Monday, December 31, 2012

2013: Four Simple Goals

A blog I like to read called A Beautiful Mess blogged about the idea of Four Simple Goals.  Since 2013 will be nuts and the year of The Wedding, instead of writing a huge long list of things I want to accomplish I decided to keep it simple this year.  My goals are:

1.  Eat (at least) one vegetable a day.  I've been getting better about thinking about what I eat and trying to make better choices about what I eat.  I've lost a few pounds (hooray!) as a result, so something must be working.  I've been using an app where I can keep track of what I eat and what exercise I do, so it'll be easy to track this.

2.  Quit coffee.  I actually started this a few days ago, but the goal is to continue it into 2013.  I haven't had coffee since Wednesday.  So far so good!  I'm drinking black tea, which is better because it's less sugar and cream and less expensive since I can just get a tin of it instead of spending $10-15 a week on coffee.  The goal is to keep it going once work starts up again.  I'm allowing myself to cheat on weekends when there's a fun latte with crazy flavors involved (i.e., Starbucks, Gulu, Jaho)

3.  Finish my 5k goal and run the 5k outside in a race.  As I've noted, I've run several 5k's in the gym alone on a treadmill.  I'm also working on improving my time.  I'm at about 40-43 minutes right now, which is decent.  Once it's warmer and there's sunlight after work, I'm getting outside to keep it going and then I'll be signing up for a 5k in the spring or summer.  There's a breast cancer 5k I'm looking at or the Fiesta 5k in June.

4.  Finish the blue sweater and knit another fun sweater.  The blue sweater is about 60% done.  Maybe 70%.  But then all my friends made an unofficial pregnancy pact and had babies, and those babies needed hats.  So the blue sweater went into hiding in the closet.  Well now most people have had their babies, so it's time I finish it and wear it!  I also want to make another sweater for myself.  I might just do a plain thing, I'm not sure.  There are a few I'm eying and I have a ton of yarn asking to be used.

I'll keep this updated with how it's going.  I'm also still doing the 50/50 challenge, but that I'll keep separate from my goals.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Television PSA

The West Wing is streaming on Netflix right now.  All seasons.  GET ON IT.

Also, there's a storm coming, so I think today might be the best day to watch all of season 1 and get started on it. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and is enjoying their Boxing Day.  Ricky and I have been tidying up, enjoying our new gifts, and are off to see Les Mis at the (newly funded by Kickstarter so it doesn't have to close!) Cinema Salem. 

Above is some star lights that were on my aunt's porch that I thought were pretty when I was leaving their house the night of Christmas.  I though they were pretty against the blue and black.

Monday, December 24, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 12

Christmas Eve!  This has been fun, albeit often done in bulk.  Tonight, we're featuring one of my favorite songs of not only Christmas but probably of all time.  That'd be True Blue Miracle from Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.  It's such a beautiful happy pretty song, and I love the idea that all the Sesame Street gang takes the subway to a different area of the city to get Christmas trees and go ice skating, then have to take the subway back to town.

Ricky and I have spent the last few Christmas Eves watching Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.  It's been a fun way to prepare for Christmas... and this special is so nostalgic and fun.  I strongly recommend it.

I hope you enjoyed this mini series.  It's been fun talking about what festive things I've done and thinking about what songs I like.

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 11

Yesterday I continued on my tour of old friend Christmas parties by heading to Worcester to embrace my college days.  Tim has been teaching at HC and living across the street from the campus, and he held an egg nog party for his friends.  It was really fun getting together and laughing about crazy old stories.  When we were getting into our cars, though, Jess and I both agreed that we wished that this was 7 years ago and we lived across the street from an off-campus party and didn't have to drive over an hour home.  Alas.

I asked Ricky what Christmas song he wanted, and that was Robert Smigel's Christmastime for the Jews, which was featured on SNL a few years ago.  It made him laugh so hard he cried.  Not a traditional Christmas carol, but definitely a good one for this.  And it's clay animation... who doesn't love that?!

Christmastime for the Jews from Bix Pix Entertainment, Inc. on Vimeo.

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 10

It's been a crazy weekend, so I am woefully behind on this.  Saturday night was Friendmas.  Friendmas is the annual Christmas get together my friends from high school and I have every year to get together and catch up.  We have a Yankee Swap and play weird games.  It's really fun, and as we've all been pairing off and settling down it's been nice having the spouses be a part of it.

This song doesn't have anything to do with Friendmas, but I wanted to talk about it for a moment.  This day, I thought I'd take a moment to talk about a favorite one of mine from the 80's.  I am of course talking about Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC.  It ends Die Hard (a Landry brother Christmas movie favorite) and it always makes me laugh. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 9

Tonight was one of our favorite Christmas traditions:  decorating stockings!  For the last few years, Ricky and I have been painting stockings for ourselves and the pets.  It was very nice to have some egg nog, paint, and watch Bob's Burgers.  I will post our stockings soon.

Speaking of pets, can we just take a moment to appreciate this photo of President Obama shopping with and for Bo at a Petsmart?!?

HOW CUTE IS THAT?  He's picking out some snacks for his dog Bo.  How great is that?  There are also photos of Bo meeting a poodle named Cinnamon.  Worth checking out.

Anyways, back to Christmas music.  We watched a favorite of mine for the last 20 (!!!) years:  The Muppet Christmas Carol.  I've loved this movie since it first came out in theatres, and no season is complete without a viewing.  In honor of that, here's my favorite song from it, It Feels Like Christmas.  Keep your eye out for the cutest mouse Muppets ever, which Ricky loves.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 8

Caught up on this!  Huzzah!  Tonight I had perhaps the least holiday-ish thing:  a dentist appointment.  But it was a necessary evil, I suppose.  Clean bill of teeth health, though I need to get a filling replaced.  The week is winding down, and we're getting closer to some Christmas parties, and the big day itself.  Tomorrow is my last day of work for the year, and we get out early which is nice.

Today we'll play some super cheesy music... I'm of course talking about Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmastime.  I feel like it's super cheesy (and possibly highlights why Paul needs someone like John to edit him and keep him from going into super cheese fest).  I do like the music video because it's so dated and of that era.

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 7

Wednesday I managed to get a lot of Christmas wrapping done!  Is there anything more satisfying than getting almost all of you wrapping done?  I locked myself in the bedroom and wrapped almost everything and organized it.  Only a few things left that need to arrive in the mail, to find where I put a calendar for someone, and then I'll be done.  In the craziness of the last few weeks, I was nice to have a night to catch up and checking things off my list.

In honor of Christmas wrapping... It's Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses.  I've always thought this song made me feel like I'm working seasonal help at The Gap, folding sweaters.  I have a feeling if I actually worked at The Gap, I'd be really sick of this song, but since I haven't I'm cool with this song still.

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 6

Tuesday was another holiday party, but this one was for the entire college.  It's nice to get fancy, have some drinks and tasty food at a swanky club, and look at fancy paintings of famous people.  The desserts weren't as good as last year, but it's okay.

For Tuesday, let's play Someday at Christmas.  I often feel like Stevie Wonder's lyrics leave little to be desired, but after the events from last week it's been on the brain recently.  I also am a big fan of the background singers and blasting this song on high.

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 5

Monday began a very busy week of holiday events.  My department had a holiday lunch downtown, and we did our Yankee Swap.  I managed to luck out and being a wine and a weird sushi kit and come home with wine and beer.  Huzzah!

Today let's highlight a favorite of mine, though I know somewhere my mom is groaning.  I've always loved the marriage of styles and generations when David Bowie and Bing Crosby came together to sing The Little Drummer Boy.  The opening is insanely cheesy, but I do love the arrangements.  (I found a version that skipped most of the opening, which is probably for the best)

I tried to purchase it on iTunes for a Christmas mix I made for a friend, but unfortunately you can't get it on iTunes.  WTF, iTunes.

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 4

No surprise, I've let this slip, so I'll just do a bunch of catch up right now and talk about what I was doing on each day.  On Sunday, I worked.  I've been doing some holiday hours at a gift shop on the weekends.  It's been fun, and as Ricky says, fulfills my high school desires to be Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail.

So let's do something a little classic.  I've always loved The Nutcracker, and I feel like it's so pretty.  So here's the dance of the sugar plum fairies.  Whenever I hear those bells, it brings to a moment when it's cold and snowing and there's lots of lights everywhere and evergreen.  Here's a version of it I heard recently and am a big fan of.  It's from a favorite band of mine:  Pamplemoose!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 3

Feeling a little better today, less overwhelmed with the sadness of yesterday's events.  I think it helps that I spent the day helping friends move back to the state (yay!) and then went to a super fun Christmas party hosted by good friends Mike and Christine (yay times two!) at night.  They have a yankee swap where everyone needs to bring a gift from their house, and it's always entertaining to see what crap people have lying around.  My coworkers should be expecting a sushi maker on Monday at our work swap, as I try to pass it off as a nice gift.

I think in the vein of old friends, I'll post a song by the Royal Guardsmen.  The reason being is because when I was in elementary school chorus we had to sing this song, which I always thought was a crazy song.  Then, years later, I found out that someone wrote it in the 60's sincerely, and it was a pop hit... not just something weird our chorus teacher thought up.  I also felt the same feeling of "wait... people knew that song in real life?" when I found out that he wanted us to sing an Alan Sherman song at a concert.

Weird song performed quite sincerely by a bunch of Brits.  I promise tomorrow's song won't be Peanuts- themed.

Friday, December 14, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 2

I know it's hard on a day like this to think of holidays and celebration.  My heart aches and I am haunted by the photos of small children holding hands being led out of their school by police, their innocence shaken and probably gone forever.  I'm also saddened by the photos of young parents hugging each other in parking lots, overcome with grief.  Of President Obama tearing up at a press conference not as an elected official, but as a parent putting himself in their place.  It's all a lot to stomach and hopefully this moment will be the moment that calls for changed legislation and help for those who are mentally ill and unstable.

In spite of this, and maybe because of this, I listened to music that cheers me up at the end of the day at work.  A brief escape from the stress of today.  While this doesn't erase the feelings I'm feeling, it does help alleviate some of that sadness.

I decided on Vince Guaraldi's Ice Skating, since I've always loved A Charlie Brown Christmas, and thought it'd be a nice note to end today on.  Kids enjoying wintertimes and feeling carefree, something that every child should have, and sadly a grouping of them lost today.

Hug your loved ones a lot tighter tonight, and be very grateful of everything you have in your life.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Music: Day 1

I decided to do a little project this year to get ready for the holidays.  12 Days of Christmas Music!  If the food network can promote cookies, I can promote some songs.  This is in no particular order of my favorites, just a collection of songs I like. 

Today let's start with Step Into Christmas by Elton John, which seems appropriate to "step into" this themed series.  I put this song on a mix for Ricky for Christmas last year.  Gotta love some old timey, squeaky-voiced Elton John.  And to borrow from The Muppet Show... he looks like a stolen car.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Cheer, HC-Style

If you look outside, it doesn't look like December.  It doesn't even really feel like December inside from my apartment.  We have one pine tree candle, and we've purchased stockings to decorate, and we've even made a decent dent in the large canon of Christmas movies out there, but I'm just not in the Christmas spirit yet.  Today, though, I think that may change, as I'm returning to Holy Cross for the afternoon.

Ricky and even my coworkers sometimes tease me about my love for HC.  There's just something about that little academic paradise on a hill that sets my heart pitter patter, and it comes out even stronger in the wintertime.  Much like how Hogwarts always looked prettier at Christmas, Holy Cross feels and looks even prettier under a blanket of snow with greenery and advent wreaths.  Last night, HC hosted its annual tradition of Lessons and Carols.  I didn't steam it, but I'm sure it was merry with the choir singing and candles and greens everywhere.  I went a few times when I was in college, and it's a really nice experience.

This is a stressful time in the life of a Crusader, since classes are wrapping up and finals are going to be underway next week.  It was a lot of not sleeping for me and a lot of cramming to write all my papers and study literary themes or important plays.  We even had all of the student performances during the reading days, so those three days that I could have used as a jump start on papers were spent in the Pit, rehearsing one thing or another.  But it was still very nice, since it signified the end of a semester and visual proof of learning outcomes. 

There was definitely a social aspect to the end of the semester and finals.  Because no one had classes, big lunches used for discussing books and studying happened regularly.  Jess, Karin, Tim, sometimes Erin, and I would also spend hours in Hogan, buying cup after cup of coffee and writing papers on the couches.  At night, we'd all trek to Midnight Breakfast and stay for hours, soaking up all the free coffee they provided while eating egg sandwiches and hash browns.  This was the break we'd need, though often someone would have a book or a paper in hand to edit and hopefully not get coffee or maple syrup on.  It didn't matter what we were doing, we'd make sure we were there every night.  There was also a memorable time when our classmate Ed (now a monk!) was panicking about something and gave himself a bloody nose.

I know I discussed all of this last year, but the feelings of nostalgia came flooding back again.  Why?  My friend Tim has been teaching at HC all semester, and today is the last day of his fall semester.  He's celebrating with pizza (as only one can when you're finishing Milton) and then I am joining him for a later lunch somewhere in the city.  It's been exciting hearing him talk about being back in Worcester and starting on his career path, so spending time with Tim on the last day of classes seems appropriate.  It makes me remember all the winters in Worcester (or while I was in Worcester and he was studying in England) we've spent together.  The midnight breakfast, the coffees in Hogan, the Christmas party where he dressed up like Santa.  All of it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think this trip to Worcester will be the beginning of holiday cheer that I need.  A walk around to look at the greens, see the manger, drink too much coffee with Tim... that'll all bring me to that frame of mind that's ready for Christmas and the holidays in general.  I'm glad that I'm doing it a little older, a lot wiser, a few more grays and a ring on my left hand, and that I don't have to stretch my margins out to get a paragraph onto the 10th page all while trying not to spill in my books so I can try to sell them back to the bookstore.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fifty Fifty Movie Round Up: Movies 6-10

"You have a crazy group of movies to talk about." ~Ricky

...Yep.  Yep I do.

6.  See No Evil Hear No Evil (10/24).  This movie was the level of 80's hijinks and crap I expected.  A lot of Gene Wilder yelling and a lot of Richard Pryor making a wide-eyed look of shock.  That being said, I did laugh and I enjoyed seeing a young Kevin Spacey playing a vaguely European villain.

7.  30 Minutes Or Less (10/27).  It was funny but a little predicable.  I enjoyed a subtle Social Network reference.  I will say, at the request of Ricky, that we watched this movie at 4:30 on a weekend.  That is the perfect time to watch this movie... late afternoon on a weekend before doing weekend night stuff.

8.  Despicable Me (10/28).  I really loved this movie.  Clever and sweet and funny.  It has a lot of heart.  I strongly recommend this movie.  It's so fluffy I could die.

9.  Bottle Rocket (11/2).  I liked it a lot, but I have to say... I like his later works a lot better.  Cool to see young baby Wilson brothers, and it's funny and typically Wes Anderson weird, but my heart belongs to The Royal Tenenbaums.

10.  The French Lieutenant's Woman (11/11).  HUGELY disappointed with this movie.  It had great potential to be weird and different and creatively made, and it fell so flat.  I mean, Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons are great actors, but the whole time we kept thinking "you're falling flat, there's so much more you could do with this plot".

Wow, I seem grumpy about these five movies.  I promise the next five will be a lot happier!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunday Morning Snuggles

Woke up to this on Sunday morning. The best.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful 2012

What I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving

Friends and Family
Marrying Ricky in a little less than a year
warm coffee
cozy yarn
That while 2012 has been a shit storm of a year, there were some highlights and the year is almost over
Wool socks
Downton Abbey
Leather boots
Fun winter jackets
Greek yogurt
Local news being wacky and keeping us entertained
Bagel World

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It only took three years but...

A common hot pants theme every single year is me mentioning that I want to try and run a 5k.  In fact, you will notice that "running a 5k" and "getting rid of personal debt" are two of the most mentioned things on this blog.  Well, I haven't really been able to make any progress on the first of those two... until today!!

I've been really good lately about going to the YMCA to work out and have been doing a lot more running.  I noticed that I had been running too fast and losing steam and cramping up early, so I slowed down.  Still running, but not as fast running.  After all, I have small stubby legs.  This made a HUGE difference.  I was able to run comfortably for 30 minutes and get a good distance without feeling like death or legs falling off was imminent.  Today, since we had enough time and I was feeling good, I decided to go for it and try to get to 5k on the treadmill.

And 45 minutes later, I had done just that.  It felt great!  I am insanely sweaty, but it felt really good.  Now I just need to maintain that speed and have it feel good, and then try to either go longer or faster.  Then it's time to hit the open road and get used to running while actually moving and pacing myself.  This won't happen until it's warmer, though, because I am a pussy and don't like being cold.

So yeah, 3 years later... one (actually quite big) step closer to that 5k goal.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Wrap Up: 48 hours out

It's been almost 48 hours since Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term.  You wouldn't be able to tell that the election was two days ago from the constant stream of news coverage and strategizing STILL going on.  I'm quietly blogging and reading up on things like pretty photos and animals, and not worrying about polls, theories, and states.  Ricky is probably spending more time on the internet budgeting and looking at IMDB.

How do I feel, after my third presidential election that I've been able to vote in?  Now that what seems like 8 years of campaigning is over?

To be brutally honest, relieved it's done with.

I'm relieved that I haven't seen a political ad -- each one nastier than the last -- on tv in two days.

I'm relieved to not have to watch debates or the pundits yell over one another about who's more right or who knows more when it comes to politics.

I'm relieved that my Facebook and Twitter friends are back to constantly putting photos up of their children instead of angry rants about politics and candidates who do or do not support their views.

I'm relieved that Ricky won't be so stressed (full disclosure:  I told him he could start worrying about the 2016 election after Thanksgiving.  He thought that was fair)

But on top of my relief that this whole song and dance is over, I'm also relieved that the candidate that I voted for won.  And that candidates across the country who spread a message of limits towards women's issues or the LBGT community were told by their consituents that their message of limits were not welcomed or supported.

So in closing, I'm happy with the results, but so fucking glad it's all over.

Back to posting photos of Lewis.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happy at 12:30 am.

Happy with the results. Wish Romney would man up and concede. Can't wait to sleep.

Final board

Oh it happened!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Could it be???

MSNBC is projecting Obama to win. Eeek!

Obama 249, Romney 191: board is filling up

This was a good idea.

Obama 238, Romney 191: losing steam but not faith

We're tired as fuck but feeling hopeful. Scott Brown conceded but proved that he's a class act with his speech.

Tied at 162: thoughts on David Aexelrod

David Axelrod looks like a substitute teacher you'd have in high school. ~ Erin

Romney 152, Obama 123: board fail

So far I've forgotten 3 states. Whoops.

Romney 40, Obama 64: party food!

So much party food!

Romney 19, Obama 3: did I mention I made cookies for tonight?

Because I did! Mittens for Romney and a horse/donkey for Obama.

Election 2012: bring it, coverage!

Fiancé and electoral board are ready to go!

Election 2012: bagel quote

Election Day bagels are always made with more freedom. ~ Ricky

Election 2012: we voted have you?

Ballots have been cast, and now we wait...

Morning of Election Day 2012

We're both up and getting ready to head to the polls. Ricky is reading stats and drinking coffee. It's going to be a long day.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fifty Fifty Book Round Up: 1-5

I just finished books 1-5, so I decided I'd speak on each of them.  The books are obviously taking longer than the movies, but I think I'll be able to catch up over the next few weeks and the holidays.

1.  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (9/30-10/3).  It's funny and cute.  And Minday Kaling seems like a genuinely nice person.  I think my issue is tha I read Tina Fey's book first, so the whole time I thought "this is really funny... but it's not Tina Fey funny".  Worth a read and would make a good gift for someone.

2.  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (10/3-10/7).  This is a great read.  And quick.  I also think dear Mr. Huxley is onto something with how the future will be.  Everything will be despensible and synthetic, and if you don't buy into it you'll be cast out.  I strongly recommend it.  I also read that he had the misfortune of dying the day of JFK and C.S. Lewis, so it was completely overshadowed.  But yeah, great book.

3.  Naked by David Sedaris (10/11-10/18).  I am a fan of Sedaris essays, and he's had a crazy life.  It also takes talent to find humor and tenderness in every moment, such as the death of his mother and his crazy (and dangerous) stories of hitchhiking.  Ricky has a ton of Sedaris books, so I'm looking forward to reading the rest over the year.

4.  Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (10/18-10/23).  I really hated this book.  I get that it's a classic and the protagonist is supposed to be the anti-hero, but I couldn't get beyond the idea that he was raping his stepdaughter the whole time... who was 13.  (Spoiler alert, he has sex with his pre-teen stepdaughter the whole book)  Maybe I'm not smart enough, or cultured enough, but I hated this book so much.  Wow.

5.  Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (10/24-11/2).  This was a nice book to read following up after Lolita.  Bourdain is entertaining and it's an engaging read.  His writing style is just like how he talks on his shows, and he looooooves lists of different ways to describe things.  Still, he's had an interesting (and off beat, since most people aren't professional chefs) life, and it's fun.  Lots of swearing.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Why am I not doing NaBloPoMo this year

I've been hemming and hawing about whether or not I'd challenge myself to blog every day for the month of November.  And Ultimately, I decided not to.  Though it was sad, I think it's best.

I have an insane amount of projects going on.  Getting married in a year.  Completing a fellowship at work.  Training for a 5k in the spring (this time I think it'll actually happen).  Doing a fifty book and movie challenge.  Writing for a new and cool website coming up (more on that later).  And I just felt like the looming personal pressure to blog every day is too much right now.

That's not to say November will be a ghost town (though 2012 has been a big of a ghost town on this blog).  It just won't be every day.  Also, you may have noticed that on dryer days I'll just post a photo or a song, and i always felt like that was cheating.  So if I actually want to post a song, I will.  Just not to post for the need.

So it won't be a daily post, but I still think there's a lot going on in November for me to post often.  I just finished book #5.  I'll discuss the new blogging project I'm taking on.  I'll be watching more movies to discuss.  And I'm sure a lot of pretty photos of the area.  Oh, and did I mention I'll be live blogging the election?  Yep, that's happening again, though perhaps not as booze-filled since we'll be at an election night party.

So keep an eye out for fun things, and get pumped for a lot less random photos or songs on this site.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Obligatory Hurricane Sandy post

I want to thank Hurricane Sandy for bringing rough winds and high seas so the roads are treacherous and Ricky and I can spend the day at home and be safe inside.

Not to be confused with this Sandy, though...

Stay safe, everyone!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

So Meta

We saw a picture my friend Megin put up of her fiancé Jon creating a cartoon version of himself. She called it meta. Ricky decided to take it further by drawing a cartoon of himself while looking at Jon drawing a cartoon of himself. The result is pretty great.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fifty Fifty Movie Round Up: Movies 1-5

I wanted to recap the movies in fives, and we've finished the first five, so here we go!

1.  Hamlet 2.  This is not a good movie, but we did laugh a few times.  It's amusing, and I'm glad I saw it, but I'd be pissed off if I bought it or saw it in a theatre.  Steve Coogan has a horrible American accent, but he is funny for sure.  Also, Ricky liked seeing Elizabeth Shue... but how can you not, as she's the lead in Adventures in Babysitting?  Worth a rent, but have realistic expectations.

2.  The Secret of the Kells.  SO GOOD.  I've been meaning to see this since it was nominated for an Oscar a few years ago.  The artwork is really striking, and it's a good story.  Also the perfect length of just a bit over an hour.  Strongly recommend checking out.

3.  Frankenweenie (2012 stop animated version).  Really good.  Reminded us of classic Burton, as it has a lot of neat visual elements and has the heart that a lot of his earlier pieces have (Beeteljuice, Edward Scissorhands) that perhaps some of his newer stuff does not (Alice in Wonderland).  It was nice that he brought back a lot of the veterans from his earlier pieces, like Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, and Martin Landau.  I cried like a baby, even though I KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.  Really smart and clever.  Go see this movie in the theatres.

4.  I Love You Philip Morris.  This movie is made better by the fact that it is a true story and it pretty much happened the way they portrayed it in the movie.  It's definitely weird, but also loving and fascinating.  Jim Carrey is at his best when he's not playing the manic buffoon.  He's really good at this, and is quite engaging.  And you can't not love Ewan MacGreggor.  Rent it.

5.  United.  When I finished this movie, I thought "well that wasn't amazing".  But then I found out it was a TV movie and I decided I liked it for that.  David Tennant is great in it.  Dougray Scott plays his character quite oddly.  Nice supporting role of William from Downton Abbey.  Sadly he has the same fate as William did in DA.  (hint:  he dies)  Interesting story, and they do a good job at it for a TV movie.  Worth the rent. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

True moment during Parks and Rec...

"Jerry's like me, he checks all his websites by searching for them in Alta Vista!" ~Ricky

2012 Election Night Coverage is ON

Loyal and early readers may remember that Election night 2008 I spent it making tasty food, drinking a lot of wine, and drunk dialing Tim, Michnya, and Michelle.

This year election night cover is ON.  Don't think that me being four years older and wiser and me settling down with a fiance and cat is going to make me not spend the whole night recapping the night with electoral vote counts and photos of what was going on.  We're not sure if we'll be watching it at home or watching at Erin's house with Buffalo dip.  I think for Ricky's sake, it'll depend on how well Obama is doing so he's not too bummed at a friend's house.  Either way, I think I'll be making mitten cookies and a board.  The low rent version of this...

If we watch it at Matt's house, maybe I'll send him out on the street to do off site coverage. 

I also downloaded Blogger for my phone so I can blog the night away straight from my fancy phone no matter where I am.  Technology at work four years later!  Progress!

I also took some time to reread my 2008 series and it's amazing how different things are since 2008.  Most of my friends have since gotten married and even had children.  I work at a dream job in Boston.  And I met the love of my life and we've adopted a cat that we love (perhaps too much) and are making a great life together.  So yes, Mitt Romney, when you ask if your life is better than it was four years ago... I'd say yes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall update

While we weren't able to pick apples, we were able to have a few of these bad Larrys:

Mmmmm.  Seriously, this is what makes fall for awesome.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall Inspiration

A few weeks ago, Ricky and I drove around the North Shore to check out farms.  We had two goals:

1.  Get decor inspiration for our wedding.
2.  Find a cider doughnut.

Due to insane lines, we only were successful with goal #1.  (seriously, I'm not waiting 45 minutes in line for a doughnut)  I'm hoping today we're successful with goal #2.

We want to decorate with pumpkins and berries and leaves for the tables, namely because they're so pretty and seasonal and I'm not crazy about flowers.  I'm also not crazy about someone else making the centerpieces when I am more than capable of doing it.  As are about half of my bridesmaids.

I loved the look of the different colors and shapes of all the pumpkins piled up!  I also found a neat project where you can decopage leaves onto white pumpkins.  I'm going to get a white pumpkin in a week or so and try this myself.  That could also be neat decor around the barn itself and also lining the gazebo where the ceremony is going to take place.

I also tried to take photos of flowers and pumpkins, but I came to the conclusion that I am not crazy about the outdoor flowers that are available.  I've been seeing a lot of mums, which look a little sad and dried.  Great for a yard, but not for a table.

This is about as far as I've come with wedding plans so far.  Just some pumpkins.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fifty Fifty

Last week, I was at a party when my friend Meg told me about this challenge she's doing, where for a year she's reading fifty new books and watching fifty new movies.  I thought it sounded like a good idea, so I decided to start as well.  From September 30, 2012-October 1, 2013 (I realize it's over a year, but I liked that it was a rounded-ish number) I'm going to try and read 50 new books and watch 50 new films.  I figure it will not only help with expanding my reading/viewing horizons, but will also help keep stress down with wedding planning.

So far, I'm in decent shape on both fronts.  For the books, I have read Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and I am winding down on Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.  I am lucky in that Ricky was also an English major in college, so he has a big bookshelf of potential.  (not a euphemism).  For the movies, I am also in decent shape, though I'm not worried about the movies because it's easy for us to watch a movie a week, as we have a Netflix Subscription.  We've seen Hamlet 2, The Secret of the Kells, and the new Frankenweenie movie. 

I'm lucky to have a good amount of time each day on public transportation, so it's making the reading part easy.  Are there books I should check out?  Movies I should watch? 

I'm recording dates and reviews on my Pinterest Page, but I think I'll recap in tens here as well.  Keep an eye out, since I only have 2 books and 3 movies, for this to come in a few weeks.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Every Sunday Morning...

I drink coffee, read Post Secret, and listen to this song.  It's a really nice to start the last day of the weekend and prepare for the week.  I highly recommend it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

While watching the DNC...

...and I see all these old grandmothers with hats that are adorned with the pins of old Democratic presidents, it makes me think of my grandmother.  Who has two embroidered portraits in her basement, and dried floral arrangements at the base of each of those portraits.

Those portraits are these two men.

And when I saw it for the first time, she asked me straight-faced "are you familiar with our presidents?"

Please keep in mind that these two men had not been in office for 61 and 43 years, respectively.

She then asked if I wanted her wedding dress -- a wedding dress that was at least 3 sizes too small -- but that's a story for another day.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ten! Ah ah ah ah!

On my way to Worcester yesterday Erin texted me that Jerry Nelson had passed away.  I read a few months ago that he was in failing health, and that he had pretty much retired from puppeteering except for the vocal work of Count Von Count.

When I was rattling off to Ricky all the characters Jerry Nelson played, he was amazed.  Sherlock Hemlock, Camilla, Gobo, Emmitt Otter, Robin, Fozzie's mom, The Amazing Mumford, Floyd Pepper, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Uncle Deadly... I could just list roles, but that'd be boring.

Here's him as Count Von Count, along with Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog.

And here's a video I found of Jerry Nelson singing When The River Meets The Sea at Jim Henson's memorial service in 1990 with another Muppeteer, Louise Gold.   Try to keep a dry eye at this one:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

One more thing from Julia Child

The Huffington Post shared some of their favorite quotes from Julia Child, so I decided to follow suit and share some of my favorites from their list.

I think careful cooking is love, don't you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who's close to you is about as nice a Valentine as you can give.

Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.

Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed. Eh bien, tant pis. Usually one's cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile, and learn from her mistakes.

And my favorite, which makes me think of Tim Duffy:

The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appetit.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday, Julia Child!

It's Julia Child's 100th birthday today!  My first job out of college was for public television, and I remember getting goosebumps standing on the stage where The French Chef was shot.  You could see the pipes for her kitchen in a corner!  When they tore down those offices, moved across town, and sold the land to a local college (years after I had worked there) I remember feeling melancholy that her studio was gone in turn.

Anyways, I feel like so many people are inspired by her, so it would feel done and disingenuous to talk about it here.  She did a lot for French cooking, and making it accessible, she did a lot for women in television and in a field that was dominantly menfolk.  And she did a lot for those cooks who when a mushroom or chicken falls out of the pot and no one's home, dusting it off and putting it right back in the pot and pretending it never happened.

I mean, that's never happened to me.  I don't know what you're talking about.

I found this clever video that has a variety of clips of her through the ages, and it felt appropriate today.  There are many more clips on youtube, which I'd recommend checking out.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The wedding cardigan

Photo credit:  LovelyGirls
My wedding is a long time away (as this is a public blog, I am not sharing the exact date here) and minimal plans have been made.  We've booked the venue, the DJ, and the photographer.  I have a loose idea of colors.  I realized it probably makes sense to forgo my dessert bar for just a cake (more on that later).  I have a bridal party and a good friend to officiate.  I know the men folk won't be renting tuxes and just wearing suits.  I have a first and last song.  I'm probably not tossing my bouquet.  And then it trails off.

The other thing I have realized I want is a wedding cardigan.  My friend Michnya has teased me for years (actually he's been teasing me about cardigans for a decade, I'm realizing, and feeling a little old and removed from college) that I own a ridiculous amount of cardigans.  Doing a quick count in my head... I have at least 10.  Maybe more.  I wear a cardigan at least 5 of the 7 days a week, including in the summertime when it's frigid in the AC.

Since I am getting married in a colder month, I've decided I want a cardigan. Originally I was thinking of knitting a wedding wrap for myself, and I may, but I'm also worried about running out of time with the other crafty projects I'm planning to do for the wedding.  So I may just resort to buying a wedding cardigan.

Yes, I get it.  You're thinking "what the hell is a wedding cardigan and why would you want to cover up that much on your wedding?"  First off, a wedding cardigan is a cardigan you wear at your wedding.  Duh.

A cardigan feels very me.  I like the practicality of knowing that if I get chilly I have something waiting for me to throw on.  I also like the modesty of something to throw on as well.  And it feels classic, like the color navy blue or a string of pearls.  I realize I'm making myself sound like a prude, but I promise that I am not.

I've found many photos online of beautiful brides in cardigans, and it makes me more sure of this.  The following article from LovelyGirls Weddings + Events shows many fine examples of this.  I've had the photo of the bride and groom lying together in the grass saved on my computer for quite some time*.  It's truly lovely.
Photo credit:  J Crew

The Jackie Cardigan from J Crew (pictured above) is great.  It's reasonably priced and comes in beautiful colors every season.  I am digging it in blue for my something blue, too.  How cute would it be to walk down the aisle wearing a sweet cardigan?!  It's also not as warm as cashmere, so I won't sweat during the ceremony.  And also, it's not almost $200 for a sweater like J Crew cashmere tends to be.

I'll keep browsing for a nice wedding cardigan as the months progress.  I also need to find a dress first so I know if a cardigan would look good or weird with it.  I will keep you posted!

*Full disclosure:  I've had it saved on my desktop at work months before Ricky and I were even engaged.  A girl can dream, right?!

Ticky Tacky

If you watch Weeds (I do not) you probably recognize the song as the theme song.  I recently stumbled upon this song, and I'm in love.  The simple style, Malvina Reynold's voice, and the lyrics... all of it.  I've been listening to it on a loop for a few days now.

Also, I wish that when I grow old that I could look like her.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Michael Caine

Last night Ricky and our friends Tom and Fodor went to see The Dark Knight Rises.  It was good, though perhaps 45 minutes longer than it needed to be.  Michael Caine is in it as Alfred and (without giving any of the plot away) has several emotional acting scenes.  This reminded me of this video from The Trip:

Gotta love some Michael Caine getting emotional... and Michael Caine in general.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Skipping over the ocean like a stone

It's a cover, but it's still amazing.  I showed Ricky this week the documentary Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talking About Him)? which he liked.  I think it's slightly biased and sycophantic-ish, but still worth checking out.  And it's been streaming on Netflix for months, so it's easy to access.  Ricky realized how much he liked Harry Nilsson's music, if nothing else.

Here's Everybody's Talking, from Midnight Cowboy, which is perhaps one of his biggest songs.

And here's One, which I used in college (both the original and the Three Dog Night cover) in a play I directed to try and set the tone of the beginning and end of the play.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Don't cry, shop girl. Don't cry.

I feel like so many womenfolk have their Nora Ephron movie, depending on how you grew up and also how old you were.  While I love When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, my Nora Ephron movie is You've Got Mail.  It's not her best, but it's certainly my favorite.  I was 14 when it came out, on the eve of high school and pining for future adult relationships with all their beauty and messiness.

I wanted to be Kathleen Kelly so badly.  Her cute haircut, her dream job (owns an independent children's bookstore, what's not to love?), her perfectly New York in the late 1990's wardrobe, and her very real trial and tribulations in love.  Oh, and her apartment.  Honestly, if I saw that her apartment was for sale for $10, I'd run away to New York City right now.  For awhile in college, I tried to pull off a similar haircut to Meg Ryan/Kathleen, but grew tired of looking like I was a dandelion on fire.

Kathleen's cleverness and beautiful prose gave me something to aspire for.  I wished I could be so observant and self reflect so well.  I also wish I could write beautiful emails on fancy laptops (we had just gotten a computer and the internet about a year prior, so that was quite appealing).  Sadly, 14-year-old me did not have the capability for that and spent too much time worrying about boys not liking her to craft beautiful email prose.

A sweet and nostalgic soundtrack of Harry Nilsson and Jimmy Durante, with a hint of Carole King, also made my heart soar.  I very much so wanted to have that great NYC life and find myself walking every morning to work, chipper and with a coffee in one hand, all the while singing The Cranberries in my head.

Obviously none of that happened to me.

I read somewhere -- probably NPR -- that Nora Ephron captures the melancholy of your 30's in this movie well.  Kathleen does not save her company and ends the movie unemployed and trying to figure out where to go next.  The ideal deus ex machina of Joe buying her building and letting her run it for free, or finding her a new store, does not happen.  Kathleen's longterm serious boyfriend leaves her for a news anchor (then again... she ends up with Tom Hanks, so it all works out).  Meg Ryan is not as young and perky as she was a decade earlier.  Kathleen's friends disappear, only to hear bits and pieces of their lives at their new jobs.  She can't keep the gang together, just like the shop.

But ultimately, and this might be why I love Nora Ephron movies so much, love and happiness prevail.  Kathleen and Joe court amongst coffee shops and farmer markets, until their "introduction" and plot payoff, to Harry Nilsson's beautiful and heartbreaking version of Over the Rainbow.  It was a mess and hard to get to that point, but Kathleen got there.  She got her happy ending.  All while wearing an adorable cardigan and linen dress.  All the bullshit she put up with at that point was worth it, as she tearfully melts into Joe Fox's arms.

And as I sit here, remembering Nora Ephron and this movie, I realize that she wrote the dream I have for myself, and I'm sure others have as well.  I dream for a messy life with sadness and failures, with melancholy and disappointment.  But that in the end, at the end of the day, there's love and happiness to make it all worth it.  That the good person lives a good life and can be liked and valued.  All while speaking beautifully and with punchy dialogue.

In closing, here is the ending of You've Got Mail, which always pulls at my heart strings and makes me misty.  Thanks, Nora, for bringing 14-year-old me this movie:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lame Saturday night

I'm staying in on a Saturday night with a massive tension headache, enjoying some Rolling Stones:

Wishing I had this

And that my Netflix would work...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Memories from Buffalo

Here are some photos from my trip to Buffalo for Erin and Matt's wedding during Memorial Day weekend!

Outer Harbor

Old roommates and friends

The bride


Groomsmen tired of the van

Church part

There was dancing

You have no idea how excited I was to finally proudly dance to the song Single Ladies and then pull out the "he liked it and he put a ring on it" photo...

It's like she's the queen and we're the sorry people!

Ricky's in Canada

The Falls from Canada

Niagara Falls rainbow!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday flea market find with Erin

I liked the cool composition of this photo.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The post in which I have a bit of a nutty about Google

I was wondering something to myself about Robert "The Chief" Parish, and went to Google to look him up.  I then saw this:

I'm sorry, but what?!  Why oh why did they post THE WRONG KEVIN MCHALE??  I realize that this Kevin McHale is perhaps a bit more popular and in the news but Google... in an article about basketball players from the 80's why in holy hell would you link to an article about the kid from Glee.  Whyyyyy?

So to sum up, Google, when I'm looking for this:

I don't want this:

And end rant.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back from Buffalo

Back from a whirlwind weekend in Buffalo for Erin's wedding.  I'll post more photos of it later, but for now... let's take a moment and take in the glory that was ALL THE TIM HORTONS I bought before hitting the road:

So let's break it down.  This is, from l-r, an iced coffee, ground coffee, a breakfast sandwich on a biscuit (so flaky and tasty, a million times better than Dunks) English Toffee Cappuccino mix , and two glazed sour creams.

And so you don't think my entire trip was spent eating doughnuts and drinking iced capps (other than the wedding itself) here's a hipstamatic photo Ricky took of our trip to the Falls.  How wonderful and creepy does that look??

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

MFT Day 30: The WFNX of my childhood-end of college

Today marks a sad day in Boston.  Word broke this morning that WFNX has been sold to Clear Channel, likely to be butcher for parts and play Top 40 crap.  With this news, so ends an era of independent and alternative music to Boston.  Unfortunately, I feared this conclusion years ago when WBCN also fell.

I find it fitting and perhaps ironic that I got this news sitting with friends at my work's staff appreciation day.   I was at an event celebrating music and new talents when I heard that a station that championed that for the area has fallen.

I have to admit, I haven't listened to them as much in recent years.  I now travel to work via train, so my time in a car is quite limited.  But today, I'm thinking of the WFNX of my past days.  (the station started the year before I was born, so I've always had WFNX in my life)

--I'm remembering being driven to Beeman and listening to Morning Guy Tai and Henry.  I'm remembering pretty much only listening to this station in the car with my mom.

--I'm remembering names like Julie Kramer, Boy Troy, Neal Robert, which were used as frequently in our house as aunts and uncles.

--I'm remembering driving around with Jess and Christa in high school and being obsessed with not only the station, but the music they championed.  (It makes sense that Jess broke the news to me and I to Christa)

--I'm remembering getting excited to go home on college break to listen to the station, and buying the CDs I heard on break.

--I'm remembering seeing Beck in 2000 and trying to email Julie Kramer to get back stage tickets (we failed at this).

--I'm remembering driving over an hour one way to my first real job out of college, and listening to The Sandbox in the morning and Keith Dakin on the way home.  Those two shows made that year of commuting tolerable.  This station also made commuting to Worcester for a summer tolerable.

--I'm remembering the free shows at the Hatch Shell, like They Might Be Giants and Cake.

--I'm remembering all the music.  If I listed it all, I'd run out of room, so I found a video below.

So I thank you for everything, WFNX.  My music tastes are richer because of you.  I'm sad it all had to end this way, but it did give me an opportunity to look back at a life of music and memories today.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

MFT Day 29: The Kinks

No matter what mood I'm in or what I'm doing, I can always listen to a Kinks song.  There's something timeless and modern about them.  The Kinks are actually my favorite part of the Darjeeling Limited.  Right now I've been digging three songs in particular, but there are always albums and periods that are rotating through my iPod.

Waterloo Sunset


This Time Tomorrow

Saturday, April 7, 2012

MFT Day 28: Wayfarers

I've clearly given up the dream of this being done by Jess' wedding, especially since she was married well over a month ago.

For years, I've been a fan of the big Jackie O-style sunglasses, having many many pairs of sunglasses in that shape.  I liked that the frames were big so they gave lots of sun coverage, and I felt like the big style would be good on my round head.  One thing to know about me:  I go through sunglasses like Kleenexes.  They last a season, and then I either sit on them, someone else sits on them, or they get lost in my car or on a beach, never to be seen again.  I was in the market for a new pair of sunglasses recently -- mainly because the pair I was given as a gift for Jess' wedding fell off my head on the dancefloor and broke -- and decided to take my eye wear in a different direction and try out sunglasses in the shape of wayfarers.

I've always liked the classic 50's look of these frames, but thought that they'd look terrible on my face.  For years I've been slightly jealous of everyone who rocked a pair of wayfarer glasses and looked awesome in them.  So feeling brave and wanting to mix it up, I decided to go for it.  I found a pair at Target and I was pleasantly surprised at how flattering they were and the amount of sunglasses coverage they gave my eyes.  AND the pair I got from Target were only $10!  So that was also a bit of a win for me.

Ricky also recently got eyeglasses that were wayfarers, which he is loving.  We like the retro feel and shape, and I have a feeling these won't go out of style for... well, pretty much ever.  I don't think I'd get eyeglasses that were wayfarers, but I'm definitely digging my sunglasses.

Also, I'd like to point out that I apparently only get sunglasses that the Kennedys like, as evidenced from my photo.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

MFT Day 27: Arcade Fire's Funeral

I actually switched the order I got my Arcade Fire albums.  I got Neon Bible first, after hearing excerpts from it on NPR.  I love it, and I'm pretty sure played a hole in it.  After listening to a concert of theirs on NPR, I then decided to get Funeral.  A smart choice indeed.

When I stuck it in my car the first time and turned up the speakers, I started to cry at the soft plinking beginning.  Then as the song built into a cacophony of sound and ideas, I was definitely crying pretty hard.  And that love carried throughout the entire album. 

The CDs I have in my car trade in and out, but I always make sure I have Funeral in there, because I pretty regularly want to pop that in and enjoy.  The Suburbs is pretty great, and I am thrilled that they won the Grammy for album of the year to give their talents and strengths some recognition in a field that sometimes values Taylor Swifts more than Arcade Fires, but no matter what, Funeral is always where my heart will be.

Here's that first song, and turn up the volume and let it overpower you.

Friday, March 16, 2012

MFT Day 26: Mandee's

This post may be biased by the fact that I'm enjoying myself a little Friday night that will involve yoga pants, trashy TV, doing a mountain of laundry, and a calzone from Mandee's.

When I first moved to Salem, I needed to find my neighborhood pizza place.  I somehow stumbled upon Mandee's, possibly because they were only a couple of miles away, and also because you can order online.  Yes, you can order online.  It's insanely helpful for those times when you don't want to have to call.  They're also very quick with their delivery, which is nice.  I got a calzone, and in less than half an hour it was in my hands.  How's that?!

I've discussed convenience, but onto the food itself.  Mmmmmm  Their buffalo chicken is insanely tasty.  I also just had a calzone with a bunch of veggies in it, and that also was quite tasty.  Their salads are massive.  I've never had food there I didn't like.

When I go into the store itself, I'm always pleased at how nice and friendly the staff is.  I feel like I know them personally!  And they're always willing to appease our requests for insane amounts of blue cheese dressing, which is a win.

Salem residents, definitely check out Mandee's!  So worth it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

MFT Day 25: lifelong commitment

Over the weekend, some great happened.  Ricky proposed!  It's been a whirlwind of good, surreal, tears, and lots of joy.  Hence my slight absence from the blog.  I promise that once things calm down I'll find 5 more things I like, and get back to blogging.

I also promise that this won't become a blog all about my wedding and planning it.  I plan on getting my craft on, so if I come up with cool projects, I'll share them here. 

But here's a minor savoring the moment moment:  I'll discuss the pretty ring.  I always knew I wanted a cushion cut, because I like how it looks so old-timey.  Like something Lady Mary would receive from dear old Cousin Matthew.  And I knew I wanted something with visual interest.  Ricky (with the help of his dad) found a nice ring, and he picked out the band himself.  It's a palladium band with neat scrolls.  It looks old timey but it's all mine.

The box is actually the ring box Ricky's dad gave Ricky's mum her engagement ring in, so I like the familial element to it.  Another friend who has offered to make our bands if we want gave us an antique ring box, so I have a feeling at our wedding, we'll use both.