As part of work today, Julie and I got to head over to where we’re having our office holiday party and try some of their “holiday specialty” dishes. (Rough life, I know.) One of the foods we were offered was a crusted lamb chop, which was fantastic.

When we got back to the office, though, Julie suspected that it might not fly with the rest of the company. At first I was a little mystified. It’s not like it’s veal, after all, right? Then Laura pointed out that a lot of people in general don’t eat lamb and never have. Julie volunteered that she’d only had it for the first time a year ago.

So now, I’m curious… and am going to try and set a poll up using Have you eaten lamb before? When? Or if not, why? (Let’s see if this works!)

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

What the heck am I going to do with 5 pounds of plantains? Guess I better get those recipe books down and start getting creative.

Because mmmm, plantains are super tasty. And the price was so right when I saw them at CostCo. But now I’m looking at them sitting on my counter (thankfully not yet ripened because I have all sorts of things going on this week in the evenings that involve not eating at home) and wondering how I can possibly eat all of them.


Confession time: I love weddings.

Good weddings mean that everyone has a great time as you celebrate the love between two people. Bad weddings… well, they provide great story fodder for years to come. But yeah, I really love going to weddings, especially when I’ve known the people for years. Saturday was my cousin Allison’s wedding to her boyfriend Joe, and it was a great time; lots of relatives came down for it, and it was fantastic to see so many of them. I really get a kick out of how fast we all slide back into conversations and running jokes like it’s been minutes (instead of months or years) since we’ve all seen each other.

I’m not sure which was the funniest part of the wedding—when me and some of my cousins had a “model fierce-off” (no, you do not get to see the photos, they outnumber me and will skin me alive), or when Allison gave up all pretense of tossing the bouquet over her shoulder and instead turned around and whipped it right at her sister. Who knew Allison had such a good fastball pitch?

I also got to break out the new camera and take a few pictures, which was… well… unsurprisingly fun.



Continue reading Weddings

Crisp Web Design

At my job I see a lot of web design—both our own and others. And maybe it’s just me, but more and more as of late I’ve been seeing what I’m starting to think of as “cramped” web pages. You know, where you shove everything and the kitchen sink onto a page.

So with that in mind, kudos to Modern Tonic for having a really nice, simple, and open web page. They send out a free email each weekday featuring entertainment reviews, with the archives available on their website. And honestly? I just signed up for their email based entirely on their design asthetic.

(I’m sure this is connected in some part to the dichotomy I’ve learned to recognize in myself as of late; I read descriptions of tiny homes in Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood and wish for that life to be my own, but struggle to get rid of my gazillions of possessions. Is it the attraction of what I’m not?)

Wicked Trip

Well, that was the largest “immediate family” trip we’ve ever had—me, my parents, my two sisters, my brother-in-law, and Charlie. And all said? It was a nice trip. We were up in Cape Cod, staying near Orleans, about two hours from Boston. We weren’t really near anything of interest, to be honest, but the house belonged to a friend of a friend and the price was reasonable enough that we went for it. If I was to go back to somewhere on the Cape, though, I’d stay elsewhere.

The SandpiperNaturally, it rained a bunch while we were there, ah well. But we did some travelling around here and there. I finally saw Provincetown, which seemed nice, although I suspect in-between Memorial and Labor Day the place is a zoo and a half. (I’ll have to ask Kyle what his experience this year was like.) There were some really nice houses, though, and it was worth paying to go up the Pilgrim Monument and to get that amazing view of all of the town. In the off-season, it felt like a good relatively quiet place to visit or maybe even live.

Also high on the list would be Woods Hole, where friends of the family have their home, as well as there being a ferry to the (overrated in my book) Martha’s Vineyard. The combination of a small town atmosphere plus the continual influx of students and outsiders because of the scientific community there makes me think it would be a good place to be. As for Martha’s Vineyard itself, it seemed a little too much for me. The “gingerbread houses” made me slightly ill, and in general the spots we visited seemed like a big tourist trap, I’m afraid.

I must say that one of my favorite parts of the trip was when everyone else was out playing golf or shopping for antiques, and Charlie and I took a long nap (while the rain tapped out a pattern on the roof and the skylight), then after the rain stopped just walked around on the beach near Chatham where we looked at tidal pools and picked up unusually smooth rocks and sea shells. Peaceful, and a lazy way to spend half a day.

Salt Water TaffyThe important thing about the trip for me, though, wasn’t the travel but spending time with my family (especially my brother-in-law, whom I haven’t seen in a year and a half!), and I think everyone had a really good time. Even though I did get a war-wound or three from playing the card-game Spoons. (But hey, I also was the winner and creamed the competition, even with at one point everyone else ganging up on me and Charlie who were tied for the lead at that point.) A bruised knee, a bruised side, and a split knuckle is par for the course with my family. Why yes, we do play to win. And I’m not sure how to feel about people coming up with items in Charades specifically to keep from me from knowing them. (Too bad I was still able to get Fernwood 2-Nite in 15 seconds, despite having never seen it or Mary Hartman Mary Hartman. Ha!) Oh, and eating a lot. That was also important. Mmmmm.

I still have a ton of photos to go through, and a lot of work to be done, but I’m glad to be home. But don’t get me wrong, I’m also glad to have gone. It was a really nice time.

(Hopefully later in the year or early next year, Charlie and I might take a separate trip to Boston itself. That would be fun.)

All That We Leave Behind

I spent part of last weekend helping my parents go through my grandfather’s house and sort through things that were keepable versus donatable (or destroyable). He recently moved into an assisted living facility, and since we were already going to Pennsylvania for a memorial service, we decided to roll up our sleeves and give a hand.

It’s amazing how much random stuff we accumulate over time. I know I regularly write here about needing to get rid of books I’ll never read again, but this opened my eyes up moreso than usual. Half-used bridge scoring notebooks, empty wine bottles that a friend had wanted to bottle his own wine (but never picked up), bags of old golf balls, recipe books that hadn’t been opened in decades.

And of course, the whole time, I’m thinking about my own apartment and wincing. Partially because I’m now of course thinking, “How much stuff should I be getting rid of?” And partially because it made me wonder what would happen if someone else had to go through all of my things. So I’m mentally pencilling in the weekend of the 27th (aka the only free one I have in a five week zone) to try and not just get rid of some books and clothes (my usual targets) but, well… all the little odds and ends.

(How many times have I claimed this?)

On the bright side, the mystery crud seems to have finally gone away, hurrah. Aside from that, it’s just been a little chaotic in Gregland, trying to get nine billion things done this week before heading back out of town tomorrow morning. And of course, the first of my four “preview week” performances at Shakespeare Theatre is tonight (Romeo & Juliet); if it was a regular ticket I’d have just exchanged them for ones later along, but because I went with the preview week package… not really that much of an option.

Oh, and clearly the new fall season is back because I am already behind on tv shows. How is that possible? And yet… and yet… oh well. Here’s what’s programmed into the DVR right now.

  • Project Runway: Still amuses me, and with the shift to Lifetime (and BMP producing instead of Magical Elves) starting next season, this could potentially be the final hurrah.
  • True Blood: I liked the pilot, in part because of the strength of the cast; definitely sticking around for more.
  • Entourage: Was Vince always this punchable? Then again, he’s never been the “lead” really.
  • 90210: Stop looking at me that way. I had to watch the 2-hour premiere, if only for nostalgia’s sake. And I swear, it’s like they dusted off 18-year old scripts and updated technology references. Bizarrely old fashioned. I suspect once the rest of the shows I like (or will try out) roll around, this will get the boot. And I’m already an episode behind.
  • Fringe: Well, I recorded it, have yet to watch it. You see what I mean? Already getting behind. I’m cautiously optimistic, and I’ll probably give it at least two or three episodes. I enjoy Lost enough that a new J.J. Abrams show gets a shot. Hopefully it will be more Lost and less What About Brian? (which was wretched).
  • America’s Next Top Model: The lure of the transgendered model who’s a local was enough to make me watch the first episode, which was entertaining. But I haven’t watched last night’s episode. Behind yet again!

And this is with How I Met Your Mother, Ugly Betty, The Office, Amazing Race, Pushing Daisies, 30 Rock, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Life on Mars all on deck for the fall season. Yeesh. I think this is why when shows go bad I don’t get upset (like Boston Legal or My Name is Earl), because it just means time spent doing other things.

On the bright side, unwatched tv shows only take up space on the DVR, not in my home. Unlike books. Ahem.

Enough of the Bleah, Already

It would be a bit of an exaggeration to say that my holiday weekend consisted mostly of bleah. But I’d say about 50% of it is not an unfair estimate.

With 20/20 hindsight, running my 20-miler on Saturday was perhaps not the smartest of moves, but it was also the last long run I’d be able to do with the running program, thanks to prior commitments for the remaining scheduled long runs. It may sound silly, but even if I’m not running with anyone else directly, there is a certain comfort level in knowing that there are both other runners that you know out on the trail at the same time.

There were some nice parts to the weekend; seeing Frozen River (very good if also depressing), going to a nice housewarming party in the SW Waterfront, that sort of thing. But I’m still feeling a little run down and tired. It certainly didn’t help matters that on both Saturday and Sunday nights, I think I woke up about every 30 to 45 minutes. And last night I couldn’t fall asleep for several hours; a little after 1am I finally gave up on the idea of running this morning and reset the alarm for some more sleep (whenever it finally came). Now today I’ve got a bit of a scratchy throat. If this is some sort of summer cold, I must say I’m really unimpressed. Just go nuclear or die off, but this strange sort of half-life, Schroedinger’s Virus thing is getting a bit old.

Of course, this sort of thing always happens at the worst possible time. In the month of September, off the top of my head, there’s two family-related trips, a wedding, a 50th birthday celebration, two dinner parties, a play, and no doubt a lot more that I’d have to look at my calendar to determine. And while they’re all good things (don’t get me wrong, I’ll take this over a month of isolation or loneliness) I cannot help but think that there must be some sort of happy medium available out there. Argh.

I feel like in balance, aside from the first weekend of October (when SPX rolls around) I should deliberately not book anything for that month. If nothing else, I need a weekend in which I can finally really roll up my sleeves and get rid of a lot of stuff. (It seems to be in the air lately, which is fine by me.) Lately I’ve started really feeling like there are too many things in my home that haven’t been touched in so long that perhaps I can bid them adieu…

(Oh, stop laughing. It could happen.)

Until then, step one in my master scheme will be to shake this… whatever it is I’ve got. Enough is enough!