31 May 2012

Public Garden

After I explored the Common I headed over to the Public Garden. Which I will admit I liked more. The Common is nice, but the Public Garden has such a lovely Victorian charm to it. Where the Common is mostly unstructured space (so great for frisbee and kites) the Public Garden is much more landscaped and has a small lake in it. For me it is more my ideal. (But then you know how I love all things Victorian).
Also the year of the ascension of Queen Victoria, and the year the the LDS missionaries landed in Liverpool. 1837 was a busy year.

I don't know what these flowers are, but there were about 4 people trying to photograph them when I walked by.

Remember the book Make Way for Ducklings?

One of the Swan Boats. The Swan Boats began running in 1877.

The Ether Monument (or the Good Samaritan) commemorating the advent of ether used for anesthesia.
Of the places I've visited in Boston (all about 3 of them) the Public Garden is one of my favorites.

30 May 2012

Boston Common

As I mentioned a couple days ago, I went on a walk and explored Boston Common and the Public Garden over the weekend. These are some pictures from my exploration.

Boston Common--the oldest public park in the country



Soldiers and Sailors monument with Flags in front

What a gorgeous city I live in.

Central Burial Ground

29 May 2012

Amish Oatmeal

Back in 2008 when I was living in merry ole' England the woman who cooked for us made the best breakfasts. About once a week she'd make this dish--Amish Oatmeal--and she would serve it with cream and fruit. It was what we all looked forward to every week. And she didn't always make it the same day every week so it made for much anticipation. My second favorite breakfast food she would make were these fantastic waffles. But I don't really remember anything more about them than that. Whereas Amish Oatmeal was so beloved that I managed to get the recipe and make it for myself now. My favorite way to eat it is warm with sliced strawberries and cream on top, but when strawberries aren't to be had plain is good, or just cream, or a little brown sugar. Pretty much anything you would normally put on oatmeal.

Incidentally, I don't actually care for oatmeal. I have tried very hard to learn to like oatmeal because it's filling and I know it's good for me, but I just don't like the texture. This however has a totally different texture. It's a baked oatmeal, and in many ways is more akin to an oatmeal cookie than to actual oatmeal. Basically it's amazing.

28 May 2012

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day everyone. I've decided that Boston is a fantastic place to be around the various patriotic holidays. I feel like here in Boston these holidays are more than just an excuse to get out the barbecue and have a party (not that we don't do that), but I feel like here it is also a day to do things like remember the people who have fought and died to protect our freedoms and our country.

33,000 flags to remember each and every soldier from
Massachusetts who has died in action since the Civil War.
On Saturday I went and took a walk through Boston Common and through the Public Garden. The office that one of my roommates works for helps to plant flags every Memorial Day to remember each soldier from Massachusetts that has died serving their country. This year they planted 33,000 flags for soldiers going all the way back to the Civil War. It is really cool to see. It's like a sea of flags. It is amazing to me how many people have died to give me the opportunities that I enjoy today. And I am grateful for their sacrifice.
Boston Common and part of the skyline.
I hope that you all had a lovely Memorial Day and that you did something to commemorate the people who gave their lives for your freedom.

26 May 2012

Because you asked

I love it when you ask Heavenly Father for something super unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but he gives it to you because he loves you. 

24 May 2012

1900 House

Some number of years ago, my mother brought home a movie from the library and we watched it together. It was a documentary called The 1900 House (I must really like movies with the word number 1900 in them...). When I say documentary, I mean it's a reality TV show/documentary. Basically Channel 4 created this four part documentary to see what would happen if you took a modern family (a 1999 family) and put them in a home styled from the year 1900. So they called in all kinds of social historians and developed this house. It is a house in Suburban London on what was a lower-middle class street in they 1900. And they removed all traces of modern life and outfitted it in period wallpapers and furniture and gas lighting--the works. And then they found a family that was willing to live in this home and abide by 1900 rules: wear the clothes, eat the food, and live the lives of a lower-middle class family in the year 1900 for 3 months. It's really a pretty fantastic experiment.

Every handful of years now I remember how much I enjoyed watching this the first time and check it out from the library again. So this week I've been watching it while I get ready in the morning. It's pretty fantastic.
Daru Rooke--Historian and Curator of living history museums

23 May 2012

Bookbinding II

On Saturday I had another one of those all day bookbinding workshops. Though now that I think of it I doubt I blogged about the first one so maybe "another" isn't quite the right word... This workshop was a good one. It was a follow up one to the last one I took (which I suppose is a story for another day). This time we learned coptics, flat-backs, long stitch, and if we'd had more time we would've done secret-belgian bindings too--but she sent us home with supplies and instructions (yay!). Technically I already knew coptic and flat-back, but it was nice to see how some of her techniques differ from the way that I normally would approach those bindings. Some things I liked better and some I didn't. But I am definitely glad that I know more. And learning the long-stitch was good. That one and the Secret-Belgian were the two that I most wanted to learn. I've enjoyed these workshops I've taken. I really love bookbinding. I need to get my stuff out more often and work on projects more. Because I always forget how much I love it. I'm excited for my big workshop this summer.I'm very excited to get that kind of concentrated bench time under my belt.

Here's a random picture of a Secret-Belgian binding just for kicks:

22 May 2012

Blueberry Souffle

My roommate invited the sister missionaries over for dinner on Sunday night. Since I made those Panna Cotta a few weeks ago I have been wanting to make something else. And when I was going through blog posts and such with the recent move I found this post.Those berry souffle's were pretty fantastic. So I decided it was time to make them again. Luckily my roommate was kind enough to allow me to make them for dinner with the sisters. This time I split the batter (is that what you'd call souffle mixture??) up in seven ramekins because there were seven of us. Consequently they didn't rise quite a high as last time, but they still rose well. I was pleased.

 And everyone liked them. I really like it when people like my food. I also really like making fancy desserts. Sometimes I wonder how life would be different if I had ended up in culinary school. I still think being a pastry chef would be fun. In fact, I got a call from one of the culinary schools I had looked at years ago the other day. It was totally random and out of the blue. But the girl I talked to seemed to think that library school was cool too.

 The picture from the cheese souffle from that same earlier post makes me want cheese souffle. If only that souffle dish had been mine and not one I'd borrowed from a dear friend who now lives far, far away...

21 May 2012

So I picked a fight...with a road...

So Friday was a busy day. I got called in to my retail job unexpectedly and so I had to rearrange the errands I had to run. So I ended up running two errands on my way to work and two on my way home. (I don't even know how many hours I spent riding public transit, it was a little bit ridiculous.) So while I was walking between errand one and errand two something weird happened, I guess I must've tripped or something, but anyhow next thing I knew I was falling (in slow motion, yet powerless to stop it). I was in the middle of crossing a street so I landed nice and hard on the pavement. It really hurt. As usual I picked myself up pretty quick and finished crossing the street. About a half a block later I stopped to check if I was broken or anything. I looked down and had a HUGE gash in my pants. And what turned out to be some pretty impressive road rash on one knee. The other knee didn't look too bad (it has a pretty awesome bruise now). So I walked on to errand two and made a quick bathroom break to clean myself up. Don't you love how not absorbent public bathroom paper towels are?

Miraculously in all this I still managed to catch my bus to work and arrive on time. But work was the longest day of my entire life. My knee didn't hurt too bad, only when something touched it (like my pants--which they did constantly). And it turns out that the first aid kit at work is highly inadequate. Nothing bigger than a regular bandaid. A little over half-way through my shift someone managed to find a giant bit of gauze which helped out immensely, but it was a miserable day. After work I finished my errands--which definitely involved bike shopping. Nothing like trying out bikes when you can only kind of bend your knee.

I also had fun grossing out all my friends at game night because by the time I finally got home about 11 hours after hurting myself all I wanted to do was put on shorts and make sure that nothing touched my road rash.

So now four days later...It's still quite gross looking. I actually took a picture this morning to share with you, but I'm too grossed out by it. Sorry. (Anti-climactic I know.)

18 May 2012


So, it's been what two, three weeks since I've started posting most days? And today I find myself floundering a little bit on knowing what to write about. Nothing of note has happened lately, other than my going to work, and things like that.

Lately, I've been wanting a bike. I've decided that bike's are the most efficient way to get around Boston. Somewhere that takes an hour to get to on the train is only about a half hour bike ride away. Plus, riding a bike is free exercise (free in the sense that it doesn't feel like exercising because I'm riding to somewhere, and in the sense that I don't have to make a special effort to get that exercise). And it's environmentally friendly. And it's summer: good biking weather. Of course, the problem is that in order to have all these benefits of riding a bike you have to have a bike. This is where I struggle. I'm in the process of learning about bikes, and trying to find a decent cheap one, but it remains to be seen whether I get to have a bike or not (they're just so expensive, even used). I'm hoping to have time this afternoon to check out another shop who may have something for me. We'll see.

17 May 2012

Ideas worth spreading

So a few months ago I was introduced to TED. So TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting "Ideas Worth Sharing." Doesn't that sound cool? Basically, a speaker is given about 20 minutes to talk on a subject of their choosing (presumably one they know a lot about). TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. Naturally talks focused around those themes in the beginning. It has since broadened. They really have talks on just about everything from "the power of cities" to "women reshaping the world" to "food matters" to "Africa: the next chapter." The whole concept is pretty cool. Knowledge is to be shared. And just to show you (and to expound upon a new book I love):

16 May 2012

Museum's success hurts museum

So I was catching up on my Google reader a while back and read this article by Rebecca Rushfield:

"When the Nasher Sculpture Center opened in downtown Dallas in 2003, it was hoped that its presence would be a spur to neighborhood development. According to The New York Times (“Dallas Museum Simmers in a Neighbor’s Glare”, by Robin Pogrebin, May 2, 2012), that development has come– but at the museum’s expense. Among the new structures going up near the Nasher is a 42-story building with a glass skin that reflects so much light that artworks within the museum’s galleries are threatened, plants in the museum’s garden are being destroyed, and museum visitors are blinded by the glare. The Nasher and the building’s developers are in a heated battle over who should do what to rectify the situation. As arts institutions are more and more being used by cities as “engines of economic development”, will other museums’ collections be threatened by new construction?"

Isn't that about the saddest thing ever? 

15 May 2012

New World Symphony

One of my least favorite "get to you know" questions is "what kind of music do you like?"

I'm the weirdo that doesn't have a favorite genre.

Let's see I like: dialogue? audio books? Pretty much what it comes down to is that I don't really listen to very much music. Like hardly ever. And if I am listening to music then chances are pretty good that I'm in my car.

So a few days ago when I was working on something pretty mindless and felt the desire to listen to something it was a little bit surprising. I'm also that weird person that when I am in the mood for music I probably listen to word-free music because I find music super distracting (hence why I hardly ever listen to it). And I was thinking that I haven't listened to Dvorak in a while, so I put on his 9th symphony. As it starts playing in iTunes I had this moment where I thought "wow, I really like this symphony." And then I felt slightly foolish for forgetting. I mean, really? This music is from a CD that I OWN. I must like it enough to have bought a CD of it. Nevertheless. Dvorak's 9th Symphony is pretty fantastic. You should listen to it. And I could be cool and link to some random Youtube video, but I'm not going to be. Sorry.

14 May 2012

The Moors

So for those of you who follow Sherlock on Masterpiece Mysteries this week's episode was "The Hound of the Baskervilles." I was really impressed; they always do such an amazing job creating a modern tale out of these old detective stories. While I read The Hound of the Baskervilles not that many months ago, I seemed to have conveniently forgotten that it takes place in Dartmoor, Devon. Oh, Devon! Of course I was jolted back to remembrance when Benedict Cumberbatch stands on top this outcropping of rock:

Dartmoor National Park!
looking at this view:
Oh, the moors!
Remember when we went to the West Country? Remember how awesome it was? And how much you fell in love with Devon and Cornwall? Widecombe in the Moor? I absolutely love the way the UK allows whole towns and villages to be completely inside national parks (another good example is Betwys y Coed--inside Snowdonia National Park in Wales). I feel like that would never happen in the States. Sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of my television (in traditional 5 year-old style) watching Sherlock only reminded me of how much I miss England, and how much I love the West Country.

12 May 2012

Emma Lazarus

At work the other day, someone walked up to me and asked if I knew about Emma Lazarus. Unfortunately I had to hang my head in shame and say that I'd never heard of her. So I looked her up (naturally on Wikipedia, though I think that as a librarian I'm not supposed to admit that). And then I felt a little bit stupid for having never heard of her, because I definitely am familiar with her work. She is an American poet from New York. And she is best known for her sonnet "The New Colossus" which appears on a bronze plaque on the Statue of Liberty. When I got that far in the Wikipedia article I went: "Oh. I know that poem. Unless there's more than one poem on the Statue of Liberty..."

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
(written in 1883)

She seems like a pretty cool person. And now, when someone asks you who Emma Lazarus is you'll know that she wrote the poem on the Statue of Liberty (as well as doing several other cool things).

11 May 2012


Back in 2010 when I was living in England I was introduced to Sherlock by a couple of good friends of mine (who incidentally were also living in England). Unfortunately for me, Sherlock came out the same week that I was going home so I only got to watch one episode before I flew back to the States. And then I had to wait six months for PBS to pick it up and air it. (I find it super annoying that we have to wait like 6 months to get the good shows over here.) So anyways. Season 1 was fantastic. Loved it. And this week Season 2 began! I watched the first episode this morning and it was just as amazing as I remember the first season being. And I'm really excited for the episode next week. It is always impressive to me how good of a job they did at taking these awesome stories and modernizing them.

10 May 2012

Nooks and Kindles

I have a pretty awesome job. And as part of my job I have to learn how to use the Nook and the Kindle. What a shame. I'm sure most of you know my feelings about e-readers, but for any of you out there who are unfamiliar... I think e-readers are great, but not for me. I am totally on board with the idea that I can travel somewhere and I don't have to carry tons of books with me. I think it's awesome that you can change the font size for people who need that. I'm not on board with having to purchase e-books, that the publisher can then take away at random from me if they choose. I mean, come on. A publisher (or Amazon or anyone) would never walk in to your home and re-possess your actual books, so why can they do that for e-books? I also just love to hold actual books, and I like being able to turn the pages and see how far I am in the book and skip around easily if I choose to. To sum up. I think that e-readers are cool, but I have no plans to purchase one.

Even though I have no plans of owning any kind of e-reader I nevertheless think it is super cool that I got to sit down at work one day last week and play around on a Nook and a Kindle and learn how to use them. I found the Nook a little bit more intuitive than the Kindle and I liked the interface it had better. The Nook was also in color which I liked whereas the Kindle I used wasn't. But I wouldn't be surprised if my preference for the Nook stems from the fact that it was the first one I used. In all reality, since I still have no plans to buy an e-reader I don't feel like my preference matters in any way shape or form. And I'm sure that with time I will become equally adroit with both.

08 May 2012


When I left the house this morning it was a little bit drizzly and so I donned my raincoat and packed my umbrella. As I was walking to the catch the train to work (yeah, I live in a city where I take the train to work) a familiar scent greeted me. I guess it was just the greenery mixed with the rain compounded by the fact that I was wearing my rain coat, but it reminded me of England. Oh England, how I miss thy "green and pleasant land" (from "Milton"--William Blake). That is one thing that I really love about Boston. Now that the trees have come into leaf, the city sometimes has a very England-y feel. Someday I'll go back.

On a totally and completely different note. Today, Maurice Sendak died. No more wild things and no more Little Bear. Sad day. Though I did discover that apparently there are two more books that are sequels to Where the Wild Things Are. I'm going to have to go find them.

Boston Pops

So it has come to my attention that not everyone in the entire world has heard of the Boston Pops. While the Boston Pops are the Pops, I suppose it is acceptable for not everyone to know who they are. I mean, not everybody likes orchestras as much as I do... So. In the words of the conductor, Keith Lockhart: "The Boston Pops Orchestra performs the best music of the past and present, appealing to the widest possible audience with a broad spectrum of styles, from jazz to pop, indie rock to big band, film music to the great American songbook, and Broadway to classical, making it the perfect orchestra for people who don't know they like orchestras!" (from their website) But the Boston Pops are more than just an awesome orchestra, they are one of the most recorded orchestras and sometimes known as "America's Orchestra."

I couldn't really say what it was the introduced me to the Boston Pops, but I feel like I've known of them my entire life (I did grow up watching PBS, maybe that had something to do with it?). But when one of my friends approached me a week or two ago and asked if I wanted to go to a Boston Pops concert with her and some of our other friends it didn't take me long to say yes. And the best part was that she was getting free tickets from work. Not only was going to see the Boston Pops, but I was going for free! Since we came into these free tickets we decided that it would be an awesome thing to make an evening of it and go out to dinner. We went to this restaurant near the Commons called the Parish Cafe. Essentially what happened is that they (the Parish Cafe people) approached a number of well-known local chefs and asked them to create a sandwich for this restaurant. So all the sandwiches list what chef contributed it and their restaurant and they are all pretty amazing. I had a chicken sandwich with bacon, lettuce, and tomato on it, and it was fabulous.

So after dinner we headed over to Northeastern University for the concert. I guess this particular concert was special and was actually a part of the NU's commencement activities and so the Pops weren't playing that their normal venue, but it was still fabulous. The arena they played in had pretty terrible acoustics, but what do you expect from a sports arena? I always forget how much I enjoy going to concerts. I'm really excited for the fall. I discovered a month of two ago that the Boston Symphony Orchestra (of which the Pops are an offshoot) offers a fantastic deal for college students. You can pay $25 and buy a "college card" for the season and that allows you to get a ticket (at no additional cost) to any available show. From what I understand it's basically any show that hasn't sold out (with I'm sure some restrictions). Isn't that FANTASTIC! I am so excited. For practically nothing I can attend concerts to my hearts desire. Now I just have to wait for the regular season to start up again.

Tangents aside...The concert and the dinner and the evening and the company were all fantastic. It was so nice to get out and do something (especially something cultured) and to have people to do it with.

07 May 2012


I was talking to a friend the other day and she was saying something about feeling validated and it reminded me of this YouTube video, that I saw a year or so ago. It's a little long, but it is absolutely worth every single one of the 16 and a half minutes it'll take to watch it. So watch it, and smile.

04 May 2012

Panna Cotta

In honor of integrating my food blog with my rest-of-my-life blog (and trying to un-alienate my devoted food blog readers) I am starting off this new experiment with food. What better way to start anything than with dessert?

I don't know if you'll remember many moons ago when I first made Panna Cotta, but I made it again. Actually, I've made it many times since then. This dessert is one that I absolutely love. In fact, I love it so much that I think I may even include the recipe for you (and you know how often I do that).

Because I love cool, creamy desserts so much, and because spring is finally coming to Massachusetts (not that we had a particularly harsh winter or anything, because we didn't) I've been craving this for a while. Unfortunately, for me this dessert is just too rich to eat more than one ramekin full of at a time and so it really works out better if I have other people to help me eat it. Luckily, one of my roommates invited the sister missionaries over for dinner one night last week and she was gracious enough to let me make dessert. VoilĂ ! four people with whom to share my dessert. I was feeling a little lazy so I didn't take the time to plate the panna cotta, but nobody seemed to mind. And this way I could let everyone help themselves to the mixed berry coulis that I made. By the way, if you ever find yourself with a package of very freezer burned frozen fruit, a coulis is a great way to revive it.

As promised, the recipe to make your very own panna cotta. This is super easy.
  • 1/3 cup milk (any kind works--actually I've only ever tried cow's milk, so I don't know how soy or other non-cow-milk would fare)
  • 1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (I actually never put in more than about 1/3 of a cup, sometimes less--depends on how I'm feeling that day)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Pour milk into a small bowl, and stir in the gelatin powder. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, stir together the cream and sugar, and set over medium heat. Bring to a full boil, watching carefully, as the cream will quickly rise to the top of the pan. Pour the gelatin and milk into the cream, stirring until completely dissolved. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and pour into six individual ramekin dishes.
  3. Cool the ramekins uncovered at room temperature. When cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight before serving. (from Allrecipes.com)
 You can also experiment with other flavors. The possibilities are endless. Also, you can put nearly anything on top. I ate one of my leftovers from this time around with chocolate ice cream topping and it was fabulous (think chocolate ice cream sundae, only gelatinous).

I hope you all love this as much as I do.

03 May 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Amar Waked and Ewan McGregor
Since I got my last assignment for the semester turned in yesterday and since my last class isn't till next week I found myself with some free time today and decided to treat myself and go to the movies. A month or two ago I was watching something and a commercial for the movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen came on. It sounded intriguing, so I found a trailer. How can you go wrong with Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, and Kristin Scott Thomas? Exactly. Ever since then I've been dying to see this movie. Unfortunately, as a poor grad student working multiple jobs there just isn't a lot of money/time to go see a movie. I've been mildly worried that it would leave theaters before I had a chance to go and I discovered earlier this week that Thursday is the last day.

Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt
I don't know how the other 4 people in the theater with me today felt about me coughing through the whole thing, but they seemed to have survived. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is about a Seikh who believes that the sport of salmon fishing can enrich the lives of his people and is willing to pay any price to bring fishing to the desert. It's really quite a charming film. I really enjoyed it.

02 May 2012

Brussel Sprouts with Roasted Grapes

So a while back I saw this recipe on Two Kitchen Promenade that looked pretty interesting. Brussel sprouts are one of those foods that have a reputation for being pretty awful. In fact, until I made this recipe I had never ever had a brussel sprout before. I think the only reason I was brave enough to try them was because I have known 3 or 4 people in the recent past who think brussel sprouts are pretty amazing.

Unfortunately for me green grapes were what was on sale so my dish didn't have the same color appeal that this one had, but c'est la vie. I will say that brussel sprouts are pretty delicious. I'm not sure how they ended up with such a terrible reputation, but I'm glad that they are coming back in style. One thing I will say though, is that they are much better fresh; they don't reheat well at all--actually, it's mostly the grapes that don't reheat well. Next time grapes (and brussel sprouts) go on sale I will definitely be making this one again.