Happy Anniversary Boston!

Happy Anniversary Boston!

Boston Harbor while sailing (ange r. 2010)

Boston Harbor while sailing (ange r. 2010)

We’ve been together ELEVEN years now, and I’m still enamored with you as I was the first time I ever visited (which was about a month before I moved to Boston)!

In the past eleven years I’ve seen this city grow and change, just almost as much as I have since I moved into my first apartment.

Here are some fun facts about my 11 years in Boston:

The day I found out I was accepted to Emerson was the day my father said that I’d never move back home. So far he’s right. I’m no longer the country girl; I’m a full fledged city girl.

It was also the day I found out I was going to be moving to a city that I had never been to before, and it didn’t bother me at all. Life’s an adventure.

The Boston Common & Public Garden are two of my favorite spots in the city.

Public Garden

I’ve had nine roommates and five apartments since 2002.
Two moved in together after we lived together, and then moved to different states. (2002-2003)
Two eventually ended up in NYC, but separately. (2003-2004)
One moved back to TN. (2004-2007)
One moved back to CA. (2007-2009)
One moved in with his girlfriend. (2009-20012)
One moved in last year. (2012)
And one I’ve lived with since 2007.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of mice, and one bat. I have no mercy for mice (I refuse to use glue-traps though), and my best advice for bats is to open a window and call animal/pest control.

I’m well versed in tenant/landlord laws & policies. Never underestimate the power of threatening a call to the local authorities about a violation. A kitchen was fixed very quickly once I threatened to call the health inspector.

My couch is older than me, is a little saggy, and yet I refuse to get rid of it. One day I’ll replace it… but it’s comfortable.

20130909_000005

I’ve packed and unpacked a lot of books and kitchen items in my day.

Hiring movers the last time I moved was the best idea ever. I also didn’t move September 1, so that helped tremendously.

Flat Stanley (or a version of Flat) has visited me three times to date. I have stock photos of the city for any future Flat’s. It’s also given me an excuse to be a tourist in my adopted city. There’s still quite a bit I haven’t seen.

Flat Stanley (e) @ Fenway

I haven’t had a car in 11 years, and rarely drive. My longest streak was three plus years without driving. Even when I was 16, I was never a fan of city driving. Some things don’t change.

I may live in the city, but Brookline has turkeys. Trying to cross the street when there are turkeys and Canadian Geese in the same area can be perilous.

Brookline turkey

I still get excited about taking public transportation. The trains fascinate me, I don’t mind taking the bus, and it provides me the opportunity to people watch. I’ve always said that everyone has a story, and public transportation lets me come up with some stories about people and sometimes hear their own stories too.

I don’t always understand people with thick Boston accents, and I still say tennis-shoes and pop sometimes.

I love going to Fenway Park when the Red Sox are playing the Cleveland Indians. It’s the best of both worlds for me. They’re both my teams, and so no matter what, I always win. (No, I will not choose a team. End. Of. Story.)

Fenway Park - Indians/Red Sox  8/2010

I think from the moment I stepped off the plane in 2002, I fell in love with this little “big” city. I’ve made more memories than I can count, have met some of the most interesting people, and some of them I’m privileged to call my friends. Oh,Boston, you’re my home.

Can I register to vote here?

I was watching TV the other night and saw and ad about the deadline to register to vote for this year’s elections. It made me think of the times I’ve registered to vote. Yes, times. I’ve had to register to vote twice.

For me, voting is such an important privilege and  something not to be taken lightly or for granted, especially as a woman. I find it sad when more people vote for American Idol or other reality TV shows and not in the election of officials who are going to govern their state and country. I ask myself which is more important, but I’m the only one who can decide for me. It’s just like I choose read up on candidates and issues to make informed decisions when voting, rather than just going along with how the whole family votes, what the popular people think, or who the neighbor’s baby picks during the televised debates (I remember a professor in college talking about this in college).
But, to each his or her own.
My point is – register to vote, inform yourself and vote because it does impact your life (and you never know when you’ll get an interesting story out of it)…

<stepping down off soap box>

Back to the whole topic of the blog…. “Can I register to vote here?”

The first time I registered I was in high school and not quite 18. I was able to register early because I would be the legal age by the time the elections rolled around. It was exciting in the fact that I was able to register and my friends were sitting at the table doing the whole process, but it was pretty uneventful. I found it pretty thrilling to finally be able to vote that first time (and I still do).

All throughout college & grad school I tried to make sure that I had an absentee ballot whenever I wasn’t going to be in Ohio to vote. I tried to do my duty. And then when I became a Massachusetts resident back in Fall 2004, I realized I needed to fulfill my duty again, but needed to figure out where the heck I could register to vote. I’m sure I could have done it at the RMV, but I don’t like to spend more time than I need to there since it always seems to be a zoo. I’m sure I could have figured it out online, but I was waiting for the bus outside the Coolidge Corner Arcade Building and saw a magical sign that said the Women’s League was registering people to vote that Saturday. Pay dirt! All I had to do was roll out of bed, walk down the street, fill out a form and POOF!, I’d be a registered voter in the good ol’ Commonwealth of Massachusetts (sorry Ohio).

Now, I had an idea of where I was going and what was going to happen.

Ha.

In my mind I would have walked into the Arcade and seen a table with a bunch of ladies sitting around, registering people to vote. Maybe someone outside would have been handing out fliers or talking to people, encouraging them to register if they haven’t. Something like what might have happened right after the Women’s Suffrage movement. Maybe not so much in the dress of way back when, but something more modern. It would all be very exciting. Sometimes I wonder about my imagination. <shakes head at self>

What really happened? I walked into the Arcade and didn’t see anyone sitting at a table. I walked around for bit, peering into businesses as to not look like a crazy person. Eventually I went back outside to look at the sign to make sure I was in the right place at the right time. Yup, right place, during the right time. But WHERE exactly do I register?!?!??!!?

I was determined to register to vote, so I looked around some more and eventually found a sign and followed breadcrumbs up to the 2nd floor to the door in which the sign said that’s where the registration was taking place. So I opened the door….

Only to see a wall of adult toys (yes, those kinds of adult toys), along with a gentleman, his lady friend and a store clerk discussing said adult toys.

Ummmm….

You could say I was a bit confused and very unsure if I was in the right spot. I’ve helped prepare for a few bachelorette parties in my day and have had to go into a few choice establishments, although this store was not like the places on 77 in WV, that’s for sure. I wasn’t horrified or shocked, but very confused to be in a lady-friendly porn store when all I was trying to do was register to vote. (Let’s all remember my original idea of what was going to happen….. Lesson to be learned: Let go of the expectations)

Thankfully the lady behind the counter was quick to ask if I needed help, to which I responded “Is this where I can register to vote?”

The answer was yes, and so I was on my way to being a registered voter again!  Yay!

And that’s how I registered to vote…. in a lady-friendly adult store in Coolidge Corner.

Just in case you aren’t registered to vote, or know someone who isn’t, here are some resources for you so you too can register and vote:

http://www.rockthevote.org/

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Voting/Register.shtml

How’d you register to vote?

Eat a popsicle, because it’s gonna be all right.

Hi.

I know.

Long.time.no. see.
But I’m here for the moment now though.

This morning I got on the bus with my bag, my purse & my cupcake carrier, almost full of cupcakes. I had just missed the CT2, which is usually the less full bus and got on the 47 where I was standing close to the bus driver, hanging onto my cupcakes for dear life, since it was a pretty full bus. Luckily at the next stop a few people got off and a girl offered me her seat. It was probably the look on my face of “Crap. No bars to hold onto. Let’s see how I’m going to balance everything and hang onto the hand strap, not pull my arm out of its socket and not flip the cupcakes over.” as I made my way down the isle of the bus.

There are kind people in this world, despite what the news wants you to believe. Many thanks to her!

So I happily sat down with my cupcakes on  my lap next to this older gentleman. He looked at me, looked at my cupcakes, looked at me again and said “You’re missing a few there, did you eat them?”

I smiled, giggled and said that I had shared with a few people already.  He then commented on how he’s not allowed to have certain things anymore because he’s going through cancer treatment. He is supposed to eat a high fiber diet, and can have oatmeal, but not the hard cereals with a lot of fiber. And he’s allowed to eat ice cream and popsicles, but ice cream isn’t his favorite so he sticks to sugar-free popsicles.

Personally, I like popsicles. I think they’re fun and remind me of being a kid, when life was a lot simpler. So, I asked this chatty fellow his favorite flavor. He was taken aback for a moment, and I think he was surprised that someone was asking about him, taking an interest in his likes and dislikes. He’s a fan of lemon and the red ones.

He talked some more about food and mentioned his cancer and the treatments he had to go through in the next few weeks. All the while, he was upbeat about it. As he was getting off to go to the hospital for his appointment I wished him luck. He looked back at me and said “Thanks, but I’m gonna be all right.” And he meant it.

The lesson for today: Go get your favorite flavored popsicle, and know that it’s gonna be all right.

http://gimmesomeoven.com/creamy-lemon-popsicles/http://gimmesomeoven.com/creamy-lemon-popsicles/

Retreat!

Retreat! Retreat!

I’m retreating this weekend — from the hustle & bustle of the city and  most technology (I left the laptop at home  (eeek!) — but have no fear, I have my phone) to Glastonbury Abbey for a spiritual retreat.

Last year, Brother Dan Horan talked about our relationship with God in terms of “dating”.  All relationships in our lives take work, whether it’s with parents, siblings, co-workers, friends or significant others,  and so does our relationship with God. He talks about this (and other things) in his blog: Dating God (Inspired by the life and writings of Francis and Clare of Assisi, I reflect on the possibility of understanding relationship of prayer as Dating God in the everyday and ordinary experiences of the twenty-first-century world. I also discuss other issues of timely import (at least to me). Check back here for reflections on contemporary matters and periodic musings.)

Last year I had a fantastic time and I’m excited to see what this weekend brings.

The topic this time:  “The Lesser-Known Stories of Francis: Lessons of Franciscan Spirituality for Today.”  — We’ll look at some of the early stories of the brothers about St. Francis and the early Franciscans from those “who were with him.” Most people know the stories about St. Francis with the wolf of Gubbio, preaching to the birds, encountering the Leper, etc., but many are not so familiar with the stories that come down to us from texts like “The Assisi Compilation” or the “Legend of the Three Companions.”  Some of these stories reveal another side of St. Francis, a side that is much more human and complicated, a side that reveals a whole array of human emotions (sadness, anger, forgiveness, compassion, etc.) that goes beyond the “saintly” image we might all have of Francis.  These will open new ways of thinking about Francis and Franciscan spirituality for us to reflect on and share. 

So off I go!

And if you’re so inclined, keep me, and everyone else on the retreat, in your thoughts and prayers. It will be much appreciated.

Movie: The Way — go see it!!!

A few weeks ago I ended up going to a screening of The Way when the promotional bus tour stopped in Boston.

The Way - The Movie (poster)

I almost passed it up because it was on a Wednesday night. Wednesday nights are one of my yoga nights, and if I skip yoga, it best be for a very good reason.  As it turned out, my yoga instructor was sick and we had a sub that I wasn’t so sure of, so off to the movies I went! (with a burrito in my purse for dinner — common occurrence when I go to the theater).

This is what I call “a good life decision” (going to the movie instead of yoga that is… although the burrito was a good decision too).  I had watched the trailer earlier in the day and thought the movie sounded good and interesting, but I had no idea how powerful it would really be for me.

Here’s a synopsis from the movie website:

“The Way” is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends, and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son’s desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn’t plan on is the profound impact the journey will have on him and his “California Bubble Life.”

Inexperienced as a trekker, Tom soon discovers that he will not be alone on this journey. On “The Way,” Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, each with their own issues and looking for greater meaning in their lives: a Dutchman (Yorick van Wageningen), a Canadian (Deborah Kara Unger) and an Irish writer (James Nesbitt), who is suffering from a bout of writer’s block.

From the unexpected and, oftentimes, amusing experiences along “The Way,” this unlikely quartet of misfits creates an everlasting bond and Tom begins to learn what it means to be a citizen of the world again. Through Tom’s unresolved relationship with his son, he discovers the difference between “the life we live and the life we choose.”

THE WAY, written and directed by Emilio Estevez, was filmed entirely in Spain and France along the actual Camino de Santiago.

I think that anyone watching the movie will get something out of it. For me, the movie spoke volumes about relationships, and how people come in and out of your life. You’re never quite sure who you’re going to meet, what lesson you’re going to learn from them, and sometimes the lessons surprise you.

Watch the trailer:

And go see The Way.  It comes out Friday, October 7, 2011.

“One is too few, and three is too many”

I keep up with a fair number of blogs, most of which show up on my iGoogle, but a few I get sent directly to my e-mail. Sometimes that’s the best way for me to actually be aware that there’s a new post, sometimes it just gets lost in my inbox. Plus I don’t even know how many little boxes of blogs I have on my main iGoogle page. I sometimes forget to look at them.

So this morning I finally got to a post from Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist that I got a few days ago. I went to her site instead of just reading it in my e-mail, and then decided to click on the “How to Blog” tab on her site. It’s not like I haven’t done this before — numerous times.  I just read it though and thought to myself  “Yup – great advice. I totally agree.”

That does not mean that I actually follow the advice.
This is clearly shown by my lack of posts in (almost) the past year.
And now that’s going to change.

Probably the number one reason (or close up there) why I get stuck:

2. Pick a topic — you can change it when you know what you’re doing.
This is like dating. Pick something that seems good, and if it isn’t, try again. Don’t get hung up on topic. As in dating, you’ll know when you’ve found one that’s the right fit. There are some obvious things, like pick a topic you have a lot to say about, pick something that interests you, pick something that will help your career. This is great advice, but you already know that if you look for a perfect match you’ll never actually go on a date.

Ah, yes. Relate it to dating, and now it totally makes sense to me since it’s a current (fun & interesting) past time  of mine (possibly more on that later — I have a lot to say about that topic).  This also goes back to my first post about how it doesn’t have to be perfect. Clearly I need to be reminded of this, and often — possibly with emblazoned neon lights that are in front of me at all times.  <shrugs shoulders, throws arms up & grins — at least I’m cute, right?>

But yes, the whole topic of blogging (and job searching) can be related to dating and not trying to strive for perfection all the time (among other things).  *sigh*

So now it’s time for a little challenge for myself…. To blog twice a week… for now… just to get me started.

My friend’s Grandmother has a saying “Manhattans are like breasts… One is two few and three is too many.”
Good logic in my mind, particularly about Manhattans, it applies here for me as well at the moment.  One blog post a week is too few, and three is too many.  Although, if I write more than two a week, it’s okay too.

It’s out there.
And now I have to do it.
Because otherwise, we’ll both know if I don’t.
And we don’t want that now, do we?

 

***Update… it’s really my friend’s GREAT Grandma — but the lady knows what she’s talking about when it comes to Manhattan’s 🙂

Batten down the hatch! Hurricane Irene is a comin’!

If you haven’t heard, there’s a hurricane heading up the East Coast.
Hello Irene!

And like everyone else in the path, I’ve been preparing. I went out and got some water, food, light sticks (every place was all out of “D” size batteries), and looked up some new recipes to make. I think it’s sort of like nesting syndrome — when the weather gets bad, I cook. We all need sustenance, right?

Yes, the hurricane is serious business, but the way that media is hyping up every single little thing is a bit much. I got a kick out of the French Toast Alert System, so I made Banana Rum French Toast this afternoon for dinner.

This is what you need:

This picture is minus the maple syrup. I forgot to get that out – whoops!

I cut up the bananas, threw in some rum, vanilla, cinnamon & maple syrup and nuked it for a bit, stirring periodically.

Yum!

I mixed milk, an egg, vanilla, rum & cinnamon together, dunked the bread and put it in a pan to cook.

Mmmmm.

Voila! Banana Rum French Toast!

So yummy and good, but I wasn’t done. Nope. Not at all! It was just sprinkling out and we still had power (Irene wasn’t even close… just her outer bands), therefore I still had time to make something else!

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I like the combination of peanut butter & chocolate. Actually, like isn’t even a strong enough word. I LOVE peanut butter & chocolate together. My favorite times of the year are Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter — only for the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins, Trees, Hearts & Eggs. So fresh. So yummy. So much wonderfulness packed into one little form. *sigh*

Any combination of peanut butter & chocolate usually makes me happy though. As a kid, I used to eat Little Debbie Nutty Bars. I also loved them, and every once in a while indulge in them now.  Recently on I was perusing through some food blogs and found Iowa Girl Eats had made Homemade Nutty Bars.

WHAT?!?!?

Hold the phone.  She figured out the right combination and just made it possible to indulge in something I love and feel good about it because it’s healthier!!!!  I’m so giddy with excitement, I can’t handle it.

And a hurricane is the PERFECT reason to make these. If I’ve made them and the power goes out, they’re the prefect food to eat. Peanut butter is protein & filling. Chocolate is just good all around.

I randomly found the same wafers at the little grocery store Friday night as I was getting provisions, so I also picked up chocolate & fresh peanut butter.

I wrote down some quick instructions and went to it.  Kristin said she “…spread a very thin layer of peanut butter on one cracker…”.  Ummm…. I don’t comprehend “thin layer of peanut butter”.

Nope. (Oh, those are all the ingredients you need…. minus the rum… I just hadn’t put it away yet.)

But I understand all of the other directions! (I like peanut butter. Don’t judge.)

Ummmm… blurry picture. Sorry about that. But, I got the melting of the chocolate down perfectly, which is good because there was no going back out in the rain to get more from the grocery store!


Four squares of chocolate later, they’re all ready for the fridge!

And I clean up while I wait…..

Mmmmm…. chocolate!

And 20 minutes later, the finished product!

Bring it Irene…. I’m ready for you!

Except I need more chocolate if I’m going to make more of these….