Monday, December 18, 2006

Snowmen and Cookies

If anyone has recently been walking down Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, he or she may have noticed that a number of walls containing graffiti also have snowmen spray painted on them. A simple snowman, and nothing more. No words or symbols besides his stick hands and top hat (the picture is not of the snowman on Mass Ave., but it looks similar). What's more is that the snowmen started popping up on building walls in August. It made me wonder why someone went through all of the trouble to spray paint a snowman. Was it a gang called the Snowmenz/Frosteez/Izemen/etc. that was simply marking their territory with something other than the bubble letters normally sported by gangs in the area? If so, their territory is contained in a five-block radius. Is it someone who is desperately wishing for snow and hoping to coax frozen water from the sky by invoking a symbol composed entirely of snow? Perhaps a crazy ski bum who is dying to hit the slopes early? If so, it is definitely not working since we have not a speck of snow to be seen. Is it some right-handed person who recently lost their right hand, is learning to use only their left hand, and drawing snowmen is all they can draw at present so this is them shouting their accomplishment to the world? If so, rock on, buddy, rock on. Let me know if you have any ideas, because I have not a clue.

Okay, now for cookies. This past weekend I went to a cookie exchange where everyone had to bring one type of cookie to exchange for a bunch of others. There was prizes for best tasting and best looking. Now, I am not much of a baker, a home chef on the rise perhaps but not a baker. I got a fabulous recipe from my friend MJ for peppermint tea cakes. After some minor setbacks in the beginning (I tried to get fancy and shape them into candy canes, but they just fell apart), I was able to bake 86 cookies all by myself. Not only that, but I got a prize for best tasting cookie! It just goes to show you can always surprise yourself even with a little help from your friends!

Friday, December 01, 2006


I know a lot of awesome women, and the one thing I've noticed about them is they are proficient at some sort of art or craft. Some of them paint/draw, play an instrument, sew, knit, scrapbook, crochet, etc., and most of them have mastered more than one of these. I am always in awe of these women. Some of them are so good they can make contemporary art from old cans, lamp shades from old rags, and just about everything else as long as they have a glue gun. They are like a feminine McGyver (who, by the way, plugged a sulfuric acid leak with chocolate because it has lactose and sucrose, and when you mix acid with sugars it forms elemental carbon and a thick gummy substance). For many years now, I have been working on trying to find my craft. Now, I realize that some things require a certain amount of talent, but I figured I should be able to find my niche somewhere. I do not have a musical bone in my body as my friend MJ can attest to (I subjected her to an awful day of bad caroling while helping to hang up Christmas lights--side note: I did somehow get a lead role in a middle school musical, probably because my music teacher couldn't completely hear me over the piano during auditions, and it was so bad people said I sounded "interesting") so playing an instrument is probably not right for me. I tried painting, first something abstract which came out as a big blob of maroon streaks, and then I had my talented sis (see my previous post) sketch a picture for me which I then proceded to fill in like a coloring book. I think a five-year-old could have done better. I've tried crocheting, but I get bored too quickly to ever finish anything, so knitting would probably not work for me either. My family use to do themed stocking stuffers for Christmas, and one year we had to make something homemade. You know what I made? Bookmarks, and they weren't even pretty. Maybe I should have Beadazzled more when I was younger.

Anyway, that brings me to my most current attempt at finding a craft. I have tried to take up sewing. My older sister has kindly let me inherit her old sewing machine. Sewing has been an attractive hobby to me ever since I started watching Project Runway, a reality TV show about fashion designers. They design and make their own clothes, which I would love to be able to do. Obviously, that requires much more skill than I currently have, so I am trying to take baby steps. My first project was to sew curtains for our apartment, which has a big windows in the dining room and living room, and all our neighbors can see right into our apartment. Since my fabulous husband is not afraid to walk around in his boxers for all the world to see, I figured I take it upon myself to give us a little more privacy. I got all of my supplies, and I even managed to set up the machine by myself. Things took a turn for the worst, however, when I broke two sewing needles before I had even finished one edge of the curtain. Then my foot would not stop spasming (is that a word?), so now my seams are straight with intermittent areas of spastic zigs and zags. My curtains were also going to have some fringe along one edge of the right curtain and the edge of the left curtain, but then I put the fringe of the right curtain on the wrong side. When I asked my oh-so-sensitive husband what he thought of them, he just started laughing. Hmm, not exactly the reaction I'm looking for but better than crying I guess. Oh well, hopefully practice will make perfect or in my case at least presentable.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Post Secret

Even if you are against blogging in every way (which if you are, how come you are reading my blog?), you have to check out Post Secret. It is a community art project where people can put a secret of theirs onto a homemade post card and then send it anonymously to the people that run the site. Every week they put up ten new postcards, and there is no archive so you can only view the new ones each week. The postcards are funny, sad, and endearing, and project was developed to help people heal. I learned about it from some co-workers who are addicted to the site. I can't blame them. Don't we all want to hear each other's secrets?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Few of My (New) Favorite Things

1. Shabu-Shabu: Shabu-shabu is the Japanese version of hot pot. What is hot pot, you ask? It is only the funnest way to eat slices of uncooked meat and raw veggies! In a nutshell, there is a pot of boiling broth in the middle of the table (can be communal or individual), and you put your uncooked meat and veggies into the boiling water to cook it. The meat is sliced very thinly so it cooks in minutes. Naturally, because I am in the field that I am, the idea of touching raw meat with chopsticks and then putting those same chopsticks in my mouth to eat is not very agreeable. As far as I know, no one has gotten sick from the shabu-shabu place I go to, but I believe it is better to be safe than sorry. I overcome this by keeping my chopsticks in the boiling water while my meat cooks. While my favorite food will always be Indian cuisine, I have to say that shabu-shabu comes in a close second.

2. Stranger than Fiction: I just saw this movie over the weekend, and I really loved it. I thought it was the smartest film I have seen since Little Miss Sunshine. I never thought Will Farell could star in the same movie as Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Queen Latifah. I was very pleasantly surprised.

3. Re-reading old books: As I have admitted all ready, I am addicted to reading. I actually devour books so quickly it is simply not cost-effective or convenient to get my hands on new ones all the time. Therefore, I have resorted to re-reading my old favorites. Anything by Jane Austen, Alice Hoffman's "Practical Magic", and Ayn Rand's "We the Living" have been read almost a dozen times. Right now I am re-reading "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver. It's like visiting an old friend you haven't seen in a while. You notice things you've never noticed before, and you appreciate all the things you loved about them in the first place.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sequel to the Eight!

If you want an interesting read, I would highly recommend anything written by Katherine Neville. Her books have a lot of history blended into fictional thriller stories. Plus, she has basically led this amazing life. She has traveled all over the globe, set up computer systems for Algeria, been a top exec for Bank of America, a model, a photographer, world famous author, married to a renowned neuroscientist... the list goes on! Anyway, she is currently working on a sequel to my favorite book by her, The Eight. I'm not sure when it is coming out since right now it seems like it is still in a very rough stage. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I Heart NY

"New York is a granite beehive, where people jostle and whir like molecules in an overheated jar."-Nigel Goslin

I saw this quote about New York city, and I couldn't resist including it in this post. This past weekend, my husband and I went to New York to visit a friend. This quote is, I think, an accurate portrayal of the energy New York has. Everything in New York seems like it is on a grander scale. Bigger buildings, bigger stores, bigger attitude. Unlike the subway in Boston which can be coded by color, the New York subway system has numbers, letters, express, local, uptown, downtown, etc. I think we got on the wrong train almost half a dozen times. People were everywhere! When we went to Times Square, we actually had to get in line to cross the street, then get in line for the waiting list of a restaurant, then get in line to be seated. We really wanted to go to the restaurant Serendipity, which is featured in the movie by that name, but it was a 2.5 hr wait at 3pm in the afternoon! We did get into the Museum of Natural History, which is really an amazing place. They have one of the best dinosaur collections, and we only got through a very small part of it since it was so large. My favorite part was the butterfly exhibit, whcih was basically a tropical room filled with an amazing variety of butterflies. Some were electric blue and some had a wingspan as big as my two hands put together. The best part was that a little brown butterfly with orange spots landed first on my hair, which must have been too unstable, and then landed on my shoulder. Since you are not supposed to brush away any butterflies that land on you in case you cause them injury, I simply let him/her/it hitch a ride around the exhibit until the butterfly tired of my company (lacking in nectar and witty banter, I'm sure I was not a terribly exciting companion) and flew away. We also explored Central Park, had dessert in Greenwich Village, and walked around Ground Zero. I cannot even begin to describe how eerie and sad, yet strangely hopeful Ground Zero is. It's one of those things you have to experience for yourself. New York is always an amazing trip because no matter how many times you go, you always see/feel/hear/smell something completely new.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Crazy story!

Check out this crazy story on Dr. Pistachio's website! It's under the heading "Urban legend...or a true story?"

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Boston Crazies

It is inevitable that every major city has its crazies. Some of them are fun and amusing, like the guy in San Francisco who hides behind a bush and scares tourists, and some of them are just plain, well, crazy. Boston definitely has a lot of crazies, and since I ride public transportation (the crazies' Mecca) almost everyday, I get to see a lot of them. Because I see crazies all the time, I think I can safely say I know of the two craziest of crazies. One of them is an old woman who carries around an unlit cigarette wherever she goes. Originally when I met this woman, I thought she simply carried it around because she was going to smoke it as soon as she got off the train or maybe she was trying to quite and simply carrying the thing helped sooth her addiction. Just as I was thinking this, the woman put the cigarette to her lips and started taking discrete little bites of it. The woman was literally eating her cigarette! When I told my sister about this, she did not believe me until a couple of weeks later when she saw it too! The other craziest of crazies was seen by my sister while she was standing at a bus stop. It was a guy who went around picking up trash while talking to himself and making weird noises. Now you may be thinking that picking up trash and making weird noises is not too crazy, and it may actually help the environment. This guy, however, doesn't only pick up the trash, but he has to put it in his mouth and chew it before throwing it away. When he picks up bottles, he has to put it in his mouth before he throws it away. Gross!!!! Most crazies in Boston just talk out loud to themselves or to God or maybe some imaginary person. I was thinking the other day that maybe this behavior is not so crazy. Living in a large city surrounded by people, you may think that you are never alone, but really everyone builds a bubble of self-containment around them so that no one waves, smiles, looks you in the eye, or says hello to each other. Maybe all the crazies want is someone to listen to their complaints and thoughts, even if that person is themselves, God, or imaginary.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Just one of those days

There are days when I should just not get out of bed. Days so filled with bad luck, I would probably serve myself better by simply snuggling as far as possible under my down comforter while 24 hours pass. One of those kind of days just happened to me, and being the responsible glutton-for-punishment that I am, I left the safety of my bed to face it. First, I overslept, and since I had a long day ahead of me all planned, I basically made it much longer. Then on my way to work I spilled half of my HOT coffee all over my only clean pair of jeans (I really need to do laundry), which not only left a nice wet spot in a very embarassing area but also stained them brown for the rest of the day. Everything I touched literally fell to pieces. I broke a number of glass bottles, got the printer to malfunction, and caused a computer to freeze and probably almost crash. I almost messed up every project I had planned for the day, so really I should have just stayed home. Oh well, according to Ralph Waldo Emerson, this probably means I am going to have one hell of a spectacular day coming my way. I'm just wondering when it will get here. I may miss it by staying in bed.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Shout out to my talented sis!

I just have to give a shout out to one of my talented sisters. She is a great artist, and tonight we are going to go check out her paintings, which are currently hanging up in a local restaurant. I am always amazed by her creativity. This picture is one she gave to me, and I just love it. Can't wait to see her paintings!

My Little Friend

I have recently gained a new friend during my morning commute. He hops around, likes to eat crumbs off the sidewalk, and is not afraid to come within a few inches of me. No, he is not the crazy homeless guy that shouts obscenities towards the sky. I'll give you a clue--he has feathers. He is a little brown bird that haunts my bus stop looking for crumbs that people drop from their morning bagel/croissant/donut. One morning I saw him hopping around looking for crumbs. Apparently, the commuters were not our usual messy selves because he was having no luck finding breakfast. I just happened to be eating a croissant, and I thought I would help the little guy out by throwing him little pieces of the flaky crust. At first he was pretty hesitant, which is not surprising, being a native Bostonian he is likely to be very cautious and skeptical of any handouts. He would pick up the pieces and quickly retreat to a very sad looking clump of bushes next the bus stop. When he was ready for another piece, he'd hop out slowly and look at me from the corner of his eye as if to say, "Are you for real lady? Are you going to squash me during my next bite?" We continued in this way until he had finished my croissant and hopped away with, judging by my lack of croissant, a very heavy belly. I looked up, and all the other commuters were completely fascinated by the bird. Some people even had little smiles on their faces! Who would have thought that normally stoic commuters could be entertained by a little bird? I figured if he could brighten the morning of others by simply eating some breakfast, he deserves a little treat now and then. Now it has become something of a ritual. I try to bring bread or a croissant with me, and if the little guy is around, I throw him little pieces. He has become brave enough now that he almost will come within inches of my feet. It's not much, but I like to think I am making someone's day better.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bored in the Midwest?

This past weekend was my darling husband's grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. We got to see a lot of his extended family, which we had not seen since our wedding, and we ate lots of food (I think my husband ate almost a pound of steak). It was a great weekend, but I have to say that the most memorable thing about this weekend was the entertainment at the reception hall for the anniversary party. My husband and I went for a little stroll after the lunch for the party. Behind the reception hall, a pen was set up, and a bunch of people were standing around it in anticipation. My husband and I decided to walk over and see what all the fuss was about. Inside the pen, a grid was marked out on the lawn in yellow paint, and each square in the grid had a designated number. As we walked up to the pen, this guy was trying to get three miniature goats into the pen. We had no idea what these people were planning on doing with the goats until a nervous goat poohed on one of the squares. Everyone started cheering! Apparently, the object of the game was to place a bet on which square the goats would pooh in, and if they pooh on your square, you win! Can you believe that? I think only midwesterners could come up with a game like that!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Men with Claws

For the past year and a half, I have been noticing an alarming trend in the length of young men's nails in Boston. When I go to shake their hands or they hold open a door for me, their long claws are instantly noticeable. What was even weirder is that it was only on one hand. Were they two lazy to clip both sets of fingernails? Did they have some weird disease where only their nails on their left/right hand grew extra long called Mononailelongisis? Was this their way of sticking it to the Man? Even one of my male friends started growing his fingernails long. So I asked if he decided to put a ban on nail clippers, and he told me he keeps them long because they help him play the guitar better. I'm not sure how this helps since I thought that was what a pick was for, but being the musically-challenged individual that I am I can't really argue. What I can say is that it is definitely not the most attractive thing in the world to see yellowing nails about an inch long at the end of a big, muscular arm. Maybe it's balanced out by the fact that being able to play the guitar is pretty attractive to most women. Anyway, if you have ever wondered why some guys have long fingernails on one hand, now you know why. Unless they are trying to break the Guinness World Record (the current record is held by Lee Redmond, who hasn't cut her fingernails since 1979).

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My addiction and more on the Shoe Nazi

I have been accused of being addicted to books. It is true. I love books. Some people may think that compared to crack or cocaine, books are not the worst addiction, but I am beginning to wonder. I get way too emotionally involved in books. I recently read a book about a women whose husband is a complete SOB, and as a result, I get angry at men including my husband. Also, when the main characters were eating popcorn, I got a massive craving for popcorn! Now granted this phenomenon does not happen with every book I read, but I really think books are my drug. They alter my moods and give me the munchies!

Update on the Shoe Nazi: I have been in the building where the Shoe Nazi works only twice in the past week. The first time she was not talking on the phone to friend/relative/other shoe nazi, so she did not say anything about my shoes. The second time she was replaced by a man (who did not appear to have a problem with my clacky shoes). Needless to say, I have not confronted her yet, and maybe I won't have to if she got transferred somewhere else. If so, myself and my shoes will be eternally grateful.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bachelor Pad

Recently, my darling husband informed me that some of his friends think our apartment looks like a "bachelor pad". I was completely mortified! I live in a bachelor pad, moi? Then I started to look around our place. Yes, there is an ugly green futon covered with golfers in our living room. Yes, fishing, camping, biking, and various other manly equipment are strewn everywhere. Yes, my husband has pictures of himself with his friends who are girls around the apartment. Yes, there is a coat hanger shaped like a paddle and a stolen park sign still attached to its metal pole in our front entry way. Okay, apparently I live in a bachelor pad, which is perhaps not much of a surprise since I have never been much of a decorator. If any specific style would accurately represent my decorating skills it would probably be minimalist. So what can I do to improve this situation? Here is what I came up with.

1. Get new living room furniture. Goodbye golfers!

2. Organize and store various outdoor equipment, preferably in a place where they won't be seen.

3. Get more knick knacks. I've never really had knick knacks, but a bachelor probably doesn't have knick knacks.

4. Paint the walls various shades of purple, yellow, and/or pink.

5. Get flower-covered curtains. I have these wonderful blue striped curtains in our bedroom, but again, they look kind of male.

6. Lower testosterone level in apartment while viewing (basically, kick Leif out until people have seen the place; sorry honey).

7. Get milk. Okay, not going to get rid of my bachelor pad problem, but I definitely need to get some.

If you have any other ideas, let me know!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gone and Back Again

I know, I know, it already seems like I am slacking in my blogging duties, but I promise I have a good excuse. For the past twelve days, I have been vacationing back home. Not only did I get to imbibe lots of strong and sometimes amusing liquor (e.g., the F.U. Manchu served in a cup shaped like a man's head) and go fishing, but I also got to visit with my parents and some of my college buddies.

For the first part of my vacation, I went with my husband, a.k.a. the Soused Spouse after this past weekend, to a wedding along a beautiful, scenic lake. Since my husband was one of the groomsmen, he took it upon himself to make sure the groom had one last night of drunken debauchery. He definitely succeeded since the poor groom had a terrible hang-over the next day and could not even eat food or drink champagne at the rehearsal dinner. Everything worked out fine the day of the wedding, however, and the rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful.

I also got to spend some time with my parents, which was probably the most relaxing part of my trip. After eating too much cake and other goodies from the wedding, I felt I should try and do some running. Normally physical activity and myself do not go hand in hand, but I had great scenery, and it made me feel fabulous depsite the sweat and soreness. Plus, I lost two pounds, which I was really excited about (although my excitement over this was crushed when my firefighter friend told me my weight probably fluctuates that much everyday). It was great to see my parents again even if it only serves to remind me how much I miss being within driving distance of them. We also watched a really funny film called Little Miss Sunshine. Watch it! I haven't laughed that hard at a movie in a long time.

Finally, at the end of this jam packed vacation, I visited some of my old college buddies. It was great to see them all again, and I am constantly amazed at how together their lives are. It's not that I ever doubted their abilities, it's just that I can't believe they are all doing such grown up things, and I am constantly in awe of it. I miss them lots already!

Now I am home again, and I still haven't unpacked. Maybe I should just go on vacation again.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Shoe Nazi

Almost every other day, I have to visit another building to drop off stuff for work. Everytime I do, I walk past the receptionist, who is always without fail on the phone talking to friend/relative/other shoe nazi. Anyway, I have to walk on a hard tile floor with my shoes, which are usually my favorite pair with little kitten heels, that invariable clack, clack, clack across the floor. A couple of days ago, I thought I heard her say to her friend/relative/shoe nazi, "She always walks by making so much racket. I swear she is doing it deliberately." Was she talking about me? I figured I must just be hearing things and reminded myself that the world does not revolve around me. Today, however, I walked by again and heard her say,"It's that annoying girl again, clacking her heels across the floor. She is so annoying!" Like I wasn't 5 feet away and hearing every word! Trust me, there are plenty of other women with heels walking that lobby, and I am the only one doing it deliberately? I think next time I am going to have to confront her (a very scary thing for a passive agressive person such as myself), because I refuse to apologize for my shoes!
After seeing Doctor Pistachio's awesome blog, I was inspired to start my own. Since I am terrible at keeping in touch with people via phone, I thought setting up my own blog might be a great way to let people who are interested (mainly my parents) learn more about my everyday happenings. We'll see how long I stay faithful to this endeavor.