Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Still Wild at 50!

February 22 marked the beginning of my mother's 50th year. A most impressive occasion, if you ask me.

On Saturday my siblings and I hosted a 50th Birthday bash for her. My elder sister spearheaded the planning, I took care of the cake, and my younger sister supplied us with her ever improving photography skills for the family photos before and during the party. Oh, and we had baby bro around for all the heavy lifting while we set up (lucky him)!

I think it's safe to say that the party was a success. My mom seemed to enjoy her time schmoozing with friends and family, and everyone loved all the food. It was great to meet some of her pals, catch up with family, and love on all my little baby cousins for a bit.

Here are some pictures of the event. Most of these are thanks to Emily Veronica Photography. All the shady, blurry ones are courtesy of me.

Oh, and just to self promote a little bit. I'm quite proud of the cake I created for my mother. On top of just plain baking, cake decorating is one of my huge passions. I've taken several classes, and made cakes for people, but this has so far been my favorite to make, and I loved the way it turned out! In short, if you need a cake for something, anytime soon. Call me. 

My lovely mom and I with her birthday cake! (you can tell I'm hers! ) © Emily Veronica photography
The Cake! © Emily Veronica photography

some family enjoying the party

My sweet cousin Chloe and her flower; Cousin Shawn and his baby boy Garret
The hosts with the most (s?), my siblings and I. From left, Mary-Rose, Emily, Me, Tim. © Emily Veronica photography

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Innocence Lost (and a case for a good pair of rain boots)

In the months following our first and only mouse entrapment, my roommate and I have grown quite comfortable.

Nothing indicates that we have any little mouse friends, and we are pretty careful about keeping our food in plastic bins or refrigerated. So far, this seems to have been fine as we haven't seen any evidence to make us think there are mice afoot.

On Friday morning, secure in the knowledge of a mouse free home, I awoke in good spirits (a birthday celebration was only a day away!) got ready for a half day of work, and nearly skipped into the kitchen.

I grabbed something from the fridge and was just about to take a bite when I turned toward the living room and froze. A tiny grey mouse, barely the size of a fist, crouched only 15 feet from me. Stalk still, silent.

We stared each other down, Wild West style. I could almost hear dueling music playing faintly in the air as I wondered why this little creature didn't move. My experience with mice is limited, but I know that, in general, they run when frightened. They don't stick around to see what's up. 

Steeling myself, I finally willed my body to unfreeze and move toward my bedroom. My first thought: I need to get my rain boots on (this is always a first priority when dealing with mice. You never know when they are going to try some ninja moves on your ankle. Rain boots are invaluable should this occur). Feet sheathed in protective rubber, I lingered in the doorway of my bedroom, snapped this blurry photo and wondered what to do about this paralyzed mouse. 
Then, it moved.
 A strange wiggle-hop that highlighted the problem. This little fellow only had three legs, one of it's hind legs was gone. 

With some frantic hopping of my own, I tried to decide the best course of action. I took a large bottle to be recycled, opened the front door (which was quite near to the mouse) and tried to nudge the invalid out the door. Except mice with only three legs tend to hop in circles. Apparently.

Panicked I did the only thing one can do after failing to boot a gimpy mouse out of their front door at 7:30 in the morning on a work day. I called my mother.

We worked out a plan that involved me scooping the mouse up with a shovel, after first covering with a box. The mouse barely moved as I shoveled it up. I held the handle as far as it could go and started down my apartment corridor. 
 I headed outside and with all my strength heaved that mouse straight into some nearby bushes. I felt a surge of sadness as its little body careened through the air; it apparently had died during the ordeal.  

Clomping back inside (rain boots, remember) I proceeded to finish getting ready for the day, fighting strong waves of nausea every few minutes when I pictured it's little body huddled against my roommate's TOM shoes, waiting for death.

Needless to say, the innocent days of believing I'm the only person in the city who lives a rodent free apartment are over. 
Long live peppermint oil and mouse traps!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The birthday weekends begin

This weekend was one filled with lots of birthday celebrating, for a dear friend of mine, Jenna. We met only a few months ago, but I already feel like I've known her (almost) forever. 

Few things bring me more joy in life than celebrating birthdays. I think they are the best idea, and I love them. Jenna's birthday weekend started with a lovely dinner party on Friday, her actual birthday, filled with friends, dirty rice, and some fantastic dance moves provided by yours truly (ok, and some other people too). If polled, people would probably agree the latter was the best part of the party. To say nothing of the amazing blooming, singing, rotating exploding birthday candle (no doubt invented by the ingenious Japanese) 

Saturday saw me and two other friends, Hannah and Sarah, sweeping Jenna away for a surprise event, which including dinner at a French restaurant and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. There was a brief scare as we started to leave when Jenna guessed that we might be taking her to the Symphony. Luckily, with some quick thinking and a reference to a strip club, I threw her off the scent. Genius, I know.
The lovely birthday girl!
party aftermath. Our glorious party planners!
crazy candle, and this beaut: Jenna and I, clearly at our finest
My only picture from Saturday, sadly. They're not even playing yet! 

 Spring (it's not really spring, I know, just go with it) brings an insane slew of birthday weekends, that one can barely keep up with. This week another special birthday bash approaches. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy February 15th!!

Last night some sweet friends joined me for a little "Galentine's Day" dessert party (I didn't make that up, I got it from a friend who got it from Parks and Recreation). Basically, I really love Valentine's Day. Because I love love, and the colors pink and red, and eating chocolate covered strawberries, and listening to the Titanic song (by listening, I mean, belting it out at top volume, sure that I sound just like Celine)

Here are a few pictures of this auspicious occasion. As usual, once the party started I forgot to take pictures of actual people. There's one of myself thrown in there with my new Gussy, though. Red ruffle head band and Valentine's Day?? Too good.
wall art courtesy Kait Brink, LOVE courtesy ME
desserts included white wine cake, vanilla cupcakes, sugar cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries
Today, I brought some of the extras to work, and some of the women thought they were from a real bakery! Such a compliment!!

 In sort of related news (I like to bake, thus the desserts) I'm entering for a chance to win a KitchenAid, basically my life's dream. And if you enter, you might win. And if you win, I win one too. Get it? Good. Make it happen.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lyle flips the bird

For several months in the morning, I've taken the same train to work as this one particular man. I first noticed him in the summer time, when I think he first began coming to my stop.

As the T approaches, he charges down the narrow strip of sidewalk, brushing people out of the way in his attempt to be the first person on. I'm always a little afraid that he's going to accidentally pitch someone onto the tracks right as the train approaches.

He's a few inches shorter than my 5'6" and always wears the same grey slacks, sneakers, black coat, and black jansport backpack slung low down his back. Looking to be in his late 40's, his hair is white and he has a very ruddy face pocked with adult acne. For reasons even I can't pin point I've come to think of him as "Lyle".

Lyle has several tactics for being first on the train, or if not first, at least the one to get that last available seat. As I've mentioned, his first approach: Brute force. Elbowing and pushing people out of the way. His other tactic includes charging to the front of the line, tapping his card and then sprinting down to an open door in the back , where there are more likely available seats. And perhaps, most hilarious, when he does get on the train, it's a 20 yard dash down the train aisle wildely careening toward a seat.

I haven't quite concluding if this is his sole goal, given that sometimes he'll run past an open seat up front. Once he's booked to the back, however, I'll see that no seats were open and he'll be standing in one of the coveted stairwell spots that allow for more relaxed and hands free standing.

Today was the crowning glory in all of these chaotic moments. As the three car train approached he pulled his usual moves, bullying others out of the way as he paced between the 5 feet or so where the front doors might stop. Slowly, though, the trolley inched by, not stopping and finally sped past our stop (this happens all too frequently when the train has gone "express" past our stop). As the second car rolled past, Lyle flipped off the T.  The entire time that it was rolling past us.

I have never mentally laughed so hard in my life. Oh Lyle.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fresh Baked Bread

I submit that there are few things better in this world then biting into a warm piece of home baked bread.
Good thing we baked a whole bunch of different kinds in my pastry class last week!

(Clockwise from top left: Focaccia with rosemary and sage; jalapeno, cheddar cornbread; goat cheese and scallion biscuits; rosemary, garlic rolls, Black Forest bread stick; sticky buns)

Monday, February 6, 2012

and my apartment floods, AGAIN.

8:49 AM on Saturday morning. I awake with a start for no apparent reason. I try to snuggle in bed for a bit longer, but the apartment, as per usual, is stifling (gotta love building controlled heat) and my phone is bleeping various alerts at me. I get up, head to the bathroom, and while I'm there realize that for some reason the water isn't working. Alarmed because of a weird incident the night before involving a leaking pipe that maintenance couldn't locate, I hop over to the kitchen to see if that faucet it also on the fritz.
I leap into the air in shock as my foot squelches into a soaking wet patch of carpet by the kitchen. The tile is strewn with debris and the under sink rug is also soaked. We've apparently had a little flood, and then all the water was soaked up by the living room rug. 

I wake my roommate up to alert her to the matter. She decides to wait until nine to call maintenance since it doesn't seem to bad, and eventually comes into the living room to check the damage.

She connects that someone must already know about it if the water has been turned off, and goes outside to see if anyone's around. Several people are outside discussing our neighbor's flooded apartment (6 inches covering the whole place, yikes!) and how they're glad it's the only one. Becca gives them the bad news that we've been hit too, and while we stand there in our disheveled hair and pajamas, several men traipse around our apartment checking out the damage and growing more upset.

Joe the maintenance man is clearly stressed, but very nice and helpful. 

9:15 AM. I heat up sticky buns from my pastry class the night before, hoping I can foist the extras of on the various people working out this little plumbing problem.

An hour or so later, Joe has been joined by Billy and Cliff, the plumbers, who have cheerily gone about pulling out our stove, and ripping holes in both our kitchen wall and our bathroom. 

10AM. We talk at length with them about marijuana. Used only for medicinal purposes, mind you, in Joe's case (he has metastatic cancer). Billy regales us with a hilarious tale of confiscating his 14 year old sons weed, and then throwing it in a drawer at work, where it begins to call to him. So, he decides to smoke a bowl. Having not smoked weed since about 1984, he gets high, promptly freaks out and finds himself wandering through Walden Woods so no one will find him and suspect he's high.

10:30 AM. I decide Billy is my new favorite plumber. Becca and I leave the apartment since we can't do anything there but sit and stare at the mess while people come in and our of our place.

7 PM. My apartment is still in complete an utter shambles, as fans dry the floor, the stove is still chilling in the middle of our teensy kitchen, and our hall closet had to be empty into our rooms. Apparently, this snafu is going to take a few days to clear up. 

Side notes:
The plumber definitely uttered the trademark expression, "what's with that fackin' sweatshirt" (the Bostonian pronunciation of the F word), I love all the native handymen around here.
Billy and Cliff seemed to greatly enjoy the sticky buns, woohoo culinary class.

On a final note, I'd like to point out that this is the fourth flooding experience I've had to survive in my living space since college. Twice in one dorm my room flooded during extreme weather, once in my first apartment a water heater overflowed and flooded our apartment, and now this. (This is all notwithstanding the time when a pipe problem caused me to have to evacuate my first apartment while they jackhammered it in half to fix the pipes.) It's clear I'm the most common denominator in all this, whatever that means. . .