Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Where Have You Gone, Dan Quayle??

As if there weren't enough crazies celebrities running around having children, we can now add 16 year old Jamie Lynn Spears to the mix.

My personal favorite part of the press release is that she goes so far as to say that kids should not be having sex. WHA?!?! How about saying "I wish we had been [intelligent enough to be] using birth control"? No one should be getting pregnant who doesn't want to be pregnant. There are lots of options to prevent pregnancy.

And she is supposed to be a Nickelodeon ROLE MODEL??? And where are the Walt Disneys of the world, who convinced Annette Funicello preserve her Mouseketeer modesty by not wearing a bikini in movies, to save these young people from themselves? HELP!

Someone should be throwing condoms in with their paychecks.

(And in the meantime, my friends who are in a happy, stable relationship and cannot wait to become parents, which they will be AWESOME at, fight the fertility battle on a monthly basis. The world isn't fair.)

Personally, I can't believe some Republican candidate hasn't grabbed this issue of "family values" and made a run for the border with it. (This is so much better than "Murphy Brown".) (I would feel a lot better about this if her sister wasn't such a disaster in the parenting department. I understand that publication of Lynn Spears' parenting book has been postponed indefinitely. SHOCKER THAT!)

As Keanu Reeves' character says in Parenthood: "You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sharing at the Holidays

I went down the hall in search of chocolate, and a colleague regifted me some Ferrero Rocher hazelnut candies, for which she doesn't care.

I, on the other hand, have no problem with them. (She is really spoiling me.) Mmm, tasty.

Good grief!! No wonder my bottom is the size of Cleveland.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Concordance to Shakespeare

Something happened to me today that made me think of the wonderful Shakespeare classes that I took with one of my favorite college professors. The student who works in my office (the Protégé) came in today to give us her schedule for the rest of term and stayed on to talk with me about a class that she is currently finishing called “Science and Shakespeare,” and she has taken on a very ambitious final paper topic (I have been warning her that her topic is too broad.)

She was stumped with finding enough citations/primary sources to support her argument, and I asked her if she had looked in the Concordance to Shakespeare. She was unfamiliar with the book, and I got all excited, telling her about what an excellent reference tool it was, thinking in my head of the wonderful volume in the college library.

While I was telling her about it, I went to “google” where she might find a copy of it. Little did I consider that, coughfifteencough years later, the whole thing is now on-line. It was one of those humbling moments where you realize that no matter how far you come in embracing technology, you are still going to have moments where you think of a large, leather bound volume rather than a website.

Still, the Protégé was extremely pleased and went off to research more about “merchants” and “money” and figure out some correlations to the Elizabethan and Jacobian economies (quite broad, don’t you agree? She hadn’t even considered the implications of the plague until I mentioned it to her!)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Artsy Fartsy

This weekend, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to check out the new exhibit about Napoleon and the Empire Style. I went with my aunts, who didn't know very much about Napoleon. Little did they know that the beginning of the 19th Century in England and France is MY TIME PERIOD! So yeah, between me and the audio guide, they learned a lot about Napoleon on Saturday, perhaps more than they ever wanted to know. I went around hunting for bee imagery because I am a nerd. I was glad that the museum actually mentioned some of the important things to know about Napoleon in the exhibit, providing a context for the style in the furniture and clothes and decorations.

We got to the museum early, so we took some time to check out other exhibits. In a special exhibit called "Shy Boy, She Devil, and Isis: The Art of Conceptual Craft. Selections from the Wornick Collection", there was a Chihuly glass seaform. That made me so happy, I took a photo with my cellphone.
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They had two original Chihulys (very small) in the gift shop at the MFA. I called Sister K about it. If we bought one of those for our parents for Christmas, we would be set on gifts FOR LIFE.

Can you tell that I haven't even thought about shopping yet?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

There really IS a Santa Claus!

And his name is Mayor Menino!!

'08 property taxes drop in Hub
Lower home values, changes in law add up

Residential property taxes in Boston are going down for the first time in five years, thanks to the city's red-hot commercial real estate market, declining home values, and a little legislative maneuvering by Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

God bless us, every one!

Monday, December 3, 2007

In absentia

I am just nearly over the cold I caught when I was on vacation... three weeks ago. At least now I sound like myself, even if I still have a stubborn cough to contend with.

I can't believe we are on the last page of the calendar for the year. Where has the year gone? I am going to miss writing "2007" on things. I like numbers with "7"s in them.

I have a couple of purchases I would like to make in the new year. One is a new iPod, with at least 30G of memory. Picking and choosing what does and does not go on my 4G Nano is just not working for me any more. The other thing I need to get is a new computer for home. My current one is 5 years old and is not working the way it used to anymore. I need a fresh start for all my tunes in 2008. Hopefully, I will get some money at Christmas and can put it towards these purchases. (Otherwise, I will be using my overtime from the last month!)

I spent $250 at the grocery store on Saturday morning. I realized as I was making my way down the aisles of my lovely Shaw's (that Harvard tried to tear down) that I hadn't been to the supermarket since October and had been living off of take out and office dinners. Well, now I have lots of food to eat; probably more than is good for me, but now I won't have to go shopping again until new years.

I hope that this snow melts before the commute home; it is rather sloppy out there today. Pretty, but sloppy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Remember, remember...

There were Guy Fawkes masks pasted over the faces on photos up and down the Infinite Corridor at MIT yesterday in honor of Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Day in the UK. I wish I had my camera to take some photos of this tremendous hack.

Fortunately, my friend DM was able to take photos, and she even rescued me a paper mask before they were all taken away.

There are other Brit lovers here!!!
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Friday, November 2, 2007

"Steering Wheel"

My co-worker CES and I encountered this very interesting modus of transportation today on our way back from lunch. I feel like if Boss Hogg had a bicycle, this would be what it looked like. Maybe this is what he had as a kid, before the Cadillac?

Monday, October 29, 2007

I love a Parade!

While many Bostonians spent most of yesterday in front of their tvs watching the Patriots and then the Red Sox kicking butt, I was outside at the JP Lantern parade. Every year, the community of Jamaica Plain hosts this "spontaneous celebration" right before Halloween. It is a wonderful tradition and really fun for everyone.

Our group of friends gathered at JR's house beforehand, and then walked down to Jamaica Pond. This year, we had a significant number of children in our group. When we first started going to the lantern parade, it was a group of young adults and now, we are bringing our own children with us. I guess that we really are growing up!

There were loads of people down at the Pond, many of whom were in costumes, including two men dressed as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson carrying metal and glass lanterns (they were my favorite.) I didn't wear a costume. In fact, I wore two coats as it was rather nippy. There was live music and beverages and a variety of different lanterns to buy. Halfway around the Pond, we were treated to a performance by some young Morris dancers, which was really sweet.

After we had made it around the Pond, and were treated to the sight of an amazing autumn moon, we headed back to JR's house for hot apple cider and crisp. Yum! I had missed the lantern parade last year, but I was so glad to get the chance to go this year with my wonderful friends. It is events like this that make me so glad that I have such a great urban family.

Lanterns Lanterns
Morris dancers Lanterns

Friday, October 26, 2007

Go, Sox, Go!

So the Red Sox have taken the first two games of the World Series. And a base was stolen last night.

You know what that means? Free Tacos for All! Perhaps Montezuma's Revenge will replace the Curse of the Bambino?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Autumn in New England

What started out as a beautiful weather week here in Boston has really degraded quite quickly into doom and gloom. It looks like it is going to pour any second. Hopefully, any rain will be over by the time the baseball game starts. Go Sox!

Here is a little sample of the gorgeous fall day that we had on Sunday. These shots are from Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, a Victorian garden cemetery here in the city.

I see dead people Fall skyline

I see dead people I dead see people

I see dead people I see dead people

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Momma, Don't Take My Kodachrome Away

The 'rents were in town this weekend, and we went up to Concord, MA on Saturday where I managed to actually take some pretty decent photographs. We had a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoyed a beautiful fall day.

Emerson By the rude bridge that arched the flood

Tree Fall skyline with church

Charming house To the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Through the trees

I see dead people The Colonial Inn

Friday, October 19, 2007

We Could Be Bouncing of the Top of this Cloud

Sauce and I went to see Tori Amos last night at the Orpheum, and we had an absolutely killer time! She is promoting her new album, American Dolls Posse, and played a lot of songs off the album as well as her older material, including killer versions of "Crucify", "Take to the Sky" and "Jackie's Strength". I was really impressed with her voice and enjoyed the costumes and lights, not to mention, her band was really tight. This is the fourth time I have seen Tori live (twice with a band and twice on her own,) and, while I think that I prefer her with just the piano and organ, I still think that this tour is really worth checking out. Cause man, does that woman rock!!!!!!! (And you need to see the fantastic physical shape she is in... her ARMS... WOW.)

The improv was CLASSIC, especially since she acknowledged that the Orpheum is a rat-infested pit. Seriously, the opening act was on stage in bare feet, and I poked Sauce at one point to say, "I hope he has a hepatitis shot." That theater really could use some TLC; if nothing else, the rows could be a little further apart for those of us with longer legs. The Orpheum has the potential to be a lovely theater, but, the management doesn't seem to be giving any indication that they care. I wish the city could do something about that; the theater is should be a registered historical site.

I having been trying the DL last night's Boston show from Tori's Official Bootlegs site all morning and have been experiencing major problems with the DL part, although the site had no problem taking my money. After fighting the site, I found out that I was not the only person having problems. I would hope that the fix comes through soon and that Sony gives the fans some sort of bonus for the frustration we have incurred.

I also found that I couldn't buy tickets for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones Hometown Throwdown on Ticketmaster this morning. There was no way all five nights were sold out at 10:10 am. Now it appears there is a website issue. JR was going to head down the Middle East at lunchtime to try to buy tickets there. I hope she can get them because we want to go! I love seeing live music!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Love Your Television

I swore that I wasn't going to get hooked on any new shows this season, and I was also going to drop "Lost" from my tv line up. So I was down to "Heroes" on Monday and "Gray's Anatomy" (with "Ugly Betty" as lead in if I didn't have anything else to do) on Thursday with "Masterpiece Theater/Mystery!" on Sunday nights as my "must sees". Fortunately for me, I checked out "Pushing Daisies" last week, and, after viewing last night's episode, I am utterly hooked.

This is my new "Veronica Mars". The premise of the story, for those of you who haven't seen the show yet, is that mild mannered pie shop owner Ned has a special gift. With one touch, he can bring something dead back to life. However, the next time he touches the thing, it is dead for good. (The gift has another hitch. If Ned returns something to life for longer than one minute, something else has to die in its place.) Using his special power, Ned teams up with private investigator Emerson (Chi McBride from "Boston Public") to solve murder cases for the reward. In the first episode, Ned brings back his childhood sweetheart, "Chuck" (Anna Friel!!), who has been killed while on a cruise* so that they can solve her murder and claim the $50,000 reward. Ned decides to keep Chuck alive, much to Emerson's disapproval, and Chuck joins the two in their crime solving. Add to that, Ned and Chuck are falling in love and never can touch again without Chuck dying for good.

Okay, so the plot is a little bit out there. It really is all about these wonderful characters, who really are "characters". They are quirky and sweet and funny, and the writing is really clever. PI Emerson knits when he is stressed! Chuck's maiden aunts (Swoozie Kurtz and Ellen Greene) have a refrigerator filled with all sorts of gourmet cheese! Olive (Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth,) who works with Ned and harbors a big crush on the pie maker, bursts into song when her heart is full! As a child, Ned accidentally killed Chuck's dad! And Jim Dale is the narrator!

The style of the show, especially the colors of the costumes and the sets, is very "Amelie meets Edward Scissorhands." The show is just alive with color (something that won me over right off the bat.) The cast is really talented and does a great job preventing the material from being too over the top. Despite the show's premise, the way the story is played, everything is completely believable. The comparison that I keep reading is a "fairytale," and I actually don't think that comparison is too far off. There is something "Princess Bride" or "Stardust"y about the feel of the story, the way that it is told. But like those two films, "Pushing Daisies" is a smart fairy tale, which is another part of its appeal.

Of course, now that I love this show, it will be canceled.** But before it is, I really recommend that people check it out. It is incredibly good and makes me fill all warm and happy inside.

* ANOTHER reason not to take a cruise.
** Seriously, I love a show; it gets canceled. RIP "Veronica Mars"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

An Apple a Day

While visiting my parents in Connecticut for the long weekend, I went to Rogers Orchard in Southington on the New Britain/Southington town line. The store is on the far side of the NB town reservoir. It was really obvious yesterday morning that we are having a drought in New England; the water line was lower than I ever remember it being.

When I was in junior high, my dad made my brother and I bike around the reservoir every day in the summer (because we were driving my mom crazy.) It was good exercise, but we also made it fun. We had a Fisher Price tape recorder locked into the paper rack on the back of one of our bikes, and we would sing along with the current hits we had taped off of the radio. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was listened to every day. We would also ask each other deep questions, like "do you believe in ghosts? or aliens?"

Because it was at the halfway point around the reservoir, we would always stop at Rogers for a drink (we always got this sparkling juice called Fruitzer) and some chocolate nut bark. Once we had finished our little break, we would have a bike race up to the top of the hill where the fruit trees were and whoever won “won” a huge prize, like Pizza Hut for life. And a sports car.

I ended up buying a half bushel of Macouns and six cider doughnuts, which I shared with some of my work friends. Last night, I cored and baked one of the apples in a little cinnamon and sugar, and, this weekend, I am going to make apple squares using my mom's recipe. I am so glad that fall is here.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Public Service Announcement

There is a list with photos up on of Ultimate Male Hotties: 1990-2007.

The first person on the list: Christian Bale.

I HIGHLY recommend checking that out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avast ye, matees! there be rough waters ahead!

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!! Here be some of my favorite pirates!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Six Months in a Leaky Boat

Last night, while I was taking my shower, there was a loud banging at my front door. I got out of the shower, still covered in soap, and grabbing a towel ran to the door and shouted through it. It was my downstairs neighbor, whose bathroom was flooding, through the ceiling, from my unit.

The 100 year old plumbing in my unit finally crapped out and is going to need to be replaced. Fortunately for me, this is a common area problem, and the condominium association is going to pay for it. Unfortunately for me, my bathroom floor will need to be jackhammered, and I will be without a tub or sink for the next few days. Looks like my commitment to return to the gym is going to be bumped up by a few days. I just wish that my neighbor had said something two weeks ago, when he first noticed the brown stain in his bathroom ceiling; this could have been fixed before a larger problem (ie. flooding) occurred.

Since this is a common problem in my condo, I am going to suggest at the next board meeting that we get proactive about this, rather than waiting for all of the pipes to wear through. While it is pretty bad being on the source of the problem end, I don't want to be on the receiving end either!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!...

I spent the weekend rereading The Time Quartet. I simply cannot decide if the books are just so good that I end up crying, or if I end up crying because of some larger issues going on with me combined with a nostalgia for childhood, ie. growing up sucks. In the end, I think that it might be a combination of both.

I went to see Becoming Jane at the Coolidge Corner Theater. God, I love that neighborhood; I wish that I could afford to live there. They make excellent popcorn at the Coolidge Corner Theater. Real butter. Tasty. I am debating becoming a member. When JR and I used to go to the Brattle on a biweekly basis, we were members there. I should just suck it up and join. The seats are way better at the Coolidge than they ever were at the Brattle. It is obvious that the community really supports the theater, and the restoration of the old Art Deco facade is going along nicely.

I love getting to the movies early; it allows for excellent people watching. It is really interesting to see how people choose their seats in a theater, who leaves a space, empty seats, the like. My pet peeve is when the theater is barely full and someone sits right in front of me! That is SO irksome, even with stadium seating. As I was by myself, I ended up moving one seat over to allow an older couple to sit together. I think that they went to CVS beforehand because they had a stash of candy, cookies, coffee mugs, etc. I bought a popcorn, but smuggled in a soda. The man teased me, after thanking me for moving down, asking me if I would share my popcorn too. I told him that I drew the line at that. And I kind of wasn't teasing back, although he probably didn't realize that. Seriously, the popcorn is THAT GOOD. I know someone from work who will go in the theater just to buy a popcorn to take with her while she is shopping in Coolidge Corner. I have never done that, but I am thinking that is actually a really good idea.

Friday, September 7, 2007

There is such a thing as a tesseract

Dear Madeleine L'Engle,

Thank you for helping me grasp a basic knowledge of the laws of physics and biology. It has helped me in surprising ways. Your books revealed a world where faith, science and imagination could coexist and where love and friendship could trump the darkness of the world. You had a lot of hope.

And it was cool that Meg Murry was wicked smaht. And from Connecticut.

Rock on-

PS. When I am sick, I like to reread A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I can get through it a lot faster now than when I was 11.

Author Madeleine L'Engle Dies

The sun always shines on TV

I had not been having the best summer, but I am going to have a very good fall.

That is a statement. A declaration. It will be so.

Monday, August 27, 2007

"When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around"*

So things have been rather busy with my life, and I haven't had a regular post in a while, so I am going to try to sum things up in a "Seven Things" post.

1. I have been to see a number of films in the theater lately: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Gary Oldman!!), Death at a Funeral (Matthew Macfadyen, Keely Hawes, Rupert Graves AND Peter Dinklage!!!), and This is England (sooo disturbing and yet oddly reminiscent of my first years in Boston). I hadn't been to the movies since the beginning of March and it has been nice seeing things on the big screen. The problem is that I now want to see Harry Potter AGAIN. That is the difficulty with having Netflix and being addicted to movies. You can just rent things and watch them over and over. Now I have to wait, or spend $10 to see the film again.

1a. There was a great article on about how Netflix (the company) works. (The location of the warehouse is top secret!)

2. I went to Nantucket weekend before last to visit my friend Je Glide. It was a beautiful weekend, and I got really tan and swam in the ocean a number of times, at one point, not intentionally.
We had a big storm on Friday night, and on Saturday morning, the sky was clear, but the water was very choppy. As I don't have a very good stomach for sailing (or most other motion activities, despite the fact that I LOVE them) and had left my Dramamine at home, I thought it best to sit outside on the deck in the fresh air rather than run the risk of getting sick in the cabin. What I didn't consider is that a smallish ferry going through choppy seas is kind of like being on the Andrea Gail in The Perfect Storm.
I was trying to take some comfort in my circumstances by imagining myself in a better situation, first as a pirate and then as a member of Jacques Cousteau's team. It worked for about 15 minutes. I, and my fellow outdoor travelers, were drenched by several rogue waves, which came across the starboard bow of the boat and nailed those of us on the port side. I arrived on Nantucket, feeling queasy, freezing cold and sopping wet. It took the rest of the day to warm up. But I had a stellar rest of the weekend.

3. This video from the Miss Teen USA pageant makes me want to cringe. It makes me want to go find that girl and just shake her. Yeah honey, you look great in a bikini, but where is the gray matter between your ears??? Can you find that on a map? URGH.

4. This Saturday was I had a small group of friends over to watch Hitchcock movies. Yet again, I have people over, and the weather is warmer than it has been in weeks!! It is too eerie a coincidence. Everyone seemed to have a nice time and enjoyed the films. I hope to do it again next month. Maybe the next theme will be pirate movies. ARRRR!

5. First thing on saw on the internet when I got to work was that the US Attorney General had resigned. While I do not care for the Attorney General nor do I think that he was doing his job properly, I feel bad for him. His is a real "rags to riches, living the American Dream" story, and I always hate to see those stories end in scandal and humiliation. Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect otherwise in this day and age.

6. One of the really great byproducts of The Police reunion tour this summer is that the radio stations are playing a lot more of their songs. And not just "Every Breathe You Take", either. It makes for better listening on the drive in to work.

7. This morning, there was a car accident in the Cambridgebound lane at the BU bridge, just before the rotary. It looked like some fancy red sports car drove into the traffic light! The car had done a 180 and the state police were there directing traffic. It looked like the driver had already been taken away (I hope that he is okay... yes, it had to have been a "he" in that car), and about five or six police officers/tow truck people were looking under the hood of the car... presumably at the engine?? I am not 100% on that because I was trying not to get in an accident of my own as I was running late to work. But there was something very "guy"ish about the whole thing.

7a. I was running late to work this morning because I had overslept which was compensation for being up at 4:30am with a bad dream. Since the beginning of the summer, the quality of my dreams has changed. They are no longer fantastically "out there" dreams that you know are just dreams, but, instead, are too close to reality for me to actively differentiate that they are dreams while I am dreaming them. Case in point: this morning, I awoke scared that someone had broken into my home. And not like a Freddy Krueger type either. I can deal with Freddy; the real people from my dream on the other hand are terrifying. I feel like Gael Garcia Bernal's character in The Science of Sleep.

*This is a song by The Police, who I got to see in concert earlier this month. Yay!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I have been listening this morning to microclips of songs by The Dead Milkmen on iTunes, debating whether or not I need to buy some of my old favorite songs like "Instant Club Hit (You'll Dance to Anything)," "Bitchin' Camaro," and "Stuart". I have all of these songs on tapes. From the 1980s. I also have my original tape of "Doolittle" by The Pixies. I eventually bought that on cd though.

Well, 1991 to be exact, when this sophomore boy who was on the yearbook staff with me (I was a senior) and I totally bonded over Pearl Jam and Nirvana, and he turned me on to The Dead Milkmen. I would drive my best friend (a huge Cure fan) and him home after yearbook (they both lived on the way,) and we would all be singing in the station wagon about burrow owls, thoughts like butterflies, lithium and fascination street.

I could have done without high school, but not without the music.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I almost HAD it.

So last night, in my on-going struggle with the geography of Somerville, Mass, I had a major breakthrough. Now my problem with Somerville is two fold.
First: I know only one way how to get most places in Somerville, and it either involves Mass Ave. or Prospect St. or both.
Secondly: Somerville is divided by Cambridge in several spots, and it took me FOREVER to understand Cambridge. I was a strictly south side of the river gal for a very long time.

I was driving my friend ManaMana home after we had gone to visit a friend, and we were going from Kendall Square to Davis Square. On the trip, I realized that we were going through Inman into Union continuing into Porter by taking Hampshire which turned into Beacon, and then I recognized my old friends Cooking Jim and Jimmy Jax's old neighborhoods. And we hadn't even approached them from Mass Ave. WHO KNEW?

And who knew that either of of those guys lived so close to Davis?? I even revealed to ManaMana that I only knew how to get to Jimmy Jax's house because the streets had something to do with Val Kilmer roles: Willow to Morrison. And it turns out that ManaMana's new place is right in that same neighborhood. Small world.

On my way driving home, I did have a moment of panic. I couldn't remember exactly how to get home from where Jimmy used to live so I ended up on Highland Ave and ended up on Rt 28. I always think that is going to dump me on the west side of Lechmere Station, but is really is the east side. I ended up taking Mem Drive home from there.

The best part of this adventure, other than finally starting to get a strong mental picture of how all of these squares are related to each other outside of Mass Ave is that I didn't even need to call Punk Rock Mom to get home. I am sure she appreciated THAT.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Aye there's the rub

Well, I finished the final installment of Harry Potter, saw The Police in concert, and my sister is married and off on her honeymoon. So all of my big things for the summer are over and done with.


So now I want my restful summer to begin. But the summer is nearly over, and the students will be back again before we know it. I don't really mind it that much. I would prefer the weather to be a bit cooler. I just don't need it to start getting dark again any time soon.

I need to start making a list of films that I want to see. So many good ones are out. I am thinking that I might go see Stardust this weekend, to give Neil a little box office boost.

Friday, July 27, 2007


I found this little critter on the hood of my car when I was leaving work yesterday. Despite my driving at relatively fast speeds on both Memorial Drive and the Jamaica Way, he was still on my car when I arrived at the restaurant for dinner last night. Except by that point, he had crawled up to the roof.

I think that he would have had a better time of hiding from predators if he had been in a tree. At the same time, I felt like I was part of a nature special with creepy crawlies!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

When the tidyness has left... all I have is chaos

I am drowning in paper. Literally. My desk is covered with file folders, Post-It notes and random scraps of e-mails, purchase orders and even a set of airline tickets.

I have a real problem with clutter and mess so dealing with this has not been easy. I like it when I can put things away in their proper place. Thing is, none of this stuff has a proper place. Yet.

This all happened this week when I transfered all of my neat and orderly file folders to my new co-worker's desk and transfered everything from (former) Co-Worker Nina's desk to mine (as I am taking over her old responsibilities.) Except I didn't really prepare my desk for all the new stuff. I certainly did not have a system in place to handle all of this extra paperwork.

And so I am drowning. But I got a good start on things today, and I think by the end of the week, I will be back in my orderly, structured comfort zone. Thank goodness.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Who Was Your Harry Potter?

(The New York Times has a review of the new Harry Potter book; Ms. Rowling is not happy, despite the fact it is a good review.)

ANYHOW, there is a blog poll up asking NY Times readers if they experienced anything like the Harry Potter phenomenon when they were kids, and the answers coming back from Times readers are awesome. I want to meet some of these people based on their answers.

So here is the same question posed to my blog readers: What were your favorite books when you were a kid?

Mine include: Little House on the Prairie series, the Bobbsey Twins, The Westing Game!!!, Chronicles of Narnia, Harriet the Spy/The Long Secret/Sport, the Shoes books by Noel Streatfield, (I think the only one I didn't have was Skating Shoes), the Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood, the Misty (pony/horse) books by Marguerite Henry and the Beezus and Ramona books by Beverly Cleary! As I got older, I loved the Anne of Green Gables books, the Time books by Madeleine L'Engle and Nancy Drew Mysteries!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Finding the Right Balance

This week, it has been virtually impossible to escape the blitz of information about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the internet. And it has also been impossible to escape people posting their feelings about the blitz of information about Harry Potter.

The patterns that seem to be unfolding are: 1. people are afraid of being spoiled, 2. people are bouncing out of their skin, or 3. people are utterly annoyed at the people who are afraid of being spoiled and/or bouncing out of their skin.

And then you have the people who are deliberately going around revealing plot points, who really should have their own personal circle of hell reserved for them. That is just deliberately cruel or incredibly thoughtless. (Why don't they go and tell a room of kindergarteners that there is no such thing as Santa Claus while they are at it?)

The whole thing makes me really sad, truth be told.

It is a book. It is supposed to be fun. It is supposed to be a wonderful escape from a world where there is war, poverty, hunger, disease, climate change, prejudice, ignorance and inequality. It is a couple hundred pages of a journey through a world where the good guys and the bad guys are clearly defined, where magic is alive and well and not just relegated to the imaginations of our childhoods. My own enthusiasm for the Harry Potter series doesn't just come from the books, which are certainly great stories, but it is the connection with the little girl in me who delighted in the Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time and who would creep quietly down the stairs early Saturday mornings to watch cartoons and who would fly into the bathroom so that I would be washed and pajamaed in time to watch "The Muppets" on Saturday night.

I personally think that it is wonderful to have adults taking childlike delight in something as simple as a book. But it also disheartens me to read the conflict that has been created over something as simple as a book.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

RIP: Mr. Butch, the Mayor of Allston

I just read the news that Mr. Butch, the former "King of Kenmore Square" and current "Mayor of Allston" was killed today when he rode his Vespa into a pole.

Okay, so he isn't the real Mayor of Allston, but one of the homeless people who have become fixtures in Allston. And I suppose the good thing is that he didn't injure anyone else with the Vespa.

I have watched this man play his guitar on street corners for years (not to mention sleep and urinate in my parking lot.) But he was totally harmless guy, and really a character and a true fixture of Allston. For me, Mr. Butch is a symbol of my time in Allston as a member of the ska scene, going out at night, listening to live music, drinking lots of beers...being YOUNG. This man was AGELESS; he could have been anywhere from 40-70. He always seemed to be having a good time. And now he is gone.

For some reason, I feel really bad about this. It is like an era has just passed. The place will not be the same without him. I am just glad that he made it to Bostonist. He deserved the recognition as being a symbol of the neighborhood, what ever that really means.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water

The film Jaws has been shown on TV an awful lot this summer. In fact, they ran all four Jaws films sequentially on Memorial Day on Encore. Last night, the first Jaws was shown on Turner Classic Movies, and it is just one of those things that I HAVE to watch every time it is on tv.

There is something about that film that doesn't get old. First off, it was filmed on the Vineyard, which always makes me think of (Former) Co-Worker Nina, who I miss A LOT. But despite the fact that the clothing, hairstyles and cars are pretty dated, the experience of the characters in the film never really ages.

Nothing really changes on a touristy island like Amity in the summer. My own experiences on Nantucket are very much like the day to day in the lives of Sheriff Brody and his family (including our own experience of seeing a shark fin in the distance and not going ANYWHERE near the water that day.)

And the shark never stops being scary. No matter how much you know about the "making of" the film, knowing the shark was a robot named Bruce and that he sank the first time they put him in the water... when that shark surfaces as the sheriff is throwing the chum in the water, that is still incredibly scary. "You're going to need a bigger boat" indeed!

I think a big part of the charm of Jaws is the score by John Williams. There is something unsettling about it. (There is something about horror films with simple scores that just makes them the strings in Psycho.) Case in point: I went with JR and RH to see Maestro Williams conduct the Pops back in May and one of the things they did was a tribute to the Spielberg/Williams films, complete with film montage. The first bit they played was Jaws, and when they begin to play that "dun-dun-dun" shark theme, an awkward and uncomfortable chuckle went through the crowd which morphed into a quiet murmur of "this music scares me, are they going to play Star Wars soon?" Compare that to when Star Wars started and the whole place erupted into a cheer.

There is something nice about a "horror" film that has the ability to last, that is still able to scare and thrill its audience thirty years later. Even the most jaded horror film buff probably thinks twice before blindly running into the ocean at sundown for a little skinny dipping.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

O, Beautiful for...

I had a dream last night that I was driving down the Mass Pike when all of a sudden it was taken over (the whole highway) by terrorists from a drug cartel and I was pulled from my car and shot. My friend EP assures me that was a nightmare, not a dream.

In any case, I think that it was a premonition of the traffic nightmare that I was to experience this morning. It would be nice, oh construction workers on Commonwealth Avenue, if you had warned the general public that there was no access to the BU bridge from Comm Ave eastbound today. My colleague Honkycat and I commiserated over our disastrous drives in this morning over a cup of Pete's. Needed the strong stuff to get the day going after terrorists and traffic.

I am not terribly excited about the Fourth of July this year. At one point yesterday, I actually wished that the US was still part of the UK. I am so proud to be an American and appreciate the opportunities that my family received by coming here from Ireland and from Eastern Europe. And I am proud to be a Bostonian, part of a strong tradition of independence. But this whole Scooter Libby sentence thing has me disheartened (heck, even Paris Hilton served her time) as does the war in Iraq. Even Michael Moore's new film, Sicko, is depressing me. And all the crime in Boston of late doesn't make me feel any better. Just yesterday, I saw someone being arrested in the parking lot at Whole Foods!

Where is the America of yesteryear? The one with tickertape parades and local heroes and the hometown team winning the state championship and neighbors being neighborly and kids selling lemonade on the sidewalk? Did that ever really exist or was that just part of the Eisenhower propaganda?

Of course, I am sure that once I see the fireworks and hear the music of the Boston Pops tomorrow, my spirits will lift, and I will believe again, even if it is just for an evening. And I won't even mind because that feeling is so worth it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Books Coming to Life

For any Harry Potter fans in the Greater Boston area, you will be happy to know that Harvard Square in Cambridge is being transformed into Hogwarts Square for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on midnight of July 20th. Another event going on in the area is "Potterpalooza" in Coolidge Corner in Brookline all day on July 20th.

I just hope that I don't have to wait in too ridiculous line from hell to pick up my copy this year! Support your local bookstore!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted...

I am on vacation from work this week, which isn't the same as the week in York that I was SUPPOSED to be taking this week until the exchange rate decided to ruin all my hopes and dreams FOREVER (okay, maybe not forever, but probably until the war is over, which seems like forever.) But I do have seven days off from work, and hopefully, I can finally relax after one of the hardest weeks of work ever. And let my leg heal after pulling a series of muscles in it when I nearly fell down the stairs carrying my air conditioner.
(Note to self: make Sauce or future husband carry all heavy things from now on.
Note to EP: not a blood clot; utterly annoyed; not wearing leg cast anymore either. That thing was uncomfortable and ugly.)

Just visiting my parents at the moment. Mom and I plan to hit the local musuem this afternoon and that will be very fun, while AT & I hit the streets of Manhattan in search of good art and theater. Thursday, we go to search of Robber Barrons, or something like that.

I am looking forward to Newport a lot; I love spending time by the sea. Plus, Newport always makes me think of the time my college friends and I visited for a long weekend, the six of us crammed in my Saturn, driving along the Shore Road.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Don't Get Caught Watching the Paint Dry

My friend Mike Philbrick (and I don't mean "friend", like I read his articles, and we are BFF through the magical powers of the internet. I actually KNOW this man. I went to his wedding in fact...) :-) is a writer for ESPN Page 2.

Recently, he has two really cool articles which I would like to recommend to friends. The first is an interview with Bruce Willis/John MacLean where he asks insightful questions, such as "How does it feel to be Nick Lachey's hero?" and "Who deserves a lower circle in hell -- Internet predators, lawyers or the paparazzi?"

The second article is even better. In fact, it is truly awesome. It is a commencement address given by Rocky Balboa, Norman Dale, Carl Spackler, Roy Hobbs, and the voice from the cornfield in Field of Dreams. How could this happen? Only through the genius of Michael Philbrick, who has written an inspirational commencement address using only lines from sports movies. I HIGHLY recommend that you check this out, especially if you are the kind of person who cried at the end of Rudy. This speech was made for you and me.

Friday, May 25, 2007


I suffer from Repetitive Strain Injury, which basically means I have chronic tendonitis in my right arm from using the computer too much (curse you, Excel spreadsheets!!), and, in addition to causing me pain, it has effected my ability to hold things. Therefore, it has effected my ability to hold a pen, and therefore has changed my handwriting over the course of the three years I have had this condition.

Today, I wrote up a fax and signed my name to it. The way I wrote "Melanie"looks just like my dad would have written it. It is kind of cool that my handwriting is starting to look like dad's and actually quite horrifying at the same time because my dad is left-handed and his handwriting is not terribly legible. I e-mailed my sister to tell her the news because it concerned me, and I made a photocopy of the fax so that I could show her.

This is her response: "Lol that is BAD. But it means that you also have the same handwriting as Santa AND the Tooth Fairy!!!!"

Somehow, that just made things a lot less dire.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Computer Savvy

I was asked by a colleague to send him an e-mail reminder of a project which needs to be completed for my office next week. Being the "oh so witty" person that I am, I decided to send the request to him in the form of an invitation.
Who: You
What: Writing X,Y, & Z
Why: Because they go in the mailing and you asked me to send you an e-mail about it.
When: No later than Friday, May 25 because that is the mailing date.
Where: Room 123, baby!
How: Preferably in English, on a computer. ;-)

Cute, right?

This was the reply I received: "You could have used evite...."

I kind of deserved that, didn't I?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Long Time Ago, We Used to Be Friends

I don't think that TV programmers actually WATCH TV. My favorite TV show has just had the rug pulled out from under it by corporate types who think that people would prefer to watch a farmers' dating reality show. I am not even kidding.

It is utterly disappointing to learn of the cancellation of "Veronica Mars." It was a show with a smart and sassy young woman (if Veronica were my age, she SO would have had a subscription to Sassy) as the lead character, with a lot of fun pop culture references. Veronica Mars was a role model for young girls in an age where young girls have the Britneys, Parises and Lindseys of the world setting the trends. Veronica is bright, confident, friendly, helpful and law abiding (mostly anyhow.) Plus, she has a terrific relationship with her father... Heck, who cares about the young girls? I feel better watching Veronica save the day on Tuesday nights!

The CW could have been a real leader here, but instead they chose to give America the next Pussycat Dolls. (Because there aren't enough young women out there with body image issues.) There is a constant discussion about the "dumbing down" of America, and it looks like the future programming of the CW is following along in those footsteps. I hope that they are embarrassed. More importantly, I hope that they lose a lot of sponsorship because, clearly, the bottom line is all they care about. Supernatural fans, if I were you, I would be concerned because you and Smallville are all that's left before that network becomes All Reality, All the Time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Life, or Something Suspiciously Like Life as I Remember It

I haven't posted anything of real significance in a while, mostly because I have been averaging 50 hour work weeks for the past five weeks. This is the first "normal" week I have had at the office in a while, and I have to admit it is marvellous, although the pace of the past month or so is really starting to catch up with me. There was a LOT of missed sleep, and 10:00pm is becoming my new regular bedtime. I have spent the past few nights at BJs, the grocery store, Target, and, tonight, CVS, replenishing my household stores. There is something so nice, so comforting about having a ready supply of food and laundry products and toiletries rather than replacing the necessities on an ad hoc basis.

I need a haircut. I am basically sporting a mop on my head, which I have to keep pulling off my face in one of the most unflattering ponytails on the planet. It has been two months since my last one, and while the shape of the cut is still really great, the length is too much for my short hair sensibilities. Plus, neither my head nor my profile were made to look good in a ponytail. (And don't even get me started about my inability to be bothered with makeup on a daily basis.)

My parents are in London this week, sans moi. Hopefully, they will do some of the activites I suggested and bring me back the stuff I requested. They are usually pretty good about that stuff so I am not really worried, although I am rather jealous. Right now, it is suppertime in London, or just past tea time, depending on which you have.

It is springtime here in Boston, which means that is is warm and sunny, and it is allergy season. Thank goodness for the lovely processed air in the office. I am using my office for its allergen free air, and I am not ashamed to admit it.

The Niblet (son of Punk Rock Mom) turned 8 at the end of March, and I still hadn't found him a good birthday gift. (I always buy him books.) Fortunately, I recalled a book I had LOVED which I think will really appeal to his imagination: Bob Fulton's Amazing Soda Pop Stretcher. It is about a young boy who invents a formula to turn one soda into fifty, which is a great way for him to save his allowance. Unfortunately, international spies find out about the formula and want to obtain it for their own dasterdly notions! The book has been out of print for a while; fortunately, I was able to locate a pretty good used copy on It is a bit old for him, but if his mom helps him (as she is known to do,) I think that he will really enjoy it a lot. I love that, while at this point in life I don't have kids of my own to whom I can pass on the wonderful experience of books, I can pass them on to the Niblet and know that he will really enjoy them! (Last year, I got him Dominic by William Steig, and both he and his mom really liked it!)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Post This

Just a reminder to everyone that US postage increased today. Letters are now $0.41 and post cards are $0.26 to mail. As I have spent a good portion of this morning adding postage to pre-posted reply postcards to accommodate this increase, I thought I would give people a shout out about it in case they had forgotten and needed to get their bills in the mail.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dogwood in bloom

Dogwood in bloom
Originally uploaded by melliemels.
The dogwood blossoms on the tree outside of my apartment make me realize that spring has finally arrived.

Friday, May 4, 2007

I am totally addicted to Grey's Anatomy... HELP!

Last night's episode of "Grey's Anatomy" left much to be desired, but that didn't really matter, because I am totally hooked. I was utterly exhausted and was taping the episode for a friend and still had to stay up to watch the two hours of mindless soapy goodness. The tie in to next season's spin off was not as seemless as I think they hoped it would be, but the cast is certainly impressive!

I can't believe how good Tim Daly looks. He is getting hotter the older he gets, which, oddly enough, is the same thing that happened to, Patrick Dempsey. I just MELTED when Tim first showed up in the elevator, and, then when he kissed Addison, I totally had this WHOA moment. I am so going to have to watch this show, aren't I? And I wasn't supposed to add any new shows to my Must See TV!! It was great to see two of my fave people from "Alias" (Francie/Alison and Sark) show up on last night's episode; I totally had a reunion squee!! I was also kind of upset to see Piz from "Veronica Mars" on the show, especially when he FINALLY smooched Veronica on Tuesday's episode!! I am afraid of the implications that means for "VM"; it better not be cancelled. (I like his hair much better on VM than GA anyhow.)

Thoughts for "GA" future ::SPOILERS:: :

1. How much do you want to bet that Burke and Christina don't get married? He keeps rushing her into stuff, and I think that last night he finally realized that.

2. Izzie and George are KILLING ME. I love Callie and don't want her to get hurt (she was HYSTERICAL about being a bridesmaid,) but I wanted Izzie and George together from the first season!!!

3. Do we think that Alex and Ava will get together? I think that he is really underexplored and there are many layers in there. He has been a hard nut to crack from the beginning, and his contradictions make him fascinating! I also think that Ava is a spy, which is why she knows languages... because that would be a really crazy twist.

4. I can't believe they killed Step-Mommy Mere Winingham!!! It was because of her that I was actually starting to like Meredith, which is something I never expected!

5. I have a horrible feeling that the person collapsed on the floor in next week's episode is my beloved Dr. Bailey!!! If they mess with Bailey, I am making a speedy departure.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Penalty Box

Today, a replacement box of archive boxes was delivered by Office Depot as we had run out. The box must have been stored near some rusty pipes because the whole top of it is covered in rust.

Guess who didn’t notice that and leaned next to the box in her light gray lightweight wool BR suit pants?

Guess who tried to get the resulting large orange stain on her left thigh out with soap from the bathroom and then with club soda?

Guess who now has a much much lighter rust stain next to a bizzarish water mark?

These pants are hitting the dry cleaners tomorrow. I made a sign for the box that no one is to go near it; it is in trouble with me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut

I have been super busy the past few weeks, too busy to have even caught the news that author (and some time Cape Cod resident) Kurt Vonnegut has passed away.

After reading Slaughterhouse Five my junior year of high school, I began devouring his books. They helped me come to terms with my personal frustration with the establishment of that particular time: the Gulf War and the Thomas Supreme Court hearings. I found his novels accessible and evocative in a way that I am sure a generation before me found J.D. Salinger.

Anyhow, I like this quote that the NY Times chose to include in his obituary:
“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”

So it goes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Winter's Tale

One of the best stage directions in the history of plays is by William Shakepeare and is in his play The Winter's Tale.

The stage direction is: "Exit, pursued by a bear."

Yeah. ::sigh:: That's kind of how I feel about this last winter storm that we had on Saturday. I kind of wish that we could just shoo the bear bad weather away.

Friday, March 9, 2007

I wish that I had known this BEFORE I did my 2006 taxes

If you haven't filed your taxes yet and you don't read the instruction book cover to cover, you might be interested in this.


We'll take this opportunity to remind you, dear reader, that there's free money coming to you on your taxes this year. Everyone gets $30 back if you're filing by yourself. Families generally qualify for the $60 credit. All you have to do is check a box. The government has been charging so many fees for phone service over the years without enough contention. Focus was given to some of them and the result was the IRS saying that they had erred in their ways and will be giving back individuals $30 in phone taxes. As many tax issues are, and as the great debate over the Bell v. Gray patent race, the issue is exceedingly complex. There are all sorts of forms and calculations that you can do – but someone told us that on average it will take you 14 hours to complete. 14 hours isn't worth the extra thirty cents we'd likely be able to claim from the government. We're satisfied to take our $30 this year and calling it even. Seriously, $30! That's real money. $30 is three Celtics games in the nosebleed section, three movies at the AMC Boston Common, a whole mess of Anna's burritos, or about one-seventeenth of a ticket to go see the Sox play at Fenway. Remember to check that box on your taxes, and thank Alexander Graham Bell for patenting (notice we're not claiming he "invented") the telephone…and he did it here in Boston.

Sadly, I didn't know about this when I filed my taxes and am going to miss out on this. Now I am annoyed. Oh well, maybe my $30 I let the government keep will go fix some potholes.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Internalize much?

I have been reading The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory for my bookclub, which meets on Saturday. As this book is almost 700 pages, and I was only on page 450-something as of yesterday, I had to make a big push to get through 150 pages last night.

Big mistake. I had dreams all night that I was Anne Boleyn, living in the 21st century, going around to various fertility doctors for treatment (involving injections and X-rays and ultrasound) so that I could bear Henry VIII's heir. At one point, I was yelling at doctors: "You don't understand!! If I don't have a baby, he will kill me!! Literally!!"

The book is good. It isn't really historically accurate, which bothers me. And I realize that is petty because the book is FICTION. I do like the dynamic between the sisters, and the idea that, while they were compatriots, they were also rivals. It is an interesting angle from which to approach the historical events of this period in English history. But STILL. Someone out there is going to read this book and think that Mary Boleyn was the manipulated baby of the family, when in fact, she was the oldest of the three and basically did a lot of that stuff on her own and THEN some.

One thing I have learned from this experience is understanding now why my college Renaissance history professor got so mad when students used Shakespeare's history plays to explain historical events. Henry V did not go to war with France over some tennis balls; you learned it here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Supah Cool Poetry

This is poetry I made on my refridgerator. I refer to my refridgerator as Supah Cool, because that is what it does. (My dishwasher is Supah Clean. My stove is old and doesn't have a name.) So this is supah cool poetry.

At the Motor Vehicles

When I was a child, I used to accompany my mother on her various errands. One thing I remember was her keen frustration every time we had to make a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Whether it was renewing a license or transferring license plates to a new car, the lines were long, and the wait seemed endless. Actually, one of those often quoted little kid things that I said growing up was "why is Mommy mad at the motor vehicles?"

Both my brother and I instinctively knew that the DMV was not the place to start whining to my mother about the wait so I took advantage of the time to watch people. And yesterday, when I went to renew my driver's license at the mini-Registry of Motor Vehicles at the Cambridgeside Galleria mall, the wait provided me with the opportunity to do some people watching again. There was a young man "upgrading" to an "OVER 21" license, and several people waiting to return license plates. There was a person whose gender I could not figure out feeding an infant from a bottle. There were a couple of people who really needed a full service RMV and weren't happy when they found that out after waiting.

There were only two people working there after six, a woman in her mid-forties and an older man. The older man sat at the front desk and reminded me of Mr. Brady from "Days of Our Lives." While he was very all business and didn't take any crap, he was also the type of person who called all the women "dear." He was sweet to me, but then again, I had all my forms filled out correctly.

From my place right by the door, I could not only see, but hear everything going on at the front desk, and it was obvious to "Mr. Brady" (whose name I think was George) that, while I was playing at disinterested, I was paying attention. One woman, who had the option to keep her photo, said it was horrid and wanted a change. The man at the desk good-naturedly disagreed with her opinion, took the photo and then looked at the computer display. He then exclaimed, "Now THAT'S HORRID! We can do much better!" much to her surprise, and he looked over at me. I pointed back at him, and teased, "That's it! I want YOU taking my photo!"

Sadly, when my number was called, nearly an hour later, but still before closing, I went to the lady. And despite spending the whole day destroying my eyes in front of the computer, I passed the eye test. And the lady took a really good photo of me - my first ever on a driver's license!!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Celebrity Snarking and Responsibility

The past few weeks my colleagues and I have spent a lot of time celebrity snarking. Between Britney Spears' in and out of rehab, Anna Nicole Smith's death, and Tom Brady's babydaddy, we have had PLENTY of fodder. Then on Monday, there was Bobby Brown's arrest here in Massachusetts for not paying child support. These people are too stupid for words.

But you know what? I am getting really sick of celebrities getting loads attention for acting utterly irresponsibly. Where are the people being noted for being good parents, or helping people end drug addiction, or excelling as teachers in the public school system?? Schaudenfreude is all well and good, and I admit that I indulge in my fair share of it, but I really think that we need to celebrate successes more than failures. It is the only way to shake off this feeling of "nothing I do is going to make a difference" that I seem to walk around with.

I think that the stalkerazzi need to start going around taking photos of school crossing guards and the volunteers in town libraries. And maybe they should also give them some swag.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Social Responsibilities

It's that time of year again...

I don't buy them for myself... I buy them for the girls... (who am I kidding? I LOVE me some Thin Mints.)

Over the weekend, I worked up a mock up of something that I want to use in my personal life - a social calling card. It's a new fashioned spin on an old fashioned custom. In the past, before the age of dialing ahead, if a visitor called on a friend and the friend was out at the time, the visitor would leave a calling card so that the friend knew they had stopped in. My concept builds on that idea, combining it with the practicality of a business card. My card enables the carrier to provide new acquaintances with their social contact information effortlessly, like their mobile number and their personal e-mail address.

I ran into a bit of a snafu when I realized the pre-cut cards I had purchased were too small to run through my printer. I will have to start with a big sheet of card stock and cut them down for version 2.0. For now, I will just handwrite them, which looks okay, but I have such lovely fonts that I would have preferred to use. I am going to stick with the pink and brown because I love that color combo.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


My use, or misuse as the case may be, of caffiene all takes on a whole new angle put in the light of Robbie Williams' recent trip to rehab:

"The singer finds it impossible to get to sleep until 4 or 5am due to insomnia and is on sleeping pills. He is hooked on the powerful anti-depressant Seroxat, which has been linked to suicidal tendencies in teenagers. And daily he gets through an incredible 36 super-strength double espresso coffees, 60 Silk Cut cigarettes and around 20 cans of energy drink Red Bull."

Maybe he doesn't realize that he wouldn't need the sleeping pills if he cut out the coffee and the Red Bull.

This just makes me feel so much better.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Driver's Ed

One thing that I learned when learning to drive in the snow in New England (lessons consisted of my father forcing me to get into skids in a Buick Estate station wagon so that I could learn to pull out of them) is that common courtesy for other drivers means cleaning off your car. Your whole car. This includes the roof and your head and tail lights.

The apple green Volkwagon bug driving in front of me on the way to work this morning did not receive this instruction, clearly. I don't even think that they bothered to put on the rear defroster. One little patch of cleared glass really isn't going to get anyone very far.

With the freezing rain starting this morning, they are going to have an interesting time getting back into their car tonight. I hope that I don't end up behind them again.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Winning Stuff and Underwear, or, How I Spent the Weekend

I am currently eating my Kosy Shack rice pudding dessert cup while I wait for my Lean Cuisine lunch to warm up in the microwave. Yes, I eat dessert first at lunchtime; I am an elementary school cafeteria monitor's worse nightmare. Oddly enough, it is ONLY at lunchtime that I do this; I usually wait until after dinner to have something sweet.

On Saturday, I went to Whole Foods, where I realized that in addition to the fruits and fish that I was purchasing, I also needed some emergency cheese. As I couldn't find exactly the cheese I wanted, I went to the cheese counter to ask for help. There were three men working that afternoon and they were having a discussion about 80s pop music. They were discussing "I'm Turning Japanese," and one of the men was actually singing it because one of his co-workers was unfamiliar with the song. (God, I hate that song.) As I stood for a bit, patiently waiting for assistance, the two who knew the song were trying to figure out who sang it. Finally, tired of waiting for help and with the answer burning a hole on my tongue, I piped up, "it's The Vapours."
"What! Really!! How did you know that? You should be on Jeapordy!" were the assorted responses. But it was the singing cheese man who gave me the best response: "You deserve a prize for that. Do you like TRUFFLES?" So yes, dear reader, not only did I get help finding my cheese (aged Vermont cheddar,) but I also got free chocolate truffles.

Which I went home and promptly ate. Together. Mmmm.

You know that whole statistic about the ridiculous number of women who are wearing the wrong size bra? On Sunday, JR and I decided that we were no longer going to be a stastic so we headed over to Lady Grace (in Waltham, as Coolidge Corner is closed on Sundays) to be professionally fitted. It was an eye opener into the world of lingerie, where, much like jeans, the world is not created equal. Just because you measure one size, doesn't mean that is the right size for you in every brand. I must have tried on about 15 bras before having my EUREKA moment. The bra is PERFECT; everything you could ask for and more... the more being the PRICE!! MEEP. But seeing as one wears one's bra every day, the cost per use all works out in the end. (And it turns out that Oprah loves my bra...It's a keeper.)

JR brought up during the adventure that the Trinny and Susannah from What Not to Wear stress the importance of buying a good bra. And I always love it when I am following Their Rules. :)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Mellie on the MTA

So yesterday Big Blue (my car) was in the shop, and I was forced to rely on public transportation to get me to work. It was my first time using my new Charlie Card, and I had to use it on both the T and the bus. I was a little bit unsure of what I was doing, so I tried to keep an eye out for how the people ahead of me were tapping their cards to the card readers. It is very difficult being non-chalant when you really have no idea when it comes to the new system of public transportation. I ended up doing just fine, after one false start on the number 1 bus. (Thank goodness for my friend AB, who let me know that the light turning yellow was a good thing, not an indication that my card had somehow forgotten that I put $10 on it yesterday. The "yellow light is bad" applies only on the Mass Pike with my EZ Pass. Of course, I could have asked the bus driver for help, but that would have been admitting weakness.)

The last thing I wanted to look like was an unsophisticated tourist, which is kind of ridiculous when you come to think about it. But there really is something about riding the T that gives me the impression that the people riding it are indoctrinated urbanites. They know the system and use it. On the other hand, I try to avoid it as much as possible, especially the B train on the Green line, the train that runs right outside my apartment, with its cars filled with students packed in like sardines.

Even though I have lived in Boston for the last ten years, I am still attached at the seat to my car. My understanding of the city comes from one way streets and Big Dig detours. On the other hand, people who ride the T understand the city as a complex system of trains and tunnels running underground. Both have their good points and both have their bad.

If it wasn't so cold, it might be worth it just to walk.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Old Christmas is past, twelve tide is the last And we bid you adieu, pray joy to the new

On Saturday evening, I hosted a small group of friends at a Twelfth Night party to conclude the Christmas season. This is the second year I have done this, and I am thinking of making it a permanent thing as long as I live in Boston. I really like having the after-Christmas Christmas party. I find that people are more relaxed and don't have as many things going on, so there is a better chance that your guests will be better able to fit the party into their busy schedules.

Now, as seems to be the pattern with things, on the day that I host a party, the weather is unseasonably warm and humid. Both of those conditions were in effect on Saturday night. Because it was so warm, I ended up bagging my original plan to make hot cider, and stuck with a pitcher of sidecars and several bottles of white wine and rosé. For food, I had good assortment of cheese and crackers, my mom's heavenly crabmeat spread, mini-cucumber sandwiches, some spicy chicken spring rolls, "pigs in blankets," Turkish Delight and a cranberry lemon gingerbread trifle.

The party was supposed to start around 4 pm (tea time,) and I figured that most people would call it quits around 8 pm. Little did I realize that people were really going to enjoy themselves...until 10:30 pm! I ended up running out of both the sidecars and the food. EP went down the street to get more brandy for the sidecars (we went through two bottles of brandy and triple sec; I am frightened to think about how many drinks that is,) and I called up the street to get some pizzas.

I was so pleased that everyone was having a good time and getting along with each other especially since it was a mix of college friends, book club members and work colleagues. So I worry when I am the common factor between these people, and I have to be hostess so I didn't get a lot of time to socialize. I think that it makes a difference if you play games in teams at parties where not everyone knows each other very well; it creates a bonding experience. We ended up playing both "salad bowl" where RECK loaded the bowl with the names of obscure American Presidents (I looked up Chester A. Arthur when I got into work this morning), and EP's "VH-1 'I love the 80s'" board game where people sang pop hits of the 80s without the words!!

I am sad to report that I did go into "hyper hostess mode" for a little while; fortunately, I snapped out of it shortly after it started. (I wonder if Martha Stewart ever has one of those anxiety fits.) But on the whole, I was well behaved and didn't over eat or over drink. In fact, I didn't eat very much at all, and I had no leftovers so yesterday was a Lean Cuisine day for both lunch and dinner. I suppose that it probably a good thing. I am just so happy that the party went well and that everyone had such a good time!

Of course, it wouldn't have been a crazy, psuedo-British Christmas party without the Christmas crackers!!! I am STILL finding confetti from the crackers in the corners of my apartment, despite the fact that I have vacuumed twice!! (They were really nice crackers that I got at the Christmas Tree Shop, eight per box for $7.00.)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

It's Gonna be a Happy New Year

1. So Christmas wasn't a complete bust, but it certainly wasn't one of the delightful Christmases of my childhood. I suppose that is to be expected as one grows up, and the magic of Christmas turns into the consumerism of adulthood, but it still is rather disappointing.

2. I had to try on bridesmaid dresses the day after Christmas. OOF!T here were no mirrors in the dressing rooms, only in the middle of the dress shop. The dresses were all ridiculously small, even though they said they were size 10 (I think that they might have been a size 10 for MODELS.) Talk about a lesson in humility. The lessons I have learned from all this bridal stuff is my wedding is going to be so utterly simple, and the bridesmaids can wear trousers. Hell, I might even wear trousers.

3. New Year's Eve was very fun. I hadn't planned on doing anything, but my friend JR invited me over her house for a small gathering with Chinese food and board games. We played two: Apples to Apples and Seven Deadly Sins (I did very well at "anger"...surprise surprise,) both of which are loads of fun. We watched the ball drop, drank champagne and then turned on the James Bond marathon on Encore. As far as I am concerned, nothing says "holiday" like a good old fashioned James Bond marathon. The next day, I went over Sauce's house with my interior decorator cap on, hung some pictures on the wall and read back issues of Vanity Fair while watching Bridget Jones' Diary...

4. ...I realized that this year is my Bridget Jones' year, meaning I was thirty-two at the start of the year and will be turning thirty-three during the course of the year. I hope that I meet my Mark Darcy this year.

5. In an attempt to have a "healthier, better able to fit into a bridesmaid dress, become the future wife of Mark Darcy" year, I started going back to the gym and have now been there for the past four of six days. My energy levels are greatly improved and my stress levels are down, with the exception of my teeth. Yup. Still grinding. (Even had TMJ on Christmas Eve...) The gym is such a wonderful place for people watching. I just hope that no one is watching ME when I am working out (mostly because I look like a complete maniac on the treadmill, charging along to my iPod.)

6. I am totally hooked on this Orbit citrus mint gum which I have been using before meetings for a quick freshen up. So tasty and really does leave you with that "just brushed feeling." Look! Truth in marketing, who knew??

7. I received a box from in the mail this morning with a whole bunch of stuff I didn't receive for Christmas that I asked for and still wanted, namely the "Bleak House" and "Brideshead Revisted" miniseries. I am SO ready for the first snowstorm of the year where I can hunker down and immerse myself in the world of Jarndyce and Jarndyce and the lives and loves of the Marchmains. I had placed my order right after Christmas and had it sent through Super Saver Shipping, so I kind of had forgotten exactly what I ordered which made opening the box very exciting. Presents!! For me! From me!! How delightful.


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