Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas with the Fam

Christmas with the fam was amazing. Everyone except my brother Dan was able to make it up at some point, culminating with my parents, my brother, both of my sisters-in-law, my 90 year old grandmother and all 5 of my nephews being present at my parent's house for most of the day today. The boys are ages 1,2,3,6 and 6, making it quite an adventure.

Here are some of the crazy highlights:
  • I took Amtrak all the way from Boston to Philly and it was miraculously on time. I had dinner with Kim, Alex, Mike H., and Meg at Kim's apartment and then got a ride back to South Jersey with Mike and Meg.
  • When I got home I found out that my mom got rear-ended sitting at a red light and the guy claimed that he didn't see anyone waiting at the light. It caused a four-car pile-up and added "get a rental car" to our list of things to do before Christmas. Thankfully she's feeling good, but with having broken her neck twice already, the doctors were really cautious and took good care of her. Again, thankfully she's doing well.
  • My Grammy got her first pair of jeans, ever! She opened the box on Christmas morning and started crying. It was probably the sweetest moment of the week.
  • Jill and Grammy and I got to get out of the house and go get a manicure. Grammy's color of choice: bright red! She looks great.
  • I got to see Juno with Mike H. and Meg, and my brother, John on Christmas day. It was great and a good time to catch up with some friends. After the movie we wanted to go get a drink and, of course, the only place open was Denny's. So now I can say that I went to Denny's on both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.
  • I got some video of my nephews running around like crazy people in my parent's house. It was truly priceless. I'll try and post some once I get home.

Overall it's been a great trip home. A wonderful holiday filled with family and friends and now I have to go do laundry and pack before I fly out to Minneapolis tomorrow to celebrate New Year's with Jerri and Mark! I can't wait!

High School Musical - the reunion

Last night I went out with some friends from high school. There is only one place in town to get a drink that isn't super sketchy or TGIFriday's, so you're always bound to run into someone you know, especially during the holidays. Sometimes this is good and sometimes this requires getting a booth in the back of the room and trying not to make eye-contact. Last night it was a good thing. I ran into a bunch of people who I did theatre with in high school. One is living in LA, doing the acting thing, only not so much while the writer's strike is happening; others are living at home, buying condos, selling real estate in Vermont or singing in rock bands. The last time I saw these people they couldn't even legally drink, and now we're all pushing 30. It was great to reconnect. Great to hear about other people who weren't there, and just good to know that everyone is doing well.

I haven't been to my parent's house since the holidays last year and it's always a little weird to be back in the town where I grew up and notice how things have changed. We have a Starbucks now and an over-55 development where a Christmas tree farm used to be. And some trees have been cut down in my parent's yard. But even with changes, some bigger than others, it's always nostalgic to be back in town.

Looking forward to doing it again next year...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Well folks - I'm telling you right now, BLOG MORE is on my list of New Year's resolutions. Here's what happens: Something really fun happens in my life, like celebrating my grandmother's 90th birthday, or going to see Josh Ritter in concert and I think I need to Blog about it, but then I don't have the time to really sit down and write something good, so then it doesn't happen, and then I want to put photos up, and then I can't find the cord that connects the camera to the computer and then I don't want to post without photos, and before I know it's been a month since my Grammy's 90th birthday and there is no blog entry about it. So here's the plan for the New Year: I'm going to blog every day in January. Seriously. I know this seems like an impossible task, but it's true. And I'm going to blog about the little things, just something cool I noticed on my walk into work, or a little thought I had during the day or something small. There might be a photo, there might not. But I'm not going to let myself get bogged down trying to blog every detail about the big events of my life. Chances are, if you're reading this blog, I've already told you about the big events anyway. Wouldn't it be more interesting to know some funny thought I had instead? I'm glad you agree, oh faithful reader.

Here's the other thing that's going to change: This is my blog. I know it's supposed to be me and my sister in law, but that clearly ain't happening. She doesn't even read it, let alone post to it. So I'll have to figure something out. The address will be the same,, but the title might change, or something. I still need to figure that out.

So here's the rundown of what's happened since my last post, in no particular order, just to keep you updated:
  • I drove out to Pittsburgh with John, Jill and their kiddos, all in one mini-van, to celebrate my Grandmother's 90th Birthday. We had Thanksgiving dinner at Denny's and had a blast. It's certainly memorable that way. On the Friday after Thanksgiving 75 people showed up to celebrate with my Grammy. It was awesome to see so many people. On the drive back to NJ we stopped at Roadside America - America's biggest miniature village. Think model trains on steroids. The kids loved it.
  • I volunteered for the Neilds at Passim. Excellent as always.
  • I finished my semester! I start school again at the very end of January.
  • I saw Josh Ritter in concert at Passim. It was amazing, very intimate and sweet. I bought a recording of the show and I'm sure it will be featured on my next mix CD if I get it before the end of January.
  • I sent out my Christmas cards. No letter this year. I promise I'll have one next year. If you want to know what's going on with me, you should call me or drop me an email, I'd love to chat with you.
  • I went to three, count them three different holiday parties for work. Gotta love Harvard.
  • I'm looking forward to getting to see lots of friends and family over the holidays. It's trains, planes and automobiles for me (thankfully no buses!): Boston to Philly to Minneapolis back to Boston. Can't wait.

Hopefully I'll get to blog between now and then, but if not: Happy Holidays and I'll see you in 2008!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Done, almost

I've been so quiet lately because the semester is almost over, and like any crazy grad student I decided to change the topic for one of my final papers only 8 days before it was due, so those 8 days were spent researching and writing a fabulous paper on the effects of UV light on library collections. Really brilliant stuff.

But that, my friends, is over. Almost. The paper is turned in, now I just have to give a presentation on the topic on Wednesday and then I've turned everything in for the semester.

This week is shaping up to be a good one: Tomorrow I'm going to see Josh Ritter at Club Passim with Mark M., Wednesday I have class, Thursday is one of my work holiday parties and then my last Management class and then drinks with friends, and then Friday I'm having people over to help decorate the tree. That's right, my roomie and I got a real, live christmas tree and it's so fun to have in the house, and it smells great.

I'm looking forward to my school break, and then only one more semester and I'm DONE! Time flies when you're having fun.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving with Veggie Dinner Club!

Thanksgiving dinner was a success! Trinity, Paul, Miriam, Tim, Sylvie, Ann, Lee and I all got to share a great meal: Cheese and crackers, Ginger Carrot Soup, an amazing main-course salad with garlic aioli dressing, Winter White Puree and brownies with cookie dough ice cream! It was a candlelit feast and a great way to get into the holiday mood.

In case you're unfamiliar with the amazingness that is Winter White Puree, here is the recipe:

Winter White Puree
Makes 6 cups
1 lb. white turnips
1 lb. parsnips
1 tart green apple
1/2 lb. cauliflower
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (I told you it was good!)
3/4 cup heavy cream (really, really, good!)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Peel the turnips and parsnips, peel and core the apple, and cut them all into 1 inch cubes. Separate the cauliflower florets.
2. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot. Add the vegetables and apple and boil until they are tender enough to pierce easily with a fork, about 15 minutes. Strain in a colander.
3.Mash vegetables with a potato masher. Add the butter in small pieces. Add the cream. Mix thoroughly. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
4.Place the mixture in a 2-quart oven-proof casserole. Smooth the top and sprinkle with grated parmesan.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned on top.

ENJOY! Happy Thanksgiving!

I will be spending most of my Thanksgiving holiday in the car, but for a good reason. I'll write more about that once I get back.

Monday, November 12, 2007

More visitors!

This weekend involved another visit from some great friends. Kim, who I've known since high school, her sister Kelly and her son Alex and our friend Meg all came up for the long weekend. They got here Saturday (Kim's birthday) around 11am and we headed out to the Harvard v. Penn football game. Kim works at Penn, so she and Alex had their matching Penn sweatshirts on, I had on my Harvard t-shirt and ended up being the only person in our crew rooting for the winning team! It was pretty cold, sitting on the concrete bleachers, but we stayed through the whole game.

After getting home and warming up a little bit, we got in the car and headed out to the Roller Derby! It was the Nutcrackers v. the Wicked Pissahs (both of the Boston Derby Dames). Kim, Alex, Kelly and Meg had never been to the Roller Derby before, so they picked up on it pretty quick, and this time we were all rooting for the winning team. The Wicked Pissahs won by almost 100 points. That's a blow-out, even for Roller Derby. Here is a photo of all of us after the Derby:

Here is a great photo of Kim and Alex as Derby Dames:

It was super-fun and then we ended up eating at the All Star Sandwich Bar and finally got to sing Happy Birthday to Kim. We ended the evening by getting some homemade ice-cream at Christina's.

Sunday was a nicer day with a little more sun, less wind and slightly warmer temperatures. We all got ready and went to brunch at The Neighborhood in Union Square, Somerville. This place is amazing. It's teeny tiny, but you get so much food. All the breakfast options come with OJ, coffee or tea, hot cereal (Cream of Wheat), popovers, toast and homefries. That doesn't include whatever you actually order. I had the "lite" option of whole wheat pancakes topped with crunchy granola and bananas drizzled with yogurt. I had to cut this back from what the menu offered because it also originally came with 2 egg beaters cooked with spinach! And that's the lite option! Needless to say, no one left hungry.

After amazing brunch we headed to Downtown Boston to walk the Freedom Trail. Alex and Kelly had never been to Boston before, so we did the most educational, touristy thing we could. It was a nice day to walk around and see the city.

We started at the Boston Common and skipped going up to the State House, but we walked that Freedom Trail, stopping at Paul Revere's house, all the way through to the bridge that goes into Charlestown. By that point we decided to turn around and save Charlestown for next time, so we headed back through the North End and got cannolis at Mikes Pastry and gelato at a little place with amazing gelato. Here's all of us at Paul Revere's House (Kelly, Kim, Alex, me and Meg):

We walked all the way back to the Common and Meg had to catch the train back to NYC. The rest of us ended up walking through the Public Garden and doing a little shopping on Newbury Street. Here are Kim, Alex and Kelly on the smallest suspension bridge, spanning the lagoon in the Public Garden:

The day ended with an amazing smorgasbord dinner including sushi, tempura, Saag Paneer, Aloo Gobi, samosas, Raspberry wine and pizza for Alex! We had cannolis and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. Again, no one went to bed hungry.

This morning we went to breakfast at Darwin's and then Kim, Kelly and Alex headed back to NJ and Philly and I went to do laundry. Now I actually have to do homework....

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dr. Saad Eskander, amazing man...

Last night I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Saad Eskander speak at Simmons. He is the Director of the Iraqi National Library and Archives in Baghdad. The library was looted and burned in the early days of this Iraq war and still sits in a treacherous area where he and his dedicated staff literally risk their lives to preserve a nation's cultural heritage. If you are interested in reading about it in Dr. Eskander's own words, you can read his diary here. I found it hard to read at times. I went from moments of amazement at the dedication of everyone who works there, to horror at some of the events and back again. I'm proud to say that Simmons and Harvard have both been involved in helping to train some of the librarians on staff there, you can read more about that here and here and here. It also makes me proud to be part of this profession that is more than story hour and cataloging slides. Put in this context, the true value of libraries as institutions of cultural importance becomes apparent.

A podcast of this talk is available here. I encourage you to listen if you have the time. This event, and the reading that I did leading up to it, have really helped me to understand just one little story of the Iraqi people who choose to stay in Baghdad. There are many patrons who still come to this library to do research! It is alive and well amid the horror of war. To me, this is amazing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Gnomes, gnomes, gnomes!

This was sent to me from Jocelyn. She cut it out of the Oregonian.

I only hope she decides to go to the auction to get some gnomes for her lawn, just so I can live vicariously through her. That would make for some good photos all those gnomes on the auction block... I bet it looked really cool on the lawn, too. I would have kept them all, just like they were. Someday I'll have a lawn and there will be gnomes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Librarians bowling

Yes, bowling is among the many talents of library students at Simmons. Even though the remnants of a hurricane were blowing through the state, we got together on Saturday night in Auburn, MA to compete against the Simmons GSLIS folks from Mt. Holyoke. Here is my team:

That's Amy, me, Amber and Paul. We did pretty well with a 96 overall team average and my personal high was 116, which may be one of the best games I've ever bowled. It was fun to get to meet people from the other program, and get to know some of my classmates a little better. Overall, it was a super fun night. Even though a team from the West won the tournament. Maybe next time...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Jocelyn and Meadow in the house!

A lot has happened since my last post (as usual). The most exciting this is that Jocelyn and Meadow came to visit for the weekend of Oct. 26-29. It was so fun to have a such a fabulous and well-behaved baby in the house. Even my roommates admitted it wasn't so bad. We started out the weekend on Friday night in Northampton where I met Jocelyn, Meadow and Jocelyn's brother Nate for dinner (he drove her out from Central New York). Then we did a little shopping, got our photo booth pictures taken at Faces and then headed back to Cambridge.

On Saturday we visited Harvard and Harvard Square, and then we met up with Jocelyn's friend Annie and had fun hanging out and getting ready for my 7th Annual Pumpkin Carving Party which was held that night. We had a good turn-out with friends from all parts of my life: people I met at Simmons and Syracuse, in Chicago, friends of friends, etc... It was a great time with many amazing pumpkins and great baked goods courtesy of my guests (a baker, I am not).

On Sunday we drove into Boston and walked along the Freedom Trail, ate lunch at Cheers, got gelato and cannolis in the North End, visited the Common and the Public Garden and generally enjoyed a beautiful day. We drove out to Brookline to get Sushi and then came back and ate it while watching Knocked Up, and then we watched (Jocelyn slept through) the Red Sox winning the world series. It was pretty awesome!

We didn't get to do much on Monday except get packed up and drive to the airport, which was quite a task. Jocelyn and Meadow can't travel light, so I had to go into the airport and took this cute photo with the baby and all their luggage! It was a fantastic weekend. It's sad to think that the next time I see Meadow she'll probably be walking! It's amazing how fast they grow.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


It's quite the sporting weekend here in Boston. First of all the 43rd Head of the Charles Regatta took place right on the Charles River, walking distance from my house. I had the pleasure of seeing races on both days. Here is a photo of the Yale men's team and another boat's swirling wake:

The other huge event of the weekend is the last two days of the ALCS between the Red Sox and the Indians. All I have to say is, Red Sox fans are no joke. While walking through Harvard Square on my way to the Regatta I saw a homeless man sitting on a bench with his bag of belongings and taped to his bag was a sign reading: "Pray for Dice-K" referring to Daisuke Matsuzaka, tonight's Red Sox pitcher. Whoever wins the game tonight will go on to the World Series.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Congratulations Bill and Naomi!

Last weekend I headed out to Buffalo, NY to attend my cousin's wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony and a great reception. It was also fun because I got to see both of my brothers and my parents and tons of cousins and aunts and other family that I don't usually have the pleasure of seeing. A good time was had by all!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Harvard making history

Today will mark an historical moment for Harvard. Drew Gilpin Faust will be installed (it's NOT an innauguration) as the 28th president and first woman president of the University. Needless to say, there has been quite the flurry of activity around campus. And I love the pomp and circumstance. Harvard is almost 400 years old, and they have so much tradition it amazes me. Yesterday I went to the archives to see the original Harvard Charter of 1650. I have to say, I was impressed. They only bring it out on very special occasions and the installation of a president is one of those rare occasions.

Here are the banners on Widener Library with the VERITAS seal:

I'm bummed that I won't be able to attend the ceremony as I'm off to Buffalo for my cousin's wedding. But if you want to watch it live today, it will be webcast here at 2pm today only. I'm sure they'll post it online later and I'll post that link once it's up.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Laundry forgetfulness

So yesterday (on my day off) I was trying to accomplish a lot, and one of those things was doing laundry. So I drove over to the laundromat, put in two loads, ran a couple more errands, switched to the dryer, ran home for a little to hang up my clothes that don't go in the dryer, and then back to the laundromat to fold everything and bring it home. In my rush, and thinking about all the other stuff I had to accomplish, I left a pair of sweatpants at the laundromat. I had dinner with Sylvie and told her I thought I left them there, but it's just an old pair of comfy sweat pants. No big deal.

Well, I woke up this morning and realized that my favorite grey zip-up sweater was missing, too. And I realized that it must be with the sweatpants... So I walked over to the laundry at 7am and sure enough, half a load of laundry was still sitting in the dryer: the sweatpants, the sweater, 2 other pairs of pants including my favorite jeans and a tank top. They were all just sitting in the same dryer I left them in. I hope they weren't too scared being left all alone overnight in the laundromat, at least they had each other...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Honk Fest 2007

OK Folks, HonkFest was just about the coolest thing ever. There was a parade that went from Davis Square in Somerville to Harvard Square and the grand marshals were the Mayor of Cambridge, and Click and Clack, the Car Talk guys! There were tons of bands (one from as far away as Rome, Italy and two from Chicago!), but also organizations like Bikes Not Bombs, Bread and Puppet Theatre, Boston Derby Dames, Veterans for Peace, and many more. It was so fun to walk along with the parade and see the looks on people's faces who had no idea what was going on, and the huge smiles of everyone involved. It was a great day!

Here's Click and Clack riding along in their Pedicab:

This is the Green Bike from Bikes Not Bombs:

Check out this dad with two kids on his bike enjoying the parade:

This is Environmental Encroachment from Chicago:

I've seen this guy riding around Cambridge on his super tall bike:

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Josh Ritter at the Somerville Theatre

This was a wonderful show! Josh Ritter is just such a nice guy it makes me happy to see someone who just so excited to play for a room of people who are into his music. This photo is from a solo number he did, but he had a great band with him, including a horn section that was just great.

And the opening band was Old School Freight Train and they were great, too. I actually bought their CD and listened to it this morning and it's top notch.

I accidently deleted the little movie I took during Kathleen, but I'm working on recovering it right now, so we'll see how that goes. I'll post it if it's any good and if I get it back.

The rest of the weekend is looking fun, too. The Honk Festival of Activist Street Bands is going to be in Davis Square all weekend and I'm looking forward to checking that out as much as possible and then to top it off, Veggie Dinner at Paul and Trinity's on Sunday! Woo-hoo!

PS - Recovering the movie from the show is not going so well. I tried a trial run of one thing and it found 7 movies on my card, but then told me I had to pay $40 to download the "real" software to save the files, which I didn't want to do. So I tried a free recovery program and it found zero movies on my card... If anyone knows of a better program, preferably free, please let me know.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song

Even though I have a paper to finish (it's not due until Thursday) I decided to treat myself to a movie tonight. I also decided to go tonight because it might only be playing for one week and this is basically the only night I can do it. So I drove to Waltham (getting lost at EVERY turn, I could do an entire post on the lack of street signs in the Boston area) and saw the matinee showing of Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. This movie made me so happy in many ways. It made me realize how special the Old Town School of Folk Music is and made me happy that I had a chance to volunteer and take classes there. I was happy that I knew most of the songs in the movie, either from my family or Girl Scouts or OTSFM, and I can only hope that my nephews and the rest of their generation will have these songs handed down to them. I was happy to know that Pete Seeger is alive and well and still teaching children music and protesting the war and living in the house he built by hand decades ago. It was, overall, an inspiring and spirited film. I highly recommend it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hard to explain...

Last night Sylvie and Miriam and I went to see Sxip's Hour of Charm performed at ART's Zero Arrow theatre. This is their black box space and it's FANTASTIC. Oh, and ART=American Repertory Theatre. This is walking distance from my house and that makes me so happy. But more about the show. The reason we went at all was because Erin McKeown was playing, we didn't know too much else except what the website told us. The website told us there would be crazy music and something called The Red Bastard and an aerial artist doing something called a ceiling walk.

I'm so glad that a picture is worth a thousand words because I have trouble describing this whole scene. Basically everyone got about 15 minutes to perform and apparently they could do whatever they wanted. Sxip hosted and composed music for Una, Erin did her set in at least 3 or 4 inch-heeled, knee-high boots, Corn Mo was SO hilarious in his ernest-ness that I was laughing so hard I cried, MeowMeow demanded a lot from the audience and Beat Circus was just crazy. They ended the show and I was afraid I'd have nightmares about the lead singer. You can see how he's a little creepy in the photos. But they're a 10 piece band and really just amazing musically, especially the drummer. It was so worth the price of admission to support these performers and this beautiful space. The pictures don't do the space justice, it was all cabaret style seating, very intimate, and we had awesome seats. Not a bad way to end a beautiful weekend.

So, the photo of Erin and Sxip needs a little explaining. They had a lapel microphone in their mouths and they we sort of singing. Hey, I told you it was weird. Corn Mo sang this one song about a kid who couldn't get his pants to stay up and all I could think about was how my pants kept falling down while I was trying to move in to this apartment. I literally was crying and my face hurt I was laughing so hard.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The week in review

Here are some fun things that made me smile this week:

Monday I went to Davis Square to buy tickets to a Josh Ritter concert and I noticed that there are sweaters on some of the trees there. I've seen this in Chicago, but one here (in the center) spelled it out pretty clearly: "Pay Attention":

Tuesday it rained for the first time in a long time and I got to wear my golashes:

Thursday was this semester's first Panopticon meeting and we had an awesome turnout. Sixteen people showed up not including the co-chairs (me and Ashley) and the faculty adviser. This is an art librarian interest group that's new to Simmons. We have a lot of great things planned for the semester. This is one of the many school related things that has been keeping me busy.

Friday I took a tour of the Schlessinger Library at Harvard. It was really fascinating. It's the library for the Radcliffe Institute which used to be the women's college at Harvard. They have amazing collections focusing on American Women's History, tons of stuff on the suffrage movement, Massachusetts Girl Scouts, NOW, NARAL, and the personal papers of people like Betty Friedan, Amelia Earhart, Julia Child, and tons of other people. They have an amazing cookbook collection, too. It was great.

Yesterday, Saturday, started out rainy, but ended up being beautiful and Ann & Lee and I went apple picking. It was perfect, still tons of apples on the trees, not too many people and we got to have piping hot apple cider donuts! Yum, yum!

Today we have Veggie Dinner and I have a ton of homework to do. But it's so beautiful out (Sunny and mid-60s) I'm hoping to be able to do some reading on the back porch.

Overall, a really nice week.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Impromptu trip to Maine

Late Friday night, as I was watching the Red Sox game and finishing an unhealthy, yet strangely satisfying meal of garlic and cheddar mashed potatoes, sliced tomato with salt and pepper and a cold beer, I got a call from Sylvie. We had talked earlier in the day about getting ice cream later, and we were deciding what to do about it when she said, "You know what I really want to do is play Skee Ball." Well, anyone who knows me, knows that I'm always up for some Skee Ball. The problem: There is no Skee Ball in Boston, that I know of anyway. Miriam overheard Sylvie say this and she said: "Why don't we go to Maine?". This might seem crazy, except that Miriam's parents have a house in York, Maine to which she has a key. Sylvie thought this was a great idea, she handed the phone off to Miriam because she had to start packing. I figured out the details with Miriam and within 20 minutes they were picking me up. At this point it's about 9:45pm.The drive up was pretty easy, less than an hour and a half. We got to the house, got settled and then stayed up until 1am playing Yahtzee and eating and entire bag of Sweet and Salty Chex Mix. If you've never had this, I highly recommend it.

I slept until 8am, which is like a miracle and then after getting ready we all headed to the Bagel Basket to get some breakfast and split the paper. They had spinach bagels, my favorite! We then headed to a wonderful grocery store and on the way home we saw HUNDREDS of motorcycles on the road. It was pretty cool to see, lots of cool choppers and everyone was waving and honking. It was pretty impressive. The police had stopped traffic to let them pass, so it was obviously a big deal. I still don't know what exactly it was, but it was neat to see.

After heading home and unpacking the groceries, we headed to the beach, just a short walk from the house. We only stayed about an hour because it was really hot, but it was long enough for Sylvie to go in the FREEZING water and for Miriam and I to walk along the beach and then relax with our magazines:

We got home and Sylvie made some wonderful orzo salad, but not for us, it was for a dinner party that night, while Miriam and I played Mille Bornes, which if you haven't played is a really fun French card game where you get to shout things out in French. Miriam was way more into the shouting things out, but it was really fun.

After the orzo was made, we headed out to accomplish our initial goal for the trip: Skee Ball here we come! But first we had to eat lunch. We stopped at this great little sushi place near the Fun-o-Rama arcade. We enjoyed our lunch, but we were all excited to get to Skee Ball. So after eating, we headed over to Fun-o-Rama, got some quarters (about $4 each) and then played some great classic Skee Ball. Sylvie got the high score of the day with 350!,

I got 330 and Miriam got 300. It was great. I cashed in my tickets for a finger trap. It was the perfect arcade trip. And what is a trip to the arcade without getting ice cream after? We headed to Brown's and stopped to see The Nubble on the way. At Brown's I got Pistachio, Sylvie got Indian Pudding and Miriam got Planet Earth, which consists of Blue Vanilla ice cream, oreos and marshmallows. Just as we were getting our cones, it started to pour rain. We ran to the car and ate our ice cream there. We were treated to a fleeting view of an enormous rainbow and then the clouds covered the sun and it was gone.

We headed back to the house, packed up all our stuff, did a quick clean up and only 20 hours after deciding to take this trip we were already on the road back home. It was a perfect little escape to Maine.

Labor Day weekend in NJ

My Labor Day weekend plans fell through late Friday night and I decided that with nothing to do in Boston, I might as well head home and see some family. So I got in the car at 6am on Saturday morning and headed to John and Jill's (I know some of you thought Jill had dropped off the face of the earth because she never posts to this blog, but in reality, she's just too busy to post, so I'll keep you updated on her life, too). I got there around 10am and got to hang out with Nathaniel, Sebastian, Emerson and John and Jill. We went to the Farmer's Market and got some amazing cheese made in NJ at Valley Shepherd Creamery (Gouda with Nettles called "Nettlesome" and amazing mozzarella) and some wonderful Jersey tomatoes (the best!) and other fruits and veggies. We got home and just had fun in the neighborhood, playing in the back yard, taking a walk and then before we knew it, Aunts Marianne and Eileen had arrived for dinner. They brought all kinds of fun stuff with them including an enormous stuffed moose for the kids, hand made pasta and wine and other goodies, all made in upstate New York. So we set out a spread of amazing cheese, wine, grapes and cashews and sat around the table and chatted for a good long while. It was great to catch up as I hadn't seen them in way too long.
Sebastian got to show off his spidey mask and Emerson is just really good at looking cute:

We eventually got dinner underway and using all of our fresh ingredients made a tomato & mozzarella salad with fresh basil and then a delicious pasta primavera with zucchini and yellow squash and tomatoes and garlic and all kinds of wonderful things. It was just great to share such a delicious meal with family. After dinner we all watched The Wild Thornberrys and then everyone was pretty exhausted either from traveling or waking up before dawn with small children, so we called it a night pretty early. Aunt Marianne and Eileen went to their hotel and I got to sleep in the sunroom on a beautiful end-of-summer night.

Sunday was a pretty packed day for all of us. We all got to hang out in the morning and then John, Nathaniel, Marianne and Eileen all went to the Yankees game and Jill and I and the little boys packed up and headed down to Mom and Dad's in south Jersey where they had just gotten back from picking up Grammy in Pittsburgh. So we had a nice cook out on the back deck and got to enjoy each other's company all evening. Grammy really loves seeing her great-grandchildren. It was the first time she had met Emerson and they were instant pals.
Here's a photo of me and Grammy and one of Emerson and his Great-Grammy:
John and Nathaniel headed down to Mom and Dad's on Monday (Marianne and Eileen headed back to NY) and we all got to spend some quality time at the homestead. We played some whiffle ball and Nathaniel and Sebastian went in the pool in their underwear (hey, that's what backyard pools are for, right?) and were fascinated by a huge pile of ants that had found something good to eat.

We all enjoyed another relaxing meal on the back deck and then it was time for me to head out. I had to drive all the way back to Cambridge to be at work Tuesday morning. Jill offered to come with me with Emerson, so she drove back up to Montclair and then I drove the rest of the way home. I was bracing for the worst as far as holiday traffic goes, but it turned out to be fine and I was home by 8:30. It was a perfect weekend!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The news from Walden Pond

While the midwest deals with the aftermath of flooding and Greece burns to the ground, Boston is enjoying some FABULOUS end-of-summer weather. I got out of work about 3:15 today and decided on my walk home that I needed to head out to Walden Pond. So I packed up some hummus and veggies, a little Vitamin Water and some pretzels and headed out to Concord. It's only about a 25 minute drive from my house and so worth the $5 parking fee. I walked about half way around the pond before I found a vacant little nook where I could sit and read in peace with just the sound of the water lapping at the rocks. The last time I did this was almost exactly a year ago and I sat and read March by Geraldine Brooks (listen to an NPR story here), which was appropriate as it's about the March family in Little Women. This time I brought Carl Sandburg's Chicago Poems. It was a great little companion to my trek.

After sitting and reading for about 45 minutes I walked around the other half of the lake and then sat by the swimming beach and read a little more and just enjoyed the beautiful evening. It was getting a little buggy, I so got back in my car, had a snack and headed over to the Decordova Museum & Sculpture Park. I went into the store, which has been closed every other time I've been there and then walked around the sculptures a little bit. I realized that it was turning out to be a pretty nice sunset, so I headed back to Walden Pond to see the view:

Driving home I got to see the biggest nearly-full moon rising right in front of me. It was literally breathtaking. I had to pull over to the side of the road to get this shot:

And I didn't pull over to take this shot. It was just so amazing:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I really don't live in Chicago anymore

I ended up driving my car back to Cambridge after spending time in Cape May. My parents had been car sitting for the last year, but now that I don't live in the car-parking hell known as Brookline, I decided I could have my car in MA. This is SO much more of a process than just figuring out how to get the car up to Cambridge. For anyone who doesn't know, Mass. is known for it's ridiculous car insurance rates, taxes and inspections. After two hours of waiting at the RMV (known everywhere else in the nation as DMV) I was forced to turn over my Illinois license. This was the first big step in being reminded that I don't live in Chicago anymore.

Today was the real kicker. I took my car to be inspected before work this morning and had to pay the guy $29 to make sure everything works on my car and he had to scrape off my Chicago city stickers because that's where the Mass inspection sticker has to go (in the passenger's side bottom corner of the windshield). It was sad, and only made worse by the guy saying "Well, babe, it's good-bye Windy City and hello Taxachussetts!" He called me "babe" about 12 times during the entire transaction and had one of the thickest Boston accents I've ever heard. When I asked him how long the inspection was good for, he said "It's only good for a year. I'll be ready to take your 29 bucks again next year! Welcome to the Commonwealth!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's been a busy month

Since the last time I wrote, I finished my semester at school, went to Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, visited friends in Oregon, spent time with family in Cape May, NJ and spent a great weekend with friends in and around the Boston area. Finally I have a minute to attend to this blog. Thanks for your patience. I almost feel like the last month is too much to blog about, so instead I'm going to pick up where I left off and tell about the little details of my day that make me smile.

Let's start with tomatoes. This is the perfect time of year to talk about tomatoes because they are right in season. In Cape May I had the chance to eat some wonderful Jersey tomatoes and while traipsing about Central Mass last weekend I had the chance to stop at a farmstand and pick up some beauties that were picked that morning. On Monday I came into work, only to be gifted with one huge beautiful tomato and 3 little cherry tomatoes by a co-worker who's growing them at home and has too many to eat on his own. All of these tomatoes are so far superior to the pink mushy grossness that abounds in supermarkets. It makes me sad to think that they're considered the same fruit.

So what have I done with these wonderful treats? At the shore I cut them up and ate them as thick slices with salt and pepper, sometimes on a plate with some cucumber. Most recently I made a wonderful Caprese salad with real fresh mozzarella, basil from my back porch, a little balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. I also included some in my most recent batch of stuffed zucchini. Tonight I sliced big slices to top grilled veggie burgers for me and some friends. They are just so wonderful. In fact, there is an article in the NY Times about this same thing. How to use all of these amazing tomatoes while they're still in season and so good. You know it's truly summer when your biggest concern is what to do with all of the wonderful tomatoes.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What a weekend!

So much happened this weekend. First of all, on Friday night I met up with some folks in Harvard Square to attend the craziness of the midnight release of Harry Potter 7. There were SO MANY people, it was crazy. I'm glad I got mine through the Harvard Book Store. It's an independent, family-owned store that is just great. So after I got the book, I rode my bike home and read the first 2 chapters before I went to bed. It's now Sunday night and I just finished it. This one is really good, folks. I won't be a spoiler, I'll just tell you to read it.

On Saturday night, my friend Lee and I went to Lowell Summer Music Fest and got to enjoy Nickel Creek on a beautiful evening. I brought along my favorite sandwich from Darwin's for dinner and had a little picnic before the show. The music was great, the people who sat next to us talked too much, but besides that it was a really fun evening.

This morning Ann & Lee and I used the rest of the hours we had on the Zipcar from last night to go to Trader Joe's with a car! This is very exciting for those of us who usually shlep to TJs on the T. And I then I used the very end of the 24 hour rental to drive to the laundromat. It felt really indulgent, but it made it really easy, too.

Then, as if this weekend could have anything crammed into it: My Dad stopped by for dinner and a round of mini-golf. This might seem like a somewhat normal thing for a parent to do, but not when they live in New Jersey and you live in Cambridge, MA. He's up for business in Central Mass and made the extra trip into the city. It was great. We went to the All-Star Sandwich Bar and I actually got an excellent salad, Dad got the pulled pork and said it was great. Then we headed out for mini-golf. But on the way there we passed by Harvard's Memorial Hall and there were all of these crazy half-bodied mannequins with suits on sitting on the lawn there. I made Dad drive around the block so I could take this photo:

Pretty creepy, huh?
Dad ended up beating me at mini-golf, but only by two strokes. I think we'll have a match-up at the shore in a couple weeks. Here we are at Hago Harrington's:

After all that, I came back and finished Harry Potter.

Now I have to finish my paper... Oh right, I guess I'm in Grad School...

- B

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sandwiches in Cambridge

Recently I've discovered that my new neighborhood is full of places to get amazing sandwiches. And on hot summer days there is nothing nicer than not having to cook. The best plan is to get the sandwich to go and eat it on my back porch. This makes me very happy. I wish I had photos of these sandwiches, but as a fairly new blogger, I haven't gotten into the habit of carrying my camera around all the time. But you can just imagine how beautiful they were.

The first was from Darwin's Ltd. It's called the Magnolia and I recommend it with the Cheddar cheese. It came on toasted wheat bread and included all of the following: Hummus, Avocado, Apple, Carrots, Tomato, Lettuce, Honey Mustard and Cheddar. It was amazing. It was so good, I might get one for dinner tonight because thinking about it makes me hungry.

The second amazing sandwich came from the All-Star Sandwich Bar, which is a great little place with a good atmosphere, fun staff and good eats. Not to mention free Oreos and pretzels. They have a vegetarian special every day and it's usually wonderful. The best one I've had was Roasted Golden Beets, Goat Cheese and Arugula on toast (I think it was sourdough). I can't describe how those roasted beets are the best thing ever. Who knew? I didn't even know I liked beets, but on this sandwich I could eat them all the time.

The third amazing sandwich I've eaten lately was from Hi-Rise Bakery. It's called Kate's Rough Ride and it has Avocado, Tomato, Cole Slaw, Cucumber, Lettuce and Russian Dressing on their wheat sourdough bread that is amazing! I got half a sandwich and half of their carrot, leek and potato soup and I had to take the soup to go because I was full from the 1/2 sandwich. So worth it.

So that's what I've been up to lately. I'm looking forward to getting my Harry Potter book at midnight tonight. I'm hoping to make a lot of progress on the paper I'm working on so that I can actually make some time to read it before someone spoils it for me. I'm sure I'll have something to say about that tomorrow.

- B

Thursday, July 19, 2007


My roommate introduced me to the term "procrasticleaning". I've been doing this for years, but now I have a name for it. I have one more week of my intense summer semester and then I get to go to Portland and then down the shore! But I still have to get through one more week. And because it's the last week, everything is due. Thus the procrasticleaning. Just to prove how much of this has been going on, I present you with the following image:

This involved the purchase of Easy-Off and a few sponges and a little elbow grease. Anyone who has used Easy-Off knows two things: a) it stinks and b) you just have to let it sit and it works miracles.

I've also participated in a similar distraction known as procrasticooking (I had to use that really clean oven). Now if only I could work on procrastiblogging! Or maybe just getting my homework done.

- B

Sunday, July 8, 2007

A Hipper Crowd of Shushers

I had four people email this article to me today. It made the front page of the Sunday NY Times Style section (below the fold, but still...). I'm so happy that someone wrote this, I'm only bummed that Simmons wasn't mentioned, because clearly, we have a pretty good idea of how to have a good time (see 07-07-007 below), even if we don't live in Brooklyn.

- B


Saturday night is always a good excuse to have a party, but when Saturday falls on 07-07-007, there is an even better reason to have a party, and not just any party, but a fancy James Bond/spy themed party. That's what I was up to last night. Sylvie and I finally made it there after a 2 hour pubs trans adventure to go 3 miles. Thanks to Peet who knows how to throw a party, wear a tuxedo and mix a nice gin & tonic. If this doesn't prove that librarians know how to party, I don't know what would. I think the photos speak for themselves:

Thursday, July 5, 2007

All American 4th of July

So I went and did the most American thing I can think of: I got in a car and drove around just for the fun of driving around. Granted, that car was not American and I used about 1/16 of a tank, but it was REALLY fun. I have a Zipcar membership and I went and zipped a MINI Cooper for a few hours. I used it to go to brunch at Ann and Lee's house and then I found the greatest little winding curvy road in Boston, along the Arborway, Jamaicaway, Riverway (whatever way) and ended up (after getting lost in Jamaica Plain) at the Arnold Arboretum for a beautiful walk through the park and then back in the car for a zippy ride home. It was so fun!

To top it all off I ended my day playing games and eating cheese and crackers with Paul and Trinity and some of their friends. I headed home around 10:30 in time to mostly hear, but somewhat see the Boston fireworks from my back porch. After a few minutes of that, I ended up turning on the TV and watching them from there. Can't have the 4th without some form of fireworks, right?

- B