Monday, August 31, 2009

New Digs

A house is not a home unless you have a gnome.

I am officially moved! A little sad leaving the place. I had a bittersweet goodbye with my old neighbors who are great. But now I am in my studio. Very close to being all unpacked, too.

Here's one of the gnomes in my apartment, but there'll be more pictures in a few days once I'm a bit more settled.

Also, a HUGE shout out to Ricky, Mike, and Foster for being my moving heroes on Friday and Pete, Sam, and Ashley for being my moving heroes on Sunday. They made this move happen on time and not have me have a giant meltdown.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NOT hot pants for packing up all my stuff

Remember when my apartment used to be pretty and clean and organized? Yeah...

It's official: moving sucks.

The nearest and dearest will know that I am moving on Saturday. This has been a somewhat stressful and whirlwind week. Let me try to break it down:

--I've lived here for two years, and in that time I've accrued a lot of stuff. I've been able to purge a great deal of stuff, but a lot of it is stuff I like or want to keep. So it's been a lot of assessing need and want as well as packing up all my life and putting it in boxes. I think it's important to cleanse your life from time to time, but yeah.... THIS SUCKS!

--My roommate has moved out today officially, but also didn't do much in the way of communal cleaning. She also left a plant of hers on the porch. I will name it orphan and raise it as my own.

--It's supposed to RAIN on Saturday. A lot. Like a hurricane. I'm concerned. And researching places to buy a lot of plastic.

--Despite all of this, I have some of the best friends in the world who will be helping me move this weekend. They are an army of awesome. Hoorah.

So I am sitting in my apartment right now, waiting for some PR to turn on. I'm also drinking some red wine to ease into the evening. The red wine may also explain the randomness and lack of flow this post has.

But even though this pre-moving nonsense is stressful, I really think once I get moved and settled, I will be extremely happy. I'm happy to be done with roommates and all that stress, and looking forward to having my own space and making it pretty and neat.

Posting may be sparse until after I move, but I am sure I will have things to share. I also still have a queue of things I want to share, like memories of John Hughes, an Oranjuly show, and the like. Stay tuned.

One guy, two burgers, some fries

Guest model: Ricky's burger and soda and our shared french fries.

Last Sunday, before a Grinding Tapes Showcase, Ricky and I decided we needed a quick meal. I spent most of the day packing while Ricky read, and I have no food in my apartment (le sigh) so we needed to go out to get food. And as funds were tight for both of us, we decided upon Five Guys, Burgers, and Fries.

It's a chain, and I don't usually like promoting chains, but I've been hearing good things about this place for awhile. (I realize it's hypocritical for me to say I don't like promoting chains and I have a blog label called "sonic watch".) So off to Swampscott we go.

It's a neat little place, and an easy way to eat on the cheap. The restaurant is fairly clean. It was hopping at 6pm on a Sunday, which is to be expected, but the line moved quickly and we were able to get seats by the window.

There are some things I really liked about this restaurant. First off, all extras are free. If you want mushrooms, it's free. Peppers, free. BBQ sauce... you get the point. I had a cheeseburger with pickles and Ricky had a bacon cheeseburger with peppers and BBQ sauce. Possibly mayo. I lost track. We also split a regular fries.

I also really like portion size. A regular fries is huge and could feed two people easily. We didn't even finish all our fries, because there were that many. A regular drink was also a sufficient amount of soda (Ricky) and iced tea (me).

Free peanuts are available for patrons, which we snacked on. I will say, I like the idea of a free snack. Peanuts are... well, they're peanuts. Nothing new or exciting here, but an interesting touch.

The burgers were tasty. The cheese wasn't super melted, which annoyed me slightly, but it eventually melted as I ate. And the pickles were plentiful. You can get a higher quality burger elsewhere, but for our budget and time constraints, I was pleased.

I was less than pleased with the fries. While portions were large and they were hot and freshly cooked... they were a little too soft for my taste. Granted, I ate them, because I do like fried potato products, but I've had better elsewhere.

All in all, we were both pleased with our trip. I'm also brainstorming other burger-toppings combos for the future. And it's a nice little date for when you only have about 40 minutes and you're both strapped for cash at the moment due to moving or job stuff.

And yes, the Grinding Tapes Showcase was quite good.

No trip to Sonic... yet

I read online that the Sonic in Peabody was a MAD HOUSE yesterday. This isn't all that surprising, though, since we've been waiting years for this Bad Larry. So Ricky and I opted to instead eat at the lovely Cafe Kushco in Salem. I may review that later on. There are a lot of things in my blogging queue.

So keep your eyes peeled for the Official Sonic Review. It may also come next week when me and Coworker Dan head out there for lunch. Should be good.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The greatest photo from a luau

I love Erin, and my camera loves her, too. Erin also loves silly pictures, props, and having Matt sigh heavily at her silliness.

What's the result when you marry those things in one picture?




I'm not sure when I'll get there, but Ricky and I will probably check it out and review it. (we hit up 5 Guys on Sunday and will be discussing it here soon)

This is an amazing day in "I clearly want to be the size of a cow" history.

Monday, August 24, 2009

In a perfect knitting world...

...I'd have the time and skills to knit the following for myself, instead of a lace scarf I'm working on and a bajillion baby hats:

Postwar Mittens. I even like the sample colors. These mittens are the colors of my life.

Little Birds Cardigan. I LOVE THIS SWEATER.

Demi sweater. A challenge, but something I'd like to tackle for a year or so.

Blooming Scarf. Again, a neat looking challenge.

But until then, it's time to baby hats galore.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hiding underneath a pile of boxes

I'm not hiding or avoiding you all (Michnya and Tens), I swear. I'm just drowning in packing. I have packed up my kitchen, most of my living room, and part of my bedroom. I only have a week left to pack. I'll make it, but holy hell.

There'll be photos and updates as the weekend goes on.

In the meantime, here's a picture of my cat:

(note: this is at my parents' house, not mine. So it's okay nothing is packed up right now in this shot.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hot Pants for buckling down and trying to save money

Putting my cable out to pasture? I think it's time.

The fucking recession has finally hit me with my job (still employed, don't worried) and since I'm getting ready to live on my own in a month, I feel the need to save money and pay off bills and tighten my budget. I've planned my next year based on my current salary, but I feel it might be smart to save more and get rid of useless expenses. The first to go?


I looked at how much cable is and it made me a little nervous. It's a huge expense for one person for what? A few hours a week? A Project Runway marathon? Sox games? It doesn't make sense when I can either watch games in bars, watch shows online, or go to friends' houses to watch Project Runway.

My tv is new enough that I can plug it into the wall and get basic, and most of the shows I watch (Glee, 30 Rock, The Office) are on basic.

I'm going to keep cable since I do use that all the time (and I can watch TV there) and I might get Netflix so I can watch tv shows that way, too. But the more I think about this, the more I think this will be a great idea and something I should have done years ago.

More details to follow...

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

From WBCN website. Please don't sue me for using this.

I listened to a good chunk of WBCN's last day of broadcasting today. It was surreal, nostalgic, touching, and heartbreaking. Lots of big names I remember growing up with made appearances. Also, the programming was amazing. Absolutely great! All over the map and touching and smart. CBS should look at this as a lesson: when you let creative types do what they're supposed to do, you wind up with amazing product. Coincidence that when the DJ's were allowed creative freedom they created great stuff? I think not.

I also made sure to end the day with them and listen to the last songs and toast them with red wine. It seemed fitting and that I could do at least that for them.

The last songs?

3rd to last: Frank Sinatra's That's Life
2nd to last: Cream's I Feel Fine
last: Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Then a montage

Then "This is 104.1 WBCN, Over and Out"

And now static.

It's surreal to listen to an end of an era and for it to be over. Again, I never really listened to it much in recent years, because you never think of stalwarts or institutions to be over. And so it goes the way of other stations that have folded in the last year, and other Massachusetts Institutions.

Lushy McLush and her WBCN toast.

It's been real, WBCN.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A year of wedded bliss

One of the three times I was in HC magazine was in this picture. The other two were for being employed and a Balinese crane...

Today is the one-year wedding anniversary of one of my best friends, Tim, and his lovely wife, Ann. I can't believe it! Tim is one of my first friends from college -- we had CRAW together and I remember thinking he was far too smart to want to be my friend, and oh was I wrong -- and we've been good friends for the last 7 years. It's crazy to think that I've known them both seven years, too, when typing that.

Tim and Ann went to college with me at HC, and he proposed the fall after we graduated. About two years later, we all convened in Cleveland, OH to watch them get married at 10am in a nice little church, then had an amazing Italian dinner afterwards.

In the year since this day, many things have happened. Tim's continued his graduate studies and Ann her work at GE. They sadly lost both their cat Ali to illness and Tim's grandfather. They gained a copy of The Faerie Queen and a fancy pants typewriter. They also are PREGNANT! I've known for a few months now, but couldn't talk about it, since it was hush hush. But all things seem to be promising and it's almost the end of the first trimester, so I am pleased to say I'll be an honorary auntie in February. I can't wait to spoil my first honorary niece or nephew. :)

Tim's wedding is also where my other best friend from college -- Erin my bizarro twin -- met her boyfriend, Matt. So it's a good time of year all around.

Here's some looking back and looking forward:

August 9, 2008: Tim and Ann get hitched at 10am in a church in Cleveland.

August 8, 2009: Tim and Ann celebrate one year of marriage at their parents' house at a BBQ. They also celebrate their pregnancy and other adorableness.

Me and my two best friends the morning of Tim's wedding.

Me, Jess, and Erin in one of the best/artsy shots of the three of us. All fantastic natural lighting and prettiness here.

And finally, Tim and Ann share a drink. The drink is a Long Island Iced Tea. Hardcore.

Hooray Tim and Ann!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Beer Bread = AMAZING

Last night, I finally got around to making a recipe I've been meaning to try for months. The innovative people at TBTL had a series where they were trying to make recipes for things you can buy in and do a taste and cost comparison. One week was bread. The recipe was beer bread:

3 cups self-rising flour
3 tbsp sugar
3 can beer (or 12 oz. I just used a bottle which happened to be 12 oz.)

1 hr in the oven at 350

No rising. No yeast. No bread maker.

I tried my hand at it last night. I used a bottle of Ipswich Ale.

Here it is before.

And here it is after.

The pictures are dark, but it was SO GOOD. Perfectly cooked. Great crust and quite soft and moist on the inside. I had it with cheese and sausage potato soup, and it was a great thing to dip in.

Fellow Ten suggested apricot beer, so I think when I move and have the money and space for beers, I'm going to try different kinds. IPA? Fruit? Guinness? The possibilities are endless!


Look at that... look at how refreshing and delicious that looks!

Loyal readers may recall prior post where I lament that you can't find Chelmsford Golden Ginger Ale anywhere. And that when I was sick growing up, that was my drink of choice.

Well I was food shopping today to get a few last minute things for my dinner with Ricky tonight... and I went into the soda aisle to see if they had a birch beer to braise the sausage in and LO AND BEHOLD THEY SELL CHELMSFORD GOLDEN GINGER ALE IN MARKET BASKET SALEM!

I bought two liters of it (I didn't have a cart, or else I would have bought more) and felt like my whole day was a million times better. I ran home and opened a bottle... and it's just as tasty as I remember it being. And all was well with the world.

So if you love a nice ginger ale, or have wacky memories of Central Mass growing up, get yourself some of this stuff. It's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seen at the Market Basket in Salem...

I realize it's kind of a sketchy Market Basket, but it's a mile away from where I live and dirt cheap... so extremely convenient.

I noticed this shampoo brand a few weeks ago, but found myself there with my camera still in my bag from Whales and BMP. so I had to take a picture and capture it.

Yep, it's a Shampoo called Placenta. It was a little gross, but a lot more hilarious.