Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I don't like onions

I know some people think I'm crazy, and some totally understand, but I simply don't like onions. For dinner last night I had some of the leftover soup that Sylvie and I made at the party on Saturday. When we were making it, I asked her to cut the onions big enough so that I could pick them out. The soup was great, and this is the result of her onion-cutting efforts and my years of practice at onion-picking-out:

Thanks, Sylvie!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Boston/Cambridge/Somerville visit

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of heading back up to the Boston area for a visit with friends! Sylvie hosted me in her beautiful home and we had a total of 13 people for dinner on Saturday night! In the photo you can see Allison, Matt, Ashley, Ben, Lee, Shana, Karen, Amy, Peet, Sylvie, Darin and Thomas. I'm the one taking the photo.


For appetizers we had a wonderful cheese plate with crackers, apples, asian pears, bosc pears, grapes, blue cheese, cheddar and goat cheese and veggies and dip. We made a delicious minestone to start and then served 2 pastas, one primavera in a light red sauce and one with sauteed spinach and sundried tomatoes and salad and bread. And then for dessert we had fruit, cheese and honey, amazing almond ganache cookies from Amy, wonderful vegan chocolate cupcakes made by Karen and coffee and tea. It was a relaxed evening with great conversation and some of the most wonderful people I know. I'm a lucky person to have so many great friends.

It was also great to get to hang out with Sylvie while we did the menu planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. It's amazing how even after not seeing each other for a few months you can just fall right into place. Sylvie and Miriam's apartment is also one of those places where I just instantly feel like I'm home. Miriam wasn't able to join us because she's on a fellowship in DC right now (you can read about it here).

On Sunday Matt and I saw photo exhibits at the Photographic Resource Center and the Museum of Fine Arts and then I got to see The Year of Magical Thinking at Lyric Stage (which was heart-wrenching, but beautifully performed). After that we had dinner with Sylvie at Rose Bud Diner in Davis Square, and then met up with Lee for a rematch of sorts at Sacco's Bowl Haven. You may remember that the last time I was in Boston I got a bunch of folks together for my first outing at candlepin bowling. This time it was a smaller crew, just the four of us, but it was SO fun. I think we were all in pretty silly moods and I left my camera out, so there are actually some photos of me. This is one of my favorites:

A great shot of me and Sylvie!

One of the charming things about Sacco's is that nothing is automated, you even have to push the button to clear the lane. I was very bad at remembering to "flush" after my turn, so here I am being reminded for about the 10th time:

Lee was sad about only getting 9 pins down instead of 10 (as you can see in the background). I guess all that practicing on Wii Bowling didn't really help too much. Good thing Matt was there to console him.

Here we all are after three fabulous rounds of candlepin bowling. What a fun night!

On the way home we made an amusing stop at the grocery store so Lee could buy toilet paper (nothing is funnier than buying toilet paper when you're giddy).

It was a special treat to be able to stay in the area until Monday. I got to stop by my old stomping grounds at the Harvard Fine Arts Library and catch up with my former co-workers there. It was great to see everyone and it looks like I'll get to see a bunch of them in March at the VRA Conference in Toronto.

I had such a fun time this weekend, as I always do when I head back to Boston. Thanks to everyone there for always making me feel at home even when it's my home-away-from-home.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dancing

My little point and shoot camera has a video mode and if there's one thing that video captures better than still photography, it has to be dancing. Especially the type of crazy dancing that I've caught my friends doing over the past few months.

Here are fellow librarians and dear friends Ann and Amy having fun at Sylvie and Miriam's wedding:

video

This video of dancing friends occurred in Minneapolis after an evening of board games and cocktails. Imagine this to the tune of Dominic the Christmas Donkey (especially the "Jiggety-Jig, Hee-Haw Hee-Haw" part). I am laughing just thinking about how funny this video is:

video

Here is a video of Sylvie dancing to Sex Machine at Sacco's Bowl Haven in Somerville, MA. She knows how to own the dance floor, even when it's a bowling alley.

video

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In Minneapolis to Ring In 2009!

I flew into Minneapolis around noon on New Year's Eve. Mark picked me up at the airport after an uneventful flight and we headed back to the apartment to see Jerri and Zoe and to start playing board games! Zoe has gotten so big since the last time I saw her when she was less than 2 weeks old. And she's really curious and alert. She and Jerri were both a little under the weather, but you wouldn't know it, both were full of energy the whole time I was there.

Trinity came over around 9pm and we got this cute photo of us ladies before Zoe fell asleep. Zoe's dress was one of my Christmas presents to her. Having 5 nephews, it's really fun for me to get to shop for little girl clothes, and I thought this dress was especially cute.

We played board games, yes, including Bananagrams which I got for Jerri and Mark for Christmas, ate wonderful food, drank cocktails made by bartender Mark and had a champagne toast at Midnight!

One of my family's traditions is to have the youngest, dark-haired male be the first person to cross the threshold in the New Year, carrying bread and wine in order to ensure a prosperous and healthy New Year. Mark was so kind to oblige:

And here is a photo that sums up New Year's Eve: Games, drinks, food and fun! I think we stayed up until about 4am, which means I'd been awake for about 22 hours. Totally worth it!

On New Year's Day we had a lovely, low-key day at home with more board games and good food. Here you see me hanging out with Zoe while we play Dominion:

She really enjoyed looking at the cards. I told you she was curious.

And yes, one of my other gifts to her was a set of bows. If I was going to go "girly" I had to pick up some bows!

For dinner that night we ordered pizza from Galactic Pizza which is an amazing independent pizza place that offers great vegetarian options. We got a Minnesota pizza with fake sausage, wild rice, morel mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. It was really delicious, and yes, all of their deliveries are made by superheroes. We were lucky enough to have Captain Awesome deliver our pizza!


On Friday we went on a big excursion and yes, Zoe got to wear another bow with her lovely track suit.

Our first stop was to Axman. Trinity had recently blogged about it and I had heard about it from Jerri and Mark, but had never been there myself. It was pretty amazing. They just have tons of surplus goods. Everything ranging from left over doll-baby arms to engraved beer steins where the engraving got screwed up. I picked up an enormous magnifying glass for less than $4.

After Axman we headed to a bar and restaurant called The Happy Gnome. I'm a big fan of gnomes in general, and the only disappointment was that they didn't have a pint glass that said Happy Gnome. The food was wonderful, I had a great roasted asparagus dish with an egg on top and Hawaiian sea salt and a side salad that was also delicious. And I sat and played with Zoe while Jerri and Mark got to eat their veggie meatloaf sandwiches. I had a really delicious brown ale while I was there, and I don't remember what it was called (but I bet Mark would know, feel free to comment!).

From there we headed out to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. It was a cold day, but Mark mentioned that the polar bears really like the cold weather. Unfortunately, the polar bear habitat is being re-done, so the polar bears are at the Detroit Zoo right now, but we went into the Primate House and then headed over to the Conservatory. It was fun to be in a hot, humid, tropical climate when it was really cold outside. Here is the sunken garden with tons of poinsettias for the holidays:

Here's a cute shot of Mark, Jerri and Zoe at the Conservatory:

And on our way out to the car, Zoe looked too cute peeking out of Mark's coat:

That night we headed over to Paul and Trinity's house for a wonderful dinner! They just moved from Somerville, MA back to MN where they both grew up. There apartment is HUGE with 12 foot ceilings and a big open area. It was so good to see them and to see their new space. Here is Trinity, Paul, Mark, Zoe and Jerri all around the table:

Paul and Zoe making faces at each other:

Trinity and a rare photo of Paul not making a silly face and actually looking at the camera. This is in their kitchen:


On Saturday Jerri and Mark had a gathering to celebrate Zoe turning 6 months, Mark having only one semester of law school and me being in town. It was great to get to meet some of their friends and to see some folks I haven't seen in a while. It was held and this really cute Thai restaurant that is owned by one of Jerri's friends. Here is a photo of Zoe in her party dress, and if you look closely, you can see her first little tooth coming in!

After the party Trinity and I headed over to the Walker to see an exhibit I was interested in called Text/Messages. It was a collection of artist's books and art about books. I really enjoyed it and I'm glad I got to hang out with Trinity again.

That evening, back at Jerri and Mark's apartment, we had a wonderful pasta dinner put together by Mark. And then Joey came over to play games and hang out. Joey, Jerri, Mark and I all went to Syracuse together. Joey recently moved to Minneapolis from NYC. It was great to catch up with him. It's been quite a while since we've gotten to hang out. Here he is learning how to play Nerts. It's a fast-paced card game that can be a little overwhelming when someone new plays with old veterans like Jerri and Mark and I. But he hung in there and did well for a first-timer.

Here's a cute photo of he and I under less stressful conditions:


And already it's Sunday morning and my time in Minneapolis had to come to an end! After a wonderful brunch at the Birchwood Cafe, Jerri and Mark and I headed back to the apartment for one last quick game of Nerts and then Mark took me to the airport, but before I said one last good-bye to the Zoester:

It was awesome to get to ring in the New Year with Jerri and Mark for the 3rd year in a row. Here's to a great 2009!

Christmastime

Well, it's been a long time since I've posted and a lot has happened since then. The Holidays always seem to set me back as far as blogging goes. Let's see it started out with a quick visit from Jocelyn. I met up with her on Thursday, Dec. 18 in NYC before she headed north of the city for a wedding. We met up at Penn Station and walked all over the city from there. We went to the Christmas Fair at Bryant Park and saw the tree at Rockefeller Plaza (check out the video of the sparkly tree and skaters):

video

We then took the subway to the upper west side and had a fabulous dinner and then after walking and shopping just a little bit more we headed up to my friend Meg's apartment where we treated ourselves to some ice cream and then spent the night on an honest-to-goodness, pull-it-down-from-the-wall Murphy bed.

In the morning we took the subway all the way to Grand Central, grabbed a real NY bagel for breakfast and met up with Jocelyn's friends. And then they headed into the snow to go to the wedding they had all flown into town for. It was fun to see her friends, even if briefly, since I hadn't seen them since her wedding.

I ended up going to John and Jill's and hanging out with the kiddos for some pre-Christmas fun decorating the tree, drinking egg nog and just enjoying a warm home while the snow piled up outside. On Saturday John and I headed into the city to do some Christmas shopping at Fishs Eddy and see a show at the Whitney that I really wanted to catch (again) before it closed. It was Corin Hewitt's Seed Stage. I'm so glad I went back, and I have to say, I think the Whitney is one of my favorite museums in NYC. I also got to go to the Union Square Farmers Market and picked up some great root vegetables that I ended up using in a root gratin. Once we had done everything we needed to do, I took the train back to Princeton and John headed back home on the bus. It was a great little jaunt in NYC.

I had to work the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Christmas but ended up taking the day off on Christmas Eve (Wednesday) because I thought I would have to get Jocelyn from JFK Airport. Her flight had been cancelled and the earliest flight they could guarantee her a seat on wasn't until Christmas Day. Thankfully, she got on a standby flight in time to be home for Christmas Eve with her husband and 2 year old. While it would have been fun to see her again, I'm so glad she got to be home with her family sooner rather than later. I was on my way to the airport when she called with the good news that she got on the flight, so I turned North and headed to John and Jill's again. I spent the night there and then went back to Princeton to pack up for the Holidays at my parents. I picked up some delicious bread from the Witherspoon Bread Company and an amazing Banana Chocolate Chip Cake from Olives in Princeton and then headed down to mom and dad's armed with loads of laundry and tons of gifts for family and friends. I got there just in time to go out for Chinese with my parents and my Grammy, since that has recently become our tradition for Christmas Eve. It was a great meal, as always, and on the way home we did a little "light ride" and drove past all of the pretty lights. This is so fun to do with my Grammy who never tires of seeing the houses that go "all out" for the holidays. And her expressions are priceless! Every (well decorated) house gets a big "Ohhh..." and "Ahhh..." and sometimes "Oh, would you look at that!" or just simply "Wow" if there's really nothing else to say. It's fun for everyone.

On Christmas Day it was just my parents and I and we had a lovely, lazy day opening gifts that Santa had left under the tree, enjoying each other's company and talking to family on the phone. We had a nice dinner and after that I headed out to see Slumdog Millionaire with friends from high school, Mike and Meg. This is also something that has become a tradition since we ususally seem to all be in town for the holiday. We all really enjoyed the movie, I recommend it if you haven't seen it yet.

The 26th started out with John and Jill and the Kiddos coming to mom and dad's pretty early in the morning. They are all ridiculous early risers, so even with a 2 hour drive, I think they were there by 9am at the latest. We had a blast giving and getting gifts and watching the boys open their presents. Sebastian was particularly enthusiastic and even wanted to help other people open their presents. Emerson was a little overwhelmed by all the commotion and opened his presents one at a time, just enjoying each one. (Somehow I have no photos of this whole time at my parents. I think everyone else was taking the photos for once.)

One of my favorite gifts this year (both to give and to receive) was the game Bananagrams. It's similar to Scrabble in that it's a word game and you have to put words together in sort of a crossword style, but it's easy to play with a bigger number of people (up to 8) and it's much more fast-paced. The whole family quickly took a liking to it and we all played (the adults that is) for many, many rounds while the kids played with their new toys. It was a great way to spend time around the kitchen table, eating snacks and enjoying each other's company. John and Jill and the kids left in the evening and the house seemed so quiet once they were gone. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Brian, my friend from high school who now lives in London and our friend Meg at the good old Phily Diner. We spent about 4 hours and $20 on mozzarella sticks, ice cream and tea and ended up giving our sweet waitress about 100% tip. It's always good to hear about what folks are up to and if all goes as planned, I might be making my way out to visit Brian at some point this year.

On the 27th my parents left to bring my Grammy back to her home in Western PA and then traveled up to Buffalo to see my mom's sisters. That evening I hosted a dinner party for my high school friends Meg, Mike, Kim and her son Alex. It was so nice to host them in my parent's nice kitchen and I made a lovely little pasta dish and Kim brought homemade cookies and we had veggies and dip and brie and crackers and good bread and a salad and then after dinner we exchanged gifts with each other and played board games. We played a round of a new game that Mike had gotten for Alex and then we all played Bananagrams. I'm telling you, this game is good. Brian stopped by just long enough to play a few rounds of Bananagrams. Here's Alex, Kim, Mike, Brian and Meg ready to play another round!

I spent the night alone at my parent's house and then headed back to Princeton to unpack, get my house in order and gear up for a couple more days at work. I had to work on Monday and Tuesday, but was looking forward the whole time to heading out to Minneapolis to see Jerri and Mark and Zoe on Wednesday, New Years Eve.

I actually ended up having dinner with John, Nathaniel and Sebastian at Conte's Pizza in Princeton because John had left his camera at my parents and it was the easiest way to get it back to him. We had a fun time at the pizza place, which was crowded, but very casual and perfect for the kids, and then we went to Thomas Sweet for ice cream, which was also a lot of fun. Sebastian got a scoop of Egg Nog and Nathaniel got a Blend-In with Mint Oreo ice cream and York Peppermint Patties. He really loves that chocolate-mint combo.

Whew! Well that sums up the Christmas portion of my holidays. It was busy, fun, full of friends and family, good food, board games and movies. Couldn't ask for too much more.