Monday, February 28, 2011

Wait, is that a giraffe?

I just wrote an entire blog post and then erased it because it was lame and somewhat boring. A little sad to see an hours worth of work down the drain, but no one would have known what was going on anyway so it's just as well.
Instead, I will tell you four things you probably don't know about me:
1. I think I'm pretty good at hiding it, but I'm still terrified of the dark and probably will be my entire life

2. Two of my life goals are to a) be a hip hop dancer; b) be a pool shark. These are problematic because a) I have never taken a dance lesson in my life; b) I am so embarrassingly bad at pool that I rarely play

3. Up until about 2 years ago, I thought that when the sign "Blind Driveway" was in front of a house, it meant that someone living there was blind.

4. Sometimes, I just have nothing to blog about. And then I do anyway. . . 


Thursday, February 24, 2011

I hate the phone, but I wish you'd call

You know that moment when you start calling or sending someone a text? There's that split second after you press send where you panic and check to make sure that you're sending to the right person. Sometimes (hopefully not too often) you realize the worst case scenario is coming true: You are, in fact, not calling you're friend Jenn who wouldn't mind this interruption at 11 o'clock at night. You are calling the Jenn who was your roommate freshman year of college whose number you never removed from your phone and who you haven't spoken to in about 5 years. Eek! The frantic moment finds you alternately slamming the 'clear' and 'end' buttons praying to God that the call will end before it's begun, which only works about half the time (if you're me and have no idea how to operate your phone and therefore just press a lot of buttons while shrieking and hoping it hangs up).

My point here is not that I'm clearly out of control when making phone calls and should probably just never make them. My point is: I'm a phone number pack rat
Are you? 

No matter how many times I scroll past the 3 Lisa's I haven't talked to since, like, highschool and think I should erase them before something embarrassing happens, I don't. 
Or what about the alarming number of 'Matts' in my phone? Even with last initial I have no idea who they might be, and I don't really want to find out through some text gone wrong when I'm really trying to text Mary but scroll down a little to far when searching her.

Thus, I recently decided to mend my pack rat ways. Now, as I scroll through my contacts, I try to delete someone who I don't know/can't remember/haven't spoken to in years and will never speak to again. And just this very morning, I almost texted someone else instead of my friend Virginia. But no more. They're gone from my phone. Dead to me, as it were.

But now, there's a whole new dilemma. What happens, when, in my zeal, I delete someone I do know. Of course, in the age of cell phones, no one knows any ones number so I'll be blindsided by a text from them, and then have to ask who they are, and  know they're secretly hurt that we've been texting every day for the past 4 years and suddenly I seem to have forgotten they existed. Or worse yet, they have that moment of panic that they've texted the wrong person. Perhaps Brad from CA who you only met once and never spoke to again?? It's all too much!

 Phew. Ok, I'm breathing. I'm done. The moral of the story: I should probably just be more careful about who I'm calling and texted. But seriously, does anyone else have this problem? or are you a phone number minimalist? Help!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Yes, I cried like a baby during Titanic

Last night, I finally had the pleasure of watching the movie Inception (only about 8 months after everyone else in the United States). I can't remember the details surrounding this delayed viewing but for some reason, it just never worked out for me to see it until now. If you're thinking this will be a movie review- you're wrong.

I wan to talk about Leonardo DiCaprio. First of all, do we know if that's his real name? I guess I could have googled it, but I might not have liked the answer so I forewent that possible disappointment. If it is his real name, however, kudos to his parents. They must have predicted his future fame!

I've been trying to remember my first introductions to Leo. I never watched Growing Pains, but I do remember his boyish good looks in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Say what you will, but I think he does an excellent job in that movie. Of course, though, what came to mind immediately was the role that rocketed him to incredible fame at a young age: Jack in the Titanic. Every girl (and probably most of you guys) reading this remember the intense emotional experience that movie was. I legitimately sobbed through the last hour or so. I was totally heartbroken knowing that Jack and Rose would never be together. Celine could sing about hearts going on all she wanted. Jack was dead and no amount of intense chest pumping during the chorus would bring him back!

In a haze of teen stupidity and pretending we were cooler than we were, shortly after that movie I'm pretty sure people started calling him Leonardo DiCrappio and snickering  at the depths of our comedic genius. But really, I feel like Leo is one of the few child stars that somehow made the transition into adult roles and acting look effortless. He went from a gawky adolescent guy to a classically handsome, well dressed man with some incredible acting skills. I feel like I overlooked him for many years after the melodrama of Titanic, but when I think back to the many movies of his I've enjoyed I'm so impressed. Catch Me If You Can, Romeo and Juliet (I know, pre-Titanic--don't tell me your heart didn't melt during the scene with him and Claire Danes eyeing each other through the fish tank. Holy teenage hormones. I definitely teared up during that scene. . .a few weeks ago), Shutter Island and several others. 

I remember a year or two ago he was nominated for TWO academy awards and at first I was surprised but then I realized it shouldn't be a surprise. For almost two decade this guy has been churning out incredible movies and looking dang good doing it (minus the weird unkempt facial hair faze). Leonardo DiCaprio is back on my radar especially with this latest offering and I have just one thing left to say:

I'll never let go, Leo. I'll never let go.
(come on, you totally saw that coming)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Russo's Rules the Roost

**I realize this title is ridiculous. Just go with it. 
I have discovered one of the most incredible place in all of the Boston/greater Boston area. 
And maybe the world.

Crazy assertion? Maybe. You'll have to check it out. 
This weekend, a girl that I've recently met through church called me up and invited me to a place called Russo's. I'd never heard of it before but gleaned that it was some sort of produce store, maybe a little pricey? I had no idea what to expect.
After meet up with another girl who was driving, we headed on our way. Shortly after, we arrived at the most amazing produce market I've seen in MA. Fresh produce everywhere you look. no aisles, just rows and rows of produce tables. And the variety! Swoon worthy, for sure. There was everything from peppers, to cactus leaves, to sugar cane, to persimmons. I was like a kid in a candy store (. . .or an awesome produce store?). I wandered around starry eyed filling bags with fresh fruits at unheard of winter prices.
Nectarines for less than $2 a pound? Yes, PLEASE!
Grapes for the same? In February? I think I just died a little reliving the memory. 

(Clearly, I get super pumped about fruit. Ok, and maybe good deals.)
I've never been to a place quite like this in America (except for one time at a random, crazy farmers market outside of Cleveland, OH. . .who knew?) and it was thrilling. I hope to go back soon and I'm happy to spread that crisp, produce love. So if you live around or you want to give visit, I'll be happy to introduce you to this whole new world.
Cue cheesy Aladdin song, and I think I'll go eat some of my grapes. 


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nightly News

A brief anecdote from my day:
As today was so nice here in Beantown (I really don't like when people call it that . . .) I was excited that as I went on my usual walk during lunch, I would only need a light jacket (and, as it turned out, none at all!) Just after I stepped out of my office building for my walk, I approached a man who was awkwardly loitering outside of the building next to mine. He was talking to a giant advertisement of two of the female newscaster for channel 7. As I came closer, he saw me and started towards me. Not wanting to be mean I smiled and thought that would be enough. Not so much.

"Come here for a second" he gestured, "which one of 'em do you think is better looking?" he asked.

"um, I--" I begin.

"The green eyes are nice on that one, but the other one is Armenian!" he exclaims with exuberance.

"I do like the green eyes" I tell him, and really I did, but I'm not really in the practice of judging billboard shots of women and their attractiveness. . .

He looks expectantly at me, then back at the board. then he started to try and say something. Then he gets out "God Bless your family! There, that way I can get away with saying that stuff!"

"ahaha ha" is my response as I edge away from him. After another hasty smile, I speed off in the direction of the common.

"How strange" I thought, but as I began my walk, I found myself pondering if she wears contact or if that's her real eye color?" good grief.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The 8:25

"This train will standby. we will STANDBY!" yells the conductor as I adjust my iPod's volume and get out of the way of passengers jumping off the train to try and cram into another across the way. After seeing the explosion of people already on that train, I decide to stay put and wait it out. Then the lights go out and I'm standing in the dark with dozens of other strangers sardined around me. I have my music blasting but I feel the quietness, and people breathing loudly as we all wait in this oddly intimate setting. Slowly, the train exhales a breathe, and begins to hum again. The lights flicker back on. I resign myself to being late.

The moment my alarm started chirping this morning, I knew it was going to be a rough one. I felt it in my weary bones. I laid in bed for an extra 15 minutes, convincing myself that it was entirely possible for me to take a 5 minute shower. At 6:44 with a dramatic flourish, I threw my 3 layers of warm down off the bed and hoisted myself up (you see, I'm full of drama even when I don't have an audience!).

Only a moment later it seemed, I was glancing at the clock,  blinking to make sure the time was right: 7:51. As in, I have to leave in 16 minutes (my schedule is down to the minute in the morning). I still had to blow dry my hair, lest it freeze in the 26 degree weather, find shoes, get my life together, solve world hunger. All the usual morning stuff. In 16 minutes!

I made the grueling decision to take a later train than normal, and finally headed out into the cold air to catch the 8:25 train. which of course came late. When it did finally arrive, I piled on and started to read while the conductor screamed into the speakers that we were going express "Thank you thank you thank you!" I thought, "I might actually be on time for work!"

Then, we hit underground and the dreaded standby. Drat! But as the lights flicker on, I see a seat open up right across the way and I lunge to snatch it. A seat on the 8:25 is a precious commodity and I'm not about to loose it. I turn my attention back to my Kindle and the book I'm reading, only to hear a loud clatter. I glance up to see a man launching himself through the train and slumping across a few seats also opened up by the standby stampede.

I look over at him. He's wearing ridiculous sunglasses. I glace around the rest of the far car, and go to turn back to my reading. "Don't stare!" the man screams. A girl gives him a startled look and he says, "not you, I was talking to her." and I know he's pointing to me. I squint at my Kindle, trying to look as nonchalant as possible. "I wasn't staring" I think.

The train lurches forward (finally) and I hear the man shouting things to other people, yelling hostilely, I feel a collective intake of breathe as he gets up and swaggers down the car. No one ever wants to get stuck next to the crazy person. They're unpredictable but as regular on the morning trains as the commuters. There are stories. . . sometimes they attack people, or corner them. I wait with tense shoulders until we reach his stop and he stumbles off.

After what seems like a day, the train reaches Government Center. I'm almost there. As I speed walk the five final minutes to work, I glance at my phone: 9:11. I sigh and walk a little faster. And as I enter the building and reach my floor I see the VP of the company standing talking right in my path. I try to take an alternate route but she hears my fob beeping me in. We make eye contact and I still go the other way. And right then, I remember why I NEVER take the 8:25 train!

Monday, February 14, 2011

love love love (love).

Valentine's Day.

Those 2 words seems to stir up so much emotion in the hearts of so many people. Those without a sweetheart often are bitter and spend long hours lamenting how much they hate Valetine's Day and all it stands for as they schlep through the day knowing they're going home tonight to their 80 year old cat Fred, a bottle of Jim Beam and a microwave dinner {No, this is not a description of me. . .I hate cats. .. and I don't have a microwave:)}. Other people carry on about how it's so contrived and they want to have special days all year round not just the one day their honey is forced to make them dinner and spend a fortune on roses. Still others, though, take the time to enjoy this wonderful day regardless of the naysayers.

I've gotten caught up in all that at some point or another in my short life, but the reality is, I love Valentine's Day. What could be better than a day to celebrate love, whether you're "in it" or not?

Because really, I don't think you need to be in love to love Valentine's Day. I'm not in love this year on this particular day, but it hasn't dampened my spirits at all. There's a glorious Valentine's wreath on my door, I baked heart shaped cupcakes for my coworkers and friends, I'm headed to a decadent dinner tonight (I heard chocolate torte was on the menu!) and the reality is, just because I'm not "in it" doesn't mean I don't love love! I think it's beautiful and special and if we have a day to celebrate some holiday for a saint who no one even knows the story of and somehow involves leprechauns and lots of green, why shouldn't we have a day to celebrate love dang it!

So I say, Happy V-Day to all the lovers, whoever you love today, I tip my chocolate covered strawberry to you. I hope it was a love-ly day!

PS: If you're the first to figure out how many times I use the word "love" in this post, I promise to make you a sweet, post V-D treat! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh, Baby! and Pesto Pizza Too!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting an old friend and her brand new baby girl. Jenny, the momma, is the 1st  of my college girlfriends to have a baby so it makes this an especially momentous occasion. I arrived to find Adriana sleeping off a rough night and looking cute as a button all bundled up in pink. Since I was visiting alone, I got to be a total baby hog, and I was all the happier for it. If you've ever gone baby visiting in a group, you know the tug-of-war that inevitably occurs. Everyone wants to hold baby at once, whoever gets the first gaze or smile gloats endlessly long after the day is over, and you secretly hope that you'll have the magic touch when baby starts to get fussy so you can hold him/her longer than your other (clearly, clueless) counterparts. Yes, babies can turn woman into a mass of squirmy, impatient little girls playing the game of house, and like it was when you were five, there's a fight over who get's to the be the "mom".

but I digress. That wasn't the case yesterday since I was flying solo and it was fun to get to hold Adriana all I wanted and to watch her sleep expressions ranging from smiles to stink faces. Isn't it funny how all babies have to do is sleep to capture your attention for hours at a time? I could have held her and watched her make faces all day long and not gotten tired. And, if you know me, or even if you've read some of my previous posts, you know I'm a total sucker for baby cheeks. I love them. They are so chubby and sweet and I just want to eat them up (creepy, I know). 

an Adriana Joy intermission:

cute, cute ,cute

 After returning from my visit, I headed out with some friends to a wine, cheese and paint your own pottery night. Thanks to those coupon sites that are out (groupon, zozi, etc.) we all basically got a $40 night of wine, treats (hello brie, pesto pizza, and fried kalamari), and a pottery piece for FREE. It was crazy and so much fun. There were a few bumps in the road as is bound to happen when I'm involved, (our names weren't on the list, someone bumped a friend while she painstakingly finished her piece, yadda yadda yadda) but we all had a blast. If you live in the Boston area and you're looking for something fun to do with your gal pals check the Clayroom out on a Wed. for their wine and cheese nights. so fun! And of course: pictures to follow:) I can't wait to see the finished results!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Sidewalk Shimmy

It was a dreary, rainy day in Boston today, but I can't say that I minded because it melted some of the snow. Thanks to all the glorious winter weather we've been having, the chaos of this city has ramped up about 10 notches. For a time, traveling became something of a nightmare as snow piled up in the streets and on the walkways. Roads that just a few months ago were 2 lanes suddenly were basically one lane. Those famous Boston Massholes found themselves in a whole new kind of pickle as they tried to navigate their crazy streets. Thankfully, I generally take the T (as you know) so I was spared some of the drama. some. . .

After all this snow, the sidewalks are, much like the roads, a whole other delightful experience, somewhat akin to snow forts. Tiny little footpaths burrow through the snow that is piled, in some cases, shoulder height, precariously balanced and frozen into solid white, shining masses. One misstep and your done for, effectively blocking the entire path and pissing off any one behind you. The passing scenario on the sidewalk is like some sort of strange dance. you see someone coming from afar in their puffy parka and you start to mentally prepare.

"OK, you think, I'll sidle to the right while holding my bag to my chest, and standing on my tippie toes." 

You see a similar concentration your partners face as they approach and the dance begins. But then, without warning they make a sudden move to the right! You're rhythm is thrown off as you try to correct to the left.  Limbs akimbo, they also swerve left after realizing they've blocked your move. You stand your ground and force them back right. You squeeze in your stomach and mash up against the snow wall as you and a complete stranger make full body contact (thank God for those winter jackets!). Just when you think this will never end,  they've popped through the other side. The dance is done. You begin picking your way back over the slush and frozen snow. But wait, what's that?  

A man with a dog approaches. . .

PS: I really do love winter. And despite all the crazy snow and my THREE PAIRS of decimated (and now leaky, bleck) snow boots/shoes, I wouldn't have it any other way!

Also, here's my roommate. This picture is unrelated to the above post. She's just really cute and I thought I'd share her:)

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Bowl less Super

I'm sure you're all recovering from last night, celebrating one of American's favorite days of the year.  I'm  one of the few American's that's not so into the whole football game hype, myself (shocker, I know. I'm sure you all envisioned me decked out in full Steelers regalia whipping a Terrible Towel and whooping til my voice was raw. . .)

Yesterday evening, as I sat watching a ridiculous movie on IFC and eating some green beans, I was thinking that this was the first time in probably 5 or so years that I decided not attended a Superbowl party. Obviously, any Superbowl party I've attended has not been for the sake of football. I don't know a down from a . . .uh I can't think of any other football terms. . .fumble(?) And sure the commercials are sometimes entertaining, but mostly they're just weird and all I can think about it how many millions of dollars went into a commercial of Adrian Brody singing for Stella Artois and it still doesn't make me want a beer.

No, what brings me year after year to friends' Superbowl parties is the food. Delicious dips oozing with 8 kinds of cheese and green chiles, and salsa. Chicken wings and sliders and my personal fav, football themed brownies and cookies and cakes. oh my. 
 I feel like Superbowl is a game of gastronomic chicken (no pun intended) where we battle it out to see which will win, our eyes or our stomach. (kind of like thanksgiving, and Christmas, and Easter, and Fourth of July, and . . .) 

Anyway, I'm not trying to make some grave point about the state of Americans and our eating habits. Nothing that important. My real point: last night I was sort of missing all the Superbowl goodies I was giving up, but this morning when I woke up without a queso hangover, or a canker sore from eating too many sweets I thought, "maybe I'm onto something here."

Next year I think I'm going to bring carrot sticks or ants on a log to the Superbowl party I attend. I'm sure they'll be a big hit. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


What a sweet treat I have to share today! Ok, ok that was really lame, I just couldn't help it. . .

You may be aware that one of my favorite pastimes (and hopefully, one day part of my income) is baking and more particularly decorating cakes and cookies. A few months back, a friend and I had realized we had this in common and decided to take a cookie and cupcake decorating class together.

We booked a class with Sweet Alternatives in Natick and had been looking forward to it ever since. Last night, we headed out full of excitement to the class, ready to learn some fun things!

As is the tone of my life, things turned harry for just a moment, but eventually got back on track!

I'll start as Heidi and I pulled off the highway. After quick detour through the Natick Collection for some food for Heidi (by the way that mall is enormous. I've never seen one around here quite like it) we headed off looking for some sort of bakery or something on the main road. A few minutes later, we turned onto a snow-filled, dark, narrow residential road and arrived at what was supposed to be our destination. We were confused and a little freaked out, but after double checking the address, and making a phone call to the woman running the class we were assured that the class was in her home and we were on the right track.

"oh, great" I thought, "this is going to be a total waste of our time with some old lady who fancies herself a baker."

Boy, was I wrong! This woman is professionally trained, was a pastry chef, and has lived and worked in both New York and Boston. Currently she focuses mostly on wedding cakes, and was a fantastic teacher and a total gold mine of information about where to buy materials since there's not very many good places in Boston, what it takes to run an in-home novelty business and, of course, how to do some great decorating. I was so thrilled with the class and had so much fun, it was wonderful! I definitely want to take more classes and continue growing my knowledge on all of this. Talking to her made me really feel like this is something I could do. And the cherry on top of it all was when she announced she came from the insurance world. Like me! Ah! so happy.

Here are some pictures from the experience, I can't wait to continue experimenting and to buy a few fun tools to make everything even easier!

*also, you can check our Linda and her work and classes here.