Monday, June 29, 2009

Julie and Julia

This weekend was filled with fantasticness:
-yarn at the Wool Basket
-buffalo chicken wrap and naked juice with local strawberries from Foodies
-encounter (due to wearing of Smith shirt) of fellow '04 Smithie's younger brother. Yes I did restrain myself and did not say what I wanted to which was "Of COURSE I remember you sister! We attended an admissions event where she not only rubbed in my face the fact that she was from a wealthy town but also that she got accepted early decision! But then I had to stop hating her pretty pretty long hair and pearls and twinsets when she got to Smith, shaved her head and walked around in beaters and army fatigues and became a, what was it "lug" (lesbian until graduation). I hear she's married now to a man in the MILITARY and has two kids!!"
Instead I was nice and reserved and said "Of course I knew M, she was very close to one of my housemates. What a small world!" ahahahahah
-sleep in the car, to compensate for only 3 hours sleep previous night, therefore sleeping from Boston to NH border
-weird NH liquor store encounter to buy "closet alcoholic size" bottle of Captain Morgan. Employees ceased all activity and watched me like a hawk, as if I was going to stash the pint in my capris and make a run for it....and as if the man in the back of the store in a loose fitting tanktop that showed off his large and colorful chest tattoo who kept picking up very very expensive bottles of Belvedere and Ketel One was NOT sketchier than three of me put together. WTF?
-BALD EAGLE SIGHTING. It was a semi-religious experience, and for risk of seeming totally lame I will NOT go into detail here. ahem.
-Loon sighting (also amazing)
-Book reading
-Sleeping on the porch

Saturday nice too:
-Naked juice again
-lying on the dock sleeping and reading Admission (good stuff)
-knitting baby booties and hat
-baby snake

Sunday. Well Sunday was weird.
-the weather did not cooperate.
-I went birdwatching in the woods (eagle nest searching) only to be joined by Bigfoot, aka my dad, who uncharacteristically complained a lot and went the bathroom in the woods no less than 3 times. Um. What? He hates that we "Sit around and do nothing" in NH, and I think he was acting out or something, lol. I did see a Red-breasted Nuthatch, which was nice, but had to cut my quest for a mystery bird short by father's presence (he lacks the patience necessary).
-Got "lost" in woods, was sweaty and bug-bitten
-Had to go home, sans kayaking. Not one solitary paddle. Dang it.
-BUT I found a copy of Commencement *hurrah*
and started Julie and Julia.

And it's fantastic and hilariously entertaining. And I kind of want to do something similar, but NOT, good lord, NOT with Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Though Potage Parmentier suddenly sounds worth the effot, I will say.

No the book made me think of how happy I am while baking, even when it's a task, like it was last week for the FP yard and bake sale. I love it. It's ordered and measured. and sooo tasty.

That led me to think that I should quit my job and become a baker.
Ok I thought that for five minutes before I realized it to be a supremely bad idea.
I will say this though - last night I planned to make a strawberry-rhubarb crisp for the familia.
My dad said "WHY" and I thought in my head "why do you always question and does there have to be a reason for baked goodness?" but said instead "Oh because I have to use the local strawberries I bought at Foodies" When saying baking is necessary to use up ingredients that are about to "go bad" it is always always justified.

Now my family and I are stawberry rhubarb connoisseurs and have found two particularly awesome crisp recipes, one belonging to Food and Wine and one from Emeril. I'll have to gauge our mood but tonight I am feeling F&W, as Emeril's use of Grand Marnier is totally amazing and decadent, but maybe too rich for a Monday night!

Anywho, the whole point is: the weekend was great, I have a secret fantasy to do a Julie/Julia Project of baking, and despite some of their weird quirks (peeing in the woods!) I love my family. A ton.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


My wedding stress does not come from
2. money
3. opinions of others

It comes from the hundreds and thousands of fantastical wonderful ideas in the world and my ability to not use them all....and the stress of having to choose just some.

Jamaal and I talked it out on the phone last night and we came to this conclusion. Which is actually not really a bad thing, since it comes from excitement. Whoooo.

Ugh, now back to work (boo).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Green Thinking

So today I entered a contest on Style Me Pretty for some awesome invites.

There eco-friendly too, zero-carbon in production, vegetable-based inks, recyclable, etc. So awesome.

You had to write a comment to enter, and I wrote the following:

Allison says:

I’m in love with these invites for so many reasons! I love that these are so environmentally responsible AND completely gorgeous and elegant. The deco is my particular favorite as it would fit in with our wedding so well; we’re getting married in 2010 at a barn in Connecticut, so we’re aiming to have a simple affair, nothing too fussy to interfere with the barn’s natural beauty, but with an elegant twist. The simple circular design of the deco invitation and the repeating motif fits the bill perfectly, plus it would play off the lace in my dress. Aesthetics aside, it does my heart good to see more and more ecologically conscious choices for brides, as well as green and female entrepreneurship!! I graduated a year ago with a MS in biology, concentrating on conservation and the environment, and one of my main reservations about having a wedding was not the expense, but the waste, both pre- and post-wedding. Invitations from WedVert, as well as the wedding website and favors, would be additional ways to add to our goal of having a “responsible” wedding, as well as a subtle (not to mention *gorgeous* way) to bring the issues of recycling, green and carbon zero product choices to our guest’s minds. Thanks!!

I was then wracked with guilt that our wedding wasn't "green" enough to be worthy of these invitations. Typical for someone with an overactive guilt complex, right, EE?!!

Then I started thinking of the plans I've been mulling over since we secured The Barns and realized that we're not doing too badly (though these invites would probably improve our wedidng LEEDS score, if they had such a thing!)

1. We're using 150 mason jar led lanterns from a friend's wedding (they're in storage!) so we have some repurposed decorations

2. No flowers on the tables. It's wasteful - very very beautiful, but I cringe at the wastefulness! Instead I'm thinking of votives and seasonal decorations, such as gourds and mini pumpkins. None of these things will be thrown away. Jam and I will probably want some of the votives and such, but gourds and decorations can be taken by guests and used for their own homes and then put in the compost pile (or as we do, throw them in the woods and let the squirrels have a field day). Plus these will all be bought locally, thus reducing the amount of fuel spent transporting these from wherever. Flowers I'm carrying and my ladies are carrying will be in season (fine because if I see another rose or hydrangea I might vomit lol) Dahlias are cool and edgy and a fall flower....just an idea...

3. No SUV limos. No no nein no.

4. Lighting: candles and LED lights. Not extraordinary, but LEDs are a better more efficient choice.

5. Homemade favors (no plastic! no made in China!)

6. Other decorations: will be kept, maybe passed on (really just lights and lanterns, we're keeping it simple....but elegant ;)

7. placecards: prob mini pumpkins. Again local, paperless, reusable/biodegradable.

8. Bridesmaid dresses: chain store bought, but hopefully rewearable, and if not, donate-able

9. Venue: no climate control. Risky, but doors/windows are opened/closed as needed to control temp of the interior. This will be noted on the website for guests so they can bring shawls/wear sleeveless as needed depending on weather.

10. Wedding website: hopefully to cut down on paper! and to preserve our sanity of course.

Places where we're sucking re: eco-consciousness:

1. Everyone has to travel, though at least very few will actually have to fly. In the end everyone travels about 2 hours. If we had it in either city, half the guests would've had to travel four hours. In the end, this equals out I guess.

2. Food: prepared by the reception venue, but unsure of how much local stuff is used. Could find this out though.

3. Transportation: not getting married at reception venue. Though getting married at church in same town.

I know there's more. The cool thing is that WedVert has a site full of tips I'm going to sort through. Knowing the possibilities makes me determined to have an even MORE eco-responsible wedding. YAY!

PS: Have fallen in love with this:

What are my chances that Jam will love it? Not care? I'll take not care! Oooh just love love it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I made a "To Do" list with a perfect proportions, about 3/4 dedicated to work, 1/4 dedicated to personal life that can be completed during lunch and after work.

Have I started any of it?

Have I wasted time looking at faery weddings?

In other news:
I am pleased to announce that I summoned the tech savvy brain cells that are few and far between to come together in a moment of brilliance to restore my 5,000 missing pictures.
I restored all 24,000 files in my recycle bin.
Hells yeah. I have spent the last 4 or 5 days (a blur) picking through the tens of thousands of files to fetch my pic files and burn them on to disc. It's freaking tedious as hell but glorious getting them back.

Here's the uber weird thing: All kinds of sh*t is on there...except something I'm looking for in particular. Now I know enough to know that when you delete something, it's still on your drive but basically marked as available for overwriting. My instinct is to say "f*ck it, these files were overwritten by something else" but what makes no sense is that I have every file in and around the date on which these pics were taken and nothing. I don't even have the pics I deleted from the original pic upload, the ones I deleted before making a folder. How weird is that? It's not a huge big tragic deal that they're gone, it's no one's wedding or anything, but I am missing stuff like this:


and this:


and this little chicken:


So you see, nothing major or significant, but stuff I'd love to have back.
I'll try again tonight, but then might have to write it all off. Ohhhh well.

Off to tackle the to do list...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I adore..

..this wedding
..this decorating scheme for our reception site (with modifications)
..these earrings babies

I do not like:

being so scattered I can't accomplish anything: nothing wedding, nothing work, nothing in life.

It's so frustrating!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Swine and Cheese Party

First off - is it rude to put a "Please Knock" sign on our office door?
There is this one doctor here who thinks he has the right to barge in whenever the spirit moves him. It pisses me off. I think if it were any other doctor it would bother me significantly less, but because it's him and I know him well-ish and I know he's an a-hole, I want to get all passive aggressive on his ass and put up a sign. Ugh, why do I even care really? It's all quite ridiculous.

I probably shouldn't even bother. I should probably wait until someone is hired to sit at the desk he's always rummaging through (apparently there are files in a cabinet here, left behind by a nearly fired coworker, that he needs access to). Then when he comes in someone can be all "Excuse me?! What are you doing?" Heh. I think another irksome factor is that he just walked in here with an intern telling him what he needed done over the summer and was like 'Oh just come in here and do xyz blah blah." Not without knocking, you shifty bastard!

You can tell I am in a somewhat feisty mood today. It is partly fueled by last week's exposure to H1N1 aka "Swine Flu." My coworker, who has been reprimanded once before for coming to work sick and contagious, decided that she needed to come to work to finish a certain task despite the fact that she had been coughing and sneezing and flu-like for the past week. We found out on Friday that she had a pathologically confirmed case of swine flu. This didn't leave me running for the hills or preparing a will or anything like that, but I did wonder about the implications for my other coworker and myself, given our close proximity to the six one (me, six inches, her six feet or so). Turns out I had to take a 10 day prophylactic course of tamiflu.

We-ell that's all well and good, especially since it was free at the hospital pharmacy, given the work-related exposure, but it has some foul side effects. I won't go into the long boring details, but I have thrown up in my mouth four times. EWWW.

I was willing to accept my punishment if it meant a week of Mxxxxxx not sitting next to me being irritating. HOWEVER, I walk into my office today and there she is, sitting pretty at her computer. I said "Oh good morning" She says "Good morning." I say "I take it you didn't have swine flu. Thank goodness, that Tamiflu sh*t is messing up my stomach." "Oh no," she clarifies, "I had it. I'm just better now. How'd you know I had it anyways?"

And because of it's pandemic proportions (i.e. spreadability) we had to take the proper precautions not to infect the entire hospital, which means tamiflu prophylaxis and calling in the second we feel sick. Gosh.

I said "I am on Tamiflu for 10 days and I was told I had to sterilize my workspace!"

Her reply "Oh.....sorry...."

OMG I wanted to hit her. It's not that I thought I would die from the swine flu, or even catch it, it's simply the blatant disregard for the health of those around you. It's selfish and it's ignorant behavior. I somehow managed to be nice about sending her home, which I have no authority to actually do, but pretended I did. "And email health services before you come back to be cleared" I yelled after her.

SO there's my day today. I'm thinking I might get one of those swine flu warning signs to go with the "please knock" sign.

No one would probably pay attention anyways, though...

Friday, June 12, 2009

There are three parts to this:

One part heart attack
One part beautiful lovely amazing perfection
One part sensible

I'm not sure what I'd do. But this site has really given me something to think about. Take a peek at the glorious photos. I see me and Jamaal tramping around on a beach or me sitting on a tree limb and imagine the awesomeness. I also see me hyperventilating. And I also see me irrationally preserving my wedding dress, having no one wear it, and giving it to my grandkids to play with because that's the only thing it will be good for by that point.....


And then I look at pictures like this and think it's a great idea all over again. Hmmm. What to do?
eta: apparently there is a lot of drama surrounding "trash the dress" because if you trash the dress it can't be donated to charity, etc. Here it is, I'm admitting it: I'm not donating my dress. It's awesome that people do, but I'm not. I've donated bridesmaid dresses and prom dresses that I hope have gone on to live happy lives and make girls positively glow with loveliness on their prom night. But my wedding dress? Sorry, I'm being selfish and keeping the thing, no matter if I "trash it" (and truly trash it is not my style, I'm not the dance in paint and throw my body on a canvas type girl, I'm the "do something I wouldn't have done on the big day cause beads might fall off" girl, LOL) or if it ends up in the back of my closet wrapped in plastic. There it is. The end.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When things work out

Don't you just love it when things work out?

I mentioned that my neighbor has leukemia, right? He's four and is in his second week of an inpatient chemo stint at Children's. I went over to visit last week and found him doing alright (his parents probably in worse shape!) but wanted to check in again. Last week there were about six or seven visitors in the room, and I know after the initial admission visits can taper off.

Besides that, we women (mother, sister, me) had gathered a parcel of gifts to deliver to the sick one, because the best way we know how to help is providing the sick one with material goods, lol. So many hospitals ban flowers and plants and latex these days (understandably) that little gifties are so much better, nevermind hospital "legal."

My sister got two awesome activity books, a lego one and a paper airplane making one, my mother bought a pile of books, some classic children's books (Ricki Tikki Tembo, etc) and activity books and I made a quilt. Actually I made two quilts, one for our little inpatient, and one for his brother. They were pretty easy to make, and I didn't want older brother feeling too left out. Plus the quilts were "I Spy" quilts (pictures soon), so this way, they could actually play "I Spy" together with their own blankets. Hurrah!

Now I can make a quilt up without too much trouble, but I totally admit to being a "lazy" quilter when it comes to finishing. Since I'm so often down to the wire with a gift quilt, the "put the right sides together and flip it out" method is the one I most often utilize, followed by tying, which I admittedly abhor. I don't finish the tops (too scary) and I never bind! I know, slacker!

We-ell I was looking at a particularly awesome quilt my cousin made me for a graduation gift and noticed that she doesn't use batting (partly responsible for my finishing hatred), and instead of a cotton backing, used flannel. I thought about it; warm cozy blanket, not too heavy, easy to put together, and maybe I could even manage to sew the top.

Because it was 1 am when I finally finished these quilts, I did indeed choose the slacker option of sewing the quilt up, right sides together, and turning them inside out....what I did manage to do, however, was sew the top down, because I hate tying (think I mentioned that) and I didn't want the quilt to be too slidey.

Here are the results (I apologize for the craptastic pics):
Here's the first quilt. I love the set up of small and large blocks.
Here are some closeups:As soon as my little neighbor opened the gift he and his mom started playing I spy. It made me happy...

Even though he's home from the hospital now, childhood leukemia patients have anywhere from 24-36 months of treatment ahead of them. I hope that these quilts will be companions during those long days in the pediatric clinic at the cancer hospital. Maybe it will even brighten other kid's days....I can only hope it does.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Reasons why my eye is twitching.

1. Got a work email about preparing a timeline for the BOD packets, adjusting cancer guidelines from last year to this, and talking to statistician about what's going to be removed from benchmarking and concordance. The whole email made me go "hunh?" The lovely kicker at the bottom was "Alison (spelled wrong, ugh) tell me if you need help."
Uh yeah. But way to make it obvious.

2. I really want to invite the neighbors to our wedding. This is for a lot of reasons: they're awesome, they're fun, we never get to celebrate fun stuff - we only get together when an elderly neighbor dies, I with my next door neighbor's having a little one with leukemia, in a year and a couple months, we might need the break, and I just plain like them. I told Jam "I'd rather invite them than....certain, blood relations, if you will. Yeah, well this is proof that my cell phone is effing tapped because who friends me on facebook today? Yes. You guessed it. Oh well. Hopefully everyone will make the guest list cut.

3. Got an email from reminding me that in exactly 16 months, we'll be getting married. This made me exuberantly happy for about 5 seconds. Then the reality of the situation and the complete lack of planning set in. Everyone says not to panic, that there's still a TON of time, and while this is true, I said that when I got the "18 months to go" email, and that seemed like yesterday.

Whew. When did this turn into a list blog? And a full of complaints blog? Oh wait, it's always been complainy. LOL.

Anyways, I have to go figure out that BOD thing (I'm thinking this means "Board of Directors"). Ooh though quick update on the hard drive, I wrote a nasty review at Amazon. Especially when I found out that if I send back the drive a refund is not guaranteed because I can't find the packing slip. Guess that fantasy of me throwing it out of my bedroom window may ust be a reality. Hot.

ALSO. I am sooo making Jamaal do this with me: Crane Chandelier
How fun/special/awesome/crafty is that?

I actually think origami may play a small role at the wedding, as a way to save cashmoney and also make church decorating more simple. Since we're getting hitched out of state but not at the reception site, I staked out a non-denominational chapel at a local university campus that allows us to get married there with our own clergy member. While we can decorate as we like, we also have to clean up every trace that we were ever there, and I don't want bridesmaids and groomsmen lingering about trying to get everything cleaned up before the reception. I would like an aisle runner with a Beatles-inspired quotation (as it will be John Lennon's bday, and my whole family has special Beatles love, as does one of the bridesmaids), maybe some candles at the altar, but I thought THESE would add a special decorative element to the church without being expensive or cumbersome. The last person out of the pew could grab it too. Obviously bigger, and not with recycled maps....
We shall see...

Monday, June 08, 2009

Officially Dead This Week:

1. swordtail fish (dropsy, caught too late :{ )
2. external hard drive (refuse to pay $500-2600 to liberate files)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

More Dead Birds, More Wedding

Oh this week. It's been a bit weird and hectic.
Let's see:

This week my little four year old neighbor was diagnosd with leukemia. Um, that was a bit of a shock. I think he'll be ok, but still, it's a pretty messed up situation, considering he was having a water fight with his brother in the front yard on Saturday. Plus it happened sooo fast. Saturday: leg pain, Sunday: bruising, Monday: Dr's, bone marrow bx, Tuesday: diagnosis - leukemia. It's crazy. They have a friend who works here (in fundraising...whatever) who's offered to help out so I think I'll just tell them whatever they need done, just ask. It makes you think though. Nevermind feel utterly helpless. Stupid cancer.

Then on that very same day, my father and I went for a glorious paddle in our kayaks. It was really just lovely. We started in the Indianhead River and paddled to the North River, which probably sounds impressive but really isn't at all. There were sunshine and birds everywhere. Sigh. When we got home we put our kayaks behind the shed, not sure when we'd have them out next. As we were getting ready to go inside my dad turned and looked and said "Oh my God. A bird. Allison, it's a bird." Then his voice went up a pitch, something I'm not used to hearing ever really and he said "It's the catbird, you have to help it, quick quick!!" See the catbirds have been nesting in our yard every summer since we moved there, so even though over the 17 years it's been different birds, we're attached. Besides, how can you not love a catbird? They're so sweet and charismatic and strike me as quite intelligent. Anyways, I got over to the bird and saw that it was in serious trouble. It was standing with its wings splayed and at first I thought it just had a broken wing, but then it flopped to its side. It couldn't even hold its head up. This is, as far as I know, pretty much the worst thing you can see an injured bird do. When they won't even hold their head up. I said "Oh dad, there's nothing I can do, something very bad is wrong with him." I pet the bird for a bit, then picked it up, and it died right in my hand. WTF. We were going to put him in the bird graveyard, but I told my father that we should let nature take its course with this one, as one birds misfortune could be a jackpot for another animal family foraging for food. It still sucked though. We couldn't see anything wrong with it from the outside, so I'm not sure what killed it. I'm not worried about bird salmonella now that we've eliminated our feeders and groundwaste. I dunno. Sigh.

To sort of rid myself from lingering feelings of ominousness and disease and death, I decided to do something happy. I began a wedding gift registry. Hurrah! Now Jamaal once revealed, much to my absolute horror, that he would prefer only money as gifts. I finally convinced him that putting that on an invite is the number 1 tackiest thing you can do. You can put sequins and feathers and sh*t on there and it would still be LESS tacky than putting "monetary gifts only." Gah, I SHUDDER. And I am pleased to say that all the etiquette gurus agree *smiles smugly* BESIDES a wedding is really the only time you can ask for specific gifts! And having attended many a wedding, I personally don't find registries offensive (I guess some people don't like to be told what to buy). I think they're a godsend, especially when you don't see a person that often or know what their decor is like. Soooo I started a registry. It was actually started for the sole purpose of entering a $4,000 gift card giveaway to Crate and Barrel, but since I was probably going to strongarm Jamaal into registering there anyways, I figured, why not? I only have a set of pans, a mixer, and some cake and loaf pans on there, but putting gifts on a registry gave me a giddy happy feeling :D Of course the rest is really going to have to wait til we find a place to live and til we get closer to the wedding. There's no use in registering for too much now, as it may be discontinued by the time we get hitched!

So that lifted my spirits significantly :)

Oh. I have no pictures to go with this post, I'm sad to say. My external hard drive, which held all of my pictures, crashed on Sunday. Sooo it is hopefully being repaired....I say hopefully because the computer guys have yet to call me with a clear prognosis. We'll see I guess!