox is currently sitting in complete relaxation (eyes vaguely scanning the birds at my feeder), steps from my deck. Like this. Just sunning itself, half asleep.

Strange Weather, With Spanish Black Radish.

Snow and then sun,
snow again and then
sun again, on this


beautiful Friday
after Thanksgiving.

Taken just now on
UD‘s deck, her snow-
capped radishes
gleaming in the sun.

UD’s Thanksgiving.

Replete is the word I find,
These days, most often in mind.

I sit down with family to eat.
There it is again: Replete.

UD discovers…

… at the Garrett Park Farmer’s Market
this morning, round black Spanish radish.


Not as something to eat;
she knows nothing about
it as something to eat.

As something beautiful.

She bought six of them,
arranged them on a brown
plate with their turnipy
stems up, and put them
on the black table on her
wooden deck.

If the squirrels begin gnawing
them, fine. It’s all organic.

Snapshots from Home

He was nominated one last time in 2013 for the special Christmas in Washington.

Ian Fraser, the music director with whom La Kid worked for nine years, has died.

Margaret’s Nature Journal

A female downy woodpecker
was just now pecking at
my frozen-over birdbath.


Tiny bits of ice flew up
as it pecked. It made a
small hole and drank water
from it.

Snapshots from Home

An interview with UD‘s cousin-in-law,
currently performing as
Alfred P. Doolittle.

UD‘s cousin is
in the same show, as
Mrs Pearce, the housekeeper.


Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE