Archive for the ‘Random’ category

Walking around Somerville

August 29, 2011

While walking around Somerville yesterday, I made a few observations unrelated to Tropical Storm Irene. Like that crews have finally started working on 270 Cedar St. (check out an article I wrote about the property a few months ago):

And that there’s a Museum of Modern Renaissance on College Avenue:

And that Jesus is hanging out on Hall Avenue:


“I’m ba-ack!”

August 20, 2011

Wow, I’ve been MIA the last few weeks. Not that many people noticed, but I feel weird not having blogged for so long. So here I am, bright and early on a Saturday, ready to share my experiences from the last few weeks.

A few weekends ago I met up with some college roommates in Ocean City, Maryland, and we had a blast relaxing at the beach, going out for dinner and drinks and catching up. Here’s a picture of us at Liquid Assets, a bistro and package store with an awesome menu.

We started off the evening with martinis, shared a decadent cheese plate and enjoyed our delicious main courses. I got garlic chicken with roasted tomatoes, onions, fingerling potatoes, Benton’s bacon, spinach and herbs. One of my friends ordered the open faced slow braised Carolina pork BBQ with chipotle coleslaw and thick cut fries, and the other two got seared scallops risotto with roasted garlic and shallots, peas, mushrooms, fresh herbs and grana padano.

My garlic roasted chicken

The pork BBQ

The seared scallops risotto

The weekend following our Ocean City Extravaganza was a busy one as well. Jim and I hosted some friends, went to a Red Sox game and attended a two-day marriage prep class. The Red Sox game was a blast — thanks to our friend, Candace, we managed to get second-row seats!

Our view of the park

Unfortunately, the Red Sox did not win this game (and what’s worse is they lost to the Yankees), but we still had a great time. We enjoyed watching Dustin Pedroia do his little hop move before fielding the ball, making fun of Candace for her “crush” on Josh Reddick (I put crush in quotes because the rest of us sort of invented it) and going out after the game.

The marriage prep class was quite an experience. Due to a friend’s recommendation, we attended the one at the Espousal Retreat House in Waltham (completing a “Pre-Cana” marriage course is a requirement for a Catholic wedding, which we’re having). We showed up on Saturday to discover that 75 other couples in the greater Boston area were doing the same thing. Apparently, this was a record number. We spent the next couple of days together, listening to married couples share their marriage experiences and insights, receiving advice from a priest who’s worked with hundreds of married couples and discussing different aspects of marriage with out significant other.

The Espousal Retreat House in Waltham

In fact, they had each us one us complete forms devoted to specific topics, and then discuss our answers privately with our fiance (or fiancee). Topics ranged from finances to goals to religion. It was helpful to discuss those taboo topics you always try to avoid but really should confront. My fiance and I learned a few things about one another, but were pretty happy must of the subjects we’d already addressed (and were familiar with the other person’s perspective on).

The big theme of the weekend was: COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR SPOUSE. Even if you have an issue with another person (say, a friend of the family), you should always be willing to discuss your concerns with your husband or wife. Because you are a team and that person is there to help you out. They will feel validated knowing you trust them with your thoughts, and you’ll end up with a constant source of support and encouragement.

Last weekend my fiance and I headed to Syracuse, NY to take care of more wedding planning. We met with our priest for the first time, picked out the church readings and decided on the layout of the reception space. Also, my fiance designed wedding programs using his fine-tuned Excel skills. I was so proud of him. I had spent hours trying to figure out how to format Microsoft Word properly for a program. And then he goes ahead and whips up an awesome, perfectly formatted program on Excel in no time! I really think he should market his wedding program making skills!

Not only have I been so busy the last few weekends, but it seems like nearly every weeknight I’ve had some event to celebrate. For example, it was my sister’s 29th birthday on Wednesday (we had an awesome tapas meal at Solea in Waltham), my friend Bridget’s going away dinner on Tuesday, and my 3-year anniversary on August 10.

I love this card my fiance gave me for our anniversary

Finally, I feel like I can relax. I was so tired from all the recent happenings last night, that I went to bed at 8:30 (yup, on a Friday night). But now it’s 7 a.m. on a Saturday, I’ve already had my coffee and Stella D’oro almond toasts, and I’m feeling good! I’m really looking forward to this weekend — my only plan is to attend the Futures at Fenway doubleheader. Actually, I have one other plan as well: to celebrate my fiance’s acceptance into his graduate school program of choice! He’ll be attending Northeastern for political science starting in three weeks– yeah!!!

This Norton antivirus ad really cracked me up

August 3, 2011

I was immediately drawn to the sad guy eating a ketchup sandwich. Yuck, I thought. Why is he eating a ketchup sandwich? So I read the copy on the left.

Isn’t that hilarious, creative and effective? The message that a virus could ruin you financially is really communicated. If there hadn’t been a funny pic, I wouldn’t have read the copy in the first place. So go Norton for creating this great ad! By the way, it was in Wired magazine.

“I’m still thinking about that pizza…”

July 19, 2011

“I’m still thinking about that pizza…”

These words were said in French, but that’s what they meant. A couple of weeks earlier a friend and I had split a margherita pizza at a small joint in Sete, France (known for its famous poet Paul Valery, pink cliffs and water jousting competitions).

Sete, France

The pizza, which we ate with a fork and a knife, was very good, but were it not for my friend, the thought of it would have vanished from my mind within 24 hours. What’s the point of remembering a pizza when its purpose has long been served?

So when my friend made the comment about remembering the pizza two weeks later, I was caught off guard. What a different way of looking at life, I thought. Not just drawing  quick pleasure from everything, and forgetting it, but actually making the pleasurable experience live on.

I liked that– it made me feel special to be in his presence (even if the American idea of “you’re special” is not really part of French culture). If he remembered a particular pizza with fondness weeks later, he’d surely keep me in his mind for a while, right? Yes, I was comparing myself with a pizza.

Another statement he would make that sort of changed my paradigm was “C’est normal,” which is “It’s normal” in English. He would do me a favor like bring me a bouquet of handpicked flowers, help me completely rearrange my messy bookshelves, or surprise me with some homemade oreillettes, and I would enthusiastically voice my appreciation. To this he’d say “C’est normal.”

This struck me as funny because no one says this in English in this context (at least no one I know). You use the word normal to describe a heartbeat, a person’s upbringing, and a person’s psychological state of mind, but not to justify a romantic act.

As different as I thought it was, the expression sort of grew on me  It’s like people are so used to doing kind things for the ones they love that they don’t think they’re doing anything special.

Make the most of the present

June 24, 2011

Have you ever not pursued a friendship because the person was leaving town in a few weeks? Or not been especially nice to someone because you thought you’d never see them again? I’ve certainly been guilty of these things, but the older I get the more I realize these are big mistakes. Life has a way of repeating itself.  I mean, things don’t happen the same exact way twice (obviously). But elements of your past return in ways you’d never expect them to. For instance:

  • I knew a girl for just a couple days in France, but a couple years later unexpectedly drove her 10 hours to a wedding in Indiana (and 10 hours back).
  • I met a guy for just a few hours in Boston, but ended up going out with him 10 years later (and getting engaged).
  • A friend I briefly studied abroad with had me in her wedding eight years later and I’m going to have her in my wedding in September.
  • A town official I covered for a daily newspaper gave me French translation work several years later.

These are just a few of the many examples of people coming back into my life. I’ve been thinking about this lately because a new friend of mine (from my French conversation group) is moving to California in a month or so. It’s sad she’ll be leaving but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make the most of being her friend for the next month. We might end up in the same place at another point in our lives, and even if we don’t, it’s still worth hanging out.

You never know what might happen tomorrow (you could get struck by a lightning bolt and die), so you need to make the most of the present. Enjoy people while they’re with you, and don’t worry about whether or not you’ll see them tomorrow.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/kicks01/4795408812

Keeping my eyes open

June 12, 2011

I like to keep my eyes open for cool art. Here are a couple recent examples:

This old Life Savers ad is in the women’s bathroom of The Old Salt Restaurant in Hampton, New Hampshire (it says Life Savers are “a good rule to follow after eating drinking or smoking”). I went there last Sunday in celebration of my fiance’s parents’ wedding anniversary. They enjoy going to this restaurant, and we actually went there once together last year. Their specialty is seafood (I had a salad with fresh succulent crabmeat)!

This photo of a dog in Fenway Park (in the red Ted Williams seat!) is on display at the South End Buttery. I wanted to try it out a few weeks ago, and since then have gotten yummy coffee there on several occasions. My fiance ordered a burrito there on Friday, and although he liked it the waiter handed it to him on a steaming hot plate. I didn’t think that was too nice!

A successful trip to Syracuse

April 25, 2011

Not only did I take care of some wedding planning, but I brought back some awesome stuff.

A Chevrolet shirt in honor of my Chevy Cavalier

A mixer from some friends of the family (they had an extra one lying around)

An orchid from my mom

A haworthia cactus (also known as a zebra plant) from my mom

Easter chocolate

An old painting of mine

When tragedy strikes, look for the silver lining

March 23, 2011

Imagine– you’ve just spent an amazing vacation full of fun, carefree living, tantalizing conversation, and exploration. While you’re sad to be headed back home, the joy of a week well spent overpowers any feelings of longing or nostalgia.

You encounter some road bumps on the way home (mostly related to your car’s functioning), but none of them compare to what’s about to happen. You wake up from a heavy night of sleep, walk into the hotel parking lot, and discover your car has been broken into.

Not only was the driver’s side window smashed, but practically half of the valuable possessions to your name were taken. More than $1,500 worth of stuff. The worst part is you could have prevented the crime. If you had been sure to remove all the valuables from view, the perpetrator probably wouldn’t have targeted your car  in the first place.

The combination of sadness your vacation is over, anger your car was burglarized, and regret you didn’t do the right thing can be a lot to handle.

Luckily, right after the incident I met a nice girl from Baltimore who cheered me up. Her philosophy is that the burglary was a sign from above. It’s a higher power trying to help me out in some way. Maybe he or she is telling me to be more careful in my life so that something worse doesn’t happen. Or that possessions aren’t everything.

In the last few days I’ve been mourning the “passing” of my stolen items. The retro Syracuse Chiefs shirt my fiance bought me last summer, the heart-shaped measuring spoons he just purchased because our measuring spoons are so mismatched, all the music from my time in France (where will I find all of these songs? Some are so obscure…), a bathing suit that fit me just right, my trusty GPS, my whimsical earrings from Kittery, Maine, and the list goes on.

Syracuse Chiefs shirt that was stolen

The objects I miss the most are the ones with sentimental value. Even if I am able to recoup some insurance money for the stolen items, there are many that can’t be replaced. So maybe the silver lining I must take away from this experience is that even objects with sentimental value aren’t as important as being healthy, having quality relationships, learning from our mistakes, and other facets of life. I must try to remind myself of this when I start missing that hair clip I’ve had since eighth grade.

I love Scranton, Pennsylvania and nearby Moosic

March 22, 2011

I’ve long loved the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Even before “The Office” began depicting the lives of office employees in the “Electric City,” I’ve acknowledged the city’s charms. Awnings, alleyways between streets for behind-the-house parking, and a valley location are just a few of Scranton’s lovely characteristics.

I got to know Scranton by occasionally visiting my friend Katie and her family there (check out Katie’s blog here). And I would often drive through Scranton to get to and from Loyola University Maryland (where I went for undergrad), and to visit friends living in Philadelphia, New York City, and Maryland.

When you’re headed southbound on Interstate-81, you go by some Scranton exits; soon after the exit for “Moosic.” I’ve never really been there (once I filled my car with gas just off the exit), but I adore the name. It’s basically a fun way to say “music.” I’ve sort of wondered what goes on in Moosic, and my question was partially answered on Sunday.

While I was at a rest stop off the New Jersey Turnpike (on the way back from Charleston, South Carolina), I noticed this lock in a bathroom stall.

If you look closely you’ll see that the lock was made by Comtec Industries in Moosic, Pennsylvania. A cursory search of the Internet indicates that the company is now owned by Scranton-based Scranton Products. I was unable to find out how many people work for Comtec Industries/Scranton Products in Moosic. Maybe many of these jobs have disappeared over the years.

Photos taken at dusk in Melrose, Massachusetts

March 21, 2011

My fiance and I returned from our trip to Charleston, SC last night. I will surely be blogging about our amazing getaway in the near future. In the meantime, here are two pictures I took the night before we left for South Carolina. I captured the shots from Melrose’s Main Street.

Doesn’t the sky look like it’s out of a Renoir painting?


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.