Point Me

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blessings? Gotta Count 'em.

I have been thinking recently about how much I love the place in the world I live, and how I'm not sure I would ever really want to live very far from where we are now. Paul and I have even talked about just building off our little house when the time comes to expand, instead of trying to find something new.

Reasons I love where we live:
-Fertile Soil
-Sources of Fresh Water within walking distance
- The Variety of wildlife and the peaceful environment that comes from being sandwiched between a state forest and a marsh
- The bikeable proximity to town
- Access to fresh local food, produce, agriculture.
-Generally far from all the ravages of natural disasters; No major earthquakes, tornadoes, or floods, and hurricanes generally peter off before they get to us. We get the blizzards, but REAL new englanders don't give a shit about old man winter. He's NOTHING to us!
- The economic and cultural benefits that come with being within 20 minutes of 5 colleges.
- The Music
- The Restaurants
- The Shops
- The Events
- The Commercial Stability (Thank goodness for students and their carefree spending
- The closeness of the Moan and Dove
- The social consciousness and community-mindedness of the region, even if it can be pretentious and hypocritical.
- The newness of our home and the dryness of our basement.
- The hiking trails within walking distance of our house.

In short, we're in a place that feels far away from the assault of urban sprawl, with our neat tiny cities and ample farmland, but we're still close enough to access it. And while I bemoan its downsides every now and again (like "Why oh why do we have to have these monstrous pine trees that kill our lawn dead?" and "Dear god, why did you curse me with a bazillion teenagers living in the house in front of AND behind me?") I really do love the little place we've claimed for ourselves in the world.

If you ever feel bad your geographic situation, or the place you call home, take a second and say "Thank god I'm not an Egyptian Rubbish Person". The way that people in other parts of the world live as a consequence of global frivolity is quite shocking and sad indeed...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lacy Cap

Way back in February, when it was still cold outside, my high school friend and fellow blogger Sally asked me to make her a hat like this one.

Almost 5 months later, I have finally finished!

I love the pattern of this lace. It reminds me of buttresses, or ogives! It's one of my most intricate projects yet. I'm pretty proud of how it turned out too!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Show off yer gams!

When I took French in high school, we did a unit on clothing. Included in the garment names we had to memorize was one of my favorite french words: Jupette. My text book defined it as "tennis dress," but it can also be used more generally for a short skirt.

Given the sticky hot weather mother nature has been treating us to, I think celebrating jupettes and the baring of legs is most appropriate.

Vintage Tennis Dresses are always so awkwardly explicit about what they are to be used for.

While modern ones, like this one by Stella McCartney, are cute always. But I think that shorty short skirts should be rocked off the court too...

....even to a fancy soiree...
....Or in outer space!
Whoa Uhura!

Friday, June 25, 2010

If they don't win it's a shame

Baseball! We've been watching the Sox a lot this summer. Following the same team through so many games, you really start to get to know the personalities and quirks of all the different players. This year, nobody but nobody is working harder in every single game than Dustin Pedroia, better known (at least to Chip Caray) as "El Caballito". Last night, he carried the team to victory, going 5 for 5 and hitting 3 home runs. Wow!

I think he's one of those players that kids can really look up to, because physically, he's not the archetype of a professional athlete. Being smaller and lighter than all his peers, his success is built on playing harder than everybody else. It's one of those great sport tropes.

I think the best thing I ever heard about Dustin Pedroia was this:

"Dustin was QB of his Freshman Football team. He so severely broke his leg on the gridiron, he joined Frosh Baseball late and played hobbled. Even hobbled, it took just 2 games for Rob Rinaldi to realize that Pedroia was best among many good ball players."


EDIT: He broke his foot over the weekend! Hobbled all over again!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

As my childhood self gently weeps

I think as kids we all had things that made us burst into tears for no reason at all. Our worldview as preschoolers (and beyond) is so narrow, that the things we fixate on to be major personal tragedies are pretty awesomely ridiculous. My high school friend Dan told me once that his toddler self became inconsolable during an episode of Reading Rainbow because Levar Burton dropped his ice cream cone.

Well, this is my version of that:

In spite of the fact that Cookie Monster implores us multiple times to "just imagine" he was eating the moon, I immediately forgot that and assumed it was reality. I was absolutely heartbroken that Cookie monster, a character I thought I could trust, betrayed me by eating the natural wonder that it the moon. I still get a little annoyed when I see it. C'mon Cookie, that's not your moon to eat!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Beers of Summer

So the Solstice is right around the corner (4 days), and with it (hopefully, after 6 out of the last 7 days being overcast and rainy) will come all the trappings of summer. Including, of course, summer ales. But with all the summer beers out there, which one do you pick to go with your barbecue, your 4th of July fireworks, your day at the beach?

Fear not, gentle reader. My husband and I have saved you the trouble of debate, and did a double blind taste test of summer beers to determine the true king of ale.

The Contenders: I walked into my local packie and made a mix pack, one of everything that said "summer" on it.

- Sierra Nevada Summerfest
- Flying Dog Seasonal - Woody Creek White
- Harpoon Summer Beer
- Leinenkugel Summer Shandy
- Sam Adams Summer Ale
- Wachusett SummerAle

During the tasting, Paul and I decided that the Shandy (which was basically a bottle of lemonade) and the Flying Dog (which, while delicious, didn't really fit the flavor profile of a "summer ale") would be disqualified in the final tally. We wanted to make sure that summer ales and summer ales alone were considered in this definitive taste test.

Doing this tasting at home was a really interesting an enlightening experience, not to mention awesomely fun. I hope to do it again with other seasonal styles.

The Results (combined, overall score):

4. Harpoon- Paul and I were both surprised that this locally revered favorite actually tasted the worst! Described in our notes as "Blandish," "chalky," "flat taste" and "gritty"

3. Sierra Nevada - While there was nothing glaringly bad about this beer, it didn't stand up to it's other competitors. "Clean taste," "faint hint of hop," "Good simple beer for a hot day."

2. Sam's Summer- Paul and I were both impressed with how much more flavorful this beer was than the others, while still staying true to the summer ale profile. It had a more sophisticated, defined flavor profile, where the slight differences in taste really stood out, and it seemed like it was on purpose. "Full flavored/bodied but light," "clean aftertaste," "slight taste of smoke," "more citrus taste," "peppery."


1. Wachusett Summer Ale: Just as shocked as we were that Harpoon lost, we were really surprised that Wachusett won. We actually predicted, before we knew which beer was which, that Wachusett would be the lowest placing beer. So apologies, local brewery, we underestimated you, greatly! Wachusett has crafted a Summer Ale that is the perfect balance of deliciousness, and a light refreshing body. The notes we took speak for themselves: "Strongest coriander smell and taste," "nice aroma, hint of lemon, sweeter, refreshing," "nice round flavor, no strong aftertaste." It's a beer that really mastered the balance of having that wheat beer flavor, without creating a lasting after taste. I officially declare it my perfect post bike-ride beer. Good job Westminster MA!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Inch by inch, row by row

As I mentioned before, I've been spending a lot of time out in the yard trying to make the most of our little plot of land. I blogged in the past about my notorious plant-killing skills, but much to my surprise, things are really growing beautifully. The way things are actually staying alive has made me want to make the effort all the more to assure a harvest come fall. Here's what's growing at our house:

Green Beans, a variety that grows in vinous bushes, so no bean-poles are required!

Cherry Tomatoes

This little guy is the first fruit, way ahead of all the others. What a little edible prodigy! I'll have to put up bird netting soon to protect these guys from feathered fiends.

Raspberries. Ok, so I didn't plant these, They're growing in huge bushes all through the real brambly wild part of our yard. In the spring, I was thinking that I'd eventually like to take out all those pricker bushes. But now that I know that they're raspberries, I'm not so sure!

Red Potatoes. This project was one of the things I was most excited about when I started the garden. I used this tutorial to convert an old busted-up trash can into a potato planter. Planting them this way is great because it's a lot more economical, space-wise. You don't even need to have a yard to have a potato harvest. Plus, no digging. At the end of the season, just flip the can over to collect your potates!

I also spent some time on Thursday getting our poor bedraggled roses to climb a trellis.

And today, Paul helped me start a compost pile. I'm looking forward to having nice fertile soil from it to use in the garden next year. And I'm also really excited to put our food scraps to work, instead of just throwing them away.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Take one down, pass it around

Paul and I spent the afternoon bottling our yet-to-be-named homebrew IPA! It's awesome to have a basement to do this in.

Paul poured, I did the handy dandy cap machine.

In a couple weeks, we'll have beer. Anybody got any name suggestions? All I can think of is "summer vakay IPA". Top it!

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's always ourselves we find in the sea

Yesterday was one of those nebulous days where the sky seemed constantly on the brink of a rain storm. The coolness of it actually made it a great day for working in the yard, though it left me soaking wet from the knees down, with sneakers that squished when I walked. I'm planning on writing more about that later.

When the downpour did eventually come, I retreated to the kitchen to bake. I made this delicious banana bread from this wonderfully simple recipe. I love how banana bread makes fruit on the brink of not being edible into something somehow tastier. It's a very economical food!

We had the bread for breakfast today, topped with jam Paul got for his birthday. Paul's mom gifted it, farm-made from Gardner. Yay!

While I baked, I listened to this:

It's like the perfect soundtrack for being in the kitchen on a rainy day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pictures from the Weekend

Paul and I spent the weekend in Boston and it was awesome. We went out Thursday morning, stopping in Gardner to drop off Roosevelt at the in-laws.


We saw the Red Sox game that afternoon. They lost, but at least it was exciting.

Here's the view from our room. It was nice 'cuz the hotel had balconies, we really enjoyed sitting out and taking in the city at night. It was so strange once we got home to compare the alive, constant drumming of city sounds to the dead silence of Pearl St.

We spent a lot of time too just wandering around Boston. If anything, this trip has made me realize how small the city actually is, and how close together all the T-stops are. We also managed to stumble across parts of the city that I had never even seen before. Trinity Church, for one. Also, the Granary Burying Ground, where the Boston Massacre victims and Sam Adams are buried side to side.

It was kind of funny too. One night, we went out for a few drinks. Being away from home, we didn't really miss being at the house, and we didn't really miss the cat. We did, however miss the Moan and Dove. Bars we visited just didn't stand up, at all. Sorry!

On Saturday, we spent the afternoon at the Cambridge River Festival, which was really cool.

They shut down Memorial Drive in Cambridge, and fill it with vendors, fair food, booths for all sorts of local organizations, and some really great bands playing. It was a great place for people watching. There was some really esoteric stuff, like a tent where elderly people took turns telling stories from their childhood. They had a whole section too, called "figment", that was all about imaginative expression and creativity, which was chocked full of unusual/cool things.

Basically the idea was that different artists and groups would create all sorts of interactive installation art pieces. My favorite was this; Instead of a ball pit - a tent full of rose petals for kids to frolic in. It smelled absolutley lovely!

The only weird part was that there was this guy, you can see him lying down in the back. He was in there th entire time, pretending to be asleep. I have to assume he was the artist?????

Paul and I also saw the entirety of both our extended families and a great portion of our friends between that night and Sunday, at a series of graduation, citizenship, and birthday parties. It was a busy, crazy time, but it was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tony Jaa: The new Desmond?

Word on the street is, my favorite thai kick-boxer/ martial artist, Tony Jaa, has decided to leave the film industry. He's traded in his action star status to become a monk (buddhist, not Christian, duh). Last Friday the actor rode an elephant to a temple in Surin, Thailand.

At which point, he shaved his head, took vows, and became an ordained monk, brother.

There's a lot of speculation as to why the actor took this spiritual leap of faith. This article points out that it's probably related to his recent attempt and failure at taking total creative control over his latest (and now, maybe, lastest) starring movie. The whole thing almost seems like a plot line of an action movie he would star in; a popular handsome martial arts star falls from grace and seeks redemption on a soul searching journey to a temple where his craft was originally forged. Man, I smell a biopic that's too good to be true. "The Tony Jaa Story"...

At any rate, I am quite sad that he's taking this indefinite hiatus, because he's absolutely the man. I will miss seeing his stylings! But I hope this life change brings him inner peace.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Captains Personal Log: Supplemental

Quite a while ago I blogged about an unbelievable Lost prop auction that is coming up later this summer. The same auction company, Profiles in History is also doing a big Auction of Star Trek props from all across the different incarnations of the series. Pretty sweet stuff, though I'm not sure I'm diehard enough to pay the estimated value for some of these things.

Geordi's Visor - $4,000 -$ 6,000. If I bought this, it would be my Halloween costume every year from the rest of my life.
Scotty's Family Tartan: $300-$500

Federation Phaser from The Wrath of Khan: $1,500 - $2,000
An Ipad, oh wait. No. It's a PADD from Star Trek: Generations (a movie a bought last fall on VHS for a quarter.) $300 - $500
Random Buttons from the Bridge of the Enterprise: $1,500 - $2,500

Collection of Sick Bay Blankets: $400 - $600. I think I would bid on these if I were to bid on anything. At least they're functional.
Least functional but pretty badass. A Collection Borg Bones from First Contact: $200 -$300

The Trekkie that brings these guys home with him is going to be SO happy!