Monday, April 30, 2007

Weekend Wrap-Up

Haven't done one of these in awhile . . .

Friday night - Nick & I met my friends Jason & Jayne for a drink (or three) at Orleans in Davis. J. & J. are former co-workers, who know about Nick from reading the blog, but had never met him. Which we all thought was weird . . . and kinda stalker-ish. Situation resolved! We caught up on each other's lives, watched the Sox game on Orleans' big screen, and Jason & Nick got free Newcastle T-shirts. Good times.

After J. & J. left (they were cooler than us & had a second engagement), Nick & I wandered down to Anna's for a belated dinner. A little buzzed, I waxed nostalgic about the year I lived in the area. After a steak burrito & a chicken quesadilla, it was home to my place to watch the first of two Sox victories this weekend.

Saturday - Got up around 9:30, had oatmeal, bananas & coffee for breakfast, sent Nick home to watch the NFL draft, and headed to a student's house to tutor. Rejoined him at his place in the late afternoon & alternated between the draft (we got Randy Moss! I don't know whether to be excited or worried!) and the Sox game.

My college friends were doing a Southie pub crawl to celebrate my friend Tim's girlfriend's birthday. Nick, his roommate Moose & I joined them for Murphy's Law, L St. Tavern, the Beer Garden, and Tom English's Cottage. The blurry pic above is my friend John & I at the Beer Garden. After they all headed home (pansies!), we finished up the night at the Quencher.

Sunday - Around 5am, I got up to pee. Disoriented & still a little drunk, I ended up taking a header into Nick & Moose's bathtub instead. Gave myself a nice big scrape on the chin, for which I concocted a cover story in case the higher-ups at the office were curious. If anyone asks, I opened my car door too quickly & bunged myself on the chin. Got it? ;)

Hours later when we woke up, Nick & Moose heard the story & nearly died laughing. Nick & I then went grocery shopping, which was a good way to ease back into consciousness. Back to his place for a late breakfast of cannoli & coffee and an afternoon of being lazy.

After a yummy late lunch of cheddar-wurst & potato pirogies, I tutored a couple of students. Then, home to my apartment to watch the Sox wail on the Yankees for the fifth time in six games. Huzzah!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New "Baby" Pics

I've got to stop calling my nephew "the baby." The child is 14 months old - he doesn't qualify as a baby any longer! At any rate, I realized that I haven't posted any cute baby photos since mid-February, so here goes!
Thing 1 & auntie Stacey watching "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" at the lake house

Thing 1 trying to figure out what the heck this Easter grass stuff is all about

Thing 1 "helping" Pop open his birthday presents

Thing 1 & Auntie enjoying the beautiful weather this weekend by lazing around Mommy & Daddy's front lawn (while they did yard work!)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hometown Heroes

Damn good baseball over the weekend, kids. :)

Check out my post from the old blog about the beginning of the '06 season.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Day Actions

Not wanting to be all talk, I decided to take some actions today to begin "greening" my life. I can't promise this will be a very comprehensive, "turn my life inside out" attempt, but I will give it the ol' college try. Here's what I did today:
  1. Replaced three conventional light bulbs (two 60-watt & one 150-watt) with 15-watt CFL bulbs. Not only are these bulbs cool-looking, they will use less energy (in the case of the 150-watt bulb - 10 times less!). This will bring my landlord's electricity bill down a bit (electric is included in my rent) & only cost me $3.
  2. Plugged my TV, DVD player & cable box into a power strip, which I will turn off when these appliances are not in use. This is a similar savings to the British electric system, where you have to flip a switch on each outlet before the electricity flows to it. It should help me reduce the amount of electricity that "leaks" from my outlet even when my appliances are not being used.
  3. Purchased the "Puddle Jumper" TerraPass to offset the CO2 emissions that were generated by my recent round-trip to Edinburgh. It cost me $9.95 & came with a break-down of what my money bought. 33.3% went to Renewable Energy Certificates & 66.7% went to Carbon Credits.
A few of the changes that I will implement this week:
  1. Use reusable bags for grocery shopping. I bought a cloth bag at Stop & Shop (usually near the check-out) awhile ago, but haven't used it consistently. Considering I most often use the self-checkout, there is no excuse for not bagging my groceries in the cloth bag.
  2. Bring a metal spoon into work for my oatmeal. I eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast & it creates a lot of waste if I throw away each morning's plastic spoon.
  3. Walk (instead of drive) to the grocery store/Dunkin Donuts near my office. I often take the car (because I'm lazy), but it's a mere 1/10th of a mile away. Unless it's pouring, there's no real need to drive instead of walk.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Greening of America

Ever since the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced in February that human activity drives global warming, I've paid close attention to the global response. I think the international political response has been generally positive, but inadequate in so many ways.

I've always thought of myself as an amateur environmentalist. I love & appreciate the natural environment, I've made cursory stabs at consistent recycling, and I'm completely anal about turning off lights when you are not using them. I've filled in many, many form letters to senators and large corporations to protest drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, support higher standards for fuel emissions, etc. However, I am fully aware that there is much more that I can do.

Today's email brought a note from Daily Candy, advocating one of the newest ways to reduce your carbon footprint. It's called TerraPass & the basic idea is similar to the idea that allowed this year's Superbowl to be "carbon neutral." From TerraPass' website:

"The first step you can take to fight global warming is to reduce your carbon footprint through conservation. Drive less. Turn down the thermostat. Buy locally produced goods.
Then use TerraPass to reduce your carbon footprint all the way to zero.

When you buy a TerraPass, your money funds renewable energy projects such as wind farms. These projects result in verified reductions in greenhouse gas pollution. And these reductions counterbalance your own emissions."

For $79.95, I can buy a "Road Tripper" driving pass, which offsets up to 20,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide. This is about the amount that my Jeep produces in one year. If that seems a bit steep, $29.95 will offset 2,309 lbs. of CO2, which is about 1.5 road trips to my family's summer home on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Or, just $9.95 will buy a TerraPass designed to offset the 2,386 lbs. of CO2 that my recent round-trip flight to Edinburgh produced. You see where I'm going with this? The possibilities are endless.

For more ideas on how to "green" your travel, your home, and your life, check out the "Green Blogs" heading I've added to the blogroll!


I don't normally post at work, but I had to. This is quite possibly one of the cutest things ever!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away

And don't come again another day. You guys, I'm getting tired of this weather. New England hasn't seen much besides rain & grey & cold & wind since the end of last week. The silly thing is, my photos of Scotland are sunnier! To that end, here are the some of Nick's photos that I liked enough to steal. There are a fair amount of me - I apologize for that. Hope it doesn't ruin your viewing pleasure! ;)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Fair Trade

I saw a very moving program on PBS last night - in the background at first, as I read a new book & puttered around the apartment. Slowly, however, I began to pay more attention & ended up transfixed. The show was called Black Gold and it was produced by Independent Lens. Essentially, the filmmakers explored the international coffee trade & found some dirty secrets. There are some shades of grey, but to sum up - coffee farmers in third world countries (Ethiopia, in this case) are suffering because large corporations are not paying a fair price for their coffee.

Since no one I know is the CEO of a large coffee corporation, I can't make a difference that way. However, there is something that I can do, that we all can do: buy Fair Trade coffee. And not just coffee, really. Buying any Fair Trade products is one way that consumers can help raise demand for products that are produced in a sustainable way. I'm sad to say that I saw many more Fair Trade products for sale during my time in the U.K. than I have seen here in the States. But shops that carry Fair Trade products are out there. Here is a way to find a Fair Trade retailer near you.

By the way, the reason I was watching PBS alone on a Friday night (not that there's anything wrong with that!) is because Nick is away this weekend - at a bachelor party (boo! hiss!). However, since I usually spend most weekends at his place, this has been a lovely excuse to putter about the apartment in my PJ's - sleeping when I want to, reading when I want to, and not showering at all! He gets back tomorrow, so I'll have to motivate myself somewhat. Ah well - it was nice while it lasted! ;)

Friday, April 13, 2007

I Heart IKEA

Guess who spent most of tonight browsing the IKEA website? This girl! The bookcase above might end up my gift to myself for starting grad school! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Final Day of Photos

OK, finally wrapping up the photos now. I hope you all have enjoyed them! On Day 6 of our trip (March 27th), Nick & I rose at 6am to catch the Cuillin sunrise,
enjoyed a full cooked breakfast,
made the Armadale-to-Mallaig ferry, but had to squeeze our rental car on next to some scary looking industrial equipment,
enjoyed a morning cruise to the mainland,
checked out some bucks in Rannoch Moor,
and ended our trip with a hazy-day tour of Stirling castle.
Here are the rest of the pictures.

Here's a video of our morning in Crossal and another of our afternoon at Dunvegan.

Sigh - back to the real world, I suppose. ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Day Five Photos

OK, time for the pics from my favorite day, Day 5 (March 26th). :) On this day, Nick & I had breakfast at our first B&B, checked out Culloden Battlefield & Clava Cairns, headed south to Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle, struck west towards the Skye bridge (traveling through Kintail), explored Dunvegan Castle (my ancestral castle, since my grandfather is a MacLeod), and ended our day at our second B&B (in the Cuillin mountains on Skye). Here are the photos!

Standing stone at Clava

View down Loch Ness from the patio of the Urquhart Castle visitor's center

Loch Dunvegan from a castle window

Sunset over MacLeod's Tables & the west coast of Skye

Monday, April 09, 2007

Day Four Photos

Hello, hello! Here are the pictures from day 4 (March 25th) of my trip. This was our first day traveling, so the pictures cover: the Forth road bridge, St. Andrews, the Central Highlands, and Inverness. Enjoy!

Near St. Andrews castle

Nick taking a picture of Ben Vrackie

Welcome to the Highlands! :)

Footbridge over the River Ness

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Day 3 Photos

Hi blog friends. :) Here are the photos from day 3 (March 24th) of our Scotland trip. This album is quite small, so I'll give you some fun details. The stadium pictured is Easter Road, home of the Edinburgh Hibernians (or "Hibs") football team. My Scottish friend Iain (in pictures) is a huge fan, so we of course had to go and buy Hibs jerseys for both Nick and my nephew.

The sunset shots are over Duddingston Loch, located between the city proper and Duddingston Village (where my friends live). The pics at the end are in the Sheep Heid Inn, which is a 14th-century pub and one of the oldest in Scotland. It's, as Iain says, "a cozy wee place."

Duddingston Loch at sunset

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Day 2 Photos

Hi everybody. Here are the photos from day 2 (March 23rd) of my vacation. Plus - four of my favorites below. Enjoy!

Edinburgh Castle from Princes St. Gardens

Beautiful flowers in the gardens (and look - the sun!)

Nick & I on the Castle Esplanade, w/ Arthur's Seat in the background

We never both look good in a photo - never. (Those of you who have seen the St. Patty's Day photos know what I mean) But this one, taken in Dropkick Murphy's pub, is pretty good, kids. :)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Photos - Finally!

OK, here we go! Here are the pictures from day one (March 22nd) of our trip. Below are a few of my favorites:
Looking down from Edinburgh Castle

Nick w/ a red phone booth


Duddingston Kirk

Worth the Wait, I Promise

I know, I know. I'm slow with the photos. It was a busy weekend, so you'll have to forgive me.

Plus, there are currently 679 of them, so I'm actually doing you guys a favor by sorting through them first. ;) I promise some photos tonight.

In the meantime, here is one of my favorites. Nick using the tripod I gave him for Christmas to take a photo of a lovely Isle of Skye sunset.