Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Final Countdown

(You knew I was going "80s song by the band Europe" with that, didn't you?) Anyways, we're at T-minus 7 hours until my vacation begins. Since work is sucking big-time today, it's even more sweet.

Part 4 of my crazy vacation this year is a week at my family's summer home on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Here is the house:
Here is our view (cloudy day):
Here is our lighthouse & beach:
Here is a gratuitous sunset shot from the ferry landing:
Here is sunset by the lighthouse, looking over the Murray Islands:
And here is the sunset view from our porch:
You can see why I'm raring to go, right? I've spent every summer vacation on PEI since I was 9 months old. This, however, is my first summer owning a digital camera! Plus, I bought an extra memory card last week, so now I can take more than 400 pics. ;)

You know what that means. Expect lots & lots of photo posts when I return. All from a philanthropic desire for you to see the lovely sights that I got to see, of course. Have a good two weeks, everyone. Catch you on August 1st!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

And the Countdown Continues . . .

T-minus 31 hours until my vacation begins! I'm at the Cape until Friday, then I drive back to Boston. I have to drop my car off to be worked on & pick up my suitcase for parts 3 & 4 of this multi-part, crazy-ass vacation.

Part 3 is driving to Canada with my parents overnight on Friday, then being dropped off in Cape Breton. I'm attending the wedding of an old friend on Saturday. The inn in Judique where the wedding guests are staying is so cute:

I've known the groom, Chad, for about eleven years, since our salad days on Prince Edward Island. Hanging out with him has never been dull! Years ago, we were out at the bars in Charlottetown (the capital city) & it was a really hot night. We all took a drunken dip in the fountain in front of Province House. Oops. ;) Dripping wet, we walked home along the main drag. Chad walked up to one young woman & said "Hey baby. Do I make you wet?" in a phony lecherous voice. She started cracking up.

I must also point out that he does a fantastic impression of Donald Duck's laugh. I don't know how he ended up with that in his repertoire, but it cracks me up every time. AND, the man makes a mean bacon-wrapped scallop.

I put together their wedding present at LNT over the weekend. Since Chad is a chef, I thought an outdoor party kit would be fitting. I bought a galvanized tin tub for drinks & filled it with the fixings for a fiesta: a bucket of margarita mix, two glasses, two outdoor plates, a bag of buffalo tortilla chips, a jar of salsa, a ceramic salsa server, a set of salad tongs, two ceramic bowls,
a plastic pitcher for the margaritas, and a set of four "Fruit Cocktail" Yankee Candle votives. I hope they like it & I hope I can get it through customs!

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Countdown Begins!

T-minus 55 hours until my vacation begins! As of 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, I'm off work for twelve straight days! I can't wait.

My vacation this year is unusual because it has four parts. I'll tell you about the first two today & leave the last two for tomorrow & D-day. Because, clearly, you want to know about my vacation while you're stuck at home. ;)
  1. Part I is attending a soccer match at Gillette Stadium. Glasgow Celtic, the team that I followed when I lived in Scotland, is doing their American summer tour. They're stopping in MA this Wednesday to play the New England Revolution. And I will be there!
  2. Part II: When the match ends, Best Friend & I are heading down to the house her family rents on the Cape. It's right above a salt marsh. It's beautiful & peaceful & has an outdoor shower (I love outdoor showers)! And even the shower overlooks the salt marsh.
The only bad thing about going away for 12 days is that means 12 Thing 1-less days. I'm going to miss him - I've never been away from him for longer than 1 week. That's him with my sister in the picture above, trying to put his own bottle in his mouth. Not quite there yet, but the kid's got chutzpah!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Morning Mood

So let's talk about me in the morning. If I'm waking up here (Lake House):
Or here (PEI):
Then, I'm usually in a pretty decent mood. Not Kelly Ripa's level of chipper, but civil. However, when I wake up in my apartment in The Square:
and I am dragged out of bed by the fire alarm and standing out on the sidewalk with my glasses on, in my pajamas, there are two things that I am not having.
  1. Small talk. I hate this at the best of times, but seriously, neighbors trying to chat with me at 8 a.m. during a fire drill is just . . . grrrrr.
  2. PDAs. There was a couple who was hugging & giggling all over the sidewalk this morning. I looked away grouchily while formulating all kinds of lovely ways they could be run over by the fire trucks.
So. As you can see, I'm not a morning person during the daily grind. But I can be quite lovely if my surroundings are, I swear!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Anglophilia meets Retrophilia

I've fallen in love with yet another British television program (or "programme"). This one is called "Battlefield Britain". The show was hosted by the father-son duo of Peter & Dan Snow. Since the elder Snow is a television presenter & the younger Snow is a military historian, they are a formidable team when it comes to presenting major battles in British history via the telly. Plus, the younger Snow (below) isn't hard on the eyes. ;)
They use some innovative & fun tricks, like having actors speak from the perspective of the soldiers in the various battles. This poor bloke is a Saxon who helped defeat the Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066, then had to march 250 miles south to be defeated by the Normans just 5 days later in the Battle of Hastings:
They also use some old-fashioned tricks, like dioramas. Yup, those table-top models of famous battles, usually made of clay & felt. Here, of course, they have fancier versions & all of the troop movement is done with sophisticated computer animation. I particularly like how they make Peter Snow look like a curious giant:
Thus far, I've seen the Battle of the Boyne and the Battle of Hastings. I've been catching re-runs on WGBH at around 9:00 p.m., if anyone wants to try to find it. Or, you can get guaranteed gratification by buying the full set on DVD here. It's a jolly good time!

P.S. In answer to your imminent question, yes, I did take pictures of my television last night. Quirky in the cute way, no? No? (sigh) I know. ;)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Four Morning Thoughts

I had just three in the beginning, but the morning news changed things.
  1. Last night, a woman was killed when a ceiling section of one of the Big Dig tunnels gave in & fell onto the Mass Pike. I could kvetch for ages about the corruption & disruption that the Big Dig has caused for this town, but I'll spare fellow Bostonians. Suffice it to say, this project has been Boston's albatross for the last twenty years & in all likelihood, will continue to be. And Milena Delvalle had to pay for it. In a strange twist, I was actually in the area when this happened last night, but had no knowledge of it.
  2. Because I finally (this was attempt #1) made it to the Legal's Test Kitchen in the Seaport. R., J. & I had dinner there last night. J. works for Legal's Corporate, so he was there for the opening 5 weeks ago. We had a nice dinner, enjoyed a bottle of the lovely "Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fume", met Roger Berkowitz (the founder of Legal's), and peeked at Mayor Menino, who was dining there as well.
  3. I promised you a picture of my new haircut. Well, here is the before (last weekend):
Here is the after (last night):
4. And last, but certainly not least, HAPPY 5 MONTH BIRTHDAY, THING 1!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Weekend Wrap-Up

I had intended for this to be a somewhat quiet weekend. No such luck - but in a good way. :)

Friday night - I drove up to the Lake House. Got up there around 10:00, talked to the 'rents for awhile, then shower & off to bed on the porch. Up at 5:30 a.m. for a ridiculously early hair appointment. Chopped it all off! Well, maybe not all. It's a lot like Keira Knightley's new cut. I'm still getting used to it, but I think it's pretty fun. I'll post a pic tomorrow. Went out for breakfast with my parents, then off to tutor a student. Lunch with the grandparents, a nap on the screen porch, then back down to Boston in the afternoon.

Saturday night - Out to Cambridge 1 for some of the best & most inventive pizza in Cambridge, off to Noir for an overly-sweet cantaloupe martini & some good patio time, and then to Christopher's for dessert & Boddingtons.

Sunday - slept late (noon!), then up to shower & head over to Orleans for the World Cup final. Watched Italy beat France on the huge screen (go Italy!), then innings 10-14 of the Sox game. After some shopping, we BBQ'd at my friend's house and watched innings 15-19 of the game. Finally home around 9:00 to watch Adult Swim, finish "The Small Room" & drift off to sleep. Whew!

Friday, July 07, 2006


Last night, when I got home from work, I headed down to The Square to McKintyre & Moore Booksellers. This place is a gem - a great shop carrying a wide variety of used & rare books. If you're never been & you like old books, you have to check it out. Since I am physically incapable of leaving a bookstore without purchasing anything (it's true - I've tried it & felt dizzy), I bought 5 books:
  1. Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals, by Bland Simpson. Note that the B&N price is $17.95. I think I paid $8.00.
  2. The Perfect Storm, by Sebastian Junger. My edition is hardcover, which leads me to believe it's a first edition. I'll check the publication date when I get home. B&N price is $23.95, I paid $12.50.
  3. The Small Room, a short novel by May Sarton. B&N = $13.95, M&M = $4.00. I discovered Sarton with her The House by the Sea. She was a lovely old lady, with connections to Carolyn Heilbrun and the Huxleys (Julian & Aldous).
  4. Hat Off, Baby!, a "lift-the-flap" book for the little nephew.
  5. My last-minute purchase (in the Travel section near the register) was: Winged Sandals. This is a lovely, hardcover travel narrative, published by Little Brown in 1928. I opened the cover & the flyleaf had this inscription: "Have a jolly good journey, Tommy, and a safe return home. -John, July 1929." I was hooked. :)
In the end, I had a lovely wander around the store & spent a grand total of $33.05 after tax. I have nothing against B&N, but the same books at one of their stores would have set me back closer to $68.00. Plus, I doubt I would have discovered the old travel narrative in a huge, new B&N. God bless old bookstores!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pints & Persiflage

Yay - my friend & former co-worker J. is home from Dubai. He likes to talk as much as I do (a lot), which is wonderful. He also likes the same topics - history, religion, politics, etc. Last night, we got burritos at Anna's, had a pint at Sligo, then moved over to the Burren for many more pints.

My all-time favorite beer is Caledonian 80/-. However, Caledonian Brewery doesn't export to the U.S., so I can only get it when I'm in Scotland (or when my Scottish mates throw me a bone). But all is not lost. Belhaven Breweries makes a lovely Scottish ale, which is sold in a number of liquor stores & pubs in Somerville/Cambridge. I've yet to meet a beer drinker who doesn't love this ale when I introduce them to it. Jason was no exception.

Once settled in on our bar stools, the conversation struck out on a long & winding path. We covered friends' (and ex-boyfriend's) upcoming weddings,
blogging, job prospects, internet dating, new relationships, old relationships, whether or not I should leave my number for the cute Irish bartender (we decided against it), Christianity, Islamic fanaticism, and ended on deism.

After last call, we wandered over to my apartment building & sat in the courtyard for awhile longer. In this leg, we touched on WWII, the war in Iraq, the current administration (boo - hiss!), the West Wing, and child-rearing. We cut ourselves off around 1:45 a.m. As I mentioned, it's lovely to have conversations like that. I often have them with Kate (I love you, katy-did), but it's been difficult lately with her living in Northhampton. Cheers to long, rambling chats with old friends!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Birthday, America!

I love long weekends. I love that Americans take the idea of a 3 (or 4) day weekend & sprint with it. Maybe we don't treat ourselves to a daily siesta, and perhaps we should, but we certainly treat ourselves to our long weekends!

I was in NH from Friday night to Tuesday afternoon. Food, family, beer, swimming - what could be better? There was a fair amount of this:
As much as possible of this:

A little bit of this:

An evening of this:

A whole lot of this:

And, of course, a few evenings of this:
To see the rest of the pictures, click here. Be forewarned, though. I took 128 and my sister & best friend took some as well. You may be there for awhile!