Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Boots are a good thing

On cold days like the ones we have had this week, I am very pleased that I made the decision at the start of 2009 to invest in a pair of Uggs. I still think that they look rather silly, but when my toes are toasty warm in weather that feels like it is below 0 F, I don't care. It isn't a fashion statement; it is all about the warmth.

Now the new pair of green Hunter Wellies that I received for Christmas are ALL about the fashion... and the Anglophilia.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas in Connecticut

On Sunday afternoon, Sister K, our parents and I drove down to East Haddam, CT to see a performance of "Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas" at the Goodspeed Opera House. This was the second year that K & I have gone to see the show (and Sister B came last year too), but this was a first for our parents, who both said that they enjoyed it. The show is a lot of fun with a nice story (it is a retelling of O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi") and music by Paul Williams, of "Rainbow Connection" fame. I have to be honest: the nostalgia factor is a huge part of the show's appeal for me. We taped the original television show off HBO years ago and watched it every Christmas. (I find this to be true of most of my friends and contemporaries; Je Glide would quote much of the original program when we were in college.) Every time Wendel (the porcupine) shows up on stage, I laugh, even if he hasn't done anything yet ("half of fifty cents... half of fifty cents.") I really hope that the Goodspeed makes this a permanent fixture for Christmas.

As a Christmas present (even though we said no gifts this year!), Sister K generously treated us to lunch at the Gelston House following the performance, which was a lot of fun, (although not quite as much fun as last year's post performance cocktails.) Many of the other people in the dining room had come from the show too so it was busy while we were there, but the service and the food were still good.

Sunday was a day of weird weather. When we first arrived in East Haddam, it was cold and gray, and a mist was rising off the river. By intermission, the sun had come out, and it had turned into a beautiful winter afternoon. It looked really picturesque so I snapped a few shots with my little camera.

Goodspeed Opera House Swinging bridge
Gelston House Restaurant Goodspeed Opera House

Monday, December 28, 2009


This past weekend, I helped Sister K make homemade pasta with her new professional Kitchen Aid mixer that she bought herself for her birthday. Although I was tentative about it when I first starting making my batch of noodles, it ended up being easy and fun! Plus, mmmmmm, yummy homemade fettuccine!! (Christmas fettuccine reminds me of the movie The Holiday - I love both!)

Here is Sister K making her batch of noodles:

Making the fettuccine Making the fettuccine
Making the fettuccine We are a "go" for fettuccine

And now we are ready to cook!

Ready to cook

Sister K is an excellent cook. (And she has a really nice kitchen, not that I am jealous at all.) ;) She served up our noodles with some chicken broth, artichoke hearts, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese. Delicious!!! (And I helped.)

Happy Christmas

Christmas tree

I hope that everyone is enjoying this fourth day of Christmas. May you get your calling birds, unless you are like me, and then, may birds come nowhere within a twenty foot radius of your person.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yummy in my Tummy

On Friday night, my friend "Miss Post" and I went out to Trina's Starlight Lounge in Somerville after work. I had read about it (and the ladies of LUPEC) in an article that PunkRockMom sent me from And as Miss Post and I are up for trying new cocktails (and she already had been to Trina's and liked it), we ventured forth into Somerville to try it out.

While appearing rather humble from the outside, Trina's Starlight Lounge is a hip, happenin' place with cocktails and food that are super tasty. When we arrived, which was just after 6pm, there wasn't a big crowd yet so we were able to grab seats right at the bar. I was drinking a "Shaddock" (Bols genever, Aperol, Saint Germain, lemon juice) from the drinks menu while Miss Post was drinking "Dirty Shirleys".

After the second round, we ordered some food. The menu is mostly retro Southern comfort food, which is a delicious thing. We shared chili cheese fries, and Miss Post had the "dog of the day" while I had a crab cake. We also shared the most out of this world corn bread. Now I love corn bread, and this one was definitely up there in the ranks of the best corn bread. It was moist with a good crust and had kernels of corn in it and was topped with honey and came with a huge hunk of butter. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. So did my blood pressure. (Kidding, sort of.)

The night started to pick up around 7:30pm, and I was pleased to see that it was totally my kind of scene. Mostly laid back crowd, closer to 30 than 20, of people who were there to enjoy a libation without making a scene. Retro without being pretentious, which I totally appreciate. (Note to self: "Retro sans Pretention" would be a cool name for a band.)

I had a feeling that I was going to be right at home there just based on the music playing when Miss Post and I arrived. It was the first album by Nouvelle Vague, a band I wasn't familiar with, but one that I now love. They take new wave (hence the "nouvelle vague") songs from the 1980s and cover them in a bossa nova style. After hearing "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division in sultry bossa nova, it was true love.

I ended up heading home around 10pm (after a series of Diet Cokes and waters), and, despite my persistent mental block navigating Somerville, I didn't get lost going home. I was really proud of myself until PunkRockMom told me that Inman was too easy and I needed to work on Davis or Union Squares...DOH!

I do hear that the Highland Kitchen makes a pretty sweet cocktail too. Finally learning my way around Somerville will be worth it!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Over the course of the last 24 hours I have received three vaccinations:
  • H1N1
  • seasonal flu
  • tetanus/diphtheria/whooping cough (one shot for all three; that one smarted quite a bit)

  • Now if I only had some of these special plasters that my friend Ellen found over at the Urban Outfitters website. I think that I need some of those, don't you?

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    O Tannenbaum

    Senior year of college, I lived with five of my friends in an on-campus suite. Because of our room number, the group of us became known by the collective "Suite 102". And during this time of year, I am reminded of one of the best days in the history of Suite 102: the day when we smuggled a live Christmas tree into our dorm room. While this doesn't seem like a very scandalous thing in the greater scope of the world, as far as we were concerned breaking this Housing commandment ("Thou shalt not have a flammable live Christmas tree... or a halogen lamp...or a hot plate.") was one of the most daring things we had done in our four years at the Cross.

    One Saturday in early December of that year, the six of us piled into my old Buick Regal and drove out to Ashland, where Suzer's father owned a nursery. There we purchased a tree (short, but full), which we managed to stuff into the trunk of my car. It was an exciting and suspenseful ride back to Worcester as we planned how we were going to get this tree past campus police and other watchful eyes. Before driving up to the gate at Linden Lane, we dropped off part of the group to look less suspicious.

    While the others walked to the dorm to open up the basement door, I drove up to the visitor check-in and as nonchalantly as possible told the officer that my roommate and I were dropping groceries off at our dorm. (I lied about which dorm we lived in, making it seem like we lived in substance free housing, and therefore what wrong thing could we POSSIBLY be doing.) It was a tense moment for me, but we were let through the gate without incident and made our way up Linden Lane to the dorm, hoping that the back gate was open so that we could get the car right up to the basement door. (Students weren't really supposed to be driving around campus so a lot of parts of the road were blocked off.)

    Luck was on our side, and the gate was open. As we parked and opened the trunk to take out the tree, the basement door opened, and there were our suite mates to help carry the tree up to the first floor. Before we got to the door with the tree, we noticed the boys who lived in the suite across the hall (affectionately known as the "Egg and Sugar Boys" because our first day in the dorm they came over to offer to loan us eggs and sugar if we ever needed it) were watching from the windows of their corner room. When they realized what we were doing, they started cheering and applauding us, which was both hilarious and flattering.

    That night, a good number of our friends came over to help decorate the tree and eat macaroni and cheese in our room. Je Glide and Jodapus went to Kimball dining hall with Tupperware to get some milk and butter for the mac and cheese and something for dessert. I assumed cookies, but this was a big day in our Suite, and they thought we needed something a little more "memorable".

    Fifteen minutes later, they returned, not only with the milk and the butter and some rolls, but with two huge tubs of ice cream that Je Glide had liberated from the "make your own sundaes" ice cream freezer. Laughter filled the room as the the two of them recounted how a member of the football team, who had seen what they had done, unsuccessfully tried to persuade them to stop. As our group of friends ate our fill of mac and cheese and ice cream, the scent of the tree filled the room, and I was filled with the spirit of Christmas.

    We had a lot of fun that year, and that next semester had even more memorable moments, but I will never forget my first live Christmas tree - contraband in my college dorm room.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Christmastime is here...

    I am doing my annual viewing of the Christmas television specials that I grew up watching as a child. My favorites include: A Charlie Brown Christmas (my hands down favorite), Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Mr. Magoo's Christmas, Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman.

    While it is nice to watch the shows on dvd, when I can watch them in my own time and in the order that I want, there was something really magical about watching these programs on tv as a child. It was a bit of a production. I remember my brother and Sister K and I getting into our pajamas (those ones with the feet!) before the show started and sitting on our parents' bed while we waited for the end of "PM Magazine" on our CBS affiliate (where Gayle King used to do the news - yes, Oprah's Gayle King.) And then that swirly CBS logo would appear, and we'd all start bouncing up and down while the gentle sounds of the bass, the brushes on the drums and Vince Guaraldi's piano signaled the start of the show. We'd watch on the edge of our seats while Charlie Brown and Linus helped us discover the real meaning of Christmas (and Snoopy imitated barn animals...and a penguin.) It never got old. (And thirty years later, it still isn't old.)

    [Completely related, my junior year of college, the translation portion of the Latin final was to translate the beginning of the Gospel of Luke from Latin into English, ie. the Christmas story. Thanks to Linus and his King James Bible, I was the only one who got an "A" on that puppy.]

    Back to childhood television, I remember that even the commercials were fun. There were those York Peppermint Patty commercials that I loved. And the Coke commercial with everyone singing. And later, the McDonald's commercial where Ronald McDonald taught the lonely little boy how to skate. You know the ones. Well, guess what? They are on YouTube!!

    So here is to recapturing a little bit of youth:

    Happy Christmas!!

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    A room with a view

    Sometimes, really cool things happen at work. Like getting to be the first people to a hold a meeting in a new building. A new building with some fantastic views of the Boston skyline. This is one of those times when I love my adopted hometown.

    Boston skyline

    Boston skyline

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    Life is Good

    Today, I had my first Starbucks' Eggnog Latte of the 2009 holiday season. I got a vente, because I deserved it. And it was de-licious. How I love me some holiday coffee!!

    image from the fine folks at Starbucks

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Pictures from Connecticut

    A few snaps taken in Chester, CT while I was visiting my family over the Thanksgiving holiday, and we were visiting with some family friends who live in Westbrook. The restaurant in this building is called Brushmill by the Waterfall; it used to be the old Rogers & Champion Brushworks. It was a rainy and gloomy day, but I still found it beautiful.

    Covered bridge Waterfall

    Waterfall Waterfall

    Waterfall Covered bridge


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