Thursday, December 13, 2007

Past two weeks in one blog!

I know I haven't blogged forever, so here is the past two weeks in a nutshell.

I saw two movies, Atonement and The Golden Compass. Atonement was good, but made me bawl my eyes out (seriously, they were swollen the next day!). The Golden Compass was okay, but if you haven't read the book, it might be a little hard to understand. Every scene happens in at a machine-gun-like pace--boom-boom-boom-boom, the end! It has some good scenes, however, such as the bear fight. If you have read the book, you should see it (if you haven't read the book READ IT--it's a great book!).

Chipolte is just starting to open up in Boston, which made me so excited. I love their chips and guacomole! Imagine my horror when I went to the one near my house and I waited 45 min for a burrito. Mostly it was because the service was so slow. It wasn't even busy. Plus, to top it all off, they ran out of chips! As a tex-mex place, running out of chips is just not cool. Quel nightmare! I am never going to that place again. I just have to travel to Minneapolis to get my Chipolte fix.

I lost to my sis at this year's cookie exchange for best tasting cookie. 'Nough said about that. Boo!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Big Bangs

My hair was getting dangerously close to my shoulders, and as I usually do, I decided to hack it all off. I usually get a concave cut that is about chin-length, but this time I went a little crazy and decided to get bangs. (The picture is pretty close to what it looks like, and no, that is not me. I'm pale but not that pale!) Not a good idea. I look like a teenager. As a co-worker of mine said, " It makes you look sweet and innocent." I said, " It makes me look like I am fourteen." To which my co-worker replied, "Yeah, it kind of does." Oh well, until they grow out, I guess I will just have to live with them. Please, please, please remind me in the future not to get bangs. I'm sure someday I will think it is a good idea once again.

The funny thing is, my bangs have a side effect. I get stopped quite a bit by people who are lost and need directions. Even when I first moved to Boston and was lost myself 99% of the time, I would get asked for directions. For the first couple of months in Boston, I worried I would get asked where such-and-such was or how to get to X street. I'm pretty sure a number of people got sent on a wild goose chase because of me and now curse my name. My theory as to why I was always getting stopped is because I am totally not intimidating and pretty approachable. At least, that was until I learned how to give off those stay-out-of-my-face vibes most Bostonians develop. I got approach much less as time went on, or at least that was the case until I got bangs. Since then, I have gotten stopped almost every day. I actually had a woman chase after me to ask for directions even though I had my ipod on and there were other people walking by. Why is this happening? I think it has to be that I look sweet, innocent, and less intimidating with bangs. Fortunately, I know Boston much better, and I am hopefully not sending them on a wild goose chase.

Movin' on Up!

Yeah! My hubby and I are officially moved into our new apartment. As a bonus, I was able to convince my hubby to get rid of the golfer futon and the old (he thinks retro) mustard-colored love seat. It could be because of my awesome powers of persuasion, but I think he just didn't want to carry the heavy thing down and then up a bunch of stairs. I'll take it either way!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Apple Picking

Not too long ago, I went to visit my older sister and my little niece-the-cutie. As always, it was great to see sis, and my little niece is still the cutest baby ever. We took her out apple picking, which is almost a requirement for any New Englander (along with traveling north to see the fall colors--check out Family Guy episode about "Leafers"). It was a lot of fun, but when I got home, I had no idea what to do with all of the apples. I'm not a canner, and my husband doesn't like to eat apples unless they are in a pie. Luckily, I got a really easy apple crisp recipe from a coworker. It was so easy, I had to share it with you all. Enjoy!

Andrew's Easy Apple Crisp

Slice apples or cut into chunks. You can leave the skins on or off, whatever you prefer. Put into a casserole dish and generously sprinkle cinnamon.

For the crust:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 stick of butter (softened)

Beat flour, sugar, and butter together until crumbly. Pour on top of apples and sprinkle more cinnamon on top. Bake at 375 degrees until apples are soft and the crust is golden (20-30min).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Donnas

This weekend I went to a really awesome concert. The Donnas are one of my favorite rock bands. Not only do they sound great, but there are not many all-girl rock bands out there. They played a good mixture of old and new songs, and I think I am really going to love their new album (which is not surprising since I love all of their albums). Listen to their new songs on their myspace page. I think one of the reasons their concert was so great is because they really seemed to love rockin' out. If they ever swing through your hometown, check them out!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Morris the Cat

As most of you know from my previous posts, I have been volunteering at Nevin's Farm. However, because of my work schedule, I have started volunteering a little closer to home at the MSPCA in Boston. Unlike my work at the farm, I mostly help take care of small companion animals like dogs and cats. I get to do fun stuff like walk dogs and play with cats, and I get to do some of the not so fun stuff like follow them around with plastic bags to pick up their poo and clean out their cages. I have only been there for two weeks, but I love it all ready. The best part is learning from the behaviorist that works there and discovering all the new animal characters. In particular, I thought I'd share one character I met last week. He is Morris the cat.

Most cats seem like fairly independent animals that do not always seek out social contact with others to same extent as dogs. Morris is not like that at all. Morris is the most loving, attention-seeking cat I have ever met. He is an adult cat with grayish-brown, long hair and black stripes running through it, and for some reason he has a spot behind each shoulder where his hair looks like it got shaved. He has the most incredible green eyes, and he really knows how to be heard. One of my jobs is to clean out the 'Kitty Condos', which are basically large cages that have four stories. I was cleaning out the condo next to Morris, and he obviously thought my attention was not turned in the right direction (namely himself). He would reach through the bars of his cage, tap my shoulder a couple of times, and then meow at me as if to say, "Helloooo! Pay attention to ME!" Finally I got to his cage, and as soon as I opened his cage door, he was all over me. He rubbed up against me, butted heads with me, and kept putting his front paws on my shoulder purring like mad the entire time. Normally when I clean out the condos, the cats generally keep to themselves or at least get out of my way. Not Morris! He was so lovey he started getting in my way, and finally I had to pick him up and put him on the top story of his condo. He must of thought it was some sort of game. As soon as I bent over to scrub out his condo, he reached down, put his paws (thankfully declawed) into my hair, and proceeded to bat it around. It was my first head massage from a cat, and when he was done, I looked like I had been through a wind storm. As soon as I moved on to the next condo, he started banging on his cage doors, admonishing me for leaving him (or so I like to think--he probably just wanted food).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mrs. Tomato Head

I did something really stupid this weekend. I went sailing with my husband and his sailing team just for fun. This was not the stupid thing. The stupid thing was leaving my sunblock in the car. After 6 hours of sun and wind out on the ocean, my face was as red as a ripe tomato. Plus, I was wearing sunglasses, and I now have lovely white skin circling my eyes and everything else is an angry, beet red. It is so bad people will not sit next to me on the bus even though all other seats are taken. It is so bad I have had a number of people from work ask me if everything is all right because I look REALLY flushed. It is so bad that even a fluttering breeze is agony on my tortured membranes. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go dip my head in aloe vera.

To Facebook or not to Facebook

I want to pose a question to the world at large. Should I join Facebook? I have avoided joining Facebook for quite sometime because I don't like putting too much information about myself on the internet (semi-anonymous blogging is much more my thing!). I have recently felt more pressure to join, however, because a) almost all of my friends have joined and b) I recently read in Money magazine that it is a great way to network/find jobs. Even though I like the idea of talking to my friends and Money magazine makes a good point, I am still hesitant to join. So what do you think? Facebook or not Facebook? That is the question.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Two great recipes!

I have actually had a chance to do some cooking lately, and I thought I would share two of my more successful ventures. The first one is a Rachel Ray recipe, and the second one I kind of made up but is loosely based on RR's pumpkin ravioli recipe. My husband really loved the Chicken and Pear (and brie!) Turnover. As always, I improvised a little with RR's recipe, and my changes are in bold. Enjoy!

One 2-pound rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat shredded
1 large Anjou or Bosc pear, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (I didn't add this)
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon (I just used dried herbs)
Salt and pepper
1 large egg
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

I also added a little Brie because I love cheese!!

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, pear, shallot, chicken broth, tarragon, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and set aside. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water; set aside.
2. Unfold and flatten the puff pastry sheet; cut into 4
squares and refrigerate 3 squares. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 pastry square into a 9-inch square. Pile one-quarter of the chicken mixture in the center. Lightly brush the 4 corners with the egg wash and pinch together to seal, leaving the seams open (I also brushed some egg on top to give it a more golden appearance after baking). Place the turnover on a baking sheet and refrigerate. Repeat with the remaining pastry squares, filling and egg wash.
3. Bake the turnovers until crisp and golden, about 25 minutes.

Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with your favorite sauce!

1/2 cup chopped spinach (or more if you like)
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus shaved parmesan for serving
Salt and pepper
32 wonton wrappers
8 oz of cream cheese
1 large egg

1. In a medium bowl, mash together the spinach, cream cheese, parmesan, egg and 2 pinches each salt and pepper.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Spoon a tablespoon of the cheese filling into the center of 16 wonton wrappers, brush the edges with water, top with the remaining 16 wrappers and press to seal, gently squeezing out the air. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
4. Working in 3 batches, cook the ravioli in the boiling water until they float to the surface, about 3 minutes.
5. Divide the ravioli among 4 plates; season with salt and pepper. Pour your favorite sauce over it and pass the shaved parmesan at the table.

My favorite sauce of choice: Tomato cream sauce
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 cup half and half
1 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Mix above ingredients together and simmer until warm.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sophia's Back in Black premiere!

Okay, one more post about my cute niece! My sis has discovered movie maker on her computer and has been sending us footage of Sophia on YouTube. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Going Country

Since my first post about Nevin's Farm, the animal shelter where I am volunteering, I have gotten a bit more experience 'workin' on t' farm'. I thought I would give a little update about my time there.

Horse stalls are a lot like people's apartments. Some are neat and tidy with all things unmentionable pushed into corners or buried out of sight (definitely not reflective of my apartment!). Ducky's stall is a great example of this. Ducky has some draft horse in her, and as you may imagine, she is a big 'un. As such, I was expecting a big messy stall to go with her size. Lo' and behold, her stall looked almost spotless except for the far back corner of her stall where all of her waste was deposited and fastidiously covered with shavings. It was so easy to clean! This was in stark comparison to those stalls where you have to watch where you step and weave your way through piles of trash. Now, I hate to be sexist, but naturally these stalls belong to the stallions (typical male!). Food and poo were everywhere, and their stalls have to be completely gutted everytime I am there. I think we have all run into apartments like this at one point or another.

Nevin's farm has a lot of people stopping by just to see the animals with their kids. Kids love watching the animals, which means I generally have an audience if I am working out in one of the pens. In general, I tend to forget people are even there, but there are definitely times when I am reminded of their presence. These times tend to be a source of embarassment for me, such as the first time I had to herd geese into the adjoining pen. I'm pretty sure geese are not smart animals, but I was beginning to suspect some hidden intellect since they seemed to be doing their best not to go where I wanted them to go. There I was crouched low to the ground, my arms flung out to my sides, trying to herd the geese into the next pen while simultaneously shuffling behind them, snapping my fingers, and clucking at them. My frustration with the geese was only heightened by my awareness of three moms with their small children lined up along the fence watching my goose two-step with open amusement. Although this still better than the time I passed by a mother and her son just after I had finished mucking out stalls, hauling hay, and cleaning the chicken coop. The son turned to his mother and asked, " Why is that lady so dirty?" Children are so (sometimes brutally) honest!

All in all, I am really enjoying my time at the farm. The animals amaze me constantly. Some of them have experienced nothing but pain and misuse all of their life. Yet give them good care and kind attention, they forgive and forget. The staff is great; all of them lovely people to work with. I'm just glad I can be a part of it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Another Quiz? Gimme a break...

Perhaps one of my favorite trilogies is 'His Dark Materials' by Philip Pullman. If you enjoy fantasy/science fiction books, read these books! This trilogy is remarkably refreshing in a field of so many Tolkien-wannabe series. Imagine my excitement when I found out they are making a movie out of the first book, The Golden Compass! You can check out the trailer here. In this book, each person has a daemon, which is essentially a reflection of your soul and personality in animal form. As you may have guessed from my previous post, I love taking personality tests. Generally, they are not very accurate, but I think it is fun anyway. As you may have all ready guessed, the website for this movie has a quiz to find out what kind of daemon you would have in this fantastical world. Even better, other people can tell you if you agree with the daemon you got (see below). So what do you think? Should I have a fox daemon? I have to say, it is pretty fitting for the Fixen Vixen...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What flower are you?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Auntie Fixen Vixen

Hurrah! My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl today! I am officially an Aunt! Welcome to the world little one! Can't wait to spoil ya!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I have slowly been working my way through a book I borrowed from my sister called 'The Dance of the Dissident Daughter'. It is a book by Sue Monk Kidd that discusses many issues concerning feminism, christianity, etc. I have not gotten very far, but it has some interesting ideas. I would highly recommend it to women. Anyway, she discusses one of the characters from a previous novel who walks in her sleep every night. The character says that this is because 'people deposit their misery somewhere in their body...mine is apparently is the sleep center of my brain'. As someone who frequently gets sick whenever I am stressed, I totally agree with this idea, and I have recently had fresh evidence that this is the case.

For the past couple of months, I have been very stressed. I have been busy at work, apartment hunting (one of my least favorite things), traveling like crazy, and being very social (which is stressful for me since I am a bit of a hermit). A couple of months ago, I had a really bad cold (see my post Diseased). Last month, I noticed I had a big red patch on my thigh, and last week I broke out into red bumps all over my chest and back. Chicken pox? No, I all ready had those. Ringworm? Maybe, the red patch on my thigh looked right, but it spread to so many places. Although, I did pet some sheep while we were in Maine... I finally went into the doctor and they told me I had pityriasis rosea. Whaa? Well, apparently it is not contagious, goes away in 8-10 weeks, happens mostly to women my age, and they have absolutely no idea why it happens except that it may appear after exposure to a virus (like my bad cold). Maybe this is true, but I have another explanation. I was depositing my misery into my body, and it was made manifest by raised, red bumps. My misery definitely resides in body.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Animal Farm

Recently, I have been contemplating a career change. I could write a number of posts on this blog about why and how long I have been thinking about this, but instead I decided to cut to the chase and firmly state I may/perhaps/am thinking about becoming a veterinarian. Before making such a life altering decision, however, I decided I needed to learn a little more about it. My biggest step towards this goal is that I have volunteered at an animal shelter called Nevin's Farm. My first day volunteering was last week, and it was very satisfying. I work indoors all day at a job that is mentally intensive, and I kind of miss doing more physical labor. I definitely got my chance to use my muscles, puny as they are, at the farm. My four hour shift started at 8 am mucking out stalls. Even though it is not the most glamorous job, I get to be around one of my favorite animals--horses. While I am not allowed to handle them myself, I still have the chance to admire their many colors and personality quirks up close. It was worth a couple of hours of scooping just to be around them. Plus, there is something peaceful about being in a barn full of contented animals, the smell of hay and sawdust, and the sound of soft whickers and snuffling from the inhabitant in the next stall. It's a pleasant change from police sirens, traffic, and general hubbub of the city.

Unfortunately, mucking stalls was not the only thing I had to do. I also had to clean out the pheasant and quail pen, which is definitely not as glamorous as mucking out stalls (okay so mucking out the stalls is glamorous compared to cleaning out a coop). Nevin's Farm rescued about 400(!) quail from an abandoned farm, and because they were so crowded and pecked each other to pieces, about 100 of them had to be euthanized. Don't worry, I did not have to clean up after hundreds of quail. Many of them have gone to good homes. But I did have to clean up after about 20 of them along with one rooster and hen pheasant pair. I was a little concerned about the rooster, since I have been told a number of times how awfully mean a rooster can be. Despite some indignant squawks, however, he was as gentle as a kitten. What I did have to worry about was the tiny quail! Or at least one quail in particular. She was a tiny little hen, who looked like she had been picked on by some of the other quail and was definitely the loner of the group. Whenever I came close, she hunkered down like a cat about to pounce on its prey then with a flurry of little quail wings fly at my shovel or boots pecking like crazy. Her frenzied attacks only felt like little taps on my big work boots or resulted in tinny clangs on the shovel, so it was kind of cute. Maybe she was tired of being picked on, and my presence was the last straw. Whatever the reason, her pluckiness was quite courageous, if a little stupid (but no one ever accused quails of bing too smart), and I had to admire her for trying.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Maine Thing

Hurrah! My husband and I made it to our 1 year anniversary without killing each other! Since this is definitely quite a feat for us, we decided to take ourselves out of the bustling ball of stress that is Boston and try some sweet serenity in Maine. We were really looking forward to this trip since both of us were (still are) feeling a little burned out. We stayed at a great bed and breakfast called the Three Pines Bed and Breakfast. It was wonderful! It has a gorgeous view and the owners were fantastic. It was a little off the beaten path so it wasn't as touristy as nearby Bar Harbor. I have nothing but good things to say about it!

We spent most of our time at Acadia National Park. We drove up Cadillac mountain, which had great views of the surrounding ocean (see pictures), and we biked around Jordan Pond. There are so many beautiful views in this park that you become a bit desensitized. Toward the end of the day my husband and I were like, "ANOTHER gorgeous view... again..." It was really great, though, and it was so nice to be surrounded by nature and quietude.

We also spend a little bit of time at Schoodic Park, which is a smaller park nearby. It was great because it had fewer people but still had great views of the ocean. My husband and I hiked out to what we thought was a penninsula. Unfortunately when the tide came in it became an island, and the land bridge we had crossed to get out to the point was completely covered with water. My poor husband and ultimate hero swam across the channel and got our kayak, which we had luckily brough with us. He rowed back across and picked me up. What a sweetheart! Anyway, that was our first anniversary trip together.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mini Cheesecakes

I just made these last night. They were so easy to make, and my husband (a.k.a. my official taste tester) said they were pretty good. I found this recipe at the can you cook? blog page, which is a great blog! The recipes all seem pretty easy, and the creator of the blog takes real pictures of the finished product. Check it out or just enjoy this recipe!

You will need:

paper or foil muffin cup liners
12 vanilla wafers (I used crushed graham crackers mixed with some mini snickers)
2 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Line your muffin pan with foil muffin cup liners, or two paper cup liners. Place a wafer in each one.

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla, with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the eggs and mix well. Pour (or spoon) the mixture over each wafer, filling cups 3/4 full.

Bake at 325° for 25 minutes.

Let them cool in the pan on a wire rack, then refrigerate. Garnish (or leave as is) just before serving. Mmmmmm!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cheeseburger soup

This is one of my husband's favorite soups, probably because it has cheese and hamburger (his two major food groups) in it. It is really easy to make and very tasty. Even though we are going into the warm summer months, which are not very conducive to hot soup, I have had a couple of requests for this recipe.

1lb ground beef
3/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. shredded carrot
3/4 c. diced celery
3 Tbsp. butter or oil
3 c. chicken stock
4 c. diced potato
1/4 c. flour
8 oz. Velveeta cheese
1 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. basil
1/4 c. sour cream
salt and pepper

Brown hamburger, drain, and set aside. Saute onion, carrot, celery, and basil in same pan for 5min. Stir in flour and add broth, potatoes, and beef. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15min or until potatoes are tender. Add cheese, milk, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese has melted. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream then enjoy!


For the past three weeks, I have been a walking pit stop for all microbes that can make a person miserable (well, okay not quite ALL...mostly just the cold/flu related ones--thankfully no Shigella!). First, I got a sore throat that then developed into laryngitis. I am a pretty quiet person, so no talking would not normally upset me too much. Unfortunately, I had to give a lecture for class, so not talking was not an option. I spent an entire weekend trying every possible measure to get my voice back. Luckily, I recovered enough to squeak through the lecture, and it actually went fairly well (here's a tip: if you lose your voice and have to teach a class, ask the students lots of questions so they do all the talking!). Was that the end of my misery, though? Perhaps I angered the gods in some way because within days of recovering my voice I got a major sinus infection. Were the microbes content to stay in my sinuses? No! They then happily took up residence in my eyes giving me pink eye! Again (I got pink eye in college. I think I got it after petting a cow, which is a very long story...)! So not only did I sound like a fog horn, I looked like I was doing crack. Let me tell you, no one wants to be around someone who looks cracked out. I recently helped a guy pick up something he dropped. He started to thank me when he looked up, took one look at me, and walked off (well, hopefully it was because of my pink eye).

Here is the upside to having pink eye. I wore sunglasses everywhere, which may seem weird, but it is actually a terrific way to spy on people. In the subway, you don't have to worry about not making eye contact with crazy people, and if you want to check out some cute shoes or a handbag someone is wearing, you don't have to worry that they think you're a crazy person checking them out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My Ghetto Booty goes Lucky

Get your mind out of the gutter! My title is not meant to be a double entendre. I thought about going for 'My Ghetto booty gets Lucky' or 'Getting Lucky with my Ghetto Booty', but I thought that would be even worse. What I really mean is that I have found the most fabulous pair of jeans, which is even more amazing because I have what my sisters and I refer to as a 'ghetto booty' (a.k.a a bubble butt). Finding jeans that fit right in the legs and still has room for my bum has always been a challenge for me. The few pairs of jeans I do own have been with me for at least five years, and let me tell you, they are not looking so hot. What's worse is a couple of weeks ago I lost a load of laundry at the laundry mat (either by theft or my own thoughtlessness, and knowing me it was probably the later), and this load of laundry had my one good pair of jeans left to me. I decided I had to do something about it, and I went shopping. As an undergrad, I never bought a pair of jeans over $40, and since my last jean purchase was roughly around the time of the last ice age, I decided I could afford to buy a really nice pair of jeans (read expensive here). I tried True Religion, Seven, and other designer jeans, and I was disappointed that none of them gave me the fit I wanted (plus I still couldn't bring myself to spend $200 dollars on a pair of jeans--there are children starving in Africa for crying out loud!). Then I remembered that my older sister swears by Lucky brand jeans, so I went to a local store and tried some on. Not only did they fit my bum, but they also came in long sizes and a number of styles with my personal fave being the flared. I have never been happier with a pair of jeans! The only down sides are that they are expensive (almost $100!) and you want to buy a size smaller, which feels tighter at the store but the fabric really loosens as you wear the pants. I'm so glad I got Lucky! Sorry, just had to throw that one in there one last time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hot Sausage and Lentil Soup

I am a big fan of most of Rachel Ray's recipes because they quick, easy, and taste good, which is about all an amateur cook such as myself requires. This recipe is, of course, courtesy of Rachel Ray. I had a bag of lentils that I had absolutely no idea what to do with and was, I admit, a strange impulse buy on my part. I made it one weekend when my husband was out of town since anything that sounds remotely like a vegetable does not appeal to him, and I lived off of it all weekend without getting tired of it. I had it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (this was extreme and I would not advise it--I really like soups in general). I tend to alter recipes to fit my tastes, which can lead to some pretty bad meals, but this recipe still tasted great. I put the changes I made in bold below.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 1/2 pounds bulk hot Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (you can leave these out if you don't like onion)
2 portobello mushrooms, gills scraped out, chopped (I hate mushrooms so I didn't add)
1 cup pre-shredded carrots, available in sacks in produce department of the market
1 cup lentils
1 large starchy potato, peeled and chopped (I think the lentils are enough so I didn't even add potato. Besides, they are pretty bland tasting, and I think they dilute out the flavor)
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (or substitute a mix of 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika and 2 pinches cayenne pepper) (I used the substitute mixture and it tasted great!)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, in tact on stems
1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted chopped tomatoes, such as Muir Glenn or, regular diced tomatoes (I used regular diced, but if you want spicier go for the fire-roasted)
6 cups chicken stock
4 cups kale or chard, a small bunch, veins removed and chopped (I didn't add this because I couldn't find it in my supermarket)
Crusty pumpernickel bread, to pass at table
Butter, for bread

Heat a medium soup pot over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, then add sausage to pot and brown and crumble it, then add garlic, onions and mushrooms. Cook a few minutes, then add carrots, lentils, potato, salt and pepper, bay leaf, paprika or substitute mixture and rosemary (leaves will fall from stems as stoup cooks). Add tomatoes and broth and cover pot then raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Uncover pot and place heat back a bit but keep stoup at a good rolling boil. Cook 15 minutes until lentils and potatoes are tender. Wilt in greens in small bunches, remove rosemary stems and turn off heat. Let stand 5 minutes (or even longer since some of the lentils were still somewhat firm; I also boiled a little longer to get really soft lentils). Serve in shallow bowls with bread and butter to mop up stoup. Reheat leftovers thinning it with broth or water.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cheap rent among other things...

Yes, finally I post something new! I'm sure almost nobody was waiting with baited breath, but here it is.

On my way to work every morning I pass by a maroon Cutlass sedan, which seems uninteresting in itself except that this car is completely packed with stuff. Clothes are stacked neatly in the back window, and every possible surface is covered with trash or cloth. Most mornings there are towels rolled up in the windows so you can't see into the back seat. After a couple of days in which the car never moved, I realized that someone actually lives in their car. Shock was my first response, but then I realized it's a great idea! Rent in Boston is so exhorbitant I'm sure I am paying the gross national product of some small third world country, or at the very least enough to feed several villages. If I lived out of a car, I would only have to pay $100/month for a residential parking permit, and I could park near my work, turning my hour commute every morning into a mere minute and a half. Fabulous! Since my husband and I have a four door pickup, we could hold dinner parties in the truck bed, and somebody must make a hot plate that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter. Even better, we can grill outside all the time. Now where would I keep all of my shoes...

I am bookless. I have no books to read right now, and I keep rereading books I all ready own. I've been so incredibly busy lately, I have not had time to go to the library. In lieu of a new book, I have been doing crossword puzzles on my way to work in order to keep my mind occupied (my mind would go crazy if I had nothing to do during my hour commute). Crossword puzzles are starting to really get on my nerves. There are somethings I am just never going to know, but how can I finish a crossword puzzle that has obscure hints like 'limerick writer - Nash' or 'Hell -'? Some days I do really great, and I almost finish a puzzle and revel in my vast knowledge. Some days I do really bad, and I barely get one out of every ten hints and curse my stupidity. Emotionally, I think books are just better for me, so if you have any suggestions let me know.

My husband and I are now the proud owners of a Toyota Tacoma. Driving a pickup in Boston is something I never thought I would have to do, but driving a pickup with a manual transmission seemed even less likely. Here I am, though, not only driving a pickup but trying to cope with a stick-shift as well. So far I have not killed it at any crucial moments such as in the middle of an intersection or in rush hour traffic. I like to think that my dad taught me how to be a pretty smooth manual-transmission operator, but I'm still a little rusty. Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Respect Your Edges

My husband loves the cold and snow for two reasons: snowmobiling and skiing. Since there is no way a snowmobile could get into our apartment (once in our apartment it would have to replace our couch, which I don't really mind since our couch has golfers on it--see entry about living in a bachelor pad!--so we can't get much worse), my husband is left with skiing. Since I am the supporting, loving wife that I am (I think I just heard my husband guffaw...), I try to go skiing with my husband when he has no one else to go with. Personally, I'm not a terrible skiier, and I can at least hold my own on most mountains. But do I stick with skiing anymore? Needless to say, I have left the confines of what I know and wandered into the realm of the unknown, also known as snowboarding. Let me tell you, the unknown hurts and is much harder to master than you think! Falling while you are snowboarding is much worse than falling while you are skiing. If you fall while skiing, you just kind of crumple up and roll down the mountain. If you fall while snowboarding, your body is like a plank of wood so you have no time to crumple into a protective ball before falling flat on your face or the back of your head. Also, sometimes the only way to stop on a snowboard is to fall, usually on your knees or your wrists. Such physical trauma drove half of my class to quit midway through our lesson, and we were only on the bunny hill! Our instructer kept telling us to respect our edges, and believe me, I learned to respect my edges plenty by the end of the lesson. I have bruised knees, wrists, and skull to prove it. After seeing me go down the mountain, my husband asked me if I was sure I preferred snowboarding to skiing. Here's the funny thing, I really do prefer snowboarding. It's crazy, but despite all the pain I really like the challenge. Plus, I know if I can conquer snowboarding, I can do anything!

Thursday, February 08, 2007


My favorite new show on primetime is Heroes (my favorite character, Hiro the time traveler, is shown on the right). Those of you who know me best are probably not surprised by this. I have a history of enjoying extraordinary/fantastical/bizarre characters and plots. I love X-men, Star Wars, and most sci-fi shows, and fantasy novels are my guilty pleasure. Why exactly do I like this genre so much? Well, I'm not entirely sure, but I think it is the combination of appealing to my belief that everyone has some unique gift that makes them extraordinary and my crazy imagination, which leads me to believe that nothing is too far fetched. Anyway, I digress. I am totally hooked on Heroes. If you haven't started watching it, you should! Plus, NBC makes it easier for you by allowing you to watch past episodes online. Pretty soon you will be wondering what kind of super power you would have if you were on the show. Lucky for you, the website has a quiz so you can find out what kind of hero you would be. My super power? Flying, of course.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I work on an island!

(I know, I know, it has been a while since I last posted a message. I have no excuse except for work, work, work. Anyways, I will try to do better in the future, but I can make no promises!)

My work environment is very isolated from the outside world. I am not entirely clear on why this is. We do not work on classified material, so that cannot be the cause. Granted we have a 'guard' who you have to pass to get into the building, but he/she only slows people down. We have internet access even if we don't have television or other sources of media. Despite all this, I don't think I could be more isolated from the outside world unless I was in Fort Knox!

Here is a great example of what I am talking about. I am sure most people who aren't living under a rock have heard about the potential-bomb-plot turned marketing-ploy-gone-bad incident in Boston. Half of the city was shut down almost all day, and all traffic was totally gridlocked. The incident was all over the news. Where was I at the time? I was blissfully unaware of all that was happening. I worked for 10 hours without ever finding out that half the city was shut down because of potential bombs scattered throughout the city. As I was commuting home, people seemed on edge, and some students wouldn't get off at certain stops. It all seemed like odd behavior to me, so when I got home I asked my husband if someone got shot at one of the T-stops (this has actually happened a couple of times this year). He looked at me like I was from a different planet and had sprouted two green tentacles from nostrils. He then told me all that had happened. I was totally floored! How could I not know this was going on!?! Then I realized my work is an island unto itself. The only way I would know about a bomb threat is if it blew up right next to my building. So next time any of you hear about a bomb threat in Boston, you should probably give me a call. Chances are I have no idea what is happening.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Great Microbiologists and City Arborists

A friend of mine told me to watch this great clip about great microbiologists. It is worth the 8 minutes of your time it takes to watch it, especially if you are a microbiologist. Also, check out what my husband does all day as a city arborist. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Six Weird Things About Me

I've been tagged! So here are six weird things about me. I hope you aren't freaked out.

1. My OCD side: Whenever my husband and I get down to the last little dollop of jelly, mayo, syrup, peanut butter, etc., I absolutely refuse to finish it. I don't know why, but I cannot bring myself to finish off any food in our kitchen. I would rather throw it away than finish it. I also tend to leave some food on my plate, which I usually make my husband eat. I think this is very bizarre and probably OCD behavior. Think I'm crazy yet?

2. Watered-down juice: Whenever I drink juice, I like to have equal parts water equal parts juice. I think most juice is way too sugary, so I like it watered down. I've even trained my husband to fix juice for me this way. My older sis also does this, so if this is weird behavior, it is definitely genetic.

3. Eating Grapes: Most people eat grapes by popping a whole grape in their mouth. I, on the otherhand, like to bite grapes in half while eating them. One of my ex-boyfriends had a theory about this behavior. He was convinced that at some point I had a terrible run-in with a seed in a grape, which is why I always bite them in half. I'm pretty sure this is not true, unless it was so tramatic I blocked it out. Memory loss caused by a grapeseed? I don't think so.

4. I can read anywhere at anytime: I know, I know, I always talk about my reading, so I am sorry to bring it up again. I read while I am blow drying my hair in the morning and while I brush my teeth at night, so I basically can read anywhere at anytime. I think that is pretty weird.

5. My runny nose: My nose is the bane of my existence. Whenever I wake up in the morning or from a nap, my nose will immediately start to run. It doesn't matter if I am sleeping in the car, on a plane, or in my bed, as soon as I wake up it starts running. It will also get runny for no particular reason. My doctor thinks it is probably a dust allergy, which they can't do a whole lot about. All I can do is take allergy medicine that doesn't really work. The worst part is that my husband has even suffered from it. One morning I woke up with a runny nose, and naturally I got a kleenex and blew my nose. The problem was that I went back to sleep still holding the kleenex. My husband rolled his face right into it and got a very nasty wake up call. Needless to say, I was mortified.

6. Weird, recurring dreams: I go through stages where I have the same weird dream over and over again. For the longest time, I dreamed that I was the leader of a militant group involved in guerrilla warfare in Mexico. I saved women and children imprisoned in old missionaries and trekked miles through an arid desert. I also had a dream where I was in a video game and I had to defeat a number of fantastic monsters like werewolves, vampires, and some obscure water beast. I think that was when I was watching a lot of Buffy the Vampire slayer, however, which may account for that particular dream. My dreams can be very vivid and very weird.

Okay, so that is six weird things about me. Some of them aren't too pretty, and I hope I didn't scare anyone away from my blog. I also don't know anyone I can tag since my blogging sphere is pretty small, so I am tagging You, the reader, to leave something weird about yourself as a comment to this post. You can even stay anonymous!