Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ToT - Family

Carole had a great topic this week for Ten on Tuesday and it's all about the awesomeness of family

Why my Family Rocks Socks

1) We are weird, every single one of us is a weirdo in their own way
2) We can make fun of one another and laugh at our own oddities
3) We are supportive - my mom never missed a recital and my dad made it to most of them. We watch each other's sports games, support each other's hobbies and otherwise just enjoy the success and happiness of other people in the family
4) We play games - For Jim and I it's mostly trivia, for the rest of my family it's anything and everything
5) We eat together - Until I hit the teen years (where I missed a few due to other commitments) my family ate dinner as one big group almost every day. Sitting down at a table and discussing your day forces you to learn all about the people around you.
6) We are friends - I never realized that so many people were not friends with their siblings. Yes, we did and do fight, bicker and annoy the hell out of each other, but in the end we are still friends.
7) There are tons of us. My parents and siblings make up 7 people, a couple of us are married or almost married and our extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, their spouses and children a is huge. Get us all together and hilarity ensues!
8) We marry good people. My older sister is married to a great guy and I am married to a sweet guy and my little sister seems to have found a good fit. None of us have brought a psycho into the family and that makes it easier to welcome the newcomers with open arms
9) We are different - my sisters and I look a little more like each other as we grow up, but as children we looked as if we could have all come from different parents. We have some of the same hobbies, but mostly they're different, we are all interested in different scholastic areas and all of that difference makes my family a human set of encyclopedias
10) We are Dorks - my parents and I went to the 5k in Boston this weekend and then headed over to nike town where they had a photo booth set up. We hammed it up for the camera and left laughing

Mom and Dad

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ToT - Snack Edition

Favorite Snacks (mostly completely unhealthy, over-processed deliciousness), in no particular order:

1) Oreos - I was having them too often so I gave them up for Lent
2) Big Cheez-its - Yes, they are better than normal cheez-its
3) Homemade Cookies
4) Brownies, undercooked
5) Chips and Salsa - add a touch of cream cheese to the salsa for my mom's version
6) POP! - I know pop is bad for you and blablabla, but I love it and have really cut back to just a couple a week. I'm sure I will cut back even more as time goes on, but I will never give up coke and dr. pepper entirely
7) Potato Chips - Lays has a new tomato basil variety that I find addicting
8) Veggies - raw with hummus or a little ranch dressing
9) Ice Cream - now that the local ice cream stands are open I can get any flavor I want!
10) Squeaky Cheese - we used to get this while at the cabin or grandma and grandpa's house

More snacky ideas? Check out the links on Carole's Post

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Possibilities

With a new job come many new traditions, new routines and new challenges

What I'll Miss

Proximity to China town – cheap bahn mi, grocery stores with just the ingredients that I need to make a relatively exotic dish. It was always a good destination for a quick walk when I need to get away from my desk

Art in the Channel – fort point is considered somewhat artsy and every year there is some form of art placed directly in the channel. One year it was a house made of supersized playing cards. Last year it was an interesting array of large flowers that were made from laundry detergent bottles.

Farmers’ Market in Dewey Square (aka south station) – great farmers market where I could buy fresh, local produce, flowers and even yarn

Walking – I was forced to walk every day. Since my commute will be more of the couch to car to parking lot right outside building all of that free exercise is lost.

Reading/knitting – when traveling by train reading and knitting is an obvious choice to fill time, I will be driving to my new job so that free knitting/reading time will be lost

Some of my coworkers – I have worked with some amazingly nice people for the past three years. I'll miss the conversations about gardening, sports and other shared interests

What I won’t miss

3 hours of commuting a day – commuting that costs 3 hours and roughly $11/day not including gas or mileage or whatever is needed to make it through the New England weather. Not to mention if I leave work in the middle of the day (when trains run sporadically) due to sickness/emergency it still takes me 2 hours just to get to my car. New commute is 1 hour/day thank goodness

Walking over the summer street bridge – the wind is strong and freezing cold for 2/3 of the year. When other people have left behind their scarves and mittens for a month I am still wearing them to guard against frostbite for that 1 block of my commute

The company – not the worst company on the planet, but they were really good at discouraging growth, new ideas and efficiency.

My freezing cubicle – I don’t know if my new cube is warm and wonderful, but I won’t miss the drafty windows that forced me to wear fingerless gloves year round just so I could feel my fingers

Some of my coworkers – if you treat me like the gum on the bottom of your shoe I’m likely to forget you as soon as I walk out of the office on my last day

What I look forward to

New people - getting to know the personalities and interests of my new co-workers

Music - I sing along with music, all the time. It is one of my most endearing qualities (unless you have to listen to it) More time in the car means more singing

Missing the sunrise - sunrises are gorgeous, but they are early. I will not miss seeing the sunrise in the middle of April.

Getting Back - doing work closer to what I used to do, work that I won't master in 3 weeks and hopefully work I don't feel stuck in.

Cute Shoes - I used to wear a large variety of shoes, but that changed when I worked in Boston. Shoes had to carry my chunky self and not kill my legs, feet or back through all my walking. This meant wearing tennis shoes pretty much every day, I can't wait to wear some cute flats and sandals!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New happy moments

Recently I downloaded the NPR app for my phone. Crappy App, I do not suggest its use. Thankfully some good came of the purchase! I found some programs that I enjoy and was able to sample some of them. My favorite turns out to be something that I have seen before, but never paid too much attention to: Pop Culture Happy Hour

It's this great combination of people who are connected to pop culture in unique ways. The podcast/radio show has a great variety. They discuss movies, opera, theater, sports, tv, comics and all sorts of things without the "I'm all knowing" snobbery that I find when some people discuss movies or tv or sports. I think because the group is made of individuals with individual areas of interest (read nerd obsession) they balance each other really well. I love it. I also love that they are the first to admit that what they discuss is not life and death and yet can have a serious discussion about pop culture. They can also have the silliest discussions of all time and in this way they remind me of hanging out with my best friends. I suggest you check it out, just don't bother using the NPR app it is awful. Download episodes directly from the site and read the associated blog

Some of my other favorite public radio shows (NPR and otherwise)
Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me
This American Life
Planet Money is good, but gets a bit... accountant/financial analyst-y for me sometimes

Also making me happy recently is a comic 
Most specifically this one from last week I complain about small state people all the time and someday I will post my rant/thoughts on why they are forced into their oddly-scaled life

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Caterpillar Time

This month’s circles are rather bland some of them are already off my bookshelf and onto someone who wants them via the swap feature on Good Reads.

The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton – Troublesome story about a troublesome family in the Midwest told from the perspective of a slow, but smart girl.

What Girls Learn: A Novel by Karin Cook – Story about a family where the matriarch suffers through breast cancer. The story is told from the perspective of one daughter. Decent read, moved quick enough and left me feeling wanting which is the point I think. The characters are left wanting and the reader can connect with that.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Really fun book. I had a hard time determining what age this was written for. The writing was not difficult and I would suspect an 8 year old who is a good reader or a 10/12 year old right on track could understand everything that happens. Unfortunately I think some of the scenes are too vivid for children of that age. Then again, I’m not a parent so I don’t have to worry about whether it is appropriate for my kids. I am looking forward to reading the other two books in this series

The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian – I had higher hopes for this book after reading Midwives. The writing was smooth, but the story was ridiculously predictable and yet unrealistic (apparently that’s possible). One positive thing was how connected I became to the characters and their stupidity.

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – Good enough, predicted the ending and just about every “twist” in the book from the second page. I guess I can watch the movie now.

These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner – Book club book. I don’t think it is amazing and it seemed rather long to me. I’m not sure what I am supposed to walk away from the book feeling/knowing, but it had some of the things I love about historical fiction so that's good enough. I am looking forward to book club and everyone's reactions

What have you read lately? Should I add anything to my list of books to read?