Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I haven't been a very good blogger lately. I know I've posted a few times in the last week, but I feel like my head's not that into it. I was so burnt out on writing papers that I barely turned on the computer last week. I opted instead for books, the TV, and going out with friends. None of which are bad things, of course, but the blog got a bit neglected.

And it's only going to get worse, unfortunately. I leave for my big "East Coast Tour" on Thursday. I'll be spending a week in NYC, then four days in D.C., then one final night back in NYC. I'll be visiting two cousins & lots of friends from high school & study abroad. And I'm hoping to get in lots of museum-going! :)

In the short term, however, I'm going out in Portsmouth for New Year's tonight. I hope you all have fun things planned. I'll try to get some pics & post them before I leave. Happy New Year! :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Photos

I'm tired tonight (out late & worked for a few hours earlier), so I'll make this quick. My disco nap awaits! ;)

In short, Christmas '07 was lovely.

My tree was big & pretty (even though I trimmed it at 1:00 in the morning on the 23rd!)

My sister's tree was lovely, too. Doesn't it look especially nice surrounded by presents?

The big bow I got for Thing 1's present was
actually too big, but isn't it fun? :)

It's true - I do!

Presents galore! I might use this for wallpaper next year. :)

Thing 1 is very speedy. ;)

I loved my new hat (that matched the scarf I bought for myself).

Here, Thing 1 is using the hammer from his new tool bench to "adjust" his new basketball net. He's going to be a handy kid, let me tell you! :)

On to New Year's!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I'll post more pics soon, but just wanted to pop one up tonight. This is Thing 1, wearing a hat (with mittens still attached) from Auntie Stinky & playing with his new tool bench from Pop. :)

Hope you all had lovely & bright holidays!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

If I don't get to post . . .

before Tuesday, Merry Christmas to you all! :) (Picture is Thing 1 & puppy at Christmas last year)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I. Am. Done.

Yup, you heard me right. I am finally done with my first semester of grad school. And nobody lost an eye. ;)

I emailed my last paper to my least-favorite professor last night at 10:30: twenty-one pages on the concept of Self vs. Other for early medieval Scottish saints. And yes, I know I'm odd; you don't have to say it. :)

Now let the relaxation & celebration begin!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Long Johns

OK, what I really should be (and sort of am) doing is working on my final final paper (no, that's not a typo - this is my last of the final papers). However, I had to share my current weirdness with you guys.

I was at the university library & now I'm home. Since I was chilly at the library & I'm now in my own office, I decided to wear whatever was most comfortable & kept me warm. Hence, I am stylishly outfitted in long johns & knee-high snowboarding socks.

No, I'm not kidding. ;) I look pretty goofy & will have to change when my landlord wakes up, but for now, I'm warm & streamlined!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Love This

I'm about to toddle off to bed after being up way too late working on a paper, but I had to share this. On, they've listed the schedule for the upcoming Portsmouth First Night festivities. And the best part is the opening blurb:

"Well, you did it. You survived another year of the Bush administration, and now it is time to celebrate the coming of regime change. So ring out the old and ring in the new at the annual Market Square-centered celebration."

Yet another reason why I love this town. ;)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Quick Note

(Photo by Chris Adzima)

to say I'm still alive & not buried under either books or the snow.

I've had a crazy-busy weekend, marked by lots of Christmas stuff & snow on one side and lots of drinking & snow on the other. Snow, snow, snow. ;)

In related news, I've been doing some reflecting lately, thinking about my first semester of grad school & my first fall in Portsmouth. And I can honestly say that I'm living exactly where I want to be living & doing exactly what I want to be doing. I'm so glad I made the big scary decision to go to grad school & move to a new city alone. I'm really happy here. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Whine, Whimper, Moan

I know, I know. I've warned all the men in my life not to expect to talk to me until next Thursday at the earliest. I've whined to my mother, my landlord, anyone who will listen about the number & length of the papers. I've clearly been bitching & moaning too much about my final papers.

To my credit, though, it's awfully hard to go r
ight back into academia after three years off. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it again soon, but this is only my first semester back. Luckily, this will all be just a memory one week from today.

In the meantime, I promise not to write any more whiny posts. Of course, that likely means you won't get any posts at all. ;)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Head Hurts

Holy crap, I'm tired. I spent my longest day to date on campus today: I hopped on the bus at 9:22am & just shuffled off at 10:40pm.

For a girl who used to work from 9am until around 8:30 or 9pm, this shouldn't be that bad. However, there's a big difference between working casually on a company project & squinting at a computer screen all day, trying to determine why exactly Canadian confederation differs from American federalism & what the main schools of thought are on this topic. ;)

I am going to take some ibuprofen, put on my glasses, and crawl into bed with a snack & my seven books on Canadian history & politics. See you folks on the flip side.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth

That's the slogan the Chamber of Commerce has been shilling this winter. And to be honest, for some reason, this Christmas does feel a little slower & a little more "vintage." I think a lot of it does have to do with the quirky side streets & charming brick facades of my adopted town.

I was walking home last night through the snow and I thought to myself, "I heart Portsmouth at Christmas." :)

(Flickr nod to Dreamers Realm for the picture of the Market Sq. Christmas tree.)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Quick Update

As I mentioned to Susie in the comments of my last post, last night ended up far from relaxing. It's my fault for assuming it could be, I guess. ;)

I started off by meeting one section of the graduate school group at the Coat of Arms. That part was great: I love this pub & haven't been often, I had some good chats with some of the girls, I met some new people, etc.

Around 11:30, that group was heading home & my presence was requested at The Knot. Off I went & found a parking spot right in front of the bar! However, it was packed b/c the roommate of one of the guys in our group was playing that night. I actually had to wait outside for about 5-10 minutes before I could get in. In New Hampshire!!!

Anyway, once I got in, there were good & bad things. I met a few new people & had some fun. However, The Accountant, who said he wasn't going, was there. I'm not going to get into too many details, since I link the blog to my Facebook account & I know some of the people in this group are on Facebook. However, in a nutshell, I found out that the man who said he wasn't ready to date asked my friend to the movies. Grrr.

So. New resolution for the month of December: no dates & no drama. None.
I'm going to ask The Bouncer if he minds giving me some space right now. For the next three weeks, my only activities will be writing my final papers, working at my part-time job, and doing all of my Christmas errands (shopping, card-sending, decorating, etc.).

Friday, December 07, 2007

From 4 to 1

Oy vey. I'm starving & about to make dinner, so I'm keeping this short. It's been quite the week, you guys. Here's where we stand with the boys:
  1. The Accountant: After the quickest "first date to big-time crush" I've ever experienced, we're no longer dating. What? I know. Basically, he came over last night to sadly tell me that he had thought he was ready to move on from his recent break-up, but realized he's just not. Naturally, it sucks, but it was a major concern of mine, too. I'm glad he realized & let me know before we had been dating longer. And, because I'm an eternal optimist, who knows what might happen down the road? I think we'll stay in touch (we have a lot of mutual friends) and when he's ready to date again, hopefully I'll be around.
  2. The Bouncer: Had our first date last night (about an hour after The Accountant left - it was horrible timing, but I couldn't bail on him). We had a nice time, found some common interests, and closed down the Brewery. Definite potential here, but I'm still sad over The Accountant & trying not to let that affect this.
  3. The Pilot: We chatted on the phone Tuesday night & he was v. friendly & casual, asking me to "keep [him] updated on all these boys I'm dating." So I figure we're good as just friends, right? Wrong, evidently. While I was on my date with The Bouncer, he texted to see how I was & upon hearing I was on a date, he said, "You stoppin' by my place later?" Um - whaaa? I wrote back: "No, dear. I think it's best to avoid something like that."
  4. Former Army Guy: After breaking things off with him, I ended up bailing on our Tuesday night plans (which were, in essence, me driving thirty minutes to a place I'd never been to meet a boy I didn't like). He was ok with my excuse (not feeling well & lots of work to do), but then wanted to see me both Thursday night & Sunday for the Pats game. Huh? Didn't I break it off with him the night before? I begged off, but hope he's not going to make a habit of this.
So, long story short: I'm down to one guy, but my love life still feels confusing, stressful, and keeps taking my mind off important things like my final papers. Ugh. As for tonight, I'm off to make a quick dinner, do a little reading, and then meet some graduate school friends at The Knot for a relaxing drink or two. Have a nice night! :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Squash Ladder/Footrace

As I mentioned the other day, I've somehow ended up juggling four men this month. Trust me when I say that this has never happened to me before & I'm not sure I can handle it. I'm usually a one-man kind of girl, but somehow I've met four interesting men in one month.

In direct imitation of Londongirl, I've decided to instate something like her
squash ladder. However, I can't remember all of the rules & I ran track for a decade, so I'm going to style it more like a footrace. And in answer to your obvious question, no, I haven't identified what the "finish line" is & yes, you should get your mind out of the gutter. ;)

So, here we go. For convenience & privacy, their nicknames are their occupations.
  1. The Accountant: Absolutely the front-runner. We've seen each other twice in the last few days, our first date lasted five lovely hours, and he continues to give me butterflies. I know - it's weird that an accountant gives me butterflies. ;) However, we've only known each other for about a week & he has a very recent break-up behind him, so I feel like I need to proceed with caution.
  2. The Bouncer: Met him on a bad date with The Pilot a couple of weeks ago. We started chatting, realized we had a close mutual friend, he found me via her Myspace page, and we're going out Thursday night. We'll see how it goes.
  3. The Pilot, a.k.a. Date #2 from a few weeks ago: Contrary to my first impression of him, this guy ended up nicer than I thought he'd be. However, he's still pretty immature (case in point: I mentioned my sister is married & he said "Eww.") and very cocky, so I think it's best to downgrade us to just friends.
  4. Former Army Guy, a.k.a. Date #1 from the same night: I went out with him the following week, on what turned into a double date (my GSBB was out with a date @ the same restaurant, so we combined dates after our entrees & played trivia). However, I just never got that excited about him, nice guy though he is. I called him last night to tell him that I'm fine with being friends, but am not feeling a spark romantically.
It's not as useful a tool this week as it would have been last week, since I've already begun to cull the list. However, it's still useful in a way. My mother made an excellent point over the weekend. I tend to have a "damn the torpedoes - full steam ahead!" mentality with relationships. I get super excited about someone & that's it. I'm his, he's mine, and every other man in the world is out of my sight line.

While there's nothing wrong with doing that in a serious relationship (in fact, you absolutely should), it's risky to put all your eggs in a fairly new basket. As I mentioned, I think The Accountant is the bee's knees, but maybe going on a date or two with The Bouncer will help me temper my expectations a little. Wish me luck! ;)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bottom of the Barrel

Today marks the end of NaBloPoMo 2007 & I'm happy to say that I never got quite this bad. :) This year seemed a little easier than last year. I didn't struggle for topics until Tuesday of this week. I didn't even use the topics that I brainstormed & pre-drafted at the beginning of the month! Go me.

To recap, the main themes this month seemed to be grad school, dating, and my family. That sounds about right. :) Hope those of you who participated this month are taking a moment to look back & breathing a sigh of relief along with me.

OK, now get out & don't come back for a couple of days. I'm officially hanging up the "Gone Fishin" sign for a bit. ;)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Penultimate Day

Yeah, I used "penultimate" instead of second-to-last. What of it, sucka? ;)

Went out with kids from the history graduate department again tonight. This makes three nights this week I've grabbed a beer (or two) with other grad students. This is a good new habit of mine, I think. :) I like going out for a casual drink or two with friends who are just as poor as me.

For example, tonight my first beer was a $4 Unibroue Chambly Noire. It was lovely (malty & chocolatey & not too heavy, despite being a black ale), but my second & third beers were good ol' PBRs, $1 at the Barley Pub on Thursday nights.

Of course, I didn't pay for my second & third beers, so I guess that shoots down my theory a bit. However, it allows me to segue into who did pay for them, so whatevs. ;) At trivia the other night, there was a guy who was pretty cute, who knew some of my history grad buddies. However, we were on different teams for trivia & neither one of us paid much attention to the other.

Tonight, though, I did get to chat with him a fair amount & I think I am interested. :) Luckily, I think he is, too. He, another guy & I were the last ones to leave b/c we were talking so long, he bought me two beers, and he invited me to stop by the wine shop where he works for a wine tasting tomorrow afternoon. More to the point, my part-time job has public offerings of a certain kind and when I was telling him about them, he wanted to know which specific days I would be working them.

All of this is good, yes? Not that I particularly need another man to be thinking about - we're up to four now, by the way. However, I drove home grinning from ear to ear about this one. We'll see how things go . . .

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I make desserts good ;)

Yes, Sarah, my title is a reference to the URL of your wonderful Pink Shoe Cookbook. However, I make desserts much better than I cook dinners, so I'm focusing on the positive tonight. ;)

Last week, my mum asked me to bring dessert for Thanksgiving, as I always bring something & she knows I'm not exactly flush these days (turns out grad school makes you poor. who knew?). So, because we all know I'm a Scotophile, I made a traditional Scottish dessert that I enjoyed on Skye back in March. I modified the recipe, using these two, and it came out really yummy! Let me know if you're interested in giving it a go & I'll try to help.

P.S. If you haven't already clicked on the link to Sarah's cookbook, you really should. She walks you through great recipes with wit & charm. Plus, she includes links to a number of good cooking sites. Jeez, Sarah, I kinda sound like a stalker tonight. ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Running out of steam . . .

I am slowly running out of steam for NaBloPoMo, you guys. I'm sure those of you who are doing it are in a similar state at the moment. However, we've just got until Friday to keep blogging, so let's hang in there!

However, since I can't come up with a coherent post, you're getting a few bullet points. Nyah-nyah. ;)
  • As I mentioned last night, I went out with some friends from the history graduate department. I'd been invited to a number of parties & get-togethers with them prior to this, but hadn't been able to make it. We had a great time! We played trivia & my team came in 7th out of 20. Not bad for our first time.
  • I still really like my house, but I am starting to re-think living here for two years. My landlord is a good guy, but he's starting to get on my nerves. Plus, my GSBB might be moving closer to campus for next year & I'd much rather live with her or her & another friend.
  • My sister & her family are home safely from their Thanksgiving trip to L.A. I'll be seeing my parents & nephew tomorrow and the whole gang this weekend to celebrate my sister's birthday. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Picture Post #3

I am tired, folks, and a little tipsy. I just got home from being out with friends in the history department. I am having a hard time even typing "history department." I hope you all had a good night & enjoy this photo from a gravestone at a small cemetery in my parent's town.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

1 month 'til Christmas!

You guys, Christmas is my favorite holiday. I'm can't even pretend it's not, since my reaction to Christmas is much like my reaction to snow - pure, giggly joy.

As I mentioned around this time last year, I make a studious attempt to avoid going all Christmas-crazy before Thanksgiving. However, that holiday is over now, so it's on to the decorating & the cards & the lights! :)

P.S. How cute is the photo of Thing 1 above? He could barely walk last Christmas, yet he pulled himself up to gaze at the Christmas tree. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Halloween, Part Deux

A little over three weeks later, here we are! Blame the GSBB (grad-school-bosom-buddy), not me. ;) Don't we look cute?

In a related vein, I watched Lara Croft, Tomb Raider (the second one) the other night. I had never bothered to see either of these movies before, as I figured they were just eye candy for nerdy guys who drooled over Lara the video game character. However, I did not realize that Gerard Butler is her partner. Now, he is some yummy Scottish eye candy for the ladies. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks for the Memories

Because this is the day for such things, I've been reflecting on what I'm grateful for. Here's the short list. ;)
  1. My two nephews: the one currently on this earth & the one to be joining us in February (btw, I've decided to call them Thing 1 & Thing 2, after the mischievous urchins in The Cat in the Hat).
  2. My sister & brother-in-law: I feel very lucky to have two such great people in my life.
  3. My parents: I wrote about my mum yesterday. You can bet my dad is just as great & just as supportive.
  4. My grandparents: They've given me years of wonderful memories, which helped me deal with the loss of my grammy in May.
  5. My friends in myriad places: Even though I spend a silly amount on postage stamps at Christmas, I love staying in touch with my friends across the U.S., in Canada, and in Scotland.
  6. The Red Sox: Two World Series championships in four years? You guys are the best boyfriends ever! ;)
  7. Having the courage to pull up fairly deep stakes & move to Portsmouth alone
  8. and more importantly, having the courage to go back to school to do what I really love.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mum!

Sneaking this one in just before the deadline. Today was my mother's 51st birthday, everyone. It's ok - she won't mind my telling you. She's not nutty about her age like some women. Besides, look at how hip & young she looks on this Vespa. :)

There's pretty much no way to do this without being cheesy, but here goes. Mum, as you very well know, I would be a shadow of myself without you. You have always supported my decisions, even when they were dumb ones. You guys, this is a woman who once left me a note that said: "Good luck with your tattoo this weekend!"

Seriously? That's amazing. Here are a few more in the pantheon of supportive things my mother has said: "You want to us to buy you a beat-up 1965 Mustang & then work on weekends to help you restore it? Sure, no problem!" In college: "You want us to pay rent on a two-bedroom, waterfront cottage for only you, instead of just paying for room & board like your other three years? Great idea!" And more recently, there was: "You want to go to grad school so you can get a master's degree & make the exact same amount of money as you're making now, minus all of your student loans? Go for it!"

Mum - I don't know what to say. Even though you're kind of a dumb ass (inside joke, people), you're the best woman I've ever known. Happy Birthday, from your Stasha!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


My driver's license might say I'm 26, but in reality, I'm this many (holds up 5 fingers).

I know this because my reaction to the snow this morning was to jump out of bed & run to the window, gleefully saying, "It's snowing! It's snowing!" And then I took pictures. ;)

Have a good day everyone & Happy First Snow to you all!

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Boyfriend's Back . . .

(Image from Sitting Still)

and he'll be here for three years now . . . hey yah, hey yah, my boyfriend's back.

Break out the champagne & cigars, kids. I know I'm a bit late with the news, but as my dad, NESN, and Jason told me today, "Mike Lowell has re-signed!" That's right, Lowell has agreed to a 3-year, $37.5 million contract with the Sox.

I have to admit - I didn't pay a ton of attention to Lowell in the '06 season. I'm not sure why, exactly, but I made up for it in '07. I've been consistently impressed with the skill and, more importantly, the good sportsmanship exhibited by Lowell. He's one of those names to which the adjective "classy" is nearly always attached.

Jason, I know you don't like my calling Lowell my boyfriend (since he was yours first), but I'm sorry. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta go. I love the guy. ;) The thought that he'll be playing for us until 2010 (
barring any stupid trades) fills me with joy right now!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Guinea Pig with Pie

In honor of the fact that I'm writing a paper today about the British Empire, I thought I'd share one of my favorite silly images. My friend & former co-worker Jayne (the one who inspired me to start blogging, actually) found this photo of a guinea pig years ago & just loved it. She showed me & I loved it, too.

Just look at the wee guy! He's got his little flat cap on & he's ready to eat his meat pie, drink a few pints, and maybe smoke a fag or two. I love him. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Clumsy is as Clumsy does

I am a clumsy person. I've covered this on the blog before, but the past month was particularly bad.
A couple of weeks ago, I bumped into the door jamb of my office door. You know that piece of metal in the door jamb that catches the door latch when you close it? Ripped right out of the wood when I hit it. Admittedly, this part of the house was built in the 1860's, so the wood is almost 150 years old & as rotten as Steinbrenner's soul. But still. The above is the effect the door jamb had on my hip.

(Speaking of rotten wood & my clumsiness, I once broke a post off my friend's dock. To my credit, though, I was trying to avoid being pushed into the water, not just leaning on it with my superhuman strenth.)

Last night, as I was bringing my supper dishes downstairs to the kitchen, I slipped on a top step & fell down the entire flight of stairs! I just remember hurtling down, accompanied by a Sprite bottle, ceramic plate & fork, with no way to stop myself. It was dramatic, you guys. I didn't wake my landlord, but I did wake his cats, who were good for a measure of comfort once I composed myself. And man, it hurt! I scraped my arm (above) & it's already got the makings of a spectacular bruise. My bum is really sore, too.

Sigh - I really am a mess. At least it makes for lots of blogging fodder!

UPDATE: Erin's comment on this post reminded me that you all don't know how very steep my stairs are. Check them out here & cringe for me. ;)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Spring Training Anyone?

Uh-oh, you guys. I just realized that Fort Myers is only 2.5 hours from Miami. I have college friends who live in Miami who have been trying to get me to come down & visit. I have a week off for spring break in March. And the Red Sox would be just 150 minutes away!

Quick - I have to go see how high airline prices will be & try to dissuade myself from planning a trip. ;)

And I'm back. The cheapest round-trip I found was $329, so that helped cool my ardor for now. Hopefully, that number won't start looking better & better as we get closer to Opening Day!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Engagement Ring Envy

Normally, I'm pretty content being single. Well, I'm dating again, as you know, but single as in not married. However, occasionally, I see a married friend & have a slight pang of "when will that happen for me?"

Today, one of the undergrads in one of my classes was sporting a brand-new ring. She's probably around 21, you guys. She's a pretty girl, but not a traffic-stopper. Today, however, she was glowing. And you should have seen the ring! Not huge, but sparkly & bright & glowing right along with her. I had to force myself to stop looking at it & pay attention to the professor.

An engagement ring is so significant. I used to wear rings, but I fell out of the habit a year or two ago. I couldn't help but think about how a ring like that might look on my own hand. Sigh. As I said, I'm very happy being unmarried & accountable to no one else. I can sleep late if I want, stay out all night if I want, hog the covers if I want. Sometimes, though, I get a bit wistful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fantasy Football Update

You guys know how much I love the Red Sox, right? I mean, surely I've mentioned that here once or twice. ;)

Yet I am abysmal at fantasy baseball! I played for the first time over the summer & came in 5th out of 10. Not exactly what I was hoping for.

Fantasy football, however? That's my game. :) I play in a Yahoo league with my sister, brother-in-law, two of his brothers, and a bunch of his friends. Last season, I earned third place (in a league of 12). This season,
I'm solidly in third again. My team, the Portsmouth Punks, has gone 7-3, with a .700 winning percentage & 955 points.

I lucked out in the draft & ended up with a couple of standouts. My QB? Only the 7-1, 283.9 yards per game, 23 touchdown Tony Romo. One of my running backs? Only the 7-2, 95 yards per game, 7 touchdown Joseph Addai.

Obviously, these guys are my stars at the moment & not all my other players are as good. However, my back-up QB, Matt Hasselbeck, has been putting on the big boy pants lately, so that bodes well if (knock wood) Romo suffers any later-season injuries.

This week, I play my brother-in-law, who is right behind me at fourth, with a 5-5 record & 910 fantasy points. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Picture Post #2

Isn't this the most amazing thing you've ever seen? I got this $5 bill back in change about a year or two ago & had to take a picture. It's Pirate Lincoln!

We now return to your regularly scheduled lives, where most presidents are just presidents. ;)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day

In honor of my grandfather MacLeod, I've always tried to recognize Veteran's Day. He served as a tank corps commander in Italy from 1944-46. Last year, I wrote a little about him. This year, I decided to reprint a poem I wrote in college. It was for a creative writing class & this assignment had to be in "Italian sonnet" form. Hopefully, that explains why some of the rhymes are a tad awkward. ;)

"Wild War"
The pine trees stand silent in the Ardennes,

Twice they encountered death and battle here.

The refugees of Dunkirk's loss are near,

The cliffs of Dover face a beach of men.

The coast of Normandy - it mocks my pen,

Its bloody shores have seen courage and fear.

Pearl Harbor, once victim of a surprise war spear,

In the morning, silent as the Ardennes.

The Meuse runs through hills and woods of Verdun,

Remembering ten months of hell on earth.

In Flanders, the crosses stand row by row.
The Douai plain lies flat beneath the sun,

At Vimy Ridge, it saw a war's rebirth.

In Flanders still, the scarlet poppies blow.

I called it "Wild War" because I wanted to think about some of the natural landscapes of both world wars. That's why I've referenced rivers, forests, coastlines, etc. The eleventh & fourteenth lines echo the famous (& much better) poem by John McCrae, a Canadian doctor who fought in the first world war. To veterans of all wars - thank you for your sacrifices.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

PEM Recap

( Clipper Dreadnought, ca. 1853 (detail). James Edward
Buttersworth (1817-1894). New York, N. Y.. Oil on canvas.)

Good trip to Peabody Essex today. I had initially intended to write a review of their "Sketched at Sea" exhibit. However, when I walked in, their first floor "Maritime Art" gallery was closer, so it's there that I went. (Side note: This turned out to be a good thing. When I went to look for the "Sketched at Sea" exhibit later, I couldn't find it. I'm not kidding, you guys. I'm a smart person with experience in museums, but despite following the signs carefully, that particular exhibit never appeared. Weird.)

Now, I'll admit that I'm a flat-out sucker for anything that has anything to do with the sea. I mentioned this before, when I first moved to Portsmouth.
I think it's mostly from spending all of my childhood summers on Prince Edward Island, but growing up in New England certainly didn't hurt, either. You could take a completely boring item & plop a sailing ship or a lighthouse or a mussel shell on it and I will absolutely buy it from you. ;) My personal checks have maritime scenes on them, for goodness sake!

Despite my appallingly low standards for satisfaction, the Maritime Art exhibit still went above & beyond my expectations. Think of those words: "maritime art." You're probably picturing lots & lots of grand portraits of schooners & clipper ships & brigs, right? Well, they had that in spades, but more that I wasn't expecting. Portraits of Salem sea captains & merchants, intricate scrimshaw, advertising posters for the Cunard line & its ilk, carved figureheads, a huge model of the original Queen Elizabeth, and even a recreation of the interior of a yacht.

If you happen to be in the Salem area, it's definitely worth paying PEM a visit. They have amazing collections of Asian & American art, as well, but the maritime art exhibit alone was worth my $9. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dating Again (again)

As I alluded last Sunday, I actually have somewhat of a dating life again. And as Susie shrewdly pointed out, it started with a bang - two dates on one night! I'd like to preface by saying that this was not intentional. ;) I had made dinner plans with one guy I'd met on Then I'd been playing phone tag with another guy I met on Halloween & he invited me to watch Monday Night Football with him & a friend the same night.

The verdicts:

Date #1 was tall, funny, cute, and
respectful. His degree is in history & he served in the army for two years after college. He's a little dorky, but hey, remember me? The graduate student in history? I can't afford to judge. We had a nice time & he's asked me to get together this weekend. I was planning a trip down to the Peabody Essex Museum tomorrow, so I've invited him along. Hopefully, he can make it!

Date #2 was tall, cute, funny, and incredibly cocky. Here's a perfect example: he's a pilot & he was joking around with his friend (a fellow pilot) about the big tips they receive for keeping quiet about male passengers who bring mistresses on board. I expressed some disgust at the practice & his response was, "Well, that money paid for the beer you're drinking now." !!! Thanks, but no thanks, Iceman.

I'll let you know how my date tomorrow goes. Even if it goes poorly, it's at a great museum. As I said to myself after one of the worst first dates ever (at the MFA in '04), at least I got to see some neat old stuff. ;)

UPDATE: The museum date isn't going to work out (he had previous plans with a friend & the timing didn't work out). However, we're going to make plans for later in the week.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I'm Home!

Well, I'm back from Portland! After three days of trying to make a good impression at the conference & sleeping on a friend's futon, I am super glad to be home. :) However, the conference itself was a good learning experience & it was great to see my friends from college (who let me stay with them). Here are the highlights:
  • The president of my institution took us younger employees out to dinner last night.
  • I spent both nights with a yellow lab (Gallatin) at the foot of my bed, a black lab (Kayden) on the doggie bed next to my bed, and a Chesapeake Bay retriever (Spencer) on a couch nearby. Plus, there was a newfie (Porter) living downstairs.
  • Catching up with friends who I haven't seen since way back when.
  • All of the neat stuff that I learned about my new field.
  • The caramel macchiato that my friend made for me, free of charge, at her coffee shop yesterday morning.
  • The peppermint mocha that I got (with a gift card!) at the I-95 rest stop on the way home today.
  • Finally getting to check out Portland. I've been meaning to for years, mostly with ex-boyfriends: was planning to take NY Ex there for Christmas two years ago & was supposed to attend a wedding there with South Boston Ex in June. Cheers to seeing it with friends & on my own!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Thank goodness for the little things

Ugh - today was not a good day, you guys. Woke up late & hungover, missed the bus, slogged through the rain to class, and my take-out dinner order got messed up to boot.

Luckily, when I got home, I noticed my Christmas cactus was budding, I had a nice email from one of my dates last night, and I found the above picture on my friend Shawn's Myspace page. Shawn is a dear old friend & middle school ex-boyfriend. ;) He's lived in Cali since 2000 & the picture is from the summer of '01 or '02. I flew out west to visit both my sister & him. The shot was taken on the pier at Santa Barbara.

I'm in Portland, ME for a conference over the next few days. Therefore, I will continue to suck at NaBloPoMo, since I won't be able to post tomorrow or Thursday. Ah well, as Susie said, at least we're trying!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Picture Post #1

The first of many on Mondays, I would guess. ;)

I've got a ton of reading to do before class, but wanted to post this photo from New York. I was looking through my NYC photos last night & I think this is one of my favorites. My best friend lives in the city, so I get to visit her there a few times a year.

The photo is of St. John the Divine Cathedral & the featured statue in its gardens. It was taken on December 31st of last year. I just love the way the form of the statue complements & contrasts with the structure of the cathedral. Click on it to make it bigger - it helps with the details. :)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I Suck at NaBloPoMo

I did so much better last year! This year, I signed up (here), panicked because I have a lot of work to do this month, tried to cancel/remove my name from the blogroll, couldn't remember how to, and gave in. ;) I missed the second & third days, so I won't be eligible for any prizes. But hey - I'm going to plunge back in & re-commit myself.

Right now, I'm home in my pj's, watching the Pats game, drinking a Harpoon Octoberfest & trying to get some reading done for class. I spent the weekend in Boston, visiting friends & family. One of my best friends from high school was home from NYC for the weekend, so I stayed with her at her parents' house. On Friday night, we met up with another of our best friends from high school & her boyfriend for a few drinks. Saturday was a lazy day spent inside reading, watching movies & drinking red wine.

This morning, I swung by my sister's house with Dunkin' Donuts & had a nice visit with her, her husband, and my nephew. Thing 1 is getting so big now! He'll be 21 months on November 11th, which is still kind of unbelievable to me. After leaving her place, I stopped by my grandfather's for a bit, with an egg & cheese sandwich for his lunch &
the Sunday Globe.

In other news, I finally have a dating life again - after six months! But I can't give away all my secrets today - I need fodder for a month's worth of posts! Catch you tomorrow. ;)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Check out Thing 1 above. He was trick-or-treating downtown with his grandparents & parents yesterday. I can't even handle how cute he is in this picture. :)

In more grown-up news, I went out downtown & had a fun time. My grad-school-bosom-buddy was Sam Adams (calf-length pants, white stockings, colonial looking shoes, a white man's shirt & a brown leather vest) & her brother was Clark Kent (blazer, cords, red & blue tie, and white button-down shirt - unbuttoned to show a Superman t-shirt underneath). Once she sends me the picture of she & I dressed up, I'll post it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Trio of Sox Thoughts

1.) Sarah brought up a really important point in the comments of yesterday's post about a possible generation gap between pre-2004/07 Sox fans & post-2004/07 fans. I've been thinking about that topic for awhile now & will write a post about it soon. Thanks for reminding me, Sarah!

2.) After reading this article, I wanted to post about the team's flight home from Denver on Monday. However, Kristen pretty much wrote exactly what I wanted to say, so check her post out! I will post two of my favorite pictures from the flight, of my two Red Sox boyfriends (Ellsbury & Lowell):
Lowell juggling both the MVP trophy & the World Series trophy

Ellsbury asked his teammates to sign his jersey. No, I'm not kidding
you. Is that not the cutest thing you've ever heard in your life?

3.) I wasn't able to make it down to watch the parade this year, unlike '04. I was really disappointed, but there was no way around the obligations I had in NH today. However, I did get to watch the parade with my father & grandmother up at my parents' house. Here are two of my favorite photos (from

This was absolutely my favorite moment, when the flatbed truck stopped @ City Hall Plaza. Paps continued his crazy dancing (in a kilt this time!), Timlin joined in enthusiastically, and Okajima gamely gave it a shot. However, he did have a "What the heck is going on?" look on his face. :)

Despite the love that I have for Lowell & Ellsbury and the immense respect that I have for Varitek, there's no denying that Ortiz is the sweetest, most wonderful man on the planet. :) I just love this photo of him.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Not so warm & fuzzy anymore?

You guys, I'm still basking in the glow of the Sox win. :)

However, without
casting a shadow on the day, I wanted to share an article that nearly boiled my blood. In the wee hours of Monday morning, when NESN's coverage was over & I was digging into the internet's coverage, I found this article on It's by Tim Dahlberg, who is an AP sports writer.

Essentially, the main idea is "with victory comes new risk for Boston. They're not warm and fuzzy anymore, and no longer seem all that lovable." He also compares us directly to the Evil Empire: "Put pinstripes on these Boston Red Sox, move them to the Bronx, and America would have the same love/hate relationship with them as they do with George Steinbrenner's multimillionaire minions."

Humph. I, and I'm sure most of you, strongly disagree. So, as late as it was, this is the response that Mr. Tim Dahlberg got from me:


Date: Oct 29, 2007 2:03 AM

Subject: not so warm & fuzzy?

I wish I could write a more coherent response to your article about the Red Sox, but it's awfully late and I've been up watching my team win the World Series. That's right - I said "my" team, because that's how Red Sox fans views their players: as family. These guys are our baseball heroes and we maintain faith in them, in Terry, in Theo, and in the owners.

myself have had some concerns like those you mentioned. I've been worried that Sox fans will come to expect success, like Yankees fans did for so long. I've been worried that having the second highest payroll in the MLB and the freedom to spend that money would lead to some bad decisions (like Gagne may turn out to be). In the end, however, knowing Bostonians and Sox fans like I do (you're not from here, are you, Tim?), I don't think that will happen.

Did you see Mike Timlin and Tim Wakefield on NESN after the game tonight? Timlin praised Wake for stepping down and leaving room for the younger pitchers to start in the series. Wakefield was close to tears at the end. This is who the Red Sox are - good men who work hard at this game and never, ever assume that success is guaranteed. They are a true team and a group of guys who always seem amazed and humbled by the support of their fans.

You can keep your pinstripes in the Bronx, thanks. That's not our thing here in Boston.

Stacey (my last name)
Portsmouth, NH

UPDATE: To his credit, Mr. Dahlberg wrote me back to say, "Hope you enjoyed the parade . . . thanks for writing." So while I still disagree with the point of his article, I'll give him points for politeness.

Monday, October 29, 2007

World Champs, baby!

Holy crap, you guys. :) WE DID IT!!! I'll try to write a post that's more thoughtful later, but for now - let's just bask in the moment. For the second time in four years, we won ourselves a world series championship. I talked to my mum a few minutes after the win & we talked about how we never expected this to happen twice in our lifetimes.

So many great moments from all of our boys tonight:
  • Ellsbury & Pedroia combining to put the Sox on the board at the top of the first inning
  • Lester getting the win by pitching six scoreless innings - after coming back from cancer. Cancer, people!
  • Kielty coming in off the bench & smashing a home run to left field on the first pitch he faced
  • Lowell getting MVP & mentioning that he loved playing in Boston (Theo - make it happen!)
  • Timlin moving Wake to tears in a post-game interview by saying how great Wake was to step down & pass the torch to the younger pitchers for the series
I could go on, but it's late & there were so many great moments & images. For tonight, here's to the 2007 World Champion Red Sox. The Nation thanks you. :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Red Sox Amazingness & Blogging Sadness

So. The Sox did a great job both Wednesday night and last night - though the scores were very different. On Wed. night, I watched here in Portsmouth at The Page with some friends from my graduate program. Thurs. night - I ended up at my "home bar" in Cambridge with one of my best friends, a close friend from my graduate program, and a bunch of old friends who work at the bar.

Unfortunately, due to car trouble & ridiculous traffic, I missed out on attending Blogtoberfest prior to the game. I was bummed, since I had a great time at last year's event. I was also looking forward to seeing Jenny, Sarah, Eileen, Tom, and Caity and meeting Susie and Jason. Oh well, sounds like they all had a good time & there's always next year. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Good & Bad

Last night, on the way home from tutoring, I was thinking about things I'm good at & things I'm bad at. I don't know why, you guys - I just was. ;) Here is the short list:

Good at:
  1. Talking about history
  2. Taking random photos that turn out pretty good
  3. Picking things up with my toes
  4. Daydreaming
Bad at:
  1. Tying & untying knots
  2. Making small talk
  3. Telling short stories
  4. Doing any kind of math
And here are the two new things I can add after this weekend:

Good at:
  • Bullshitting. Today I both wrote a short paper about & participated in a discussion about a 400-page book that I never read. Well, I read the intro & the conclusion, but not much besides. ;)
Bad at:
  • Talking to boys at bars (see "Making small talk"). I watched the Sox game on Saturday at The Page & despite the fact that I was there on my own for close to four hours, I only talked to one boy. :(

Oh, well. I've always got the "Picking
things up with my toes" bit going for me. :)

UPDATED: Sarah, clever (& lazy) minx that she is, has taken my "good at/bad at" list & made it into a meme! Her addition was to add a tip at the end to help other bloggers be good at those things too. I love it. :) And since Eileen has already taken up the challenge, I feel obligated to add a tip to my original list. Here goes:

"How to Take Random Photos that Turn Out Pretty Good:"
While you're shooting photos of wherever you are, do a slow 360* spin. Look for unusual angles, unexpected things, and interesting slants of light. Then, just shoot & shoot & shoot. If you have a digital camera, it really doesn't matter how many you take. You can sift for gold later. I've gotten some photos I'm really pleased with this way, like this & this & this.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Welcome to Fenway Park . . .

(Photo from
where the '07 Sox rule the roost. It's after midnight now & Fenway is still packed with fans. The players & their families are frolicking on the field & in the clubhouse.

So many great stories in this series. The sports media who thought that only Manny & Papi could produce runs? Let me introduce you to Mssrs. Drew, Pedroia, and Youkilis. Ellsbury kicking some butt in last night's and tonight's games, then Coco making that sick catch when he did come back in the 9th. I could continue, but
I trust you've all been paying attention. ;)

This was a team effort, as usual. Like in '04, our boys squared their shoulders after the loss of three games & said, "Not on our watch." It's on to the World Series & the Rockies should be worried.

Update: Josh Beckett during his post-game press conference said, "I just think we're better than everyone else." I agree, Josh, I agree. :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Faith Pays Off

Not counting eggs before they hatch, not looking too far into the postseason future - but thank goodness for faith. After the sting of Tuesday's loss, some were starting to lose it.

My roommate, who is not a sports fan, said snarkily to me as I headed out last night to watch the game, "Hope you're wearing your "Loser" shirt." I said, "Don't expect I'm going to need it."

And of course I was right. Beckett was masterful, the obnoxious crowd at Jacobs Field was silenced for the evening, and we were back in the game.

As usual, it comes down to this. I choose the Boston Red Sox. They are my team, my boys, my baseball heroes. No matter what happens in the end, I believe they can do it. I've said it before & I'll say it again: I choose faith.

Go get 'em tomorrow night, boys. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Addendum to Birthday Recap

Just found this cute picture of Thing 1 inside my new tote bag. :) He doesn't seem to mind that much, does he?

Also, go Red Sox! I have faith that you can turn this ship around tonight. So far, you've lost both games that I've worn my Sox t-shirt, so we're going with a strict "no Sox t-shirt" rule tonight. Hope it helps! ;)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Halloween '07

OK, kids, it's time to start thinking of Halloween costumes! This year, I don't have a boyfriend with whom to do a "couple costume," but oh well. I've got something good on my own. :)

You probably guessed it from the photo, but I'm going to be . . . Indiana Jane! Decided to go that route instead of the other option, Lara Croft, mostly because I like Indy's outfit better than any of Lara's.

However, I have a problem. I have a great white safari shirt & a khaki skirt with cargo pockets that will be perfect. I also have a leather jacket & fedora - but they're the wrong color! Indy wears brown of each; I have black.

What do you think, kids? Is it worth getting a brown fedora and brown leather jacket or should I suck it up with the black versions? :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Game 1

As carefree as they look in this photo, these are your Boston Red Sox & they are ready to play tonight. :)

First pitch is at 7:10pm: Josh Beckett (a.k.a. Commander Kick-Ass of the F@# Yeah Brigade) on the mound against HUGE C.C. Sabathia.

A couple of old friends are in town for the weekend & we'll be meeting up with a couple of new friends to watch the game at The Page. Go Sox!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Birthday Weekend Recap

OK, the long awaited birthday recap. :) My actual birthday was Monday, but we celebrated it mostly on Sunday, since I had class & my mother had to work on Monday. Turned out to be a good thing, since the weather on Sunday was gorgeous & Monday left a little to be desired.

At my request, we spent part of the day at Cardigan Mountain Orchard, enjoying the view & the sunshine. The first pictures are from that, while the final are from my birthday dinner.

The orchard had a tractor, which totally made Thing 1's day

Pretty view from a hill in the orchard

My dad, nephew, brother-in-law & I

Before Thing 1 was born, my bro-in-law started calling me Auntie Stinky (a play on Auntie Stacey). Here's hoping it won't stick, but considering I now get cards addressed to Auntie
Stinky, I'm probably out of luck. ;)

My new tweed tote bag

My cake, which I made myself because I wanted to. :) It's a
pumpkin spice cake with an orange glaze. Go Auntie Stinky!

In this photo, Thing 1 is traumatized b/c Auntie blew out the candles, thereby making the pretty little lights go away. How dare she?!? ;)

So that was my 26th birthday. Man, I'm old. ;)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Too Much Going On

for a coherent post at the moment. I had a great 26th birthday over the weekend & the Red Sox are advancing to the AL Championship Series!!!

Plus, I have a paper to write, so I can't linger. I'll leave you guys with a cute picture of W. from the orchard we went to on Sunday & an IOU for a few longer posts soon. :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Just Ain't Right

Well, I came on to blog about how great Wednesday's night win was, how great it was that the Yankees lost, and how excited I am to see tonight's game. Instead, I felt I had to write about this instead: Red Sox fan assaulted in New York.

Just looking at that title, what do you picture? I pictured a brave, but foolhardy fan
in Sox regalia sauntering into a Manhattan sports bar during a playoff game - "bearding the lion in its den," so to speak. In which case, violence is never the answer, but that guy was taking a risk.

However, when you read the article, the facts emerge & it's not at all that simple. Carlos Ortez, a carpenter from Quincy in NY for a construction job, was watching Wednesday's game in the lounge of the Ramada Inn in Yonkers. Another patron of the bar made a comment about his Sox hat. After the game was over, this patron & two others with him followed Ortez & his co-worker outside & attacked Ortez.

Ortez is in intensive care & two of the three men were arrested.
Wait for it - the story gets weirder. The men arrested for Ortez's attack are from Pennsylvania.

From the known facts of the case, the attack did not appear to be a "heat of the moment" thing based on an argument between two rabid Sox & Yankees fans. Ortez & his co-worker were away from home, just watching the Sox play at their own hotel bar. They did not go out looking for trouble, but somehow it found them, in the form of two other construction workers from another state altogether.

Now, I'm not saying that I would have been ok with two opposing fans from NY & Boston getting into a fight & hurting each other seriously - but I would have at least been able to understand it. This seems like a calculated attack on a lone man (Ortez & his co-worker were walking in difference directions when the three men attacked Ortez) who didn't appear to be baiting his attackers.

As tempting as it is to point to the two attackers as "typical brutish no-class Yankees fans," I'm not going to do it. As sacrilegious as it seems for me to say, I think most Yankees fans are pretty similar to most Red Sox fans - fiercely loyal to their team, but law-abiding.

However, this attack was beyond the pale of normal sports loyalty & should absolutely be condemned by both sides. Please think of Carlos Ortez as the Sox go into the second game of the playoffs tonight.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Back in the Game?

As much as I love my nephew & am looking forward to nephew #2, I am definitely not ready for kids, you guys. ;)

I had a lovely visit from my parents & nephew on Saturday, while my sister & her husband were in Maine celebrating their anniversary. However, Thing 1 was tired at dinner (at the Portsmouth Brewery) & he was a little crazy. I'm ashamed to admit that I got a little frustrated, especially when chasing crayons all over the table made me elbow my pint glass & spill a quarter of my Octoberfest.

Yes, I love him, but I am happy to be an auntie for now. ;)

However, on the bus on the way home from campus today, I saw something that made me realize that I am ready to be with someone seriously again. A couple was sitting side by side under a tree on a hillside & throwing a ball for their golden retriever to fetch. They looked happy.

I miss that kind of thing. Both of my exes shared my desire to explore the world "off the beaten path." Therefore, I spent a lot of time over the last three years tramping around outdoors: taking pictures, going on long walks, and exploring historic sites.

I'd like to have that again, please. Don't know to what romance authority I'd need to speak, but let's see what can be done, hmm?

Sunday, September 30, 2007


OK - I'm copping out on writing a real post tonight. Since I worked Friday, Saturday & Sunday, I'm nearly out of steam. Hence, selections from I Can Haz Cheeseburger!

The last one makes a lot more sense if you go here. And here. Enjoy the silliness. ;)