Wednesday, February 22, 2017

If you like Coldplay, you may want to skip this post.

Two pieces of background information: 1. We can listen to music at work on headphones. 2. Today I was having the kind of workday that an English friend of mine would refer to as "pants".

So today, as I was walking back to my office from a meeting about a frustrating subject, one of my colleagues was listening to music on an iPod shuffle (so you can't see the artist/song info) and stopped me to ask, "Is this Coldplay?"

My response (before I could even think about how rude I was being) was "I hope not" as I really don't like Coldplay's music. Still, she offered the headphones so I could listen and make an evaluation.

As I slipped on the earbuds, I was chanting in my head "Please be Radiohead. Please be Radiohead. Please be Radiohead", which would be an honest mistake for the untrained ear.

As soon as she hit play, the unmistakable notes of "Yellow" came on, and I tore the ear buds from my ears before I had to hear more of Chris Martin than I could take on this frustrating day.

I looked at her and responded, "It's Coldplay" in my best dour Alan Rickman impression and walked on.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Winter is Here*

Yesterday, it was sunny and warm (over 50F). Today was cold, windy, and snowy, and when the snow finally tapered off, I was outside shoveling and snow plowing for a good hour and a half. (My next door neighbor MJ thinks that we got over a foot, but I didn't measure. I was too busy digging the ends of both our driveways out from the plow. She only has a shovel; I have a snowblower. That's what good neighbors do, and we are good neighbors.)

Anyhow, it is good kind of day to think about better and warmer weather days, and I was thinking about the day in October when I was invited to join Sister K and her husband as they went boating up the Connecticut River. We moored in Essex where we had a delicious lunch at the historic Griswold Inn, and everything was just so charming and Connecticut-y. It was a perfect day, and I got some pretty nice snaps.

 Saybrook Breakwater Light Old Saybrook, CT


Train bridge


Essex, CT from the river

I am not so keen on summer, but I'll take a sunny fall day anytime.

* Stark family words, A Song of Ice & Fire aka Game of Thrones

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Seven Things Making Me Smile

I'm baaaaaack!! It's been too long since I last posted something in the blog. I was supposed to make an effort in 2015, but best intentions, blah blah blah, didn't happen. So in honor of returning to blogging, I figured I would change up my layout (and change to https making this site more secure) and revisit an old subject as I ease my way back into blogging - that subject being Seven Things Making Me Smile.

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1. I am addicted to the home improvement show "This Old House" (and "Ask This Old House") on PBS. I bet you thought I was going to say "Fixer Upper", which I also watch faithfully.(How can you not love Chip & Joanna?) "Fixer Upper" is great for design ideas and Chip totally cracks me up, but I love "This Old House" because they explain to you how a house works. Heating, electrical, insulation - all of these have been issues at my house and having watched both of the TOH shows, I can actually have a conversation with a heating guy or contractor without looking (and being) utterly clueless. [Also, host Kevin O'Connor is a fellow Holy Cross alum. (Go Cross, Go!!)]
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2.  The Republic of Tea teas. My friend S-J first got me into this brand of tea when she introduced me to Downton Abbey® Mrs. Patmore's Pudding Tea, a delicious combination of vanilla, caramel, and tea!! Now I am all about Raspberry Rose Hibiscus tea (you can smell and actually taste the raspberries) and Good Hope Vanilla Red (Rooibos) tea. They are perfect in the evenings instead of dessert, which I appreciate. (I always want something sweet after a meal. It is a horrible habit that I really should get out of, but when there is a yummy dessert tea, you don't need to!) This website has ANY kind of tea you could possibly want. Plus, the company is socially responsible and uses sustainable packaging.

3. The revamped A Prairie Home Companion. This program has been a Sunday afternoon staple for me for years, and I was really concerned about the changes that would happen after Garrison Keillor retired this summer. Would there still be funny serials and great music and advertisements from Powermilk Biscuits and the Ketchup Advisory Council? Not to fear, new host Chris Thile (with his mandolin) is doing a really great job! In addition to bringing on even MORE great musicians (the magnificent Aoife O'Donovan has become a series regular) and, as he is not a storyteller, showcasing writers and comedians in place of the "Tales from Lake Wobegone" segment, he now has an original song of the week! Thoroughly enjoyable. (And they still have ads from Powermilk Biscuits and the Ketchup Advisory Council.)
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4.  Back to tv: I love Lucy Worsley's "Secrets of the Six Wives" (of Henry VIII), currently airing on PBS. Spoiler: Jane Seymour dies. (Sorry about that, Mahk.) I actually think this program is better than "Victoria" (sorry, Rufus Sewell). It's definitely more historically accurate. I have always loved Katherine of Aragon - she had such amazing integrity and gumption, but I keep coming back to this whole thing about Anne Boleyn: horrible or misunderstood? Lucy Worsley makes history real and fun and the fact that she actually gets to film in the real royal palaces, unlike "Victoria" (whatever location they used to pass as Windsor Castle was just embarrassing), makes it even better!!,204,203,200_.jpg
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5. I am currently reading the original 1818 edition of Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and it is not what I expected. (I am halfway through the book.) It's not terribly Gothic. It's somewhat shocking, but not really scary. It is very descriptive, and as a person who doesn't read every word, I am surprised to find myself so engaged that I am reading every word. After I finish this edition, I am going to read the 1831 edition, which is the more popular edition of the book. [When Mary revised the book for this republication, she made it more conservative. A lot had happened to her personally in the interval so isn't surprising that her morals and philosophy would have changed, but it lead her to change not only some details (love interest Elizabeth is no longer an first adopted cousin, but an adopted family friend), but the tone of the text changed so that Victor is no longer a man with free will and a moral responsibility to his creation, but a man who is a pawn of fate and nature.] It will be interesting to see what I think when I finish both editions. One thing: no one says, "It's ALIVE!", which is a little disappointing. ::smirk::
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6.  I simply love America's Test Kitchen. I love the website, the cookbooks, and the tv show. I love the recipes, the taste tests, and the equipment reviews to the point that I always check the website before buying a new pan or trying a new cooking ingredient. (Because if ATK takes the time to test all this stuff out, I am going to benefit from their trial and errors!) It is really too bad that Christopher Kimble parted ways with the organization (especially under such unpleasant circumstances), but I am glad that Bridget and Julia are still around. I just got the Complete Cooking for Two cookbook, and I have already marked it up with recipes to make for dinner after work.

7.  Green Mountain K-Cups are now recyclable!! This means I can drink all the coffee I want at home without feeling guilty about contributing to landfill waste. Which is good because I can't handle that kind of guilt at 7am.

Please note: these are all my own opinions; I have not been compensated in any way for recommending any products, etc. etc. 


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