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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