Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day YES!!!

No school for me!! So I have time to upload some of the hundreds of photos I've taken over the last couple months. I'll go chronologically.

"HOME" Cambridge. (Not MY home, there's a (tiny in the photo) neon "HOME" sign in the bottom right hand corner.)

"BEAUTY" Somerville

Shelburne Falls

Halloween eyeball cupcakes

Haloween Vampire fang bite cupcakes

Housewarming lemon cookies

A friend's excitingly colorful pantry

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fame!!!!!!. . . !!!!!!!!!. . . !!!!!!!!!!

One of my favorite tv shows when I was young, along with Little House on the Prairie and Mork & Mindy, was Fame. Fame documents a group of talented teenagers at the New York School of the Arts. The actors seemed very grown-up and glamorous when I was 10, and I was totally hooked, though undoubtedly much of it went totally over my head. Plus the music is catchy. A couple of weeks ago I watched the movie (1980) that the series was based on, and was impressed, though I did need to fast forward through some of the musical numbers. So now, through the beauty of NetFlix, I'm watching the series again. It holds up as high quality drama, and the costumes are fabulous but it's not quite as exciting as I remember.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Western Mass

My Mom and I took a little trip out to Western Mass to visit my aunt, uncle & cousin. We packed a lot into two days! The first afternoon we drove to Northampton and went to a few especially good stores. I found some fun, colorful fabric to make pillow covers for my white couch - photos coming soon. We also went to a giant yarn store where I went crazy in an effort to possess color. I don't knit yet but now I want to even more.

When we returned I wandered through my aunt & uncle's garden (though it was too mosquito-y to sit at the table and read).

And saw the garden bunny!

And then I saw another bunny watching me from the porch:

The next morning my mom and I walked across the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls. This is the time of year to go! It's exactly what it sounds like - a bridge across the river planted with flowers on both sides.

The night before I read an article about Dahlias in a Martha Stewart magazine, so it was fun to see some beautiful examples.


Next, we made an obligatory visit to the glacial potholes. They were created when glaciers crept across the landscape. Rocks got stuck beneath and the water made them swirl around and thus the potholes were born. When I was little we could go all the way down and clamber around the rocks and climb in the potholes. It was a fun things to do on a hot day because some of them are quite large and deep, like personal sized swimming pools. Here's a photo from 1988 or 1989 - this pothole must have been dry.

In the afternoon we took a drive out to North Adams where we stopped at the Natural Bridge State Park. This site was a functioning quarry from 1810 to 1947. Driving up to the park there's an amphitheater formed by the quarry:

Once inside the park, there's America's only white marble dam

And me and my mom & aunt in the water:

And finally, the NATURAL BRIDGE!!! (Well, looking under the bridge.)

It was a fun trip. Thanks for being such great hosts!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Movies at the Boston Harbor Hotel

Every Friday in the summer the Boston Harbor Hotel hosts free movies. They're busy other nights of the week too, with swing dancing and their Blues Barge; maybe I'll check out one of those next year. Anyhow, guests have three options for seating. They can sit at one of the cafe tables and order dinner, they can sit on the hard granite steps, or they can sit on cushy folding chairs on the Blues Barge, which is what we did. The barge provides the best (free) seats in the house, as long as you don't mind that an outgoing tide may produce a stiff neck since the movie screen gradually gets higher and higher.

We saw "The Apartment", which I'd never seen in full before. It's definitely a product of its time, full of things that immediately strike the un-pc chord; like how many times does the doctor slap Shirley MacLaine in the face? And man, what a tool Jack Lemmon's character is! Nevertheless, it's a classic for good reason. Next week, the last week in the season, is "The Hustler".

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Freaky Flowers

Siamese zinnia:

This one isn't freaky exactly, but it's a good example of how the morning glories strangle everything. I have to snip them off the cosmos, otherwise they pull them to the ground with their freaky tendrils and cover them almost completely with saucer-sized morning glory foliage. I can't save everything - there are dill-like little wisps of cosmos peeking out all over the front lawn.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lunchtime Walk

A new mural in my neighborhood.

Tree chair, Lee St.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Me 1, Squirrels 2

Damn critters. I have an ongoing battle with the squirrels. They made a nest in my attic and made a pee stain on my living room ceiling. They were humanely evicted. But now they're back, chewing through my formerly pretty porch lights. JERKS!!!

Later, I found a dead bird nestled in the purple pansies in my front porch window box. I don't think the squirrels had anything to do with it, but it was sad. There was a nest directly above the window box, and it looks like the bird just fell out, which would be weird. I gave poor little bird a proper burial out in the swampy back yard so that the neighborhood cats wouldn't dig him up. I hope I don't have West Nile disease.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ginko, Please

I forgot the PIN for my ATM card. . . the one I've had for 10 years and use sometimes multiple times a week. At this point it's basically an automatic, physical motion that kicks in when I'm in front of a keypad. Except for today at the grocery store when it didn't work. After two more tries I got locked out and had to call the bank to have them reset it. I think I know what it is, so I'll try again tomorrow at an ATM that doesn't suck my card all the way in. Shute. That combined with ordering and paying for a burrito and then almost walking home without actually taking the burrito from the counter is making me think that perhaps I am not aging well. Or maybe I've just reached my username/password saturation point!

Photo: Athens, 3/2007

Friday, May 9, 2008

Floury Footsteps

I liked the trail of floury footsteps. This is Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord, where I stopped to get a sandwich so I wouldn't get wilty later in the afternoon. Today I took the day off of work to go to the jewelry show with my mom & aunt. We all found a number of strands of pretty beads and will be wearing some pretty necklaces as soon as we string them.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Flowers I Like, Early Spring Flower Twins

My neighbors are far ahead of me when it comes to planning ahead for early spring color. I took these today before work on Thursday in an attempt to beat wilt and damaging rain. My four favorites can be paired off.

Stearns St., Cambridge

Dana St., Cambridge

Upland Rd., Cambridge

Mass Ave., Cambridge.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday fell on a Friday this year, so I decided to throw a party for myself! I had fun, and I think that my guests had fun. I'll be having one next year, since my birthday will fall on a Saturday, and then a birthday Sunday brunch the year after that.

I took a photo of my wonderfully messy kitchen table after clean-up round 1 before I went to bed because I liked the oranges, reds & blues.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bubble tea. . . the tea you can chew!

My coworkers and I have been spending a ridiculous amount of money on bubble tea at the independent zen tea shop across the street. While we love the place and like to support the owners I wondered how difficult it could be to make my own bubbles. I did a little research and a few days later a brick of tapioca bubbles landed on my doorstep.

Tapioca bubbles are basically tapioca starch and caramel coloring pressed together in fragile little powdery pellets. I cooked about 2 cups of them in water (with plenty of room to swim, just like pasta), and then turn the heat off and let them sit covered for a half hour. At the same I prepared a sugar syrup with white and brown sugar. when thebubbles are cooked they need to be drained and rinsed. Some of the bubbles dissolve so when they're done they're sitting in a gelatinous black mass. Once they're coated with the sugar syrup they look like this:

If you go to a bubble tea stand or a tea shop you can get all kinds of flavorings and mix-ins and sweeteners added to many different tea bases. Personally, I like regular old black tea with no flavorings and maybe a little milk. The tapioca bubbles in their syrup are fairly sweet, so I usually don't add extra sweetener. Here's the green tea with vanilla soymilk (and bubbles) that I made for myself:

The bubbles stay firm, so you need a special wide straw to suck them up. Sometimes they get stuck:

Bringing them to work, they looked like a science experiment:

The mulch that escaped

I took this a few Sundays ago in Raymond Park, Cambridge MA. I noticed the mulch spiral on my way home on Friday and meant to take a photo early Saturday morning before the park was mobbed with kids. But I forgot, and then it rained and poured. So I was surprised and happy to see that my mulch spiral didn't totally wash away.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

New England Spring Flower Show

A couple of Fridays ago I took the day off of work to go to the New England Spring Flower Show hosted by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. I was curious because I'd never been to one. I was also in need of a little injection of spring. This year's theme was "Rhapsody in Green", as in environmentally green as well as obvious green.

Many of the displays were difficult to photograph because they were so large and it was kind of dark in the place - my photographs wouldn't have done them justice. Here are some small scale photos:
giant palm

Patterns on the floor

Pretty garden furniture

Entries from the young Mass Horticulturalists. Flower Power!

Aloe plicatilis, or Fan Aloe. This had a funny little shoot growing up out of the middle but I accidentally chopped it off in the photos.

Oops! I can't find where I wrote down the name of this one. I'd name it the Medusa cactus.

One of the entries in the arrangements section

Lots of orchids. This one is a Doritaenopsis "Chain Xen Pearl" Moth Orchid

Here's a Paphiopedilum Hybrid Ladyslipper

This is a Phalaenopsis "Join Angel" Moth Orchid

And last, a Zygopetalum "River Murray"

The Blue Hills Reservation in Milton had a booth with all kinds of information as well as critters! This is an Eastern Screech Owl that they rescued. Very cute little guy.

In preparation for my own garden, I bought more California poppy seeds and some nasturtium seeds for my porch window boxes. Fun stuff!