Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rachel Whiteread's Village

...My blog is quiet lately as I try to save each and every typed word for my final papers, but I had to post about this dollhouse village we saw at the museum of fine arts this afternoon. We had snow for the first time today and it was really pretty, flaky snow but it was also really, really cold and the trains didn't seem to come on time and my throat felt sore and tired and I just wanted to be home. I needed to get a book from my school library, and while I was there Sumanth went to the art museum, which is next door. After I studied for a little while, I went to meet Sumanth so we could catch the train and go home to warm showers and hot chocolates and fuzzy socks, etc...Sumanth said that there was just one exhibit he wanted to show me. Oh, my goodness, I had no idea I would be so glad that we went to see it. To get to this exhibit of dollhouses, we had to go through dark curtains to get to a room with a little neighborhood of two hundred doll houses, all lit up inside. It was so, so fun to be in there and feel like we were in a tiny city about to curl up for tiny naps on tiny rugs (the houses weren't really furnished.) I actually forgot about the cold, grey skies outside and the mammoth papers that awaited at home...I guess now that we're home, I better start to remember at least the papers.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Our Little Christmas Tree...

Well, I felt the urge tonight to put the planned homework aside, get out the step stool and reach up for the little box of Christmas decorations we have. It's not much...some white lights, felt stockings, and small ornaments, but I really love each thing in there and since we were moving last year during December, I hadn't seen them in awhile. Sumanth planted this tiny tree a few weeks ago (it's a spruce--can you tell?) and it is sprouting before our eyes. I wish that I had ornaments wee enough for its scrawny limbs but, alas.

And these are the paper stockings my mom made for us last year...

And here is our manger scene that has found a home next to the tree itself...

I'm glad we splurged at Sears for the 28 foot white lights, because, with the first plug-in tonight I thought of the centerpiece we had when I was little with golden angels that circled above lit white candles and the taste of Christmas eve cheese fondue and December 23rd ballet recitals and waking up to blurry twinkly lights before I put my contacts in and my brother carefully nailing lights up around every crook and corner of my room. And even though getting them up took up my homework time tonight, maybe I'll wake up really early tomorrow and work by their glow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Falling Leaves and Gingerbread for Breakfast

Even though I'm up to my ear lobes in homework this semester there are so many things to enjoy. These leaves are on my favorite tree that I walk under every day on my way to work school and this is the steamy gingerbread Sumanth made on Sunday.

I've also seen so many dear kids lately. I was studying at a cafe nearby last week when a father came in with his two little daughters, one probably three and a half years old and one two. He bought a pistachio gelato and a strawberry gelato and I think that the process of helping them both eat it was harder than he had imagined. While scooping up some pistachio for the younger daughter, the older daughter would be trying to wield the spoon like an ice pick, and then when he'd help her, the little one would put her fingers in it and cry because they were so cold. There was one magical moment, though, when both little mouths were full of sweet frozen creaminess. The father immediately asked, "C'est bon?" and they both shouted, "Oui! Papa! Oui!" And they were so excited and so happy that that one second seemed to last a long time.

And then I was on a train crowded with Red Sox fans last week when this little eleven year old chubster in full Red Sox garb who had talked the whole time about how this was his first game ever and how he just "couldn't believe how his sisters could ever like the yankees" asked if I wanted to take his seat. Right away his dad was like, "Ah, real nice son, wait until you're going to get off and then offer your seat," and the little boy's face just crumpled as he put his hands up in the air and said, "Well, it is only my second time on the train... I'll know what to do next time," and then offered up a tiny grin. I've never cared much about baseball, but that night I was sad when the Red Sox lost.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Three nice things about the cooler temperatures...

Smoothing the duvet out over the bed.

Reading in my robe.

Homemade almond lattes.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall has hit. Hard.

Not as hard as this picture may imply, though--this isn't our apartment--this is the dorm room that we stayed in at the conference in Canada last weekend where I got to present a little paper. We didn't arrive at this room until 6am Canada time the morning of my presentation and the plastic covers over the twin beds and pillows seemed a little harsh. Our lack of shower shoes aside, we really enjoyed the campus--the leaves were so brilliant and the hills were so rolling.

The conference went well, here is a picture of me during the break before it was my turn to go. I was nervous because the guy who was next to me, and who was the other person on the children's literature panel, was quite intimidating.

Hopefully, I will get back to blogging more now that I am starting to get used to how much homework I have. Sumanth has really kept us well-fed during this crazy time--last night when I came home he was stirring paella for tonight's dinner and whipping cream to put on top of pumpkin bread! Maybe fall is not hitting so hard after all.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Our new little roommate...

This is Boris, a russian tortoise that we've been taking care of this week for some friends who are on vacation. Boris is slowly growing on me, and quickly growing on Sumanth, who woke up at 6:15 today to have Boris playtime. (I was wondering why our wood floors were so sandy until Sumanth said, 'I think it's a good idea to let Boris excercise in the morning; he is so much more relaxed today.') His snacks have attracted a brood of fruit flies which are taking some time to get used to (as in I've spent much time researching fruit fly traps and cleaning everything we own with hot water and bleach), but all in all, his addition to the apartment has been pretty seamless.

All week, I've been seeing signs for a big moving sale right down our street. I don't usually pay attention to this kind of thing, but for some reason, I had a good feeling about this one. The address was so close to us that I pictured a perfect Saturday morning where, after pulling a coffee cake out of the oven, I would skip down the street and come back with a new nightstand and antique lamp and maybe a basket to keep my socks in, all for about $9 or so...Well, the coffee cake part came true, but when I got to the moving sale, I realized that it wasn't outside, but in this guy's apartment, on the third floor of a building, and I'd have to call him to get let in. I debated calling for a few minutes, but thought that the chances of me skipping away with a perfect nightstand in hand might not be worth the strangeness of browsing through someone's apartment. Alas.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Early Start Saturday...Nutella Truffles

I've been up for quite awhile due to the massive construction going on right below our windows. Not sure that construction is the right word--what is going on would more accurately be described as deconstruction because it involves those things that break cement and sound like helicopters and also those things that saw metal tubes in half and sound like your ears splitting into shards. Anyways, thanks to our early wake-up call, it is eleven am and the house is sparkling and smelling like begonias, cinnamon roll dough is rising and a draft of my big paper has been sent out. The only problem is I'm so tired that I would like to use the cinnamon dough for a pillow and go to sleep. Only the helicopters are still sounding. Sumanth does well with little sleep, though, and he is right now making truffles from homemade nutella...I was wondering what that one pound bag of hazelnuts was for...

He's been planning this chocolatey dessert for awhile. The other night we were on a bench waiting for a train that was taking a very long time to come because of a Red Sox game or something and he was talking about making a chocolate hazelnut sauce. Just as I was saying that nutella seems like the kind of thing that is just easier to buy, the woman on the bench beside us, said, "oooh, that sounds delicious." Well, we started chatting, first about chocolate, then about desserts, then boston, then the trains, etc. I enjoy chatting sometimes, so I held up my end of the conversation (Sumanth went back to invisioning his dessert) and answered her questions about where I liked to shop, what kinds of cheesecake I prefer, what kind of train passes I buy, etc. All the while I was thinking that it was a bit odd to be talking this long to someone while waiting for the T, but I figured we just had a lot in common and that Boston could feel like a small town after all. I imagined her thinking that I was quite good at small talk in the rare way that few people are. Sumanth said when he felt the conversation go astray was when she asked, out of the blue, "Do you ever make wraps?" At the time, I thought it was a fine question, and went along to tell her all the kinds of wraps I've made and even recommended a brand of wrap she might try. (Cedar's) Anyways, finally, the train came, and I imagined us all sitting in a row together, chatting it up about lunch meats and urban life, but lo and behold, she found another partner while on the way into the train. I heard her start in on all the same questions--even about cheesecake and wraps! She even offered her new friend some of her Trader Joe's chocolate mint balls that she had just bought. Whoa. Next time I'm going to be more discriminating with who I'll give my wrap advice to.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

prolonged celebration is the best kind...

The nice thing about having our anniversary fall on a weekday was that we were able to really stretch it out...
On Sunday, I got this painting:

On Monday, I got these flowers:

On Tuesday, we had sangria and fish tacos at Zocalo:

And on Saturday, we stayed here:

...It was hard to come back from the turndown service this glorious hotel offered to our apartment where I had left a bag of really old potatoes to rot in the sun...but at least I had my sweet new painting to look at.

In other celebratory news, my boss turned 85 this week. The blueberry-topped lemon tarts are made by Sumanth.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Getting back to writing papers with the help of a bathtub full of caffeine...

If Sumanth had been with me when I took these pictures using the camera on my lap-top he would probably have been worried about the possibility of coffee leaking onto the keyboard. This is one of the reasons that I think we're a good match--while I was taking the bottom picture, and leaning the mug in order to get the best shot--I heard his voice in my head which was what stopped me from getting an even better shot by leaning my mug even further towards the camera risking the life of my sweet little macbook for pics of my sweet little latte!

While I was trying to get back into the writing papers mode, I couldn't help but overhear two people at the nearby table who were interviewing eachother to be roommates. The one girl said, "Well, when Lewis (whom I later found out is a cat) gets angry, he tends to go a little wild with his peeing. Yesterday he peed in my laundry basket. Lewis always finds the laundry when he's angry!" The other poor soul said, "Oh, I don't mind that kind of thing," leaving me to wonder what king of thing she does mind if not cat pee in laundry, and to be so so grateful not to be on a roommate search.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh Boy!

My favorite poet, the one I made this diorama about, sent me a postcard today! It looks like he typed it on his typewriter, too. I thought it was a good mail day when I saw a Netflix and a laundry bag from my mom, but I had no idea...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"It Must Have Been Something I Ate..."

Although this picture of Sumanth was taken many, many years before I'd ever seen him, I think it best captures his newly-found happiness in cooking. For the past couple of years, Sumanth has been making more and more recipes, mainly desserts and breakfast foods like truffles and french toast. During this time, I've noticed his expanding food vocabulary from time to time--like when he started to use 'mulch' as something that you do to fruit or when pepper stopped being just black. This week, however, has reached a completely new level. Sumanth has been reading It Must Have Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten, a book that casually mentions such delicacies as frog cappuccino and blood sausage and discloses the secret for perfect french fries (horse fat). So far this weekend, we've eaten homemade au gratin potatoes and herbed chicken with apricot sauce and tomato beef empanadas and wine soaked apples and that has just been for dinner...Between the shopping, cooking, eating and cleaning, this new hobby is pretty much all consuming for both of us...

Besides the food that our last visitors of the summer have come and gone (see above before we went out for Tapas--I may appear to be smiling but the shoes I was wearing gave me blisters so bad I almost had to cut my feet off), life is starting to get back into a normal mode and going back to classes feels closer on the horizon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Well, this isn't the best picture of us, but I was trying hard not to miss the first fireworks and Sumanth was trying hard to smile amidst being bitten by mosquitos the size of a fist...I wish that the photo had caught some of the fireflies that were out that night--the sky really did look electric even before the fireworks started.

This weekend we're hosting some friends from Wilmington, and next weekend Amanda, Elisha, and Jodi will fly in! I can feel our apartment getting excited for them--the air conditioners are saving their strength, the floors are looking extra shiny and the coffee maker is ready to be filled to the brim. Come soon, girls, here are some places we can go...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Croissants, Hansel and Gretel, Summer Solstice Time

I have to put in a little plug for these "mini-croissants" from Trader Joe's. They come frozen (as shown on the right) with the instruction to rise overnight. Rise, they did! I made them for the first morning that my mom was here and they truly hit the spot. We had really marvelous breakfasts when she was visiting--my favorite being chocolate chip cannolis bought the night before in the italian neighborhood of Boston. We also toured two art museums (I was scolded by a security gaurd at the contemporary museum where I got way too close to one of these sculptures) and saw a play at the Boston University Theater. . .

This week I've spent transitioning back into real life mode and starting to read seven versions of Hansel and Gretel. I found out that in September I get to present a paper I've written about Hansel and Gretel at a conference in Canada, and so I want to make sure I have my facts straight. By far the best illustrations are in this one.

The sun rose at 5:08am this morning, and it isn't slotted to set until 8:25pm, so I'm off to enjoy the extended blue skies.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pink Roses and Pink Lemonade

These are the rose bushes right outside of our building; like us they're starting to feel the effects of Boston's mini heat-wave. Walking down this sidewalk, though, is such a treat because they smell all rosy and they look like they're trying so hard to keep their blooms up in the rain and sun. I have a small collection of scratches on my right elbow from when I've gotten too close to the thorns.

Boston is starting to feel different now that students have left for the summer and vacationers have gone to their summer homes in the Cape. The business commuters have loosened their ties and lowered their heels. The trains have emptied out a bit, letting me overhear so many sweet things lately. The other day, when I got on the T, this poor, possibly homeless, guy who seemed kind of disoriented, kept loudly asking everyone their destination and repeating to everyone to make sure they grab the poles. Some people gave quick answers and some looked away, and then this woman, probably eighty years old or so, took the seat next to him and started putting on her makeup. She introduced herself and told him where she was going and asked him where he was going and they kept on talking about little things like the restaurants that the train was passing. He started talking in a normal volume and she told him that she used to think about opening her own restaurant up, and he told her that his father died last year. She told him that it took two years to feel better after her father died. The woman got off at the same stop as I did, and when she did, they nodded their goodbyes to eachother; I think it was the nicest interaction I've seen between strangers.

As I mentioned before, we're in a mini-heat wave, but we're coping quite well with two newly installed window air conditioners and lots of lemonade--normal yellow kind mixed with pink lemonade, making a pretty light pink lemonade. And, honestly, it feels good to sweat a little after so many months of scarves and ear warmers.

Monday, June 2, 2008

What do these things have in common?

. . . Lobster roll, sangria, goat cheese empanadas, cinnamon buns, portobello mushroom sandwich, garlic shrimp, lobster pizza, creme brulee, chinese wontons, fiddlehead ferns, raspberry cobbler, chicken in wine sauce, champagne. . . Well, I consumed all of these things this weekend (and more actually, but the list was getting excessive.) My dad and Colleen came to visit us this weekend and we walked around the city almost as much as we ate. Let's just say today's breakfast of oatmeal and lunch of turkey sandwich have seemed very, very bland.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lilac Time and the Livin' is Easy

...Or at least it would be easy if I hadn't come down with a massive cold two days after I finished my semester. Cold aside, I've been using my newfound freedom to try new recipes--so far, I've made sherried tomato soup, honey-lime chicken, spicy sweet potato fries, cherry cheesecake, mexican corn pudding and experimented with wildberry sherbet smoothies.

I've also had time to browse the bookstore, where today I overheard a mother reading to her little daughter in the tiny chairs of the children's section. She was really trying hard, doing all of the voices and taking extra time to look at the pictures, "Priscilla was glowing, she felt like a star," she read, "And if that's how you feel, then that's what you are!" I heard the little girl gasp as that last line was read, and when I turned to look at her,her hands were covering her open mouth...What a revelation for a five-year old on a Saturday morning with her mom.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's Not all Reading and Writing. . .

I'm off to my last class of the semester where I'll present a paper and. . .

I actually had to make this graphic representation to present along with it. I hope that the wood glue holding those shelves up will do OK on the T ride over. . .

Friday, May 2, 2008

Petals: The New Snow

The Spring petals covering the trees and the ground here are such a welcome sight. I took these pictures of the tree on our corner on my way to the library. I am always on my way to the library these days so it is nice that there are pretty trees along the way. Today I got there just before opening time (10:00) and there was a kindergarten class making their way up the walk as well. They were so disappointed when their teacher tried the door and found it locked. I cannot even tell you how much. "Oh,Sasha!" said one little girl, "The library is locked forever!" About fifteen seconds later a librarian came to open the door and all of the kids broke out in a round of applause so wild I literally looked inside to see if there was a zebra or water slide or Thomas the Train. One of the smallest boys with glasses with round, bright blue frames, started pumping his fist and yelling, 'Allllriggghhhhht!'(someone may have been watching their dad cheer for the Red Sox really carefully). . . all that to say, their enthusiasm definitely took away my paper-writing weariness and replaced it with a renewed vigor for studying children's literature:)