Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another Reason I Love Portsmouth!

Item in this week's City of Portsmouth Community Newsletter:

The Indoor Pool will be featuring two “Dive-In Movies” in December – “Jaws” on Dec. 10 and “Finding Nemo” on Dec. 15, both from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., for moviegoers 13 and up who will watch from inner tubes in the darkened pool or from the pool deck. Cost is $5 for Portsmouth residents and pool members, $8 for everyone else. Pizza slices and drinks will be sold for $1 each. Maximum of 40 participants who must pre-register and pay in advance at the pool’s front desk.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving, Part II

Yum. We had a lovely holiday, spent with both of our families and full of food, drink, and chaos. ;) We've been laying low this weekend, sleeping late and hanging around the house. Last night's dinner was another full helping of each of the Thanksgiving standards: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash, and sweet potatoes.

However, today, we came up with some more creative uses of our leftovers. I found this recipe for "Egg Nests" in a Yankee magazine my mother gave me, and Justin adapted a potato balls recipe to incorporate our leftover mashed potatoes and some of our leftover turkey. Both yummy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Thanksgiving is in just a couple of days and I think I've been planning what I'm making for a couple of weeks now! My sister is hosting us all in Hometown, but my mother and I are both bringing a number of items. Justin and I don't have a big enough place yet to host family at the holidays, so I always try to bring as much as I can to make up for it. Here's what I'm bringing this year:
  • Celery Sticks stuffed with Chive Cream Cheese (other stuffed celery recipes here)
We're also splitting the day with Justin's family, so we'll be bringing Bread Pudding to his mom's house in the late afternoon. Tomorrow morning, I'm working a bit (until about 10am), then we're baking - baking - baking!

I'm using recipes from Martha Stewart for the two desserts and we'll see how they turn out. The celery and pecan appetizers, however, are family traditions (though I've listed recipes from the web). They were actually my grandmothers' signature appetizer dishes, so I'm a little nervous about messing them up. Hopefully, they'll turn out "just like Grandma used to make" and we can have a little reminder of our dear departed grandmothers on the holiday.

Whether you're traveling or hosting, wherever you go, have a lovely Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

'arry Potter, Part 1

Now some of you know this and some of you don't (hey - that made me sound like DJ Kool), but I'm a big ol' Harry Potter nerd. This wasn't always so - I once refused to read any of the series, on the grounds that I was already a big Lord of the Rings fan and adding another series (whose movies came out around the same time) was just bandwagon-jumping.

However, when I went back to Edinburgh in May of 2004 to visit my friend Kate (who'd spent the whole year abroad there), she had a ticket already bought for me to see "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." So, like it or not, I had to be caught up on the movies in one night. And, as was easily predictable, I loved them.

Kate then gave me the first three books as a gift and you can see them in the photo below, on the lefthand side. However, in addition to being a new Harry Potter nerd, I have always been a literary nerd and booklover. Because she gave me three of the series in the British juvenile edition (published by Bloomsbury Press), I decided I had to buy the rest of the series in the same edition. I know - I'm a little crazy when it comes to books. Luckily, a Canadian publishing company (Raincoast Books) produced a version of the Bloomsbury edition for the Canadian market, so I was able to buy the other four books on my annual PEI vacation. Whew - major disaster narrowly averted, right?

Anyways, part of the point here is that Justin and I were at Barnes & Noble last week and I found some awesomeness in the childrens section. See below:

Yes, that is a boxed set containing two books from the Hogwarts Library, specifically "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and "Quidditch Through the Ages." The books, as reproduced, include fake wear, imprints of Diagon Alley publishers, introductions by Dumbledore, and in the case of "Fantastic Beasts," notes in the margins by Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Can you stand it?!? I barely could.

They were written by Rowling to support a charity called Comic Relief, which gives 100% of the proceeds of book sales (less taxes) to improve the lives of children around the world. I love it.

(Stay tuned for part 2 of "see, I'm a really big Harry Potter nerd.")

Another Cross-Post about the Wedding! (Sorry)

We got our engagement photo CD in the mail today and they turned out great! We took them at the museum in Portsmouth where I've worked for over two years. The site is about ten acres and has over thirty historic buildings on it that we used as great backdrops.

The photographer was a little worried about the brightness of the photos because we did them around sunset and it got dark very quickly. However, we ended up with 39 shots that had plenty of light and so we're pleased. I've picked out some of my initial favorites and posted them below. Enjoy!

This was our first shot, taken in front of
the cooper's (barrel maker) workshop

Under an arbor by the strawberry patch. I do
hearth cooking in the blue house behind us!

In front of the 1695 First-Period Sherburne House,
one of the oldest houses in New Hampshire

And a nice shot as the light was fading, in front of the 1762 Chase House. I actually think I might use this image for our Christmas cards, as I think the lantern makes it somewhat festive!

(Cross-posted on Wer Ond Wif)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Scots are Coming! The Scots are Coming!

Two lads anyone would want at their wedding, right?

As regular readers and good friends know, I spent the fall semester of 2003 studying in Edinburgh, Scotland. On our first night out to the pubs, my new study abroad friends and I met the gangly gent on the right (David) and became fast friends with him in our time there. Months later, I went back to visit a friend who had spent the full academic year there and met the blondie on the left (Stevie), who was an old friend of David's. And thus two going-on-six-year-long friendships were born.

As some of you also know, I've been back to Scotland a few times since and seen these guys (and some other Scottish buds, who will be mentioned later) almost every time. They've come over to the U.S. and stayed with me when I lived in Boston. Thanks to the wonders of the Interwebs, we've also stayed in regular touch via email and Facebook.

So when Justin and I were creating our wedding guest list, it was a no brainer for me to invite my Scottish lads. I wasn't at all sure they would be able to make it due to the long distance and expense involved, but I was really hoping they could. This week, I got pretty solid confirmation from them that they plan to be in attendance. As my silly soon-to-be husband is wont to say, "that squees me full of glee." And yes - in answer to your unasked question, those are the kilts they will be sporting in style!

(Cross-posted at Wer Ond Wif, with slight changes)

Saturday, November 14, 2009


So here's something I've been mulling over. Until now, I've tried hard to keep my three blogs and their content separate. Hodoeporicon, Museophilia, and Wer Ond Wif have their own spaces in my head and on your computer screen, so their content should be consistently different, right?

Well, maybe not always. The thing is - sometimes, in a given week, I spend more of my physical, emotional, and mental energy on the wedding or my work than I do on the other parts of my life (which are usually covered here). And in the end, that means that one or the other of the blogs gets neglected.

Now, I don't want to give the ax to any of them. Hodoeporicon and I will have been together for four years in March, Museophilia and I are coming up on two years in January, and I obviously want to stay with Wer Ond Wif at least until the wedding in June. However, I've decided to make life a little easier and give myself permission to cross-post occasionally.

I hope this works out for all involved and none of you desert me altogether! The idea here is to keep my creative juices flowing in different ways and maintain a high quality of content. If you're not convinced yet, let me drop this nugget of information on you. The other blogs have gotten detailed, reasonably interesting posts in the last week or so. My plan for Hodoeporicon today? Would have been an itemized list of the contents of my and
Justin's lunch yesterday . . . . Yeah. I think this will work out nicely.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Real Estate

Riffing a bit off yesterday's post, I once lived in Edinburgh. Now, I live here.

In some ways, Portsmouth and the 'Burgh are similar. Now, despite my love for the Old Town by the Sea, I would never claim that P'mouth can equal the sophistication and glamor of the capital city of Scotland. However, both cities give off an aura of importance, a sense of the epic, if you will. You look around at the architecture and the streets and the natural features (the river for Portsmouth; Arthur's Seat, Castle Rock, etc. for Edinburgh) and you know that important things happened here.

The photo above is from a photography blog called The Daily Portsmouth. Check it out for a better description of the photo's background and setting. Or, just click on the photo to make it bigger and soak in the grandeur. :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Word Redux

(NOTE: Justin and Andrew will enjoy this post, I imagine. Probably also Kate and Monica, if she still reads the blog. Why? The former two because it's about the different meanings one word can have and they are sometimes casual, sometimes serious linguists. The latter two because it's about Edinburgh and what it meant to me, and by extension to them. And forward we go!)

The other evening, I saw a photo on a Scottish blogger's site, titled "Morningside by Night." I remembered the name (it's a neighborhood of Edinburgh), but couldn't remember where in the city it was located. So I looked it up on Google maps, realizing as I did so that I hadn't typed "Edinburgh, Scotland" into that site for longer than I could remember. That in itself was strange to me - before, during, and after my time there, I looked at map views of the city a lot.

I eventually found Morningside (south & just a touch west of the main part of the city, near the A702). Finding it prompted me to swing north and east and seek my old stomping grounds. Because you know what? I had forgotten the name of that neighborhood, too.

Eventually, find it I did. And I had a moment of "Newington . . . right . . . I lived there."
Such simple words, but imbued with such meaning. I LIVED THERE. I woke up in the mornings hearing the chirp of tiny birds in Holyrood Park. I walked to class through the streets of Newington and the lanes of the Meadows. I picked up coffee and sandwiches at the shops along Clerk St. I settled down with a pint and good friends in a pub on West Preston St. I went to sleep at night to the sounds of university students singing their drunken way home in Pollock Halls.

And now, I live about five minutes from a small town called Newington. For Portsmouth residents, Newington is the collection of malls, fast food restaurants, and speedy oil change places along Woodbury Avenue. It's far from special. When I first visited State U, I got turned around and couldn't find my way to downtown Portsmouth. I ended up driving through Newington instead and thinking to myself, "Oh my. Why does everyone like Portsmouth so much? This is Strip Mall City." Now, it's where we go when we want fast food, something from a big box store or to see a movie - that's it.

So, yeah. Your personal relationship to a word can indeed change dramatically. I wish I could trade New Hampshire's Newington for Scotland's. :)

Friday, November 06, 2009


Last night, Justin and I attended NERAX North. What is NERAX North, you say? Well, that's a valid question. As J. pointed out, a NERAX sounds like a Seussian character. However, it stands for New England Real Ale Expo and the North designation means it took place in Haverhill, as opposed to Somerville, where the March event takes place.

In essence, it's a small beer drinking festival for those who appreciate "real ales." According the the NERAX website, real ale is "top-fermented beer that complete its secondary fermentation in the [vessel] from which it is served. Cask-conditioned beers are real ales served from the brewer's cask."

At any rate, we ended up spending four hours at
The Tap, the hosting restaurant, and had a lovely time sampling (small) quantities of a selection of American and British ales. The beers we tried are listed below, along with tasting notes from the NERAX booklet.
  • O'Hanlon's (Whimple, Devon, England) - Port Stout. A black beer with roast malt in the aroma that remains in the taste, but gives way to hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. ABV: 4.8%

  • Marshall Wharf (Belfast, ME) - Wrecking Ball Baltic Porter. Complex malt backbone, brewed with molasses. ABV: 7.8%

  • Gwynt y Ddraig (Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan, Wales) - Haymaker Cider. A fruity medium cider bursting with the flavour of apples. A true Farmhouse Cider with a smooth finish. ABV: 6.5%

  • Inveralmond (Inveralmond, Perth, Scotland) - Lia Fail. The Gaelic name means Stone of Destiny. A dark, robust, full-bodied beer with a deep malty taste. Smooth texture and balanced finish. ABV: 4.7%

  • American Flatbread (Burlington, VT) - London Calling. They brew this traditional English style as one of their flagship session ales using Maris Otter malt, UK Goldings to bitter, late boil additions of UK Goldings and UK Fuggle, and on this batch, a whirlpool addition of locally grown Goldings and Cascade, fermented with a London ale yeast. ABV: 3.5%

  • Orkney (Quoyloo, Orkney, Scotland) - Skull Splitter. An intense velvet malt nose with hints of apple, prune and plum. The hoppy taste is balanced by satiny smooth malt with fruity spicy edges, leading to a long, dry finish with a hint of nut. ABV: 8.5%

  • Ridgeway (South Stoke, Reading, England) - Ivanhoe Pale Ale. Traditional warm, roasty, and fully-rounded English malts are punched up by a subtle yet direct shot of aromatic and refreshing English hop bitterness. ABV: 5.2%
On our way back to the car, we walked up an alley between two old brick buildings and I felt compelled to take the photo at the top, after stopping in my tracks and saying, "Ooh, look. It's like we're in New York, circa 1890." I'm such a history nerd.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

New Bookshelf

You guys!!! I got a new bookshelf for my birthday a few weeks ago and Justin kindly put it together for me on Friday and it's set up now and it's AWESOME. :) We now have an entire wall of books!

Peep it: