Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year!

I bet you all are tired of hearing about how tired i am all the time. Well, I will leave that out of the equation, but let me just tell you that the following took place within three days.

daN and i had about 22 hours each more worth of work to do than we thought we did. We had planned on leaving for Maine on Saturday, December 22 (our anniversary!). We didn't. We spent the day wrapping and cooking and finishing presents and cleaning our filthy apartment. We got about 4 hours of sleep, cleaned some more and packed the car, and then we left for Maine around 9:30 in the morning. We were one of three cars on the road, so we actually made it to Rockport to see daN's nephew within 3.5 hours. Whew! We weren't even speeding!

Sunday night, we hung out with daN's brother and sister-in-law playing Karaoke Revolution. Christmas Eve (Monday), I helped my Mum get ready for the evening's festivities at Nana's house, and then we took off for her place. Christmas Eve at Nana's is always wonderful. I love my family. It's so much fun, and we really savor each other. I feel so lucky.

Christmas morning, we actually slept in just a little, and then Christmas presents happened where we were staying at daN's brother and sister-and-law's place, and another of his brother and his girlfriend were also there. People arrived a tad late, as is how it goes, and the orgy of present opening commenced, followed soon by dinner. We got to hang out with everyone there (including daN's mother, brothers, and their respective significant others) and then we went to my Dad's house in Gardiner for Christmas there with his girlfriend and my halfsister and my brother. It was a good time. He made a real full on dinner, which was a wonderful break from a lot of the rich foods that had been on our plates in the meals before (not that there is anything wrong with rich food).

Yesterday, I took a bus home. Let me just say that I had a great time. daN and i stole walks, which made a big difference. Thank goodness! But he is still in Maine, and I went to work today and will be going to work tomorrow, and then walking to South Station from work and taking the bus up to Maine tomorrow afternoon.

At any rate, I'm kind of glad to be back to MA for the day or two. I got to have coffee with Q and Kate in Davis Square this afternoon and do some more housework yesterday afternoon. It wasn't the bad.

New Year's plans? I have no idea. I am sort of hoping that we'll be able to come back to Boston on New Years Eve instead of New Year's Day so that I have a day to recoup before going back to work for another three days. We'll see, though.

I can say this... or, ASK this, rather: when are we allowed to make our own Christmas tradition? It's tough to do when you live in another state and don't have kids. It seems that children are the metonymy for the license to one's own holiday traditions. Can getting closer to 30 and just not being energetic enough anymore for all the running around be a good enough reason?

That all being said, I had fun. I am getting to the really fun point where I get so excited about giving things that I forget that I will receive things, too. And I got some great presents. Extremely heartwarming presents. There are always the hilarious gifts from my uncle that hint at my baron and void womb; the framed photo of me and daN from my Mum's wedding; the cranberry chutney, spiced blueberry jam, and the handmade candies from my Mum; the cashmere stoll from my Dad; the great movies and trail guides... it was a good time. And all usefull! Ooh! I also got some Bailey's Irish Cream and an inflatable mattress! AND, daN got me an iPod dock that has all kinds of great converters for other countries and it's completely portable! And it sounds great. I'm listening to my podcast of CarTalk right now.

I should go. I have to pack for Maine. Again. And i would LOVE to do some yoga! Yeah... i'm getting excited now. Anyway, happy new year!
Visited States Part II

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

It's a bit more respectable than last year's. Hopefully, this year I'll add California and some other West Coast states to the list.

Friday, December 21, 2007

On a Closing Note before the weekend before Christmas:

I think I am finally settling into adulthood. It feels great to be able to say that. daN and I have decided we’re going to move south of the river to Jamaica Plain sometime soon after the new year, but we’re going to rent. His commute from Somerville to Foxboro is too long to put it off any further, and we realized that we won’t be able to afford house payments AND graduate loans. Since daN plans on going back to school soon, and then myself after that, it didn’t seem like a good idea to put ourselves in the position where we wouldn’t have ANY money to spare each month, knowing how much grad school costs.

At any rate, the point is, we’re settling nicely into adulthood and making good decisions and are more comfortable with ourselves, our pasts, our interests, and where we are in our lives now. It feels good.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Long awaited, I finally posted photos of Mum's wedding, our Christmas tree, hanging out at Dad's this summer _ with many artistic views by daN of Dad's cat Toonces _ and, also, on my new Facebook profile, some of Friendsgiving. Sorry, but I don't know the link for that one yet. However, you can see the others at


Saturday, December 08, 2007

1. "Don't Catch Colds" Pass

We are putting up our tree today, so not a long post, because we need to go GET the tree.

Anecdotally, I think that my "Don't Catch Colds" pass has expired. For several years, I managed to not catch whatever was going around. This year, I've been catching nearly everything that's been going around. I guess my immunity was good for a certain set of microbes, and now the microbes have outgrown my immunity, so now I have to catch new microbes and strengthen my immunity.

That's all well and good, but the upshot is that I've been unusually under the weather this season. It's a good thing I decided against being in the company holiday play.

Also, I'll be 28 this Thursday! If you're in the Boston area or have the evening of Saturday the 15th free, we'll be celebrating at Do Re Mi Karaoke at 442 Cambrigde Street in Allston. Please come! But let me know so I can reserve the properly sized room.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Catalogue Choice: Ever feeling like you're getting an inappropriately large number of catalogues?

Paper use has a huge impact on the environment, and each year catalogs use 53 million trees and billions of pounds of paper. Processing and transporting this paper results in billions of pounds of
carbon dioxide emissions, and requires 53 billion gallons of fresh water. This website gives people who shop via catalogs the choice of which catalogs they will receive and those they wish to stop.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Kudos for the Week

1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold -- a book
Read it. It's a wonderful narrative whose structure supports the theme without making it difficult to read, which is more than I can say for many other books that I've read recently. While it deals with heavy hitting subjects and afterlife, it still manages to reinforce the idea that human experience matters. It might be my favorite book that I've read this year -- I don't know, though, it's a tough call between The Lovely Bones and John Irving's recent opus Until I Find You.

2. Little Miss Sunshine -- a movie
Last night we finally watched this movie, and it's a hillarious and yet life-affirming black comedy. It managed to expose the trials of human awkwardness in a funny way without being overly pejorative or critical. To me, it seemed to celebrate the varieties of human experience while being sympathetic to its many horrors. Little Miss Sunshine was just the right combination of "these poor people" + "holy shit, that's really funny!" + "oh, no, what next?" to retain its poignancy and avoid being too painful a la typical Ben Stiller movies.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Courtesy of the New York Times Online: 100 Notable Books of 2007

Published: December 2, 2007

The Book Review has selected this list from books reviewed since the Holiday Books issue of Dec. 3, 2006.

Skip to next paragraph


This list will run in the Dec. 2 print edition of the Book Review.

More Notable Books Lists

2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997


The 10 Best Books of 2007

Fiction & Poetry

THE ABSTINENCE TEACHER. By Tom Perrotta. (St. Martin’s, $24.95.) In this new novel by the author of “Little Children,” a sex-ed teacher faces off against a church bent on ridding her town of “moral decay.”

AFTER DARK. By Haruki Murakami. Translated by Jay Rubin. (Knopf, $22.95.) A tale of two sisters, one awake all night, one asleep for months.

THE BAD GIRL. By Mario Vargas Llosa. Translated by Edith Grossman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) This suspenseful novel transforms “Madame Bovary” into a vibrant exploration of the urban mores of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

BEARING THE BODY. By Ehud Havazelet. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24.) In this daring first novel, a man travels to California after his brother is killed in what may have been a drug transaction.

THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT HEAVEN BEARS. By Dinaw Mengestu. (Riverhead, $22.95.) A first novel about an Ethiopian exile in Washington, D.C., evokes loss, hope, memory and the solace of friendship.

BRIDGE OF SIGHS. By Richard Russo. (Knopf, $26.95.) In his first novel since “Empire Falls,” Russo writes of a small town in New York riven by class differences and racial hatred.

THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO. By Junot Díaz. (Riverhead, $24.95.) A nerdy Dominican-American yearns to write and fall in love.

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. By André Aciman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23.) Aciman’s novel of love, desire, time and memory describes a passionate affair between two young men in Italy.

CHEATING AT CANASTA. By William Trevor. (Viking, $24.95.) Trevor’s dark, worldly short stories linger in the mind long after they’re finished.

THE COLLECTED POEMS, 1956-1998. By Zbigniew Herbert. Translated by Alissa Valles. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $34.95.) Herbert’s poetry echoes the quiet insubordination of his public life.

DANCING TO “ALMENDRA.” By Mayra Montero. Translated by Edith Grossman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) Fact and fiction rub together in this rhythmic story of a reporter on the trail of the Mafia, set mainly in 1950s Cuba.

EXIT GHOST. By Philip Roth. (Houghton Mifflin, $26.) In his latest novel Roth brings back Nathan Zuckerman, a protagonist whom we have known since his potent youth and who now must face his inevitable decline.

FALLING MAN. By Don DeLillo. (Scribner, $26.) Through the story of a lawyer and his estranged wife, DeLillo resurrects the world as it was on 9/11, in all its mortal dread, high anxiety and mass confusion.

FELLOW TRAVELERS. By Thomas Mallon. (Pantheon, $25.) In Mallon’s seventh novel, a State Department official navigates the anti-gay purges of the McCarthy era.

A FREE LIFE. By Ha Jin. (Pantheon, $26.) The Chinese-born author spins a tale of bravery and nobility in an American system built on risk and mutual exploitation.

THE GATHERING. By Anne Enright. (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, paper, $14.) An Irishwoman searches for clues to what set her brother on the path to suicide.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. By J. K. Rowling. (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $34.99.) Rowling ties up all the loose ends in this conclusion to her grand wizarding saga.

HOUSE LIGHTS. By Leah Hager Cohen. (Norton, $24.95.) The heroine of Cohen’s third novel abandons her tarnished parents for the seductions of her grand-mother’s life in theater.

HOUSE OF MEETINGS. By Martin Amis. (Knopf, $23.) A Russian World War II veteran posthumously acquaints his stepdaughter with his grim past of rape and violence.

IN THE COUNTRY OF MEN. By Hisham Matar. (Dial, $22.) The boy narrator of this novel, set in Libya in 1979, learns about the convoluted roots of betrayal in a totalitarian society.

THE INDIAN CLERK. By David Leavitt. (Bloomsbury, $24.95.) Leavitt explores the intricate relationship between the Cambridge mathematician G. H. Hardy and a poor, self-taught genius from Madras, stranded in England during World War I.

KNOTS. By Nuruddin Farah. (Riverhead, $25.95.) After 20 years, a Somali woman returns home to Mogadishu from Canada, intent on reclaiming a family house from a warlord.

LATER, AT THE BAR: A Novel in Stories. By Rebecca Barry. (Simon & Schuster, $22.) The small-town regulars at Lucy’s Tavern carry their loneliness in “rough and beautiful” ways.

LET THE NORTHERN LIGHTS ERASE YOUR NAME. By Vendela Vida. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $23.95.) A young woman searches for the truth about her parentage amid the snow and ice of Lapland in this bleakly comic yet sad tale of a child’s futile struggle to be loved.

LIKE YOU’D UNDERSTAND, ANYWAY: Stories. By Jim Shepard. (Knopf, $23.) Shepard’s surprising tales feature such diverse characters as a Parisian executioner, a woman in space and two Nazi scientists searching for the yeti.

MAN GONE DOWN. By Michael Thomas. (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, paper, $14.) This first novel explores the fragmented personal histories behind four desperate days in a black writer’s life.

MATRIMONY. By Joshua Henkin. (Pantheon, $23.95.) Henkin follows a couple from college to their mid-30s, through crises of love and mortality.

THE MAYTREES. By Annie Dillard. (HarperCollins, $24.95.) A married couple find their way back to each other under unusual circumstances.

THE MINISTRY OF SPECIAL CASES. By Nathan Englander. (Knopf, $25.) A Jewish family is caught up in Argentina’s “Dirty War.”

MOTHERS AND SONS: Stories. By Colm Toibin. (Scribner, $24.) In this collection by the author of “The Master,” families are not so much reassuring and warm as they are settings for secrets, suspicion and missed connections.

NEXT LIFE. By Rae Armantrout. (Wesleyan University, $22.95.) Poetry that conveys the invention, the wit and the force of mind that contests all assumptions.

ON CHESIL BEACH. By Ian McEwan. (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $22.) Consisting largely of a single sex scene played out on a couple’s wedding night, this seeming novel of manners is as much a horror story as any McEwan has written.

OUT STEALING HORSES. By Per Petterson. Translated by Anne Born. (Graywolf Press, $22.) In this short yet spacious Norwegian novel, an Oslo professional hopes to cure his loneliness with a plunge into solitude.

THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST. By Mohsin Hamid. (Harcourt, $22.) Hamid’s chilling second novel is narrated by a Pakistani who tells his life story to an unnamed American after the attacks of 9/11.

REMAINDER. By Tom McCarthy. (Vintage, paper, $13.95.) In this debut, a Londoner emerges from a coma and seeks to reassure himself of the genuineness of his existence.

THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES. By Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Natasha Wimmer. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.) A craftily autobiographical novel about a band of literary guerrillas.

SELECTED POEMS. By Derek Walcott. Edited by Edward Baugh. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) The Nobel Prize winner Walcott, who was born on St. Lucia, is a long-serving poet of exile, caught between two races and two worlds.

THE SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ. By Dalia Sofer. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $24.95.) In this powerful first novel, the father of a prosperous Jewish family in Tehran is arrested shortly after the Iranian revolution.

SHORTCOMINGS. By Adrian Tomine. (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95.) The Asian-American characters in this meticulously observed comic-book novella explicitly address the way in which they handle being in a minority.

SUNSTROKE: And Other Stories. By Tessa Hadley. (Picador, paper, $13.) These resonant tales encapsulate moments of hope and humiliation in a kind of shorthand of different lives lived.

THEN WE CAME TO THE END. By Joshua Ferris. (Little, Brown, $23.99.) Layoff notices fly in Ferris’s acidly funny first novel, set in a white-collar office in the wake of the dot-com debacle.

THROW LIKE A GIRL: Stories. By Jean Thompson. (Simon & Schuster, paper, $13.) The women here are smart and strong but drawn to losers.

TIME AND MATERIALS: Poems, 1997-2005. By Robert Hass. (Ecco/Harper-Collins, $22.95.) What Hass, a former poet laureate, has lost in Californian ease he has gained in stern self-restraint.

TREE OF SMOKE. By Denis Johnson. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.) The author of “Jesus’ Son” offers a soulful novel about the travails of a large cast of characters during the Vietnam War.

TWENTY GRAND: And Other Tales of Love and Money. By Rebecca Curtis. (Harper Perennial, paper, $13.95.) In this debut collection, a crisp, blunt tone propels stories both surreal and realistic.

VARIETIES OF DISTURBANCE: Stories. By Lydia Davis. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, paper, $13.) Dispensing with straight narrative, Davis microscopically examines language and thought.

THE VIEW FROM CASTLE ROCK: Stories. By Alice Munro. (Knopf, $25.95.) This collection offers unusually explicit reflections of Munro’s life.

WHAT IS THE WHAT. The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng: A Novel. By Dave Eggers. (McSweeney’s, $26.) The horrors, injustices and follies in this novel are based on the experiences of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan.

WINTERTON BLUE. By Trezza Azzopardi. (Grove, $24.) An unhappy young woman meets an even unhappier drifter.

THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION. By Michael Chabon. (HarperCollins, $26.95.) Cops, thugs, schemers, rabbis, chess fanatics and obsessives of every stripe populate this screwball, hard-boiled murder mystery set in an imagined Jewish settlement in Alaska.


AGENT ZIGZAG: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal. By Ben Macintyre. (Harmony, $25.95.) The exploits of Eddie Chapman, a British criminal who became a double agent in World War II.

ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE: A Life. By Hugh Brogan. (Yale University, $35.) Brogan’s combative biography takes issue with Tocqueville’s misgivings about democracy.

ALICE: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, From White House Princess to Washington Power Broker. By Stacy A. Cordery. (Viking, $32.95.) A biography of Theodore Roosevelt’s shrewd, tart-tongued older daughter.

AMERICAN CREATION: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic. By Joseph J. Ellis. (Knopf, $26.95.) This history explores an underappreciated point: that this country was constructed to foster arguments, not to settle them.

THE ARGUMENT: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics. By Matt Bai. (Penguin Press, $25.95.) An exhaustive account of the Democrats’ transformative efforts, by a political reporter for The New York Times Magazine.

ARSENALS OF FOLLY: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race. By Richard Rhodes. (Knopf, $28.95.) This artful history focuses on the events leading up to the pivotal 1986 Reykjavik summit meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev.

THE ART OF POLITICAL MURDER: Who Killed the Bishop? By Francisco Goldman. (Grove, $25.) The novelist returns to Guatemala, a major inspiration for his fiction, to try to solve the real-life killing of a Roman Catholic bishop.

BROTHER, I’M DYING. By Edwidge Danticat. (Knopf, $23.95.) Danticat’s cleareyed prose and unflinching adherence to the facts conceal an undercurrent of melancholy in this memoir of her Haitian family.

CIRCLING MY MOTHER. By Mary Gordon. (Pantheon, $24.) Gordon’s deeply personal memoir focuses on the engaged and lively Catholicism of her mother, a glamorous career woman who was also an alcoholic with a body afflicted by polio.

CLEOPATRA’S NOSE: 39 Varieties of Desire. By Judith Thurman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.95.) These surgically analytic essays of cultural criticism showcase themes of loss, hunger and motherhood.

CULTURAL AMNESIA: Necessary Memories From History and the Arts. By Clive James. (Norton, $35.) Essays on 20th-century luminaries by one of Britain’s leading public intellectuals.

THE DAY OF BATTLE: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944. Volume Two of the Liberation Trilogy. By Rick Atkinson. (Holt, $35.) A celebration of the American experience in these campaigns.

THE DIANA CHRONICLES. By Tina Brown. (Doubleday, $27.50.) The former New Yorker editor details the sordid domestic drama that pitted the Princess of Wales against Britain’s royal family.

THE DISCOVERY OF FRANCE: A Historical Geography From the Revolution to the First World War. By Graham Robb. (Norton, $27.95.) Robb presents France as a group of diverse regions, each with its own long history, intricate belief systems and singular customs.

DOWN THE NILE: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff. By Rosemary Mahoney. (Little, Brown, $23.99.) Mahoney juxtaposes her solo rowing journey with encounters with the Egyptians she met.

DRIVEN OUT: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans. By Jean Pfaelzer. (Random House, $27.95.) How the Chinese were brutalized and demonized in the 19th-century American West — and how they fought back.

DUE CONSIDERATIONS: Essays and Criticism. By John Updike. (Knopf, $40.) Updike’s first nonfiction collection in eight years displays breathtaking scope as well as the author’s seeming inability to write badly.

EASTER EVERYWHERE: A Memoir. By Darcey Steinke. (Bloomsbury, $24.95.) A minister’s daughter confronts her own spiritual rootlessness.

EDITH WHARTON. By Hermione Lee. (Knopf, $35.) This meticulous biography shows Wharton’s significance as a designer, decorator, gardener and traveler, as well as a writer.

THE FATHER OF ALL THINGS: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam. By Tom Bissell. (Pantheon, $25.) Bissell mixes rigorous narrative accounts of the war and emotionally powerful scenes of the distress it brought his own family.

THE FLORIST’S DAUGHTER. By Patricia Hampl. (Harcourt, $24.) In her fifth and most powerful memoir, Hampl looks hard at her relationship to her Midwestern roots as her mother lies dying in the hospital.

FORESKIN’S LAMENT: A Memoir. By Shalom Auslander. (Riverhead, $24.95.) With scathing humor and bitter irony, Auslander wrestles with his Jewish Orthodox roots.

GOMORRAH: A Personal Journey Into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System. By Roberto Saviano. Translated by Virginia Jewiss. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) This powerful work of reportage started a national conversation in Italy when it was published there last year.

THE HOUSE THAT GEORGE BUILT: With a Little Help From Irving, Cole, and a Crew of About Fifty. By Wilfrid Sheed. (Random House, $29.95.) A rich homage to Gershwin, Berlin and other masters of the swinging jazz song.

HOW DOCTORS THINK. By Jerome Groopman. (Houghton Mifflin, $26.) Groopman takes a tough-minded look at the ways in which doctors and patients interact, and at the profound problems facing modern medicine.

HOW TO READ THE BIBLE: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now. By James L. Kugel. (Free Press, $35.) In this tour through the Jewish scriptures (i.e., the Old Testament, more or less), a former professor of Hebrew seeks to reclaim the Bible from the literalists and the skeptics.

HOW TO TALK ABOUT BOOKS YOU HAVEN’T READ. By Pierre Bayard. Translated by Jeffrey Mehlman. (Bloomsbury, $19.95.) A French literature professor wants to assuage our guilt over the ways we actually read and discuss books.

IMPERIAL LIFE IN THE EMERALD CITY: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone. By Rajiv Chandrasekaran. (Knopf, $25.95.) The author, a Washington Post journalist, catalogs the arrogance and ineptitude that marked America’s governance of Iraq.

THE INVISIBLE CURE: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS. By Helen Epstein. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) Rigorous reporting unearths new findings among the old issues.

LEGACY OF ASHES: The History of the CIA. By Tim Weiner. (Doubleday, $27.95.) A comprehensive chronicle of the American intelligence agency, from the days of the Iron Curtain to Iraq, by a reporter for The New York Times.

LENI: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl. By Steven Bach. (Knopf, $30.) How Hitler’s favorite director made “Triumph of the Will” and convinced posterity that she didn’t know what the Nazis were up to.

LEONARD WOOLF: A Biography. By Victoria Glendinning. (Free Press, $30.) Glendinning shows Virginia Woolf’s accomplished husband as passionate, reserved and, above all, stoical.

A LIFE OF PICASSO: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932. By John Richardson. (Knopf, $40.) The third, penultimate installment in Richardson’s biography spans a dauntingly complicated time in Picasso’s life and in European history.

LITTLE HEATHENS: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression. By Mildred Armstrong Kalish. (Bantam, $22.) Kalish’s soaring love for her childhood memories saturates this memoir, which coaxes the reader into joy, wonder and even envy.

LONG WAY GONE: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. By Ishmael Beah. (Sarah Crichton/-Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $22.) A former child warrior gives literary voice to the violence and killings he both witnessed and perpetrated during the Sierra Leone civil war.

THE NINE: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. By Jeffrey Toobin. (Doubleday, $27.95.) An erudite outsider’s account of the cloistered court’s inner workings.

THE ORDEAL OF ELIZABETH MARSH: A Woman in World History. By Linda Colley. (Pantheon, $27.50.) Colley tracks the “compulsively itinerant” Marsh across the 18th century and several continents.

PORTRAIT OF A PRIESTESS: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece. By Joan Breton Connelly. (Princeton University, $39.50.) A scholar finds that religion meant power for Greek women.

RALPH ELLISON: A Biography. By Arnold Rampersad. (Knopf, $35.) Ellison was seemingly cursed by his failure to follow up “Invisible Man.”

THE REST IS NOISE: Listening to the Twentieth Century. By Alex Ross. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30.) In his own feat of orchestration, The New Yorker’s music critic presents a history of the last century as refracted through its classical music.

SCHULZ AND PEANUTS: A Biography. By David Michaelis. (Harper/ Harper-Collins, $34.95.) Actual “Peanuts” cartoons movingly illustrate this portrait of the strip’s creator, presented here as a profoundly lonely and unhappy man.

SERVICE INCLUDED: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter. By Phoebe Damrosch. (Morrow, $24.95.) A memoir about waiting tables at the acclaimed Manhattan restaurant Per Se.

SOLDIER’S HEART: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point. By Elizabeth D. Samet. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23.) A civilian teacher at the Military Academy offers a significant perspective on a crucial social and political force: honor.

STANLEY: The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer. By Tim Jeal. (Yale University, $38.) Of the many biographies of Henry Morton Stanley, Jeal’s, which profits from his access to an immense new trove of material, is the most complete and readable.

THE STILLBORN GOD: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West. By Mark Lilla. (Knopf, $26.) With nuance and complexity, Lilla examines how we managed to separate, in a fashion, church and state.

THOMAS HARDY. By Claire Tomalin. (Penguin Press, $35.) Tomalin presents Hardy as a fascinating case study in mid-Victorian literary sociology.

TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN: The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton. By Sara Wheeler. (Random House, $27.95.) The story of the man immortalized in “Out of Africa.”

TWO LIVES: Gertrude and Alice. By Janet Malcolm. (Yale University, $25.) Sharp criticism meets playful, absorbing biography in this study of Stein and Toklas.

THE WHISPERERS: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia. By Orlando Figes. (Metropolitan, $35.) An extraordinary look at the gulag’s impact on desperate individuals and families struggling to survive.

THE YEARS OF EXTERMINATION: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945. By Saul Friedländer. (HarperCollins, $39.95.) Individual testimony and broader events are skillfully interwoven.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanks- and Friendsgiving

I had a lovely time. daN's Aunt Carol and Uncle Ron are gracious hosts of Thanksgiving every year, and i always have a great time. This year was particularly fun, as we did not rush to go catch a movie, but instead stuck around for a while and watched "Hot Fuzz" -- positively delightful. Also, many people stayed as late as we did this year, and that made for a joyous occasion overall.

I got to have Mum for a few ours all to myself on Friday, and it was so much fun! I always have a great time with her, and it was lovely to see her.

Oren stopped by Friendsgiving this year! It was delightful! He was on his way to play at Narrow's Tavern, a bar in Waldoboro on Friendship Street, and he wanted to stop by and say hi at what turns out to have been , yes, the 10th anniversary of Friendsgiving. It was a joyous affair. There were approximately 39 people this year, and i got to have a good deal of wine and tofu pot pie, which Judy made. And let me tell ya -- she makes the BEST vegetarian gravy EVER, and in the tofu pot pie with carrots and potatos...mmm...something about being in heaven.

And all weekend, I didn't feel rushed. That was one of the best parts. The other best part was getting to see so many people who mean so much to me all at once. That's what the holidays are all about.

The End.

P.S. I will be putting up a Christmas tree and decorating soon, but not until it's at least December 1. I just can't bring myself to do it in November.
A Note on My Schedule: An interchange:

A dear friend: "Dear Lindz, I was very happy to see you this weekend. Are you heading back towards a more sane organization of your time? I hope so.

myself: " :) i hope so. thanks for the note. yes, i believe i am. just when
i was considering taking the director of the company christmas show
show up on her offer to having me drastically cut down on my rehearsal
schedule and still be in the show (but still be there all 5 days in
production week -- very reasonable), i caught the cold that's been
going around. so i guess my body is helping me to keep in check. so,
i have politely backed out of the show, which should help :) i have
to laugh at how attached i am to what i percieve to be obligations.

much much love, lindz"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Button Sex Free Cave Treadmill"

That was the subject line of some spam that I have the honor of having received tonight. Just had to share.

I am so excited about the holidays. The drama never ends with me, and I wound myself up at the doctor's office with heart palpitations and tachycardia, which is what always happens when I ignore the warning signs my body gives me (like getting really sick) and work through it anyway and don't take any time to chill out. The doctor's order? Chill out.

So I took a day off an enrolled in the company's Christmas play. That was, perhaps, a bad idea, but I'm skipping rehearsal tonight (I told the director) and might end up dropping it altogether.

Imagine me saying all of this and going through all of this with a smile on my face. That's what has happened. I just kind of expected this to all feel like a clusterfuck. However, I've taken the signs for what they mean and have slowed down. That's why I went out for Karaoke on Patty's birthday, drinks on Saturday night, and am missing rehearsal tonight. Missing things is quite uncharacteristic for me, but Iit could grow on me.

I am so thankful for my friends. One of the things that operated as a wake-up call to me was to realize that I have no idea how my friends are doing -- all these people who inspire me all the time. So, that is to say, thank you for inspiring me, and thank you for being my friend. Sorry I've been a sink hole for communications. I hope it won't happen again.



Sunday, October 28, 2007

Quick Update

The meeting went great last week! I am so relieved and happy. We were all quite sleepy at work, and this week has been kind of ... "oh... that's right, I do that here, don't I? What was my job like before this meeting took over my life?..." But the meeting was a huge success. We were incredibly complimented for the excellent organization, and we just might have made a difference in the world because of it. A lot of barriers were broken down; people apparently talked about issues that have been taboo for the last 25 years. It feels good to know that I was part of fostering that kind of environment.

So that's been that. Halloween is coming up, and daN and i are working on our costumes this weekend. But also, we are going to play Boggle and go for a walk in the Fells! YAY!

In other news, last night I went to a bar to watch the Red Sox games (or the first five innings). I had utterly forgotten how much I like watching baseball.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm ALiVe...

Hey there -- just a note to my friends to let you know that i'm still alive and almost on the other end of my crazy time. I'm on call for work this weekend, and the big meeting that i mentioned in the last post is almost here -- tomorrow and the day after. I've been working 12+ hour days at work the last week (and don't forget the hour commute on either end), and I'll be working from 7am - 9pm the next two days. But it will all be worth it. This meeting is very exciting, and I'm proud to be a part of it, and I'm glad that it's about to happen. I'm exhausted! It takes a lot of time to plan meetings. I designed the programs, worked with a printer to get them done, tracked the speakers' itineraries and made hotel rooms and other travel arrangements along with itineraries for them, kept track of registration and waitlist manually, printed name badges for all of the attendees, poster presenters, and speakers...Oy vey.

Also, i had a WONDERFUL time at Mum's wedding. The best part was watching Mum drive up the hill in a tractor to the pulpit made of corn stalks, pumpkins, and hay bales. It was AWESOME. Mum and Rick both teared up while she was singing to him during the ceremony. It was a lovely wedding. Someday I'll have pictures of it available on my online photo album.

Last weekend, i had a blast with Patty, Kat, and Rebecca from the good old days of Hampshire College. Friday night, we rented a room at Do Re Mi Karaoke in Allston, and it was SO MUCH FUN. They have a great selection of songs to choose from -- and TONs of them. It's BYOB, and costs about as much as an evening of bowling would. I had a blast. The following day, we drove out to Northampton and Amherst to wander around Hampshire College reminiscing and play with the goats and drink fresh pressed apple cider. Revisiting Northampton's wonderful independent shops was also a lot of fun, and so was going to our favorite Japanese restaurant. Mmm.

The weekends were marred only by the fact that i hadn't been home in a while and officially ran myself ragged -- i got a full blown sinus infection sometime after getting back from Monhegan around October 2, and I suffered through it until i finally got some antibiotics a week and a half ago. Within 48 hours of going on them, i felt much better. It was my first time on antibiotics in three years (since my sinus surgery) and that's certainly a record for me.

It was funny -- I called my doctor's office from work and told them that I wanted my doctor to call me so I could talk to her about my sinus infection when she had a chance. The receptionist said, "she'll probably want you to come in -- they don't really like to prescribe things over the phone anymore. Do you want me to set up an appointment with you?"

"No," I said, "please have her call me back first."

"Alriiight," she responded, as if to say, "suit yourself."

She called me back about an hour later. "The doctor wants to know if amoxicillin is alright."

HA! That's right! Because you look back at my medical history, and 90% of it is sinus infections. I know it when i have it.

Anyway, that's all to say that this month has been really good but hard, made harder by being really sick for more than half of it, and made harder by the fact that I can't stand how dirty the bathroom is, etc. I have had a lot of fun, but I have also been really sick and am just starting to feel "normal" again. But I wouldn't have traded any of it for the world. How often do I get to go to Monhegan, see my mum get married, and reunite with old roommates at Hampshire Homecoming? So they all happened on the same month. Oh well. Oh yeah -- somewhere in there, i got a deep tissue massage because i really needed it.

Yesterday, I had the day off and was home for the first time in over a month, and i realized i had forgotten how to relax. That was troubling. It didn't take me long to figure it out again, though :)

Sorry this post is so scattered. There's been so much good stuff that i can't possibly contain all of it. The point is, i miss you guys and hope you're doing well. And pretty soon, i might even be able to see you.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monhegan Island, 2007 -- Deep Release (aka, really long entry)

So. I hadn't realized how tense my shoulders were on a very deep level until this weekend. That's because they're still twitching in release. Yoga on Monhegan Island is something really special. At the risk of sounding woo-woo (and i am woo-woo, so deal with it), I connected with the earth during my yoga this time in a way that i maybe hadn't ever before, and when lying in savasana (the final resting pose) my shoulders just let loose -- and started twitching! And they still are when i let them relax. Which tells me two things:
1. I should go get some deep tissue massage as soon as possible. It's a little worrying that when I relax my shoulders instead of holding them in an icy lock, they convulse around l/seisurely.
2. There really is something about being in a truer nature with no electricity, no buzzing of electrical things like computers, machines in general, and the background level of excess light and sound. I obviously have a hard time relaxing in a city setting. That was pretty obvious when we returned yesterday after being in the car, and rather than being relieved to be home as usual, i felt.... stressed out about it. All this unnecessary stuff, all this noise, all this light, all the buzzing.

Even stranger is that my allergies have kicked back in now that I have returned home. Whether it's from stress, whether it's because the pollution down here has irritated them again, or whether it's percentage of decorative flowering trees (male semen plants spewing forth pollen with fewer female plants around to absorb it all) -- I am feeling downright sick again today. Did that happen when I was in the middle of a forest on an island in Maine? Nope. Fascinating.

But I'll get off my soapbox now. We all know that Hippy Lindsay is happier in Nature.
Monhegan is a special place at THAT.

Friday morning, the Bogs, Dave, daN, and I took the 10:00 boat out to Monhegan Island. The sea was choppy, and i actually got a little nausea for the first time on a boat ever simply because it was foggy and I couldn't see the horizon if i tried. We made it out there in good time, and shortly thereafter, the sun came out :) Just in time for us to get settled and go out for a sprint down to Lobster Cove, around the corner to one side to a shipwreck that is more rusty every time i see it, and around the other corner is the house of Jaime Wyeth, famous Maine watercolorist. It was near sunset, and the colors of autumn meeting the steely sky and ocean were overwhelming. Literally. It brought me to tears as I stopped dead in my tracks. How beautiful.

And the next couple days proceeded like that. We stayed there on Friday and Saturday nights, leaving on the 12:30 boat on Sunday. But it felt like a lot longer. I would love to have been there for a lot longer indeed. Fortunately, Monhegan is one of those places where a little bit of time is quite healing, and i don't leave feeling as though i wasn't there for long enough. I just appreciate every bit of being there.

Maybe it's that there's nothing else to do there, but everything feels so much better on Monhegan. Spend the days hiking the trails, but it's small enough to hike back to the house for lunch and dinner so you don't have to carry anything other than water and an extra layer for when it gets cold. Spend the evenings playing games and talking and going to bed early. There's literally nothing to do but to enjoy being there. Since I was physically removed from daily life, i didn't find myself thinking about future plans, or what i had to do or who i was going to try to see that day somehow (as is often the case when we go somewhere that there are many people whom we know and love) -- all we had to do was be there. All we had to do was enjoy eating the incredibly simply and yet somehow all-too-flavorful food. All we had to do was take in the views, revel in bouncing from rock to rock, revel in the contrast of fall colors, revel in the Fairy Forest and pause to make them a nice house. Nothing to do but be present.

When we got home last night, i caught myself rushing around. Why? It wasn't going to save me any time. I found myself habitually doing three things at the same time. (!!?!?) I might be the queen of multitasking, but that doesn't mean that i should be doing it in my spare time. I am making a point of doing one thing at a time right now in my spare time. I have been driving myself crazy, and now i'm going to have to spend $250 on a deep tissue massage to unwind the damage I have helped to do, totally unwittingly. I need to pay more attention!

Enough about that. Here are the pictures:

On that note, it's going to be a very busy few weeks, and I'll be off-the-radar.
  • Weekend of October 7, daN and i are going to Maine again for my Mum's wedding! YAY!
  • Weekend of October 14, some beloved Hampshire friends of mine are visiting, and we'll be going to Hampshire for bits of the alumni weekend.
  • Weekend of October 20, i'll be preparing for a big meeting that has been taking up all my time at work lately.
  • Weekend of October 27, no offense, i'll be introvert-ing pretty hardcore.
Please accept my apologies in advance. Even more noticeably than usual, i won't be reading or writing back to emails as much, nor will i be returning phone calls as much. I just can't right now. Usually, i'd get around to doing those things on weekends. During the weeknights, i'll be busy keeping the rest of my life running (cleaning, cooking, eating, and sleeping). Please don't take it personally when I don't get back to you, because I'm trying to be realistic here in admitting that it probably won't happen in a timely fashion.

OK -- that's long enough. I'm going to go shower and make some pie (not at the same time).

One thing at a time.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I have been feeling quite reflective of late.

Here are some examples:

I was walking to the T on Thursday morning, the morning of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year for humans and animals) and realized that that day felt like New Year's to me. Not the way that January 1 feels, but the way that I would expect January 1 to feel. I have never been able to identify with that date as a new year. Autumn full moons, on the other hand, always make me feel as though tides are turning (and they are!) and the earth is starting a new part of its course (and it is! it tilt literally changes directions, remember!). Fall and Spring are much more natural times of year for the New Year to happen, planetarily speaking. Maybe it's because of the school year, and maybe it's because I truly sense my connection with the earth, but I decided that Rosh Hashanah, at least this year, was my New Year, too.

In contrast to my prior location of vocation, the Pru, which announces itself at 15 miles, my current location is tiny and old, practically undetectable between Faneuil Hall and the Financial District. No one knows where I work because it's this cool old building, and the door is an unassuming piece of work between a shoe store and a liquor store. I sometimes imagine myself a spy as I covertly slip into the building between the crowds of Freedom Trail Tours.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Fashion Statement

Over the last few years, it's been dawning on me that i really do enjoy fashion and on a certain level, always have, whether I let myself show it or not. In 4th grade, I designed a fashion line of my own. It didn't go anywhere, of course, but rather was a statement of my fascination with how fabric and color interact with the human form, not to mention my own expression feminity, my personal drag.

Puberty and the grunge era coincided for me, as it did for many of us, and it seemed like a perfectly convenient time for me to swear off my interest with looking nice and calling attention to my pubing self. For the next few years, baggy jeans and oversized T-shirts were my uniform -- the uncomfortable teen's mumu. Theatre became my outlet for looking girly, as it presented me with countless opportunities to sport houndstooth suits and classy heels, red evening dresses and lipstick, as well as a safe place to experiment with how make-up and ace bandages can make me look like a man.

As I moved out of my teen years, I had fun personalizing the jeans and t-shirts by turning them into "hide-me-hippy" clothing, a series of fashion choices that visually placed me in the demographic of my personal and political preferences. This trend continued into college, where my clothing often went well with my pajamas (convenient for rolling out of bed, eating a bowl of cereal, and going to class).

After college (which, remember, I finished at the ripe old age of 23) I began noticing the desire to find "my personal style." Bouncing back and forth between more closely fitting T's and experimenting with black pants and pink skirts, I think I finally found my personal style last fall. Having an office job made it harder in some ways and easier in others; there are restrictions, but it also gave me reasons to actually buy nice looking clothing that cost more -- something I had never had a reason to do in the past. Since I'm so cheap and feel bad every time I spend money on myself, I needed a reason to buy things that looked nice.

So I've embraced the bright, splashy skirts, mock turtleneck cap sleeve shirts with gathered necklines, and of course, 3 1/2 inch saddle shoe heels. I enjoy combining business casual with hippie scarves, and have noticed that the new haircut looks great with big earrings. I have found that I prefer wearing brown over black. I have figured out what make-up flatters me and what I can do without. I have also figured out that if it's not comfortable, I'm not going to wear it. That one has cost me money to figure out, but it will cost me less in the long run. I've spent a lot of money on cheap shoes and shirts that looked fine but were ultimately painful. Spending more money on something comfy AND flattering is much better than having a LOT of cheap stuff in my closet that I never wear.

These changes have happened over time. My yoga practice has allowed me to reconnect with long forgotten childhood memories (good and bad) and childhood passions (e.g. art -- I hadn't done art for 10 years and have started drawing again). It only makes sense that I would reconnect with my enjoyment of fashion and "dressing up." For a while, I was afraid of what I was "changing into." Instead, I've come to understand that I am getting closer to becoming a whole person again, and that admitting to my hobbies and being OK with them is part of that. I might renew my subscription to "Vogue" after all.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Les Bon Séjours en Québec

What an eventful last week or so it has been!

As you may know, daN and i went on vacation in Québec City. Unfortunately, I cannot find the camera to show you pictures right now, but I can tell you that I had utterly underestimated that place for basically my whole life. I had been thinking of it as Montréal, which I love and have been to a few times. However, Montréal is pretty English-speaking and didn't feel all that European to me. I had been thinking that Québec City was going to be basically the same thing, only a tad older. Hoooo No! I was wrong. It is so French! I had been unfair to denigrate it so! Québec is lovely. We stayed just outside of the old city (it was about a 10-15 minute walk -- totally do-able) at a place called Auberge L'Autre Jardin whose particular schtick is environmental and social consciousness. They even put forth a system where we would be able to communicate to the staff whether we wanted our towels from the previous day changed out or not so as to avoid waste. I am a big fan. Their breakfast (included in the price of the room) was delicious organic fairly traded everything (complete with croissants and local artisan raspberry preserves), and they had energy efficient lights everywhere. The only problem was that the beds were a bit too firm for me and daN. We don't need pillow-top or anything, but it was a bit firm for the both of us. Ah well.

While we were there, we mainly walked around. We did manage to see a very cool exhibit on the history of dragons at Musée de la Civilisation for formality's sake, but in retrospect, I wish we had gone to La Musée des Beaux Arts. There is so much rich history and so many opportunities for reading at every corner post in that city that we were totally "read out" by the time we reached the exhibit. Note to self: favor art museums over history museums while on trips with rich history bursting out of every nook. It was a bit much.

Walking around was where we found all the rich history. There is this BEAUTIFUL park called the Plains of Abraham where the French and British faced off to determine who would attain rule of Canada. As we know, it went to Great Britain. The history is funny. It is evident that the French in Québec chafe under British rule even now to some extent, and there is a palpable sense of loss and regret not to be "french" anymore. However, on our tour of Parliament, we learned some of the reasons why there's only some sense of regret: the British have been good to them, by and large. Canada is a sovereign nation, not to England, but to themselves. I had not realized that Queen Elizabeth is also "Queen of Canada." Rather than British Parliament, Canada reports to the monarchy, which as we all know, is a symbolic figurehead with no real power and has been for quite some time. No real threat there. Great Britain under George III was also quick to grant Canada any and all demands in the 1780's and 90's to avoid the likes of the French and American Revolutions. That set the stage for a far more progressively democratic nation than they would have been granted under French rule at that time. The sense of loss at the war monuments seemed bittersweet in that "it's too bad it couldn't have worked out between the two of us" kind of way.

I gleaned all this from an amateur crash course in history from the Québecois Parliament tour we went on and from reading all of the inscriptions on all the monuments and dedicated parks we came across.

Let's just put it this way: there was enough green space there for me to piece together a patchwork history of the province and simultaneously feel like I was in this bucolic French countryside. So much green space! It was almost unbelievable. One minute, we'd be walking in a densely packed, cobblestoned neighborhood perfumed by flower boxes. Every square inch of space was taken up with old stone buildings. In fact, were it not for the ubiquitous fetid flower boxes, the place would have taken up a mantel more appropriate to a prison. It's amazing what a little bit of color can do to improve the quaintness of a place. The next minute, we'd round a bend and this vast park with trees, amazingly landscaped monuments would unfold before us. With the Citadel on one side and the cliffs of the wide St. Lawrence river on the other side, the wind blew through my now-shortened hair and I got cold! The chill of my old friend the Northeastern Autumn was in the air, and I was truly on vacation.

The Food: just a short bit. Yes, it deserves the capital "F." By and large, I did pretty well sticking to my dietary restrictions. However, that didn't stop me from having a couple of crêpes and croissants. And boy, were they tasty! Back to real life, though.

The Language: those Québecois are too good at detecting when people are more comfortable speaking English than I would have liked! I only gave up and let one of them speak to me in English once when I was particularly tired, or when there was something that I truly didn't know how to talk about in French. Most of the time, though, they liked it when I persevered in conducting affairs in French, and daN observed that I was treated better as a direct result.

That's got to be enough reading for you for now, and I've got to go to yoga class. All in all, the trip was worth the 7.5 hour drive, and I will certainly return.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Boston

You definitely have a Boston accent, even if you think you don't. Of course, that doesn't mean you are from the Boston area, you may also be from New Hampshire or Maine.

North Central
The West
The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The Inland North
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dear Readers,

Thank you all for the wonderful words of support via comments and otherwise! My haircut is proving to be a big success. I'm the local celebrity at the office, and I simply love being able to wash and go.

Other updates will have to wait a little bit. Here are the basics:
  • daN and I are continuing the house hunt. Something's gonna give at some point.
  • We're going to Quebec City for a few days starting on the 18th! I'm so excited! It's very close, and I've never been. I'm looking forward to speaking French there.
  • I love shopping.
  • I made a delicious curry tonight, and the triple chocolate brownies I made on Friday night are still fantastic.
  • I love August. It goes between hot and crispy cool -- it's one of the nicest combinations of fall and summer.

Those brownies are calling to me, as are the wine and the game of rummy I promised daN.

Until next time, dear readers.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Cut!

Well, here are some pictures. i LOVE it.

Q, thanks for being there; Lee, thanks for the words of encouragement. I feel great!

I was VERY nervous just beforehand. Then once the braids were gone, i was all set!

For the first time in memory, i felt the wind on my scalp. That experience was AWESOME on this sweaty day of 100 degrees.

Some poor child can have it now. Locks for love, here my braids come!

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Tomorrow, I am cutting my hair off and donating it to locks for love.

I am going to go short for the first time ever. And i'm psyched! Woot! It takes so long to deal with, and i am really looking for ease.

See picture to the right to see the style i'm contemplating.

I'll put up pictures, i promise. Q will be there for me for moral support, to take before, after, and during pictures, and frankly, i don't think i could beat her off with a stick. Q, i know how sad you'd be if i left you out of this :) And hopefully you know how sad i'd be if you weren't coming! Man... i think i'd be petrified if i had any idea of what to expect.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

300th Post!

I just realized that. Go me.

However, it's been quite a while since i've updated anyone on anything, and i recognize the lack.

Brief rundown: daN and i have been actively looking for a condo in JP. Alas, it certainly takes some time, and though it is a buyer's market, it's been a buyer's market for so long that there is not much to buy. Sellers who don't HAVE to sell aren't. However, there are a couple places that would work for us; we're just waiting. Either the prices on them will drop, or something else will come along. That's THAT for now.

We've got up to Maine a few times for quick runs. Nothing terribly relaxing, but that's summer for ya. If you aren't taking the summer off, it manages to be pretty hectic. At least for us. We saw Matt and Kathy last weekend (woot!), and have been woefully neglectful of other friends lately. It's sad! Looking at condos certainly takes time. In addition, it takes us about an hour and 15 minutes to get to that neighborhood from here on public transit. By the time we get home, we don't have any time or chutzpah left to be social.

The good news is that Harry Potter is out, and even though daN and i are reading it to each other (which is SO enjoyable but takes longer) we are almost a third of the way through the book. "Why is that important?" one might ask. In a city where people are reading it while walking down the street and talking about it in public with their friends, the chances of hearing a spoiler by naive happenstance go through the roof. The sooner we finish it, the sooner we relief ourselves of the stresses of hearing a spoiler. That being said, we are both really enjoying this one. I have got to say that JK Rowling has really outdone herself on the pacing of this one. And so far, doing a great job of tying in old themes and characters.

What else? I am still loving my job. It's pretty darned great. In fact, they gave me a raise last month that I wasn't expecting at all! How nice! And helpful. Not to mention that it continues to be a warm and caring environment. And, being scientists, they're all very excited about my new thoughts for a future career... i'm still mulling it over, but I have been experiencing renewed interested (in the form of completely geeking out over the most recent articles in "Nature" magazine in front of my coworkers) in astronomy and particle physics lately, and it occurred to me as i was falling asleep the other night that i just might LOVE being a high school physics teacher. I love physics, i have an aptitude for it and did well in the class, took more of it in college just because i wanted to, and i love teaching.... and i would have summers off. I also sort of want to be a drivers' ed teacher, but that would certainly be on the side. And i could teach yoga after school or something. I don't know .. the idea has really excited me, because it seems like some kind of a missing link. I would certainly need some further education. More algebra, trig, and geometry (which were the math classes i LOVED)... i'm mulling it over, but i'm REALLY excited about it. Fascinatingly, it's even practical, a characteristic typically lacking in my job ideas.

That's all for now, folks. I am going for a walk before it gets too f**king hot to move.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Post

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. Things are good. I am looking forward to a day off in the middle of the week to relax, and, perhaps, go to the beach. I think that sounds like a nice time :) Will i go to fireworks? No. See, they start at 10:30, and it takes about two hours to get home after the works end because of crowds. It's a bit much for me given that I have to work the following two days. But you know, i miss fireworks a lot.

In other news, I have an announcement that explains everything about my digestive system and why have I have chosen to eat the way I eat recently. I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). It turns out that it isn't normal to have such painful and extreme reactions to certain kinds of food as I do, and I officially have to be careful about how I eat in general now, even at restaurants and other people's houses. Long story short, the more tired and worn out my intestines get, the sooner I am incontinent. That doesn't sound appealing to THIS 27 year old. The diagnosis was vindicating in many ways -- I'm not just making this up; it really does hurt for days whenever I eat wheat and dairy, and also when I eat too many tomatoes or peppers. It's all about balance. "Moderation," as I recall saying in my high school graduation speech. So there it is. One in five or six Americans has it, and it is expressed differently in everyone, including the major trigger foods. For example, I have a very averse reaction to wheat and dairy wh ile others are fine with those foods but can't eat fruit. This process has been an education. Moreover, it explains EVERYTHING! It's quite exciting to finally have a clue, and feels validating to be able to tell people solidly that I really do have to be careful about what I eat.

I have some kind of a bite under my right armpit that has been itching since Thursday evening. What's with that?

On a closing note, a hopeful tale for young Mainers in exile like me:

One Student Does the Incredible: Gets Law Passed for State to Pay Off College Debts

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Don't miss the last paragraph.

First, a quick shout-out to Lee-- I love strawberry rhubarb, too! I think it's probably my favorite as well. It's delicious :)

Shout-out to Mark and Stef -- congrats on the new home! I really can't wait to see it! I bet you're very happy to have a place of your own now. And congrats to Mark on graduating!

Shout-out to Q -- generally doing extremely well with her new business ventures of doggy-walking and being willing to work all those inconvenient times. I hardly see ya anymore, but you're making it work well!

OK, that's enough shout-outs for the time being. This is getting ridiculous.

So the original plan was to bomb up to Union, Maine this weekend (Sat afternoon, to be precise), and come back down to Boston on Sunday. We decided against that. Instead, we went hiking on Mt. Wachusett yesterday afternoon (which is such a lovely, if a bit too rocky of a hike) -- it's about an hour and 20 minutes away, which is just at that not-too-far away point. Since we were in town, and remembered that Lyrica was in town, too, we called her up and asked what she was up to last night. As it happens, NOTHING! So we got to see her! It was great. As soon as she got here, we drove over to Christopher's (our favorite neighborhood bar and grill -- they even have buffalo tofu!) and hung out over food. There's something about sharing food that is so wonderful. Anyway, she had to leave really early this morning, but daN and i are both so glad we got to see her.

Today? Who knows? I think we're going to take it easy. Sitting on the grass reading, doing some yoga, etc. Making bread.

In other exciting news, daN and i were preapproved for a mortgage last weekend, and tomorrow we have an appointment with a buyer's real estate agent we both really like... Very exciting...

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Some of you are probably wondering if i am, in fact, still alive. Well, i am. And i've been very busy lately!

2 weeks ago (or was it three?) i went to Denver, CO for the Mod 67 Reunion! And it was a blast! A few short things about Denver and Colorado in general, from my short stint there:
  • The Rockies are AWESOME. The landscape there is just amazing, swinging from deciduous trees to coniferous trees to snow-covered mountains to desertous mountains in a wink.
  • Denver itself has a high percentage of small businesses that look like they're actually doing well. I was surprised at how few chains i saw.
  • The weather is perfect. No joke.

Seeing the roomies again was, in a word, homey, in every great way possible. It was harmonious, and because we've lived together before, in addition to the fact that we've all become more adult and are not crazily trying to finish our rigorous Hampshire educations anymore, it was just plain chill. My heart was so happy. I had a great time.

daN and i went up to Maine at some point for a day or two, and that was fun and short. At this point, i can't even remember the point of the trip, but we had a good time.

Last week, i went to Washington, DC for two days to assist at a conference that i have been helping to plan at work. It was very successful, and the experience was very much like being backstage for 48 hours straight. The weirdest thing was not seeing the sun for that long. When i returned, my circadian rhythm (controlled by exposure to sunlight; that which tells you where you are on the planet) was fucked.

I have spent the last week recovering from all of the above. In between, i have managed to see some friends, and lots of good movies. I finally saw the most recent version of "The Producers," Mel Brooks at his finest. It is brilliantly ridiculous -- a Thanksgiving-sized plate of satire served in a DVD case. I also saw "Spiderman 3" and "Pirates of the Carribean 3" ... but really, the highlights for me have been aforementioned Brooks film and "Everything is Illuminated," complete with Ukrainian rap.

Overall, I am happy to see the sun again. It's not as warm as the pie i made last weekend. Then again, not much can live up to a good strawberry rhubarb pie.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Public Service Announcement

I will not be available this weekend, as i will be reunited with most of my college roommates in Denver, Colorado! I'm so excited!

Have a fun one without me, 'cuz you better believe i'll be having a blast.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


For those of you who knew me when i was much younger, you may be surprised to hear that i had more or less given up art altogether for about ten years...that is, until last Monday morning. So inspired was i by the Somerville Open Studios last weekend that i picked up a pad of drawing paper, hauled out the pastels that haven't been used for, yes, ten years, and decided to give it a go. In fact, i was SO excited that i woke up at three in the morning on Monday too brimming with creativity to sleep, and around five a.m. decided to get up and set up a still life. I drew a lovely arrangement of a pair, an orange, and a teapot before doing yoga and getting ready for work.

Today, also brimming with creativity, i went to the Arnold Arboretum for Lilac Sunday. I plopped myself on the grass in front of two rather fetching lilac bushes and started in with the pastels. I don't really know what i'm doing when i start, i just sort of grab a color and go, and it's so freeing! I just kept adding layers until it felt right. I'm so happy! I want to do oils as well :)

In other news, Kal-El graduates this weekend. It's been great seeing the Bogs in their preparations, as we go for walks after big meals. It's so good to see Kal again, too! It definitely doesn't feel like it's been four months. I suppose that's growing up for ya.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Somerville Open Studios Part II

YAY! I Love SOS! It's great! Yesterday I didn't get to spend as much time as i would have liked strolling about the neighborhood looking at art, but i will get to do more of that today! It's so much fun getting to see all these little inspirations around here, artists opening up their homes and studios to let us in and see all the wonderful treasures that they create. There are, of course, some duds, but everyone is delightful and grateful that we are showing up at all. I have also been given the opportunity to ask about some oil painting technique, which is fantastic, since i have been wanting to paint again. I am similarly getting reinvigorated around pastels. Landscapes are making me happy, as are still lifes with fruit and glass objects...moreover, i am a sucker for color. daN has bumped into some former after school students of his, and that has been pleasant as well. I am just loving this. If seeing art makes you happy, i highly recommend that you check out whatever open studio events you might have going on in your area whenever it next happens. Seems to be a spring and fall thing.

On a side note, last night in honor of Cinco de Mayo, daN and i met up with Q, Yaz, and Troy for Mexican food at the Border Cafe in Harvard Square (which might actually trump Margarita's as my favorite Mexican food place, for hot plates of food -- Anna's Taqueria still trumps for burritos). We waited for about an hour, but that was alright. They were passing around the chips and salsa for free, and i had my margarita. The good was worth the wait, and i generally had a lovely time. It was a beautiful night, so we had a nice time walking home after dinner. I fell asleep as soon as i got home. It was a full day :)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Somerville Open Studios

For those of you who live in the area (decreasing numbers, these days, though perhaps that just means my readership is growing!) i wanted to to mention that the Somerville Open Studios is this weekend, and it looks really cool! The artists are also leaning on the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) really hard to put the Green Line extention in, including the act of having a town-endorsed free trolley run continuously along the proposed extention route, linking the different parts of the open studios event.

At any rate, here is the link. I plan on going and drinking their wine.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

It's been a while...

Hey all! To all three of my faithful readers, I apologize for how long it's been since i have managed to update this thing.

Life has been very exciting. We went to Washington DC two weeks ago to visit Matt and Kathy, and that was a lot of fun, despite the fact that i became progressively sicker with allergies the whole time. I LOVE museums, and i love that they are free there, for the most part. The Botanical Gardens was a highlight for me, as was the National Gallery. Not to mention the International Spy Museum, which was just so loaded with information that i couldn't even pay attention to the current stuff by the time i got through. Let's just say that microdots are cool, and whoever came up with how to make them out of household ingredients is a mad genius. It was also fun to see what film stars and authors have been spies.

I went to the doctor when i got home.

It turns out that, in addition to my known allergies (dust, pollen, mold, mildew), i am also allergic to roaches and feathers. That explains the public building sickness thing and why i never sleep well on a feather pillow.

I love my new allergy medication though.

I have still been teaching a lot of yoga (well, it feels like a lot) on the Saturdays that i've been in Boston as well as at to the pre-school teachers after work once a week.

To cap it all off, we saw GUSTER last night at the Boston Opera House! That place is beautiful, and it has fabulous acoustics. We went with our friends Dave and Laura, who snagged our extra tickets before anyone else could, and we had so much fun. I love that band. It wasn't nearly as intimate as when we saw them at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, but there is no doubt about the fact that the Opera House is a superior venue -- we could practically hear them better from 1/3 of a football field away in the Opera House than we could from 30 feet away from them in Hampton. The highlight: they played one of my favorite jazz standards ever, "Brasil." They also rocked out all crazy on "Airport."

AND, I'm seeing Keane next month, the weekend after i get back from DENVER to visit MOD 67! yeah! (for those of you unfamiliar with Hampshire's mod system, it's an on-campus apartment). We're having our first Mod 67 reunion, and i'm PSYCHED. Lots of things coming up. I'm also excited to go to Maine this weekend, and it marks the first time i'll have gone up to the midcoast area since Christmas. Kinda scarey. I have missed it dearly. I'm really looking forward to taking a breath of fresh air.

On May 6, i have an audition at Boston's Lyric Theatre for two different plays -- Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale," and a dark comedy called "The Dining Room." I have to prepare two different monologues. Haven't done that for ....... um, YEARS. Lots of them. Wish me luck.

All in all, i'm tired, but largely happy. I am still trying to "figure out what i want to do when i grow up" and am now loosely entertaining the idea of getting some kind of a teaching certificate... but i really don't know. I just keep trying to think of what i can do that is lucrative in Maine and will still leave me some time off (Mainers are notorious for thinking that one week of vacation is pretty good).

And yet through all of this, i can say this squarely: i miss spending more of my time with friends. Thank goodness i have yoga because it keeps me at equilibrium through all the busy-ness, but i keep wondering when i will get to slow down. Or am i the kind of person who does that? Would living in the middle of nowhere make things better, or would i go nuts?

Last but not least, enjoy the sun! Thank fucking god!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Quick Like a Bunny

SO busy lately! I am teaching three yoga classes this week -- two on Monday night and one on Wednesday -- both for my yoga teacher who scheduled a vacation prior to snow days pushing the end of the semester back a week. Whew! I also will be attending a free lecture at the Museum of Science on Tuesday night on the evolution of the Y Chromosome. Looks interesting! I think I'll be pretty tired by the time Friday rolls around. Especially since we're in full gear at work getting ready for the Board meeting the following Monday morning. Yep.

That all being said, I really am having a good time. Yesterday was a blast -- daN has been in Maine for the past few days to round out his vacation, and we met in Portland yesterday (i took the bus up), and we met up with Lee, Alan, Zak, Mandi, Mark, Pat, and Erica, and had a wonderful time! Hyjinks included:
  • Introducing Toby and Amici (respective dogs of Z & M and L & A, respectively)
  • Playing around on the HUGE rocks that resemble driftwood at Two Lights State Park
  • Bowling! I'm not terrible -- i got above a hundred both rounds!
  • Eating out at the Great Lost Bear -- tasty American bar and grill. Mmmm.
  • OH, YES ... driving home in a storm. We probably should have left before dinner when it started snowing since we knew it was coming, but we had such a good time. We didn't get home until 1:00 am, and normally we would have been home by midnight.

It was good. And now i'm off to take yoga at the O2 yoga studio.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Holla back, youngin'!


I am fully initiated in the ways of seedy karaoke bars now. Well, i suppose not fully. The song i put myself in for was already done by some other chicks there, but i totally know what i want to sing next time i go. Patty, whenever you make it up here next, we're TOTALLY going there -- turns out Courtside Karaoke at the intersections of Fourth and Cambridge in the neighborhood in which i used to reside is a class act full of the best of the spirit of karaoke. So much fun.

Q, your rendition of "Sweet Child of Mine" done me proud.

Note to readers: i didn't end up getting a tattoo yesterday. One of the artists (ironically, the one i couldn't stand, it turns out) told me that the spot i wanted my tattoos never hold ink terribly well, and it tends to bleed over time. So, i didn't end up getting one yesterday. It took me forever to decide about where i'd wanted it, so i wasn't about to jump into where else. Besides -- by the time Q's tattoo was done, we were running short on time anyhow, since we had to get to Boston Beer Works on time.

I love good beer. One of the Beer Works' specialities this month is this fantastic Irish Cream Stout in honor of St. Patty's day. Mmmmmm. I had a tall one and then finished someone's second. I don't usually drink that much beer in one place, but it was worth it.

I also got to hang out with Q's younger sister Heather and her best friend Sara Lee, whom i recall liking quite a bit in high school. Tons of fun, in this wonderful backwoods Mainer kind of way. (Heather's reaction to the turnstiles for exiting the subway station was precious.)

Well, i guess i should do something productive now. Or something.