Thursday, December 28, 2006

Starlight at the Funeral

It's tough, you know? Between the busy holiday season & the normal business of my job, I've found it so difficult to focus on good writing lately. For example, I know my blogging hasn't been stellar of late, despite lots going on. I've been longing to sit down, focus, and craft a really good post, as I know I can.

So, because the quality writing is apparently hiding somewhere in my head, here are some of my thoughts at the moment - in boring bullet form:
  • Nick & I are heading to Manhattan on Saturday morning! We're staying with my best friend at her apartment in the city for the weekend. We're also attending a New Year's Eve party at the apartment of one of my friends from study abroad. She's tons of fun & I haven't seen her since she came to visit me in Boston in '05, so I'm really looking forward to it. I promise pictures next week.
  • You know when you have a song running through your head but you don't mind because you really like it but you feel like it's really getting a bit much and maybe you should chill with listening to/singing it? Yeah. Right now, "Starlight" by Muse and "The Funeral" by Band of Horses are sharing that pole position. Why, yes, that quirky fact was the inspiration for my title, thank you for noticing!
  • I heart Sam Adams Cream Stout. Not usually a stout kinda girl - but I'm liking it. Between the holiday samplers Nick & I have been . . well, sampling and the impending trip to Scotland, I'm looking forward to a good beer winter. :)
  • This one's just for fun. I was watching an episode of 30 Rock tonight & here's an exchange I particularly enjoyed:
    • Tina Fay's character: "Why did you think I was a lesbian?"
    • Alec Baldwin's character: "Your shoes."
    • Tina: "But I'm straight!"
    • Alec: "Those shoes are definitely bi-curious."
COMIC GOLD, people. Tom, I take back my comment about Alec Baldwin not being that funny. ;)

That's all for now, kiddies. Catch you on the flip side of my trip to NYC, also known as next week/year! (As an aside, couldn't you just kill those people who leave places before New Year's Eve & cheerily shout, "See you next year!" Grrrrrr . . . . )

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Baby's First Christmas

Here are the promised pics from Thing 1's first Christmas:

Loads of presents under the tree

I'm not sure about this singing reindeer, people . . .

Wait - now I am and I want to grab it!

"My First Nikes"

His auntie & mommy with their gift cards to Fire & Ice

His new trike (from auntie Stacey)

This picture is just here b/c I think it's hilarious. I look way too excited about my gift & my sister looks distinctly underwhelmed by hers. ;)

Here are the rest of the pictures. Enjoy & a belated Merry Christmas to you all!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Overload

Busy with holiday things, blah, blah, yakkity schmakkity. I know it's no excuse for not posting since last Wednesday. I promise photos of Baby W's first Christmas tomorrow. I leave you with this endearing photo of me that might show just how overloaded (or "loaded", whichever you prefer) I was. ;)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thank You, Radio Flyer!

Because of your clearly worded & diagrammed directions, this very un-handy blogger was able to assemble her nephew's tricycle in just 45 minutes! Check out the before:

And the after!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

3-Party Weekend

Three parties in just one weekend - how busy and important am I? :) I kid, I kid. Here's how it all went down:
  • Friday night - raced home after work to change into dressy clothes, zipped to Southie to pick Nick up, and headed south to a friend's Christmas party in Quincy. This is the friend whose wedding I was in back in October. It was nice to see her & her husband's apartment decorated for Christmas. However, I overestimated on the outfit. Nick & I were the only ones not in jeans. I think I lost a few points on that one. ;)
  • Saturday (day) - After a stroll to Joseph's in the morning, Nick & I took the T (free ride inbound from Broadway! Not sure why - but hell yeah!). We wandered around Beacon Hill and the Common, enjoying the Christmas lights & decorations. He took some pics - check them out.
  • Saturday night - We had dinner at the Liberty Bell in Southie, then stopped by the liquor store for Sam Adams Winter Lager & Cherry Wheat Ale. After a quick change, we walked around the corner to his friend's party. I know his close friends, but I also ended up meeting ten or so of his not-as-close college friends. They seemed like a fun group & we played a rousing game of 3-man. Yours truly ended up wearing a beer box helmet for awhile there. Good thing I don't embarrass easily.
  • Sunday - Another morning walk to Joseph's & an afternoon spent watching football. :) I headed home in the evening to round out the weekend with a third & final party. I've been frequenting the People's Republik in Cambridge for about six years now & their annual Christmas party was on Sunday night. Had a great time - drank a few pints (Harpoon Winter Warmer & Dogfish Head Punkin), chatted with old friends, and still made it home by midnight! A few of the guys from the bar (regulars or bartenders) introduced me to their girlfriends as, "old school People's." Ian's girlfriend's reaction was the best: "But you're not that old!"

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Scotland, Here I Come (Part Deux)

In May, I wrote about a potential trip back to Scotland for my friends' wedding. However, due to lack of vacation time & money, it didn't pan out. But never fear, gentle readers! There's a new plan in the works. :)

Nick & I are planning a trip to my dear auld country in March! I've informed my friends in Scotland & Wales. Iain & Sarah have generously offered to put us up for the nights that we'll spend in Edinburgh. I've planned out a rough itinerary, including a night in Inverness and another on the Isle of Skye.

All that's left to do is buy the airline tix, request the vacation time, and book the hostel rooms. Scotland, here I come! (for real this time) :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Being a Grown-Up

Or, "Really? Am I really sending out sixty-one holiday cards?" ;)

Things I did today that made me feel entirely grown-up:

  1. Sent a million emails to friends and family about addresses for Christmas cards. I think I said, "Please give my love to your family and have a very Merry Christmas" about sixty times!
  2. Signed 135 holiday cards for the people who work for my company.
  3. Emailed three of my undergraduate professors, thanking them for writing recommendations for me & promising to let them know "when I hear something." (Scary!)
  4. Bought three Dr. Seuss books - two for the nephew & one for my boss' holiday party, where he & his wife are collecting children's books for "Reach Out & Read". I can't attend the party, but it's such a good cause - I felt I had to contribute anyway.
Things I did that made me feel just like a kid again:
  1. Snuck into my co-worker's office every five minutes to "accidentally" steal chocolates from his candy bowl.
  2. Giggled with joy at a road chock-full of Christmas-lit houses on the way to my student's house.
  3. Bought three Dr. Seuss books. :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

When the Boys Just "Get It"

Sometimes, God bless them, the boys just get it. :) On Sunday, I rushed home from NH to meet Nick & go pick out my Christmas tree. I whirled into town a few minutes after the Pats game ended and called him at his friend's house. "OK, honey, I'm here. Let's go get the tree!" He said, "I'm gonna spend a little more time with E. and the kids, ok? I'll pick you up at 5:30." Disappointed, I said, "OK, but I have to tutor at 7:30, so we'll only have a couple of hours." He agreed to come get me at 5 instead.

Cut to 5:00 pm. As he's pulling up out front, I call the first-choice tree place to make sure they're still open. Gloom & doom - they've just closed. I quickly check the closing time on the second-choice place & run down the stairs. I get into his truck with a sad look & explain what happened. I mention that I rushed home from NH to get the tree with him & now we can't go to the first-choice place. His response: "Oh, honey, I'm sorry. I didn't know you were rushing. What are you doing next Sunday?" I reply, "Nothing - and it's actually our 3-month anniversary." He says, "Whatever Christmas-y thing you want to do, we'll do it. You're going to have Christmas coming out your ears!"

I love it when he knows just what I need. :)

(Flickr nod to
sushiesque for the photo of Christmas lights on the Common.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Getting To Know You - Holiday Edition

Courtesy of Jen at Jenny Sais Quoi . . .
  1. Eggnog or hot chocolate? Definitely hot chocolate, with a little bit of peppermint . . .
  2. Does Santa wrap presents or just place them under the tree? In my experience, Santa wraps presents carefully and even writes out the tags! ;)
  3. Colored or white lights on tree and/or house? Grew up with colored on tree, white on house. We recently discovered that all of us would have preferred white on both!
  4. Do you hang mistletoe? Yup - above the door right now. Snuck a kiss from Nick the other night!
  5. When do you put up decorations? I start the day after Thanksgiving.
  6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Tie between stuffing and mashed potatoes.
  7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? How do you pick just one? Driving around Boston with my family to see the Christmas lights (bolstered by hot cocoa from DD's), attending my church's candlelit Christmas Eve services, watching "The Grinch" and "Rudolf" on TV, lying on the family room floor & staring up at the tree, reading "The Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve with my father & sister . . .
  8. How and when did you learn the truth about Santa? Wait - what "truth"? Did I miss something???
  9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope, wasn't a tradition in our family.
  10. How do you decorate your tree? When I moved out on my own, my mother gave me all of "my" ornaments - ones that my parents had given me, ones that I had picked out, or ones that I had just loved. I love seeing them on my own little tree (above).
  11. Snow - love it or dread it? Love it at first, sick of it by March.
  12. Can you ice skate? Yes, but haven't done so in a very long time. Nick & I might attempt it next weekend on the frog pond - wish us luck!
  13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Not sure - might be my digital camera. Thanks, Mum & Dad!
  14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Spending time with family and celebrating the wonder of Jesus' birth.
  15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Not much of a pie person, so I'd say candy canes and the like.
  16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? See #7. However, I'm also looking forward to creating new holiday traditions eventually with a husband & children.
  17. What tops your tree? A little red-haired angel. My parents used to alternate her and a blonde one (for my sister). Now that she's with me, though, she gets pride of place every year!
  18. Which do you prefer - giving or receiving? Probably giving. I can see that even more so in the future, now that I have an adorable nephew to spoil!
  19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Too hard to pick just one, but the top contenders would be: Baby It's Cold Outside, All I Want for Christmas is You, Silver Bells, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Good King Wenceslas, I'll Be Home for Christmas, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
  20. Favorite Christmas movie? Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sooo Sleepy . . .

This is going to be a short & sweet post. My warm, snuggly bed is siren-calling me.

It's been a hectic couple of days since I last posted. My office holiday party (Not Your Average Joe's, two pints of Sam Adams, Secret Santas) was Wednesday night.

Thursday was a busy rush of buying holiday decorations for the open house I hosted at work tonight, lunching with my co-workers from the DC office, and baking cupcakes at Nick's apartment for afore-mentioned open house.

Today was a dizzying haze of prepping for the open house & then soldiering through four hours of small talk. The event was a rousing success and I have yummy leftovers, but I am so tired. And I didn't get to see Nick tonight, which made me sad. :(

I have to be back at the office at 8:30 am for a weekend training. Then, it's into the car for a 90-minute drive to NH to celebrate my sister & grandmother's birthdays. I'm tired again already.

Sunday - I have to sort through an entire shed's worth of my things at my parents' house, drive back down to MA, and tutor a student in the evening. The one bright spot is buying my Christmas tree on Sunday afternoon with Nick. :)

I hope you all have slower, more relaxing weekends planned. ;)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

1-Year Blogiversary!

I was sitting around at work earlier today, with nothing to do since our server was down. I started thinking, "Hey, I think I've been blogging for about a year now." So, I checked the date of the first entry on my old blog. Lo & behold, today is exactly one year since I began this adventure called blogging!

I've come a long way, baby. I posted on the old blog, a Friendster offshoot, from December 6, 2005 to March 27, 2006. I wrote 29 posts and received 1 (count it - 1) comment.

At the end of March, I was getting a little more serious about this blogging thing, so I switched to a Blogger account. Very little traffic the first few months. In June, I started tracking visits through Site Meter. In the whole month of July, I got 150 hits. In the month of November - nearly 950.

Now, I average 35 hits per day and around 240 per week. I realize this is teensy-tiny compared to many bloggers I know, but I'm kinda proud, so back off! ;)

Many nice things have happened as a result of blogging - meeting all of the great bloggers at Blogtoberfest, keeping peripheral friends updated on my life, building a (very small) readership in Edinburgh, getting picked up on Universal Hub once or twice. But most of all, it's been really satisfying to have a creative outlet.

Nathan from Tell Him Fred & Erin from Pink & Green Girl both posted last week about blogging as a life choice. What would cause you to stop blogging?, they asked. My response: "
My first instinct was to say I would stop blogging if something huge happened in my life, like a big career change, getting married, having a baby, etc. But then, I reconsidered. I’ve loved how the blog has been an ongoing chronicle of my life this past year. Why wouldn’t I want to continue that chronicle for other important events?"

Here's to continuing this chronicle, this account of my journey through life (i.e. hodoeporicon)!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Weekend Update

Pretty busy weekend! After getting caught in the rainstorm on Friday night, I slept in on Saturday morning. 12:30 pm, kittens! Can you believe it?

My friend L. was going through some shit with her boyfriend, so she camped out at my apartment from Saturday afternoon until Sunday around noon. In an effort to distract her from her relationship drama, I searched high & low for a board game or playing cards or something. All I found was a set of mini Uno cards that I got for my birthday as a joke gift from my family. And yes, we used them! Can you picture two twenty-somethings sitting on the couch, playing Uno with teeny little cards? Yeah, it was pretty much that funny. :)

Spent a few hours on Sunday afternoon with Nick in Southie, watching the Pats & cuddling. December is going to be a crazy month for both of us, so we're carving out any time we can. I headed over to my sister's house in Hometown in the late afternoon. Sunday was her birthday, so I presented her with a bouquet of mango-colored roses from the whole family & baby-sat Thing 1 while she & her hubby went out to dinner at P.F. Chang's. L. joined us for awhile & helped me keep the munchkin (and the dog) in order.

Around 9 pm, I drove home, sat down at the computer, and proceeded to spend all of this month's food money on Christmas gifts & cards. But my nephew just has to get a tricycle, right??? I know - I lack will power, people. ;)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Day #. . . Wait, Who Cares?!?

Hey kids. Hope you all had a nice day-off-from-blogging yesterday. I hadn't intended to return so quickly, but Nick & I had a funny adventure last night that I thought I'd share.

After a long work week, he came over to my place around 6:30pm. We ate dinner, then sat on the couch trying to decide whether to watch the remainder of the first Harry Potter film or go for a walk. Since it was so nice & warm & windy, I argued for the walk. Thus, the sneakers went on & off we went.

We wandered leisurely towards Hometown Center, to which I live very close. We looked at the Christmas lights in the center & I pointed out the various establishments at which I'd worked in high school. We ended up at a bookstore downtown, where I decided that Baby W is definitely getting a couple of Dr. Seuss books for Christmas!

While in the bookstore, the heavens let loose. We looked up & saw what I imagine Noah & his wife would have seen - torrential downpour outside the window. As the store was closing shortly, we had to leave - but where could we go? We ended up in the small hallway of the building (where I'd smoked cigarettes with friends in high school) & pondered our options.

Being short of money, we decided against waiting it out with a beer at a nearby restaurant. That was the first mistake. ;) Since it was still quite warm, we figured we'd just get wet & walk home. That, of course, was the second mistake.

Off we went into the downpour. Within seconds, we were thoroughly soaked & walking through deep puddles. We kept up a walking pace for quite awhile, making jokes ("Just taking a romantic walk in the rain. What are you looking at, sir?"). Deciding to take a shortcut across a lawn, we realized we were now wading through a sea of mud. That's when we started to run.

At one point, the rain was so heavy, I ran underneath a pine tree to get some cover. Nick joined me & yelled, laughing, "This isn't any better!" Off we went again. We ran home to my apartment & snuck upstairs (I live in an old mansion and leaving puddles in the front hallway is not something my landlords would enjoy). Since the walk was initially my idea, I don't think I'll ever live it down. But as Nick said, "Always an adventure with you, kiddo!"

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Day # 30 - And, Scene!

Last day of NaBloPoMo, people! I know I'm not the only one who's relieved. ;) I'm glad I participated in this, because it made me pay more attention to what I put up on the blog in a given month. Plus, there's always a chance I could win one of the fabulous prizes.

this experience has taught me that I really do love blogging, but on my own terms. I definitely feel better about blogging when I am free to do it when the mood strikes - and to not do it when the mood ain't there.

Either way, though, thanks to Fussy for inspiring us all to give it the old college try!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Day #29 - Inner Smiles

Here are a few things that made me smile today:

  1. Buying fruit at lunch - a lovely Anjou pear & a Gala apple.
  2. Helping design the holiday card we send to our tutors. There were definitely giggles & squeals of joy emitting from two twenty-something women when we finished. Of course, we're Christmas-aholics, so this shouldn't be a surprise.
  3. Hearing Nick's voice on his cell phone voicemail.
  4. Coming home to find the holiday L.L. Bean catalog waiting for me on the hall table.
  5. Discovering that I can see the huge Christmas tree on Hometown Green from one of my windows.
  6. Finally having an evening to put up my Christmas decorations. See the above photo - even my bathroom gets festive lights!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Day #27 - Exorcising the Ghost

I need a young priest & an old priest. I have to perform an exorcism & I don't know how. They don't teach that to us Protestants, you know. ;)

This post is going to be difficult to write. It's not that I don't know what to write - it's that I'm afraid of what will come out. In the most basic terms, I need to exorcise the ghost of my ex-boyfriend from my life. Tomorrow is the exact date on which he broke up with me last year. Twelve months later, I feel 99.9% better, but still not completely free.

But how do I do get there, how do I extract the man from my life? I've spent the last year trying to release myself. I erased old emails, deleted old photographs, cut up his love letters & gleefully threw them in the trash. I emailed him a few days before his wedding (he got engaged to his ex-girlfriend five months after we broke up & they got married six weeks ago) and asked him not to contact me ever again.

Yet he's still there. A shadowy ghost - haunting the back of my brain, making me second-guess myself, spurring comparisons to Nick. And I want to be very clear on this - Nick trounces him in every area, every time. In two months, Nick has made me happier than I think AR
ever could have made me.

I feel that I need to exorcise AR's ghost to move forward with Nick. It's a tough thing to do, though. AR was the first man I dated for longer than three months, the first man to whom I said "I love you", the first man with whom I discussed marriage, the first man to live with me. How far do I have to go to erase that? Do I have to sell the Christmas & birthday presents his parents gave me? Do I have to give away the slippers his grandmother knitted for me? Do I have to throw away the pencil sketch of one of my favorite scenes that he drew for me?

I wish it was simpler. I wish I had never said those words to him. I wish he had just moved to New York & we had forgotten each other. I wish this post made a little more sense. ;) In the end, he didn't deserve to be with me forever & I'm so thankful that he realized that, even before I did. But how, how, how do I make his ghost go away?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Day #26 - Just 29 Days Until Christmas!

When I was a kid, Halloween was my favorite holiday. I drew untold numbers of little pumpkins & jack-o-lanterns from kindergarten on. There were a number of reasons why Halloween was a shoo-in for my favorite:
  1. My birthday was in October (still is, for that matter).
  2. You got to dress up (I was a witch for like five straight years).
  3. There was candy involved!
However, I always loved the Christmas traditions as well. I loved those nights in December when it got dark early, which meant we could turn on the lights on the tree sooner. I would lie on the floor under the tree in our family room. My mother would be making dinner in the kitchen & the dog would usually be lying next to me. I would stare up at the twinkly lights & familiar ornaments. Even at a young age, I was enthralled.

I believe that Thanksgiving always gets short shrift, so I've avoided getting excited about Christmas until now. But, now, baby - it's on! I've taken my Christmas decorations down from their perch in the closet & tomorrow night will be dedicated to putting them up. I've started eying local Christmas tree places & planning what night I'll pick one up. I've yielded to listening to the local radio station that has played Christmas carols since Halloween. :) Time to be a kid again, everyone!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Day #25 - Other People's Shoes

You know how they say to never judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes? Well, today, I have new respect for the single parents of the world. Auntie Stacey was in charge of ferrying a number of small, helpless creatures home to MA today - and boy, there's a lot involved in that! Here's a snapshot of the occupants of the car:
1.) Nickleby the betta fish

2.) Thing 1

3.) Kobe the dog

Plus, let's not forget the various accessories that accompany these critters, like bottles, fishbowls, and leashes. Outside of a 20-minute stop at the Concord, NH rest area for a feeding, things went reasonably well. Auntie Stacey drove slowly & carefully, Thing 1 blew raspberries at the dog (who tried to ignore him), and Nickleby the fish . . . did whatever it is that fish do.
Here's to a successful road trip with a baby, a dog, and a fish! :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Day #24 - Good Times, Man

High. School. Reunion. Three words that strike fear in the hearts of otherwise sane & self-possessed people. I've got them on the brain today, since tonight is the big night for reunions. Nick will be at his 10th, my sister & bro-in-law will be at her 10th, and I spent this night last year at my 5th.

What is it about these events that make people so crazy? I mean, I completely understand wanting to look good to people you probably disliked 5, 10, or 20 years ago. I'm not being sarcastic, either. You know I went out & bought new high-heeled boots & a new blazer for my reunion. I spent hours in the bathroom perfecting hair, makeup, and jewelry.

However, some of my friends freaked out about the whole thing. That, I don't understand. As long as you're slightly more attractive now than in high school & have a reasonably un-embarassing job, you should be fine! That's my superficial & trite advice, kids. If you have a reunion tonight, get drunk & have a great time. I'm off for my wild night - babysitting my nephew & hanging out with my parents. ;)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Day #23 - Tryptophan Haze

Today was Baby W's first Thanksgiving. He tried a little bit of everything & discovered what he did & did not like. Cranberry sauce was a big hit - turnips were a big bust. Here are the other things W did and did not like:

Like: Blowing raspberries

Like: His puppy Kobe
Another like? Splashing like a mad man in the bathtub.

Dislike: Turkey

Meanwhile, his auntie likes her turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, gravy, and Red Hook Winter Lager! :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Day #22 - Gearing Up for Turkey Day

Hello, blog buddies. T-minus 22 hours until the feast! I got out of work at 3 pm today, which was awesome. :) Still, it's a busy day. I'm sneaking this post in between packing for NH & coffee with my friend E. (from this wedding and this bridesmaid faux pas). Then, it's dinner with the best friend who is home from law school in NYC, sleeping at Nick's, and an early morning trip to my parents' in NH. Whew!

I will post again tomorrow night after stuffing my face with turkey, but I just wanted to put up this picture of the wild turkey that used to wander around near my office. I also wanted to wish you & yours a very happy Thanksgiving! Here's hoping being home with our crazy families will give us all lots to post about. ;)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Day #21 - Beauty When You Least Expect It

The scene - my office. The time - 5:05 pm (almost quitting time). I'm sitting at my desk, bored & listless. I get up to wander around a bit, and whoa! I'm hit with a beautiful sunset above the trees near my office. I snapped a photo on my phone for you all to enjoy. :)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Day #20 - Travels Around the Blogosphere

Evening, kiddos. Hope you all had a nice Monday. Woo - but it was cold outside, huh? Guess we're in for it now.

Sometimes, in my journey around the blogosphere, I find blogs that I like. Sometimes, I find blogs that I like-like. You know, the way you liked the boy in your algebra class in 7th grade. Little flutters in your stomach when he walked into class, sneaky side glances during the boring drone of a + b = c, always wanting to find out more about him. You know.

Here are two blogs with which I've recently fallen into Like. They're written by two funny, interesting women across the pond - one in Edinburgh and one in London. I enjoy their writing & I enjoy the connection to these great cities. Check them out & let me know what you think!

Oh, and if you want to browse blogs & find some new reads, you can always check out the NaBloPoMo randomizer.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Day #19 - "Those Crabs are Huge!"

Don't worry, no one here has an STD. ;) Just raging hangovers & blurry memories of giant crabs in a tank in a Chinatown restaurant. I went out drinking with Nick & his buddies last night. I should have posted, like these ladies, to nail down the elusive drunk post. However, the beer, liquor & bad Chinese food made me forget. Here's a recap of last night's highlights (or low-lights, I suppose).
  • Went through two cases of Heineken & watched a bit of Blue Velvet. That is one messed up movie, kids.
  • Hit the Beer Garden in Southie & had a relationship conversation ("we should be smart & take this slowly") with the boyfriend in between beers & shots of Jager.
  • Moved to Murphy's Law & played a rousing game of "whack your friend's beer bottle with your own & make it foam up." I lost, miserably. Our table ended up covered in beer. We used copies of the Improper Bostonian to soak it up.
  • Nick's bright idea when we walked out of Murphy's Law? Chinatown! Where we ate really bad food, got freaked out by above-mentioned giant crabs, and decided to head home when his friends headed for the strip club. Good idea, Nick. ;)
On the way home, we stopped by Murphy's Law again to pick up my vest. I had forgotten it there & not even noticed until we left the Chinese place. For some reason, there was a line to get in, so Nick had to persuade the bouncer (and the people in line) to let him in to get the vest. I don't think they really believed him until I came over & stood next to the door, shivering intentionally & hugging the take-out bag of Chinese food.

It was a crazy night, kids. ;)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Day #18 - Are you Ready for Some Football?

(Football photo courtesy of Southwestern Oklahoma State University)
Hey kids. Do you know what today is? Apparently, it's a big time football day! Don't worry if you didn't know that, though. Until recently, I didn't know, either.

Turns out there are two "The Games" today: Harvard/Yale and Ohio State/Michigan. I don't know how one could determine which was more important. Perhaps connection to the college in question? I mean, I've always been peripherally aware of the Harvard/Yale game. I grew in a suburb of Boston, after all. Around here, Harvard is practically banal.

However, I was not aware of the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry until I started dating Nick. Nick, by the way, is a huge football fan. If the man is at home on a Saturday around 10:00 am and doesn't turn on College Gameday, I get concerned.

It's a good thing I was raised in a household where it was ok to be a massive sports fan. And went to college with a bunch of boys who were big video game players. All of these experiences have honed my skills, actually. I know that you don't talk too much during football/baseball/basketball games, whether real or on the video game screen. I know that any expectation of a normal, back-and-forth conversation is unreasonable when a big game is on. And I know the big one - DO NOT WALK IN FRONT OF THE TV. If you must cross in front of the TV screen, you must either jump or wait for a judicious moment to run.

All of this makes it sound like Nick is a bad, football-crazed boyfriend. Please don't think that. Remember last weekend, when he took me for a walk on the beach while football was being played? Remember our first date, when he decided to forgo a whole day's worth of football to spend time with me?

Besides, my father took my mother home early on their first date so he could catch the Red Sox game (the VCR hadn't been invented yet), so I don't freak out about this stuff as much as some girly-girls might. Plus, it's a nice change from the artsy-fartsy ex who just looked uncomfortable if there were professional sports on the TV.

Now, I'm off to shower & shop for my mother's birthday gifts. After that, it's out to South Boston to meet Nick & his friends. They're at the BC/Maryland game now, then we're meeting up to watch the Ohio State/Michigan game. Because I studied abroad with two boys from Ohio, I think I have to say it - Go Buckeyes!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Day #17 - Home on a Friday Night

Lame! I know. Well, the boyfriend is at a work party tonight & I haven't any plans. The single girl in me revolts, wonders why I need a boyfriend to make plans. I went out for many years without one!

To my credit, though, it's not for lack of desire. If my best friend didn't live in NYC, if my other best friend didn't spend her weekends exclusively with her boyfriend, I'd be better off. I certainly tried tonight. I emailed most of my friends in Boston to see what they were doing. I got one offer, for a party in Brookline. I thought about it, but once I got home from work, the allure of my fleece pajamas & my laptop won out.

A part of me is a little sad to not see Nick tonight, since it's been exactly two months since our first date. However, I marked off every month's anniversary with the ex & he broke up with me just three days before our 6-month anniversary. So maybe it's best to only make note of the big ones! ;)

Incidentally, if Nick & I stay together that long, our 6-month anniversary will be on St. Patty's Day! As Erin points out, not a bad day to celebrate.

(Update: He called around 10:30 just to say hi. That made me smile.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Day #16 - Dipping Into the Pre-planned Posts

OK, I'm not out of material, but my friend L. is coming over tonight & I just want to write a quick post. Hence, the one joke that I have ever successfully memorized. This joke goes over well in the states, but it kills in Scotland. ;)

A man walks into a bar carrying an octopus. He sets the octopus on the bar and announces, "This here is my musical octopus. I will bet any man in this bar that my octopus can play any instrument you put in front of him. You get three chances." All of the bar patrons, drunk & skeptical, are eager to take the bet. After the bartender takes everyone's money, they rummage around & dig up a trumpet.

The octopus ponders the trumpet for a minute, then picks it up & plays a song that Louis Armstrong would have killed to have been able to play.

"OK, fine", the patrons mumble. They dig up a guitar & place it on the bar. The octopus ponders it for a minute, then picks it up & wails out a riff that makes Jimi Hendrix roll over in his grave.

"Uh-oh, we need something good," the bar patrons say. They dig around in the back & someone manages to produce a set of bagpipes. They place it on the bar & the octopus looks at it. He looks, and looks, and looks. Finally, he turns to his owner and shrugs.

After paying out hundreds of dollars to the bar patrons, the guy picks up the octopus & walks out to the street. He says to the octopus, "Why couldn't you play those bagpipes?" The octopus says*, "I was supposed to play it? Shit, if I could have got its pajamas off, I would have fucked it!"

Bud-duh-bump-ching! I'll be here all week, folks. Try the veal.

*Yeah, it's a talking octopus, too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Day #15 - Hump Day

OK, so I gots nothing. I've been roaming around the blogosphere, checking out my regular reads & a few new ones from NaBloPoMo. However, I don't have much to write about myself. So here are a few random thoughts:
  1. I emailed the professors I met with on Monday to thank them for meeting with me. The graduate director wrote back maybe three minutes later to say, "We look forward to reading your application.' Woot!
  2. My sister has been more bored than usual at work & finally decided to quit lurking. She's commented on two whole posts! Welcome to the blogosphere, big sis. :)
  3. When I spoke to my mum last night on the phone, she held the phone up to my nephew & made me talk. I could hear my family laughing in the background. Apparently, Thing 1 was so excited to hear his auntie's voice coming out of the phone that he was wiggling, smiling, and trying to kiss the phone. :)
  4. I like that new Dockers commercial - with the "Go, boy, go" song in the background.
  5. I've been enjoying NaBloPoMo so far, but I am kind of glad it's halfway over. I like posting during the week & normally post every weekday. However, I've had to hit the pause button on some weekend fun in order to post and I resent that a little bit.
  6. I. Am. So. Excited. For. Christmas!!! I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but we're getting there. Yay for white lights & Christmas cartoons & snowy nights & candlelit church services. :) Oh, and hot cocoa. Of course.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Day #14 - Menstrual Madness

(Illustration by Luis S. Parejo)
Pssst . . . Yeah, you over there, reading my blog. I think my period is making me crazy. Shhh , keep it down - it might hear you! ;)

Seriously, though, I hate the beginning of my period. Cramps that could fell a Clydesdale & emotional mood swings of tsunami proportions. For example - remember my boyfriend? That lovely man who (thus far) has been nothing but sweet to me? Well, tonight, I called him on the way home from tutoring. When he hadn't called back a mere 20 minutes later, I was concocting all kinds of disaster scenarios involving other girlfriends & berating myself for getting so attached so quickly.

Yeah, nuts. That's not even the worst part. When Nick left my apartment this morning, he dropped the cap to his cologne outside on the walkway. Being a good girlfriend, I picked it up for him & dumped it into my cup holder to give back tomorrow. However, the thing is heavily impregnated with cologne & has literally been making me woozy. As I drove along with the window cracked & a burgeoning headache, my sick twisted menstrual mind was like, "If I can't stand his scent, how can I be with him? It's clearly not meant to be. What was I thinking?!?"

Yeah. Certifiable. Someone help me please. ;)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Day # 13 - Rainy Vacation Day

Man, vacation days just aren't what they used to be. ;) Sleeping late, lounging around in pajamas, having a long lunch - none of these things factored into my day off today. Instead, I got up at 7:15 am, renewed my car registration ($127), had my car inspected ($51 and a future appt. to fix my reverse lights), and headed out in the rain for the 90 minute drive to State U. for a meeting with the graduate director of the history department.

The good news is - the meeting went really well! The department doesn't formally interview master's candidates, but I thought it would help my application to get some face-time with the history faculty. I met with the graduate director for a bit and we talked about how my research interests might gel with the interests of the faculty.

She then brought me down the hall to speak with an assistant professor of Canadian & environmental history. We had a good chat about the various fields of history in which we're mutually interested and possible topics for theses. I came away feeling like the guy would be willing to be my advisor, so I think it went well!

I then wandered around State U's campus (still in the rain), checking things out & looking for the library. I found it and it was beautiful. Sigh, I love the architecture of university libraries (except for Edinburgh University - I was always amazed that such a historic & lovely city could produce such an ugly concrete box of a university library).

All in all, I think the day went pretty well, despite the rain & the 140-something miles I drove in it. Now, I'm signing off to enjoy spicy orange chicken, beef & broccoli, and pork fried rice with the boyfriend. :) Have a nice night, kiddos!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Day #12 - Weekend in Review

So the weekend started off well with dinner out in the North End. On Saturday, we got up around 10, made coffee, and finished off the pastries from Friday night. After a few hours of watching college football, Nick tore himself away to take me for a walk down to the beach. The weather was absolutely beautiful. The picture below is of me on the beach, with my feet in the water, on November 11th!
In the evening, we headed up to Newton to see BC beat Duke at Alumni Stadium. Nick & his friends have season tickets, but it was my first BC game. Since my grandfather went to BC back in the 1940's, I actually have a legitimate link to the college, too. :)
Two of my good college friends, Tim & John, were in town, so we headed to Tim's girlfriend's place after the game. We drank there for thirty minutes or so, then headed over to Shenanigans. As you can see below, the evening quickly degenerated after the Irish car bombs. ;)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Day #11 - An Evening in the North End

Well, the evening didn't go exactly as planned, but it was lovely anyway. We had 8:00 pm reservations at Dolce Vita, but when we walked in at five minutes of, we were shooed out the door by the owner, along with many other reservation holders. Apparently, the restaurant was full to capacity & our reservations didn't mean squat.

A little nonplussed, we wandered further down the street & stopped at Tresca. Their dining room was full (
guess we should have known better than to try to eat in the North End on a beautiful November night!), but they had a high top table available in the window near the bar. We snagged it & settled in, with a great view of the street traffic.

We started with a bottle of the 2004
Fattoria le Sorgenti Chianti dei Colli Fiorentini. After enjoying three different kinds of bread with olive oil, we ordered. I chose the eight ounce grilled Black Angus tenderloin with whipped potatoes and asparagus. Nick selected the roasted rack of lamb with pecorino dumpling, bean sprouts, and carrots. They were both absolutely lovely.

After the meal, we wandered down the street to Modern Pastry Shop. The line for pastries was long, but not out the door like Mike's down the street. When we got to the head of the line, we picked out an eclair, a chocolate-coated cannoli, and a peach mousse treat. We were too full to eat them last night, but they made a great breakfast this morning! :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Day # 10 - Veteran's Day

In honor of Veteran's Day, I wanted to talk about my grandfather. My grampa was a tank commander in the U.S. Army's 752 Tank Battalion. He served in Italy from 1944-46. I try to make an effort every Veteran's Day to thank him for his service to our country during that time.

In my mind, WWII was the last time that we, as Americans, were confident in and clear about our military mission. Our soldiers knew they were fighting to keep those who couldn't fight for themselves, like Baby W (above), safe from fascism.

I'll see my grampa on Sunday, at which time I'll give him a big hug and thank him for giving almost everything for this country. In the meantime, thank you, Grampa!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Day #9 - Feelin' Fine

OK, I gots two things to talk about tonight & they both start with "D". Numero uno - I should have posted this sooner, but hooray for the Democrats!!! I've been waiting a long time for this moment & I know I'm not the only one. So thank you, America, for seeing through the current administration's smoke screen & voting for people who have a different vision of our country - one in which we all still have our civil rights.

Numero dos - The division in which I work met a certain goal for the month of October. Big deal, right? Well, when you get a $100 bonus because of it, it's a great deal! Because I'm a great girlfriend, I'm using the money to take Nick out to dinner in the North End tomorrow night. We have reservations at Dolce Vita & I have a great black dress that is dying for a night out. ;) I'll give you a restaurant review & night recap on Saturday!