Friday, March 31, 2006

tea time

Okay...I knew there was a reason I avoid letting myself look at the Republic of Tea catalog, but while I was waiting for my program to compile, I broke down and paged through...and the list I made of all the teas I want to try from them reminded me why it's a really bad idea to let me anywhere near their product line:

  • Cinnamon Plum (black)

  • Raspberry Quince (black)

  • Ginger Peach (black)

  • Republic Green Chai (green, duh)

  • Moroccan Mint (green)

  • Wild Berry Plumb (green)

  • Kiwi Pear (green)

  • Honey Ginseng (green)

  • Apple Blossom (green)

  • Orange Spice (green)

  • all of their white tea blends

  • Yerba Mat‚ Latte

  • Kid's Cuppa (decaf)

  • ManKind Blueberry (green)

  • Panda Berry (decaf)

  • Pomegranate (green)

  • all of their Sip for the Cure green tea blends

  • Monkey-Picked Oolong (I don't even think I'd like that, I just love the idea of monkey tea! haha)

  • Cranberry Blood Orange (black)

  • Apricot (decaf)

  • Tangerine Orange (green)

And to think, just a year or so ago, I didn't even like tea! Augh.

The worst problem is, I don't drink nearly enough tea for me to warrant purchasing any new ones. People already exclaim over my large tea collection every time they enter my kitchen. If I want to taste new teas, I gotta start drinking the ones I already have, to paraphrase what my mom used to say. :)

I better get drinking.

/me goes and makes herself a cup of Good Hope Vanilla

the yellow monster

I meant to post this (really blurry) picture of the baby-blanket-still-in-progress yesterday:

Please ignore the unevenness of the stitching...I was just getting the hang of the pattern. I've gotten much better since then. Really.

Ugh, as much as I love Stephanie and am enjoying making something for her baby, I'll be sooo excited when this blanket is done with. I am getting so tired of the same 4 rows. It's just such a big piece, with such (relatively) small yarn. Poor choice on my part, but at least (I hope) Steph will appreciate the effort.

Yesterday, I finally made it back to Mind's Eye Yarns for the weekly yarn-spinning group...I haven't spun anything in ages, though. I am really looking forward to the spinning wheel purchase that I hope will accompany my upcoming birthday! (Hint, hint...) It was nice to be back at the group, though, and while it was rather small last night, I enjoyed some pleasant conversation as I worked on the Yellow Monster (pictured above).

Afterwards, I met Bethany & SC at the Middle East while we waited for Lisa Housman's set at TT the Bear's, next door. She is so smiley & adorable! And just the sweetest thing. My sisters have known her for quite a while, so she's kind of like a family friend. Her songs are fun and her shows are really worth checking out.

But okay, enough from me for now - I need to go finish up some work. It looks like the weekend plans are filling up fast - I just hope I get some time to kick back & relax!

Enjoy the beautiful weather & upcoming weekend, everyone! xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Collapse
AUTHOR: Jared Diamond

TITLE: Feminism Without Borders
AUTHOR: Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Thursday, March 30, 2006

is it Friday yet?

Sigh. I just really feel like this week has been dragging on! Let's get to the weekend, already!

I could definitely use the break. I only have a few, very nice things going on this weekend, which is lovely. Artsy party & Julian Velard for Friday night, dinner planned with my sister and her boyfriend (and Dan's cooking!) on Saturday, and Sunday, possibly breakfast with Jess (if not this weekend, SOON!), and maybe a knitting lesson for a few friends (but ack, I'm scared! I've never taught before!), and (I hope) a visit from Karen & Josh! Perhaps a few other things that are tentatively on the schedule, but mostly I hope to keep it a low-key weekend.

Last night, Dan and I attended something called the RSS Geek Dinner out in Harvard Square, which was unfortunately somewhat disappointing. When we got there, it felt like everyone already knew each other, so we met only a few people the entire time we were there. And -- this is a surprise, coming from me, but -- it wasn't geeky enough! I believe most of the people there were web geeks (which would make sense, with the "RSS" part), and they mostly talked business & numbers, not code. Ah, well. Guess those kinds of gatherings aren't quite our thing.

In other news, I am sad to hear that there will be no more Maytag repairman™, as the company has been bought out by Whirlpool. Ah, we must bid adieu to the commercials of my childhood as they slip away, one by one...

Not that I even watch TV anymore, though. So it's okay! xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Collapse
AUTHOR: Jared Diamond

TITLE: Feminism Without Borders
AUTHOR: Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

in keeping with the vein of my last entry...

...I need a store like this near me. ASAP!

(And don't you just love the shirts?)

well, that wasn't so bad

So the taxman (well, woman) turned out to be not so bad...I trekked all the way over to the office only to spend about 10 minutes talking with the woman, who basically told me (after much deliberation) that I could file in CT, as everything of importance for me (voting & car registrations) were based in CT last year. I was about to have her continue on & help me fill out the forms, until I learned that she charged something like $125! So, I just decided to head home & do them on my own.

Unfortunately, that didn't turn out so well, either, but I'm halfway done, and intend to be done with them entirely in the next few days. I am (mostly) digging TurboTax online, though - for something so complicated & confusing, they really do make it almost bearable.

Yesterday I also finally managed to get through to the MA Public Health Commission...last Thursday I received a letter from them, asking me to call them because I had been diagnosed (remember that bacteria that knocked me out for a week, after Japan?) with Campylobacteriosis (I so just guessed on the spelling of that, and I was totally right! nice), which I guess is a very common digestive tract infection. They just mostly wanted to talk to me about what I did (if I worked in food service, daycare, or nursing) and whether there was any chance I had spread it around. Basically, they want to cut an outbreak off at the pass - or at least be aware of its origins if it does actually get far. The woman I spoke with was very pleasant though, and we chatted for quite a while as I gave her all the information about the hotels we stayed in & flights we took (I was surprised at how much I remembered off the top of my head!).

Yesterday night, Kelley came over & we all had a lovely dinner, complete with a fabulous ice wine Kelley picked out, and followed by a large selection of desserts (we had both picked some up!) - including the humungous (& delicious!) cupcakes pictured above. Seriously, they had sooo much frosting - and I am normally a frosting whore. The fact that I couldn't even finish my cupcake was rather disturbing to me...but, yum! :)

Okay, back to work for now! xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Collapse
AUTHOR: Jared Diamond

TITLE: Feminism Without Borders
AUTHOR: Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

starry fingers

Yesterday, Bethany & I went to Charles Street so that she could pick up a dress from the drycleaner, and so I could pop in next door at The Beauty Mark, which sells Garnish jewelry. The woman who owns the shop put in a special order for this ring for me, which I'm terribly excited for! She said should arrive within the next week. Yay!
Afterwards, Dan & I went for a quick run to the nearby Golden Goose grocery store, to pick up ingredients we needed for an African sweet potato & red bean stew (we're having Kelley over for dinner tonight!), and for Dan's fantastic tomato sauce (to be used later on this week along with the maiden voyage of his "new" -- Christmas present -- pizza stone). This morning I started the stew, and I absolutely love the smells of the Crock Pot growing more potent throughout the day...yum.

This afternoon, I get to go see a tax consultant about filing this year, as I'm terribly confused as to which state I need to file in...I work in CT (and therefore I'd guess I earn money there, and pay taxes there), but I lived in NY until July of 2005, and opened bank accounts both in NY and in MA. So, ack. It's all quite a mess. My main concern is that I won't have all of the paperwork I need for my meeting, and I'll have to go back for a second consultation...which I'd guess they wouldn't even be able to fit in before April 15, as tax time is fast approaching!!

Arg, I hate money. But boy, do I love food. And the smells of slow-cooking stew are making me hungry. Time to go eat my Panini Express leftovers! xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Collapse
AUTHOR: Jared Diamond

TITLE: Feminism Without Borders
AUTHOR: Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Monday, March 27, 2006

bursting at the seams

I just got a package in the mail from The company ships things in either a gift bag or box - so you can't choose "none", you must always select one or the other.

Which one do you think I chose?

Yeah, that's the drawstring on their black and red "gift bag". Hahaha, I guess the packaging people (or was it done by machine?) weren't too careful when the box was closed & the tape applied.

But, they did send some great samples (that you get to choose from when checking out), and it's not like I cared about the bag, anyway (plus, it wasn't even damaged!). And, Sephora introduced me (through those very samples) to Pink Sugar, my most favorite perfume ever. And the shipping was wicked quick (I ordered last Thursday).

So nah, it's not annoying. I just find it amusing.


Believe it. It's actually happening.

I think I have to see that. Even if it's terribly disappointing. Even if it makes me laugh instead of feel sad that there are no more Middle Earth movies to be made (yeah yeah I've heard the rumors of a new Hobbit, too, but c'mon - we all know it just won't ever be quite the same).

Oh, Frodo. xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Collapse
AUTHOR: Jared Diamond

TITLE: Feminism Without Borders
AUTHOR: Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

i'm way too paranoid

Last night, Dan came home and went straight to bed...I guess he's been really tired, but I was kind of worried about him, and he didn't get up all night. So when I went to get ready for bed myself, I watched him more closely than I normally would...and I couldn't see him breathing. His breathing was just shallow, of course, as he was deeply asleep -- but I became terrified that he wasn't okay. I changed quickly into my pajamas; usually even very small noises will disturb him and agitate him in his sleep, but no reaction. I was becoming more and more frightened, but I didn't want to deliberately try to rouse him if he was just sleeping. What kept flashing through my head, though, wasn't oh my god, what should i do? but rather oh my god, what would i do if something happened to him?! As I tried to watch for breathing and as my terror increased, I felt like my heart was breaking - like I would lose half of me if Danny suddenly wasn't there anymore. It wouldn't be right, me without him.

Fortunately, I didn't yet have to actually face that scenario: I climbed into bed and still Dan didn't move a muscle, so I allowed myself to touch his shoulder. To my immense relief, he half-turned toward me, and I felt like collapsing from the release of tension. He barely noticed the disturbance, but I breathed deeply and cried quiet tears of relief to myself. I wanted to wrap my arms around his breathing torso - my proof, by touch - and fall asleep the way he holds me so often. Protective. I was feeling protective of him.

But I didn't want to disturb him again, so I just lay with a finger here, an ankle there, something always in contact with his heartbeat. I needed that small assurance. I eventually fell asleep listening to our pulses converse through my fingertips.

Okay, so I "beautified" this encounter a bit, to make it more story-like - but it really did happen like that last night. I just prettied it up. And yes, I know - I tend to work myself up over nothing. I have got a lot to work on in that area.

In other news, it's been doing this all day:

Which, if you can't tell from the terrible photo, is both sun (right side of the picture) and snow (you can see some flakes in front of the brick on the left). God can't seem to decide what he wants the weather to be. I took that sitting at my desk - that's the view out my window.

I need to get back to work. xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Trans-Sister Radio
AUTHOR: Chris Bohjalian

TITLE: Feminism Without Borders
AUTHOR: Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

green scene

I've been cooking a lot (relative to normal) lately...yesterday morning I made a yummy chicken & sweet potato stew that I found on, as I've been trying to use my new crock pot more & more. (It's so convenient!) All it required was cutting up chicken & veggies yesterday, and throwing that plus a few spices into the pot & turning the heat on for 8 hours. Not bad! And it turned out really delicious - way more so than I thought it would, when I first started it.

Then this morning I baked a quick banana bread (recipe here) and I've been nibbling on it all's the best one I've ever made, by far. Probably because it's full of sugar and butter, haha.

St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching, and I'm hearing a lot about it from Dan, as he's 1/2 Irish. Yesterday we picked up tickets to go see the (sold out) Dropkick Murphys on Saturday night (as Kelley said, what's more Boston-Irish than that?) from a kid who I guess couldn't make the show. While we were out there on the green line, I convinced Danny to walk over to Trader Joe's so we could pick up some yummy treats. I ended up buying a ton of cookies (I just love the merreingues and vanilla sandwich cookies there), and Dan got himself a few dessert wine treats, as well.

And to get back to the food thread of this post, we have also been discussing maybe cooking something authentically Irish on St. Paddy's Day - I've never had (much less made) corned beef hash, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Dan's promised he won't be mad if I mess it up (right, Dan?). And that would be way more fun than going out to eat at an Irish restaurant, as it's more interactive AND if I don't like it, I don't have to eat it! :)

Dan's made his website entirely green for the duration, and has started drinking whiskey in honor and anticipation of the day. I've never celebrated this day as much before! I remember even being "berated" by my coworkers a few years ago when I didn't wear green on St. Patrick's Day - because I didn't even own a single green shirt! Since then, I've added one or two to my collection, since I realized I was lacking in that color. So perhaps I'll break one out to celebrate the Big Day.

I'm mostly excited for Thursday night this week - we're going to go see V for Vendetta, IMAX style! (I love IMAX, and don't get to see it nearly enough.) I have never seen a real, feature-length studio film on IMAX before (only documentaries and such), so this'll be a new experience. I wonder how different it will be from simply watching the movie at a normal theater. I do hope it's good, though. It has such potential - the graphic novel was outstanding - but it could be such a disappointment. We'll see!

It'll be strange to be back at Jordan's Furniture, anyway. I haven't set foot in there since the summer of 2002.

Well, happy pre-St. Patrick's Day, all! Enjoy the green. xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Trans-Sister Radio
AUTHOR: Chris Bohjalian

TITLE: Feminism Without Borders
AUTHOR: Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Monday, March 13, 2006

who do i look like?

I saw this website on Amber's MySpace blog the other day, and decided to give it a try, myself. Based on this picture,

these were my results:

...and the kicker?

I can't say I look like most of the above women - they are all way more beautiful than I am - but ... Shania? Who in their right mind would think I look like her? She'd be the last person I would guess.

But, not bad, for the most part! :) What about you? Give it a try, it's fun! xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Feminism Without Borders
AUTHOR: Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Thursday, March 09, 2006

much better week

Hi, I'm back! And feeling much better than I was last week! A lot has happened that I should probably catch everyone up on, but I'll try to keep this entry short. I know I can get long-winded at times.

Well, I started feeling a lot better on Thursday night/Friday, and so by Saturday deemed myself well enough to travel back to CT for the afternoon for my oldest sister's get-together/clothing swap/potluck/etc. Bethany & I traveled down together by bus and arrived about an hour beforehand, and spent that time baking a delicious vanilla angel food cake, yum! Then the swap happened, and I mostly spent that time picking at the hors d'oeuvres and hanging out with Jen (my best friend since 8th grade), who I was so happy to get to see. Later that evening I wasn't feeling quite so well, so I went to bed early (rather than going to see The Pietasters like I had once hoped to do with Tanya that night!).

The next day I attended church with my mom and then Bethany & I packed our bags and the family (sans Sarah) piled into the car to have breakfast in Hartford on the way to the bus station. The bus ride back was uneventful, and I managed to make my CodePink meeting just in time, by going there straight from the bus station. Afterward, Dan & I had a nice dinner back at the 'Snake - I definitely had my appetite (and then some) back by then!

Monday I was back at work full-time (the first real, full day I had put in since before leaving for Japan!), and then I attended a fun-but-brief Knitting for the Greater Good meeting at Boston Cares. Everyone there was knitting baby goods to be put in baskets for needy mothers-to-be; I had already knitted one blanket & am now working on an adorable hat (pictures soon!). I met Dan at Borders when the meeting was done, and we had a delicious sushi dinner at Ueno down the street.

Tuesday night, I got to have yet another delicious dinner (sooo glad my food appetite is back, although I'm certainly gaining back any weight I may have lost from not eating all last week!) with my friend Jess, who I hadn't seen in ages. We were had a hankering for Chinese, and really wanted to go back to this place we had been to with Jess' & Dan's old kickboxing crew, but neither of us knew the name, so we couldn't look it up. So we figured we'd wing it, and see how we did. And we did great! We managed to find the place with no trouble at all - almost like we were regulars! :) We had an amazing meal of crab rangoon, spicy green beans, calamari, and sesame chicken (cue mouth watering). And, we were back to being the minorities in the room (this place is downstairs and rather out of the way, so I don't think many people find out about it unless they know someone who knows it) - it felt like I was back in Japan, as we were 2 of maybe 4 Caucasians there. But the service & food were fantastic, and we didn't get nearly as many stares (none, in fact) as we did when we were in Ube, so it's all good. :) And of course the company was fantastic, as well - it was so wonderful to be able to finally catch up with Jess after so long!

Yesterday morning, I volunteered for the first time at the Women's Lunch Place over on Newbury Street, a fitting (but completely unintended) way to celebrate International Women's Day! It was...interesting, as I was a newbie & had absolutely no idea what to do or when, but I think I will get to like it as I get used to things. I've made a 6-month commitment with them, to work 7-9am every Wednesday morning. I hope this works out! It sounds like such a fun opportunity.

Yesterday night, Dan & I went on our newly-designated weekly food-shopping trip to Whole Foods, where we spent a ton of money but stocked up on some great stuff! Yum, I can't wait to eat it. :) But that won't be happening tonight, as we are meeting Christine & Paolo at the Elephant Walk for a prix fixe dinner (for Restaurant Week)! Mmm, THAT I also can't wait for! I have been a couple of times and have never been disappointed by their Cambodian-French blend.

So for now, I have to go finish work. I have got to start getting into the habit of posting more regularly, I know. I'll try, I promise! xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: The Pollen Room
AUTHOR: Zoe Jenny

TITLE: Feminism Without Borders
AUTHOR: Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


To all of you waiting for a Japan post, I promise that'll come. It'll probably just be a quick summation of what we did every day, but it's on its way. I just haven't gotten around to it yet...and I want to post about other stuff. Sorry!

Ah, what to say about Hopscotch (or, if you prefer the Spanish-language version, Rayuela). What an interesting book. Let me start with the concept: the introduction to the book explains that there are 2 ways to read it. The first is to read straight through, from chapter 1 to chapter 56. The second is much more complicated - one starts at (I believe) chapter 79 (I just returned the book to the library this morning, so I don't have a reference point!), and at the end of each chapter there is a number in parentheses, indicating the next chapter to be read. (There is also a guide with the order of chapters in the front of the book, which I found to be invaluable at one point, when I managed to somehow end up on the wrong "path".) The interesting thing is that both of the "versions" are the same basic storyline - at first I thought that I'd be missing out if I didn't read both, but what I realized is that you do always end up reading chapters 1-56, in order - just with lots of "extra" chapters interspersed in between, if you choose the second reading option. I am sure the book is very good the first way, but those extra chapters, while sometimes drawn out and seemingly completely extraneous, really do add a lot to the book, overall. They are asides that aren't really vital to the story itself, but that add flesh to the tale that Cortazar is trying to tell. Reflecting back on the story, I think now that they were indispensible (as much as they sometimes seemed completely out there relative to the plot).

Cortazar himself is a beautiful writer; he is definitely inspiring me to want to write more (I haven't really written anything in the way of prose since my creative writing course last year in Ithaca). He finds these great ways to tell you things; for instance, the one that stands out the most for me (perhaps oddly) is the way he describes litter in the streets - I wish I remembered the exact wording, but it was something along the lines of a newspaper offering itself, spread wantonly, to be read by the starry sky. Or, that was the gist I got, anyway. The plot of the novel itself was interesting but not really relevant; Cortazar seems much more concerned with his characters than with any real story. But it works well; he develops these people into such multifaceted creatures. And very tragic ones. It's all terribly beautiful.

I don't know if I'd recommend the book to everyone; it is lengthy (not just in terms of physical size, but in terms of wordiness) and can be tedious at times during the "extra" chapters, but I do think it is well worth it. I found it difficult to get into, but once I was in, it was quite engaging.

It took me a long time to find this book; I vaguely recall reading that it was listed as someone's favorite book on Friendster (back in the day when Friendster was big), but they listed it under Rayuela, the original Spanish (and much more beautiful, I think) title. I looked on Amazon for that book, only to find it was out of print. I can't remember when it was that I made the connect & realized that Hopscotch was the English version, but I was lucky to find it in the Boston Public Library system (it's an old, tattered 1970s copy) and get ahold of it.

Hopscotch in Argentina sounds quite different from the hopscotch I knew as a girl growing up in Connecticut. I'd be interested to see it played. The basic concept is the same, though, both in the game & in the title of the book - one hops around, from square to square, and tries to get their pebble into certain spaces. I definitely remember playing that every day at recess with several like-minded friends when I was in elementary school. We were the quiet girls, non-confrontational and rather shy I think, so it was a good stay-out-of-the-way-at-recess game. I recall being neither particularly good nor particularly bad. We just played every day. Sometimes I won, sometimes I lost. I don't think it was about the winning or losing, though. It was just about playing the game. Story of my life, I suppose....

The other thing I loved about Hopscotch was that the characters constantly drank & talked about yerba mate - yum! I kept craving that while I was reading. And I wouldn't even have had any idea what that was if Danny & I hadn't watched The Take last year, and as a consequence, bought our own gourds & bombillas. I just wish we used them still. I'll have to go dust mine off.

Okay, enough babbling from me today. I promise, a Japan entry soon!! xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Candyfreak
AUTHOR: Steve Almond

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

not dead, just sick

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to stop in quickly & let you guys know that I'm not dead, merely really, really sick. Which is why I haven't been posting since I got back, which I know I probably need to do (although I've no idea how I'll manage to put the entire week of Japan into one or even a few posts!). But, in any case, just wanted to say hi & let y'all know that I will post soon. When I can. I'm just really not up to it right now.

I went to the doctor yesterday, and they think it's from some bacteria I picked up while traveling. Yay. They're checking to see whether it can be treated by antibiotic, or whether I should just wait it out of my system. Yay, again.

For now, I've been told lots of rest & liquids. So, I guess I'll go do that.

Love you guys!! xoxo

Currently Reading:

TITLE: Hopscotch (Rayuela)
AUTHOR: Julio Cortazar

TITLE: I Am Charlotte Simmons
AUTHOR: Tom Wolfe