March, 2010

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Playing with Shadows, Stones + Leaves, Again

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

While autumn is my favorite time of year to visit the Mt. Auburn Cemetery, spring always hold some surprises, so I ventured over there this morning. There were a lot more people than usual, and I wonder if that has anything to do with the Easter season, or if it was just because it was a sunny (albeit cold) morning. Anyway, here are a few shots from today:

Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetery
Mt Auburn Cemetary
Mt Auburn Cemetary
Mt Auburn Cemetary

The rest are up here on Flickr.

Saturday Drive to Marblehead

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

I had to get out of the house this morning, so up I went to Marblehead (35-40 minute drive). I went for a walk from the neck to the lighthouse point and then drove into town. It was very empty, which I guess is to be expected in late March, before the summer crowds arrive. Don’t let the bright sunshine fool you — it was freeeeeeezing and I needed to sit in a coffee shop for a while once in town so that my fingers and nose would warm back up!

Marblehead in March
Marblehead in March
Marblehead in March
Marblehead in March
Marblehead in March

A few more pictures are up on Flickr too

Hectic Weeks Make for Cranky Kats

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I’ve completely misjudged this week and have bitten off more than I can chew, I’m afraid. Ever have one of those weeks?

Here’s a run-down, not counting work related items (which are massive this week) and the fact that I am feeling under the weather (allergies? a spring cold? Who the hell knows….)

1. a sewing project, that while small, needs to be complete by Friday morning and hasn’t been started yet (should take about 2-3 hours)

2. a baking project that has three sub parts, needs to be complete by Friday morning as well; only one of which is started (and ultimately may get dropped; we’ll see)

3. a writing project with no concrete deadline, but I would love to spend all day working on

4. Spring cleaning, both apartment and Ludwig von Volkswagen; April 1 deadline

5. the sweater project; April 30 deadline and about one-third complete. Goal is to have one more piece done by Sunday

6. Need to run to the framing shop to have two large photographs matted and framed; One has a deadline of April 23 and it often takes 3 weeks without incurring rush charges, so I should get on this; Might have to push to weekend.

Seems like less when I write it down, but good thing that I am an insomniac and can actually knit or write all night. Maybe then I’ll get it all done.

A Wonderful Start to Spring

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

View to the South
View to the South (Boston’s Customs Tower)

View to the North
View to the North (The Old North Church)

Bubbling Beets
Bubbling Beets

Voignier
Yummy Voignier

Salad Craving
Salad Craving on the first Day of Spring

Dinner chez Liz
Dinner Chez Liz

The Hostess with the Mostest
The Hostess with the Mostest

Available for Your Viewing Pleasure

Friday, March 19th, 2010

So, the Slingbox is up and running again. After the meltdown of my Tivo in January, I disconnected it, but with things on US TV that some people can’t get overseas (like University of Maine hockey games, right Jean?), I hooked the whole deal up again. If anyone wants access (both to live US TV, broadcast in Eastern Time zone) and stuff that I record on Tivo (happy to take requests), let me know and I’ll send the details.

The only caveat, of course, is that you don’t delete my entire library of shows. [grin]

Random things from my run yesterday afternoon

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

1. Harvard Square is great for reading the signs the homeless people hold to entice you to give them spare change. There are the usual “Spare Change”, “Homeless, Please help”, “Clean and Sober”, and “God Bless”. My favorites from yesterday were “I am the Marlboro Man. Can I bum a smoke or a quarter?” and “Too Ugly to Turn Tricks”, the latter being from a scrawny young 20-something and yeah, he was pretty sad looking.

2. The volume of broken umbrellas was phenomenal. I counted at least 20 before I got bored with the counting. Also, lots of sump pumps draining basements.

3. Between Inman and Harvard, along Cambridge Street, there was a steady stream of gummi bears littering the sidewalk every 6 to 10 feet, at random intervals. Then, between Porter and Inman, there was an equally steady stream of goldfish crackers on the sidewalk.

4. It’s March, yet apparently the first day of 50+ degree weather brought out all the flip-flop wearing fools. It’s March. It’s New England. Along the same lines, both Tory Row and Grafton Street pubs already were putting out the outdoor seating sections. Very optimistic of you people.

5. People in general and college students specifically still haven’t learned to share the sidewalk. I know, my own fault for running in the most congested areas in Cambridge and I should run next to the river like everyone else, but still.

Trottoloni Pasta with Crimini and Proscuitto

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Ingredients
1 pound curly pasta (in this case, trottoloni)
3 tablespoons evoo
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 pound crimini or portobello mushrooms
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 pound prosciutto di Parma, cut into lardons*
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating

Directions
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. In a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, heat oil until shimmering. Add the onions, garlic and chili flakes and cook until light golden brown and wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute over high heat 5 minutes, until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Drop the tagliatelle into the boiling water and cook according to the directions. Drain the pasta, reserving the cooking liquid, and add to the pan with the mushrooms. Toss over high heat 1 minute to coat the pasta, adding a splash of the cooking water if necessary to keep the sauce from being too “tight”. Add prosciutto and toss to mix. Serve immediately, topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

* I had no idea what a ‘lardon’ was. It just means strips, in this case about 1/2 inch wide.

Beer, Beer and More Beer

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Lord Hobo

… You know that your evening will end up in a rather drunken state when…. the first beer of the night is called “Arrogant Bastard“… [grin]

With Jean unfortunately already on a flight back to London (after a lovely day in Portsmouth, NH, where the drinking really already started, I might add), Joe and I headed to a new pub just a few short blocks (4, to be exact) away from my apartment. Lord Hobo just opened a few weeks ago, to acclaim from beer aficionados and with great food reviews as well. This evening was my introduction to it, even though I’d been to the pub in it’s previous incarnation as the B-Side Lounge.

We didn’t intend to drink through the entire beer menu (good thing, too, as the draught menu itself is at least 50 long, bottles another page or so, plus the cocktails… but I digress), but we did sample more than half a dozen each and with the exception of the Allagash piss-water that Joe had at one point, the beer definitely has some quality going. My personal favorite of the night was the Shark Attack; least favorite was the Dead Guy (not often that you can say you drank a Dead Guy and survived a Shark Attack in one evening, eh?) They even served a Munich weissbier that didn’t taste skunked. Overall, I give Lord Hobo a thumbs up.

We didn’t try the food, but it looked good.

For the record, I learned two things on Saturday night: 1. Don’t try to match a British soldier pint for pint because you will end up stumbling home, barely able to remember where you live and 2. It is likely unwise to spend the half the evening discussing one’s love life (or lack there of) with one’s best friend’s fiance. At one point (after I was already three sheets to the wind), he told me that apparently I scare people — in a good way [grin] and at another point, Joe “threatened” to find 10 single men in the bar that would like to sleep with me. Thankfully, he didn’t go round to ask anyone, because can’t say that pimping is looked upon nicely in Cambridge-town. All in good fun and we had a lot of laughs. The only thing missing was Jellybean being there, but we’ll have to go back, because their cocktail menu looked mighty nice as well… lots of drinks with bubbles (scroll down a bit for the cocktails)!

I spent Sunday on the couch watching hockey and nursing a headache. Joe spent it on his way back to London. I hope British Airways treated him kindly.

On Insomnia

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Being the geek that I am, I have a laptop on my bedside table. Yes, I clearly have an internet addiction. I actually use it as a DVD player because the TV is in the living room not the bedroom, and most every night, I plan on watching a film to put me to sleep. Being the insomniac that I am, this seems to be the only way that I can even get some shut-eye.

But here is the thing: for the last month or so, I have been trying to watch the same film every night and every night, almost exactly at the same time, the same thing happens: I actually fall asleep. The movie is Chocolat (one of my favorite movies, one that I have seen a few hundred times, even while awake, and one that is slow moving and quiet enough that I actually can fall asleep to it. Also, it’s appropriate for the season, it being lent and all).

So, every night, between minute 5:08 of the film (where Vianne says to Armande “We’d like to rent out the patisserie and the apartment above”) and minute 7:36 (when Anouk says “A real one? Like the Count de Monte Cristo?”), I am out like a light. And I pretty much am awake again right as the closing credits roll. At this rate, I wouldn’t even be able to tell you that Johnny Depp was actually in the movie!

There is that saying that insanity is repeating the same action over and over and expecting a different outcome. At this point, the outcome is pretty clear: apparently the only two hours of real sleep that I get a night is while watching Chocolat (much of the rest of the night is spent getting up every 20 minutes as I can’t sleep). Maybe I should just put it on a constant loop. [grin]

Spring Knitting Project

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I tend not to knit in the summer time. Besides the obvious fact that there are so many other cool things to do outdoors in the summer, knitting in the summer tends to get pretty hot on the fingers and sweaty fingers does not for good knitting make. It still being a few months until summer, however, I decided last week to start on a little more ambitious project for myself: a lace-weight 100% baby alpaca yarn cardigan in yes (of course) green. It’s a open edge (meaning, no band on the ends) and I intend to make semi-kimono-like sleeves for it — in other words, loose and flowing. The yarn is super light and it’s been a bit of an effort to work with it because of that (not to mention that I bent a pair of #1 needles already so I went out and bought two new sets in case I do that again; I tend to knit pretty tightly), but so far, so good. I am a little less than half-way up the back piece, so maybe one-sixth (or perhaps more like one-seventh) of the way done in a weeks time.

Spring Knitting Project

I’ve given myself until April 30 to complete, which might be overly ambitious, but we’ll see. My fingers are definitely getting a workout with such fine yarn.