Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Obama Tables & Voter Registration

For the past few weeks I've been volunteering at what I lovingly refer to as the Obama tables. Before Oct. 14th (NJ's voter registration deadline) these were voter registration tables (more on that later), but after that deadline they've been set up just to sell buttons, lawn signs, canvas bags, window cards, car magnets, t-shirts and baseball hats with some sort of Obama logo or slogan on them. It's amazing how people are so interested in these items because they want to support Obama, but also because they will someday be "collector's items" or "memorabilia". It was fun to put some hours toward the Obama campaign since I don't have too many dollars to throw his way.

I recently learned that NJ has no record of my voter registration, so thanks to the good folks at the ACLU and League of Women Voters I am planning on heading to Trenton and pleading my case before a judge on Election Day in order to get my right to vote. It should be an interesting day, and I'm sure I'll post about it here.

Unbelievable!

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkins!

This has been quite a year for pumpkins. It started out with a pumpkin painting event in my parent's back yard where Emerson, Sebastian and Nathaniel had the chance to paint little pumpkins. Nathaniel finished first and enjoyed the chance to show off his scary Halloween face:

Emerson is quite the artist and was very picky about his color choices. He concentrated very hard on every brush stroke. It was pretty cute:


Last weekend I headed up to John and Jill's to watch the Red Sox game (since I don't get TBS) and I brought some big carving pumpkins with me. I got to carve one before the boys went to bed and I carved a second one during the game. Emerson was pretty interested in the process and wanted to see what I was up to.

Sebastian did a pretty good job of imitating the face on the pumpkin:


On Friday, I had Kim and Alex over to do more pumpkin carving. Alex was not a big fan of scooping out the guts, but we told him that was part of the process and he had to do at least a little bit of the "work":

Once we got to the carving part, he was much happier. He did a really creative lightning bolt pattern and did all the carving himself:

The fruits of our labor on my front porch:

Me, Alex and Kim with our pumpkins:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thanks for the Meme, Trinity!

Trinity tagged me for a Meme, which means I have to answer a bunch of questions and then pass them on to other bloggers. It's sorta like a blog chain letter.

Here it goes...

Four jobs I've had:
  1. Redeemer of Playtex Bra rebates - I kid you not, this was a temp job that I could only stand for 2-3 days, and I would give extra free bras to anyone who made my day interesting by having a cute stamp, cute check, or cute note inside the envelope.
  2. Camp Counselor - I did this 2 different summers between college while I lived at my parent's house. The best part was that I got to drive a convertible Mazda Miata most days, which made the 45 minute commute somewhat bearable. My "camp name" was Bonanza Jellybean. I hate camp names.
  3. Portrait photographer - This was my first "real" job after college. I was a portrait photographer for over 5 years when I lived in Chicago. It was a blast, but I felt like I needed to do something else...
  4. So I went to library school and became an Image Cataloger. This confuses some people, that I say I'm a librarian, but I don't work with books at all. Basically I contribute metadata to records about images of art in order to provide access to patrons who are searching an electronic image database. Since you can't (yet) search images without words attached to them, the words that I add to the record are what is looked for by the search engine. If you'd like a more in depth explanation, feel free to request one via email. :)
Four movies I can watch over and over:
  1. Singin' In the Rain
  2. When Harry Met Sally
  3. Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas
  4. Amelie (I can blame this movie for sparking my interest in both photobooths and gnomes)
Four places I have lived:
  1. Chicago, IL
  2. Cambridge, MA
  3. Syracuse, NY
  4. London, England (for my semester abroad).
Four TV shows I love:
  1. Top Chef - Loved the Chicago edition, looking forward to the next installment
  2. Amazing Race - My mom watches it, too and we call each other after to say "Can you believe it? or "They deserved to go..."
  3. Mad Men - I recently got in to watching this on DVD and now I'm too late to pick up on Season 2, so don't tell me anything about what's going on in the current season.
  4. Flight of the Conchords - Again, I watched the first season on DVD and really enjoyed it.
Four places I've vacationed:
Hmm.... This is tricky, I can't say that I really take "vacations" I just go to visit my friends all over the place, but I have enjoyed some traveling, too... So let's see:
  1. Minneapolis, MN
  2. Portland, OR and the surrounding area
  3. Cross country trip - NJ to CA and back again.
  4. Paris, Dublin, Bath, Scottish Countryside - These were all little trips I took while living in London.
Four of my favorite dishes:
  1. Stuffed Zucchini - Time-consuming to make, but a great way to enjoy tons of fresh late-summer veggies.
  2. Winter White Puree - A Thanksgiving tradition over the past few years with a secret ingredient.
  3. Sauteed Green Beans - I love slightly crisp fresh green beans sauteed with a little garlic and olive oil. I can have this as a side dish to nearly anything.
  4. Mashed Potatoes - Pure and simple, Potatoes, butter, cream (or milk), salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Maybe some cheese on top if I'm feeling like dairy overload.
Four sites I visit daily:
  1. Bitten - Mark Bittman's blog on the NY Times. He always has something interesting to say and often has vegetarian recipes.
  2. Weather.com - I usually check the weather for Princeton, but also sometimes for places where I know people or places where I wish I was. So Corny, but I like to know if it's snowing in Chicago or Minneapolis or how my friends in Boston are faring.
  3. Pandora radio - This is a great way for me to hear hours of music without having to think about it too hard. My old roommate in Cambridge got me hooked.
  4. NY Times - The front page. It's one of the first things I check every morning to make sure the world is still (more or less) in one piece.
And I do check my friend's blogs almost every day. You can see the list on the right to get an idea of that.

Four places I would rather be right now:
  1. Visiting friends - Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, London, Philly, NYC, Portland, Boulder, Savannah, etc... Any of these places would do.
  2. London - I have a friend there now and have been meaning to go since he moved there.
  3. Out of the Country - It's been way too long since I've traveled out of the country, and while I've seen a lot of the US (43 out of 50 states), it would be nice to see different parts of the world.
  4. In the country - I'd love to check off those other states and say that I've seen them all. Left on my list is Alaska, Hawai'i, North Dakota, Montana, Louisianna, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Five people I am tagging: (I'm following suit here with Trinity, and Sarah before her and only tagging two people)
  1. Ann
  2. Jocelyn

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Princeton in the fall

There is one thing I can't deny about Princeton: It is beautiful. And it's especially beautiful with the fall colors and gorgeous weather these days. Here are some shots from around campus.

Princeton is known for it's collegiate gothic architecture. This is the chapel on campus (behind the trees):


This is the view from my office window:


This is the view from the courtyard in East Pyne Hall:


This is Nassau Hall, the oldest building on campus:


This is a little walkway along Nassau St. It's a nice place to eat lunch.


These are two matching buildings named Whig and Clio:

I have to take an hour lunch every day, so at this time of the year it's a great excuse to eat quick and take a nice walk in the middle of my day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Videos of the boys

This past weekend I had the chance to hang out with my nephews at my parent's house. The boys LOVE watching videos of themselves, so I'm going to post a bunch here that I took this weekend.

Emerson loves to be outside and if he can't be outside, he loves to look outside. This is the big window that's next to my parent's front door. There is usually a curtain over it, but when the boys visit it gets moved up so Emerson can look outside. I was sitting on the front porch talking to my dad when he started doing this:

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Sebastian likes to get in on the baseball fun. Here he is on first base waiting for Nathaniel to bat:

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Nathaniel hits a home run in the back yard (over the pool!):

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My parents kept a lot of our toys from when we were kids and this pony was one of my favorites. My parents said that I used to rock myself to sleep on it and they would come out to catch me when the squeaking springs slowed down as I was falling asleep. Emerson, on the other hand, prefers to ride this little pony more like a bucking bronco:

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So, Nathaniel, Sebastian and Emerson, I hope you enjoy watching these silly videos of yourselves. Can't wait to see you again soon!

Love, Aunt Beth

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Roasted!

Well, I figured out this evening that my oven works! It was on for a over an hour making the following goodies:

Roasted Beets
I bought these at the farmer's market on Tuesday and they seem to be an interesting variety somewhere between regular beets and golden beets. I'm planning on having these with some goat cheese and arugula for dinner tonight.


Croutons!
A couple days ago I bought two little rolls from the local bakery thinking that I would eat them with the homemade soup that I made, but I forgot to bring them with my lunch two days in a row, so tonight they were perfectly stale enough for croutons.


Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
If I have a hot oven going, it's hard for me not to roast some potatoes if I have them on hand. These little red ones were getting to the end of their prime, and the carrots were just asking to be part of the party. So I tossed these with some olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic pepper, and thyme and they are delicious!


I'm so happy to finally be using my kitchen. Throughout September I was eating out way too much, but now that my house is starting to feel like my home, I'm getting more comfortable with navigating the awkwardly laid-out kitchen. At some point I'll have to invite some people over for dinner. First I have to hang some stuff on the walls.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Christa in town (just for a day)

Who would think that after such a great trip to NYC that I'd still have something to look forward to on Sunday? Well, I had my first out-of-town guest. Christa flew into Philly and I picked her up around 11:00am. We went from the airport to South Street and had a lot of fun looking at (and buying) hats at Hats in the Belfry, we did some other shopping and then ate a late-ish lunch at Maoz, this great little Falafel place right on South Street. Even though we were full of falafel, we decided to go to this adorable old fashioned soda and ice cream shop called Franklin Fountain. I got peach ice cream and Christa got mint chip. It was a beautiful day and we sat outside. After that we drove past the historical sights in Philly and then headed out to Princeton. Here's a photo of the two of us in our hats:

I got to show Christa my apartment and even with nothing on the walls, she was kind enough to compliment it. We walked around downtown and through the campus and I got to show her where I work. And Christa had fun with the tiger statues on campus:

It was a great day for walking around, but Christa came into town for a conference and we had to get her to her hotel in Cherry Hill. So we drove down there and got her settled into her room with a view. After parting ways, I headed to Trader Joe's and then came home a crashed.

What a great weekend!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

NYC: Me, Meg, Mike, McKeown, Met & Whitney

After work on Friday I grabbed a snack and then headed down to the Dinky station. The Dinky is the little train that runs from the Princeton campus to the big train station at Princeton Junction. There aren't any stops (except the beginning and the end) and I think the entire trip is something like 3 miles. Thus the name: Dinky.

I headed in to Penn Station and met up with one of my oldest friends, Meg. We took the Subway to the East Village and met up with our friend from high school, Mike, to see Erin McKeown at Joe's Pub. We had great seats at a table near the stage and the show was fantastic. It was a completely solo show, she did most songs on guitar, but also played the piano on some. She featured many songs from a CD that she just finished recording (they were great!) and then played some of my favorite tunes of hers. It was a great mix of old and new, funny, serious, heart-wrenching, and always entertaining. It was a great evening.

And after the show I went to buy a CD and she came out to sign and I was second in line and happened to have my camera. She offered to take it at her arm's length, but she's only about 5 feet tall, so this is what we got:


After the show Mike and Meg and I walked a couple blocks to a place called Pomme Frites. All they sell is Belgian-style french fries (pomme frites) and dipping sauces and there was a line out the door. We got one small order with a side of rosemary-garlic mayo. It was amazing:


After a very long and interupted subway ride up to Meg's place on 217th (we started out on 7th or 8th, I think), we finally made it home and crashed.

Meg had to meet up with her Aunt early on Saturday morning, so we decided to meet at the Met around 10:30. There were a couple exhibits I wanted to see and tons of stuff that we had the pleasure of discovering as we wandered around this cavernous museum. I loved the panoramic mural of Versailles, their extensive African collection, a great collection of British poster art, a photograph exhibit, and so much more. Meg and I wandered into a "gallery" that's apparently holding the American collection while they re-do that part of the museum. It was like walking through some crazy storage area with amazing, famous, beautiful art just crammed in practically on top of each other. Here is Meg looking at some portraits:

And here is an example of where some of the sculpture was housed:

The day started out to be a little cloudy and gloomy and I was bummed because one of the things I really wanted to do was go to the rooftop sculpture garden. But after we took a little break in the cafeteria we noticed that the rooftop deck was open and we went up to see this Jeff Koons exhibit:


And the view is beautiful, looking over Central Park:

After spending the whole morning in the Met, I was looking forward to heading to the Whitney. It's about a 10 block walk, but we had been on our feet for hours. I suggested that we take one of the pedicabs (bicycle rickshaws) that was waiting outside the museum, but Meg (fearing for her saftey) vetoed that plan. I thought it would have been a brilliant way to make the trip a little quicker and have a great little story to tell... Oh well, maybe next time. :)

The Whitney is pretty strict about "no photos", so I don't have any to show, but it was great. There is an really cool installation in the lobby gallery that is kind of hard to explain, but it left me so happy and inspired. Basically, there is a room built into the middle of the gallery and it's a functioning kitchen and photo studio. The corners are cut out so that you can see inside the room from each of the corners. Three days per week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) the artist (Corin Hewitt) stays in this room and cooks, cans and photographs food (mostly vegetables grown on his farm in Vermont). He was there while we were there and it was just so cool to watch an artist at work, and to have a conversation with him. There weren't that many people in the gallery and I was just blown away. We talked about composting, photography, what his plans are for the show (it's up for the next three months and he's planning on hanging the photos that he makes in the room on the surrounding gallery walls), and I told him I thought it was brilliant and that I'd be back to see how it pans out and then wished him luck. I mean how often do you get to do that? It was great, and I do hope to get back at some point before it closes. The show is called Seed Stage and it's at the Whitney until January 4th. You can read more about it (and see some photos) in articles from The New York Times and Time Out New York.

The other cool thing about the Whitney is that they have an Art-o-Mat machine! Here is the photo from the Art-o-Mat website of the machine downstairs by the gift shop at the Whitney:So I expanded my collection and got a small block of screenprinted wood. It's pretty nice.

After much museum-ing and tiring out our feet, Meg and I grabbed a late lunch and then headed down to Penn Station. I found my way back to NJ Transit, and an hour and a half later, made it home. And even after such a great time in NY, one of the best parts of my weekend was walking into my apartment to the smell of freshly painted walls! As soon as I hang stuff up I'll be sure to post some photos.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What a week!

This week has been jam packed full of great things. On Monday I went for a bike ride around the little pond near my house. It was good to get out and explore, but it was a smaller ride than I envisioned and I was home in about 35 minutes after going around the loop twice (and I don't ride THAT fast!). So it might be nice to work it into some longer ride, but I still need to figure that out. But it was great to get out while that sun is still out at a reasonable time and the weather isn't too cold. I'm thinking the bike is going to hide in the basement sometime soon. There is quite a collection of rotting bikes in the basement here, so I just need to make sure that mine doesn't get any ideas from those guys. I'm already planning on getting a good tune-up in the early spring so I'm ready for a nice long season of being out on my bike. I'll just have to be sure to hit the gym once the bike goes into hibernation so that my muscles don't forget how to work. :)

Tuesday I volunteered for the first time at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts. There weren't any classes because of the Jewish holiday, but there was a program sponsored by Alliance Francais, so I got to hear a bunch of people speaking French in the lobby, so that was kind of fun. Plus it is a beautiful building and everyone who walks in there is impressed by it. I'm going to be sitting at the front desk here every other Tuesday through December. I'm looking forward to racking up enough points to take a class here maybe in the spring. They have a real darkroom, so I might look into getting my hands back into that.

Wednesday was one of the highlights of my week. When I first moved to Princeton I bought a ticket to see David Sedaris and I'm so glad that I did! I saw him speak at the McCarter Theatre on the Princeton campus and it was awesome! He made me laugh so hard, and it was great because it was all new material, not even from his latest book (When You Are Engulfed in Flames). He read from his diary, he read a really hilarious recounting of a trip to Costco with his brother-in-law, and (of course) had his take on the presidential candidates. He compared undecided voters to a guy on a plane who wouldn't be able to decide if the flight attendant offered two choices: Chicken or a plate of human shit with shards of glass in it. I think you can guess who is who in that scenario. ;) Anyway, it was a great evening and I waited in line after the show to get him to sign my copy of his book. Here's what it says:

Sorry there aren't any photos of him (or me and him). One of his rules is "No Photos". Which he admits looks pretty pathetic when he's sitting at a table in a Costco with a hundred copies of his book, no one in line and a big sign on an easel next to him that says "No Photos, Please". Yes, that really happened to him on his last book tour.

Thursday was debate night. I was pretty excited to see how it panned out and was happy to watch with my friend Kelly, her roommates and some of their friends. We had a great time playing Palin Bingo (I didn't win) and I'm happy that Biden did such a good job.

Palin drives me crazy on so many levels that I can't even get into it here. But I have to admit, I'm looking forward to seeing what Tina Fey does on SNL this week. Here is a photo of me and Kelly. Kelly's Palin button was not serious, and it's so funny that she's wearing it on her Hillary t-shirt.

I spent Friday evening and Saturday in NYC, and I'm looking forward to seeing Christa tomorrow, but I'll post about those separately.