29 June 2012

2 Week Intensive

Well my 2 week class is finally over! It only took 4 weeks to complete. But my last paper is turned in and everything should be all done.

It really was a fantastic class, I enjoyed it immensely. I'll admit that the readings were a bit numerous, but they were good ones and I feel like I learned things that I needed to know by reading them. And I didn't like the way our teacher gave us our first assignment a week before class started and made our last one due a week after class ended, but it's all done now so whatever. This course has given me much to think about and I'm glad that I took it. 

28 June 2012


It has been a long time since I've posted something that I've cooked. In some cases that's because I've rediscovered sandwiches and thus haven't been cooking and in others it's because I've been too busy/lazy to upload pictures from my camera--I'm hoping to remedy this in the very near future. At any rate. Yesterday I cooked!

I had some broccoli in the fridge that was dying to be eaten and my favorite way to eat broccoli is stir-fryed. So, stir-fryed it was. While it was cooking I also found two baby carrots and part of an onion that looked like it was on its way out so I added those too, just for kicks and giggles. And since I didn't really want to eat my stir-fry over rice, as would be traditional, I ate it over a baked potato. I know it sounds a little weird. But broccoli goes on baked potatoes sometimes, and potatoes and carrots go well together, and onion goes with any of those. So why not stir-fry on a baked potato?  It was delicious.

Oh, and when I had the leftovers for dinner tonight they were delicious too.

Auto Correct

I love Word's grammar check. This was my favorite one from the paper I wrote today:

..."would we be serving"...

green squiggly underline


..."would we are serving"...

Yeah, because that makes more sense.

By the way, my sentence had something to do with "would we be serving people better by doing such and such?"

27 June 2012

Daily Commute

When I got home from work tonight to my dismay I found that there was a dishwasher parked next to the pillar I chain my bike to on the back porch. Turns out that dishwashers are surprisingly light, though they make pretty terrible sounds when you drag them across concrete. Despite having to relocate a dishwasher at 9:45 at night, I got home a solid 15 minutes earlier than the earliest I'm normally home, and I was about 25 minutes before the time I get home when the bus is late (which it usually is). I'm a huge fan of biking. Of course, I do give up on my reading time, but I am getting some solid exercise. And somehow I feel like the books will still get read whereas the exercise might not happen otherwise. Overall, my new commute is a success so far. We'll see how it continues. 

26 June 2012


This past week or so we've been having a lot of thunderstorms. And very traditional ones too. I must say that I enjoy a good thunderstorm and I especially love these east-coast ones. Thunderstorms in Arizona are exciting because the lightning is so incredible, but these ones are great because of the quintessentialness of them. And we get such rain. I do love the rain.

25 June 2012

Chestnut Hill Reservoir

So now that I am the proud possessor of a great bicycle I decided to take it out for a spin on Saturday after a pretty impressive thunderstorm (more on that later). On Friday after picking up my bike I road about 6 miles to get it home and run the errands that I needed to; I figured that after that much riding after not having ridden a bike in about 18 months that I would be pretty sore. I woke up Saturday morning sore alright, but not in the places I had expected. See, I figured that my legs would be sore from all that pedaling, or some other muscle related to biking kinds of motions. Nope, my arms hurt. A lot. Every muscle between my elbows and just above my shoulders screams in pain every time I move them. Apparently I grip the handlebars really tightly? Part of my inducement for a ride on Saturday was to help keep those muscles limber. It did result in them still being sore today... But anyways, my ride was fantastic. I kept it short and pretty flat. I rode down to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir near my house and then road on the trail all the way around it and back. It's a beautiful lake. Wow. And even prettier in the post-rain evening.
Chestnut Hill Reservoir

Waterworks Museum

Double rainbow!

22 June 2012

Bicycles: a resolution

My bike made it to Massachusetts. I picked it up today from the bike store in Cambridge. It felt so good to have my bike back. It's been nearly a year and a half since we've lived in the same state. It felt amazing to fly down the road and feel the wind in my hair. I road approximately six miles today, and only had to get off and walk once. Part of my problem had to do with the fact that I was riding in the heat of the day and today was very hot. Also, I'm fairly certain that tomorrow I will be quite pink. I could definitely feel myself burning. I also managed to forget the key to my bike lock on my desk--it's surprising how many businesses will allow you to bring your bike inside and  leave it in a corner while you patronize their shop.

As always, I meant to take a picture of my bike to share with you, but it's dark now, and I forgot earlier.

To make up for not taking a picture earlier. Here is one now.

21 June 2012

Where the riches of ages are sold

Of late I have been on the hunt for a good bakery where I can buy nice loaves of sandwich suitable bread. Mostly, I've been buying from Panera Bread, because they can slice it for me. But last week I stopped by another bakery near Harvard Ave. They were very busy, which I took to be a good sign. And they had a very nice looking loaf of sourdough bread that I would have liked. But they couldn't slice it for me. Sandwich bread is really only good to me if it's sliced. I can't slice evenly enough to make a good sandwich. But the bakery had one redeeming quality. They also sold rosemary focaccia bread. And for only $4. And their rounds were bigger than the £2 loaves I used to buy at Portobello Road. So I bought one. I mean a bigger loaf of bread for the same price? Yes, please. Sadly, the bread was rather stale. It must have been a day old loaf or something. Nothing like the delightfully fresh soft ones I'd get at market. And it didn't soften up overnight like my £2 ones used to. I may have to try one more time before I write the place off though and go a little earlier in the day; in all fairness I used to go to market first thing in the morning and I went to the bakery here in the afternoon. I do miss my £2 focaccia though.

20 June 2012

Field trips--part 2

And then Monday came and we had more field trips! We went on three field trips: to NEDCC, to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and to the main branch of BPL. How my professor managed to get lucky enough to squeeze three field trips into one day I'll never know. We also had a very relaxing lunch outside as a class. 

NEDCC stands for the Northeast Document Conservation Center. You wonder how the E got there? Well, in the old days it had a different name: New England Document Conservation Center. The acronym makes more sense doesn't it? But when they expanded to include non-New England states they had to change the name, but they didn't want to change their acronym since that's what everyone calls it by, so we got Northeast. Anyways, NEDCC is a pretty awesome conservation center. They have a fantastic lab, and some really awesome imaging equipment. They do very high end conservation work here for clients all over the world. It's really an amazing facility.
Lab at NEDCC courtesy of NEDCC's Flickr account

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is right next door to Simmons and as a Simmons student I actually get in free, and yet I had never been until today. I have been missing out! And I feel a little absurd that I know so little about the history of the museum or of Isabella Stewart Gardner, whose home the museum is in, or about the big theft there a few years ago. It's kind cool how they have left the empty frames hanging on the wall from where the paintings where stolen. It is such a cool house. I want my house to look like this one when I'm filthy rich (which as a librarian will be never). Also, I have re-fallen in love with wallpaper. I want my house to be hung in wallpaper (at least in one or two rooms). And maybe in the nice wallpapers that are actually fabric. I was wondering today why we call it wallpaper exactly. I realize that wallpaper is indeed paper you paste on your wall, but that hasn't always been the case. I was talking to a classmate and she imagines that wallpaper probably originated with hanging tapestries on your wall, which eventually morphed into wallpaper that was made of cloth, which in turn became wallpaper as we know it. So, why don't we call it wallfabric? or wallcloth? But I digress. Anyways, the Gardner museum was cool. We went to look at the way that they exhibit books and papers and things--they have some interesting practices...

Courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
And then we finished off the day at BPL where we looked at some different exhibition practices, and also looked at the differences in conservation practices between places like NEDCC and public libraries. It's a pretty stark difference--libraries typically don't worry about long term conservation as much with their circulating collections.

Basically, I love field trips. It was super nice to have a conversation over lunch about ways to exhibit items and then to walk over to the Gardner and see  how they exhibit stuff and then a short train ride takes us to BPL to see what they do. It is a fantastic way to learn. And it works so well with our small class. I admit that I was pretty nervous about a class of 4 people, but I'm feeling really good about it now. Let's hope that the last few days of class end as pleasantly as these last few have been.

19 June 2012

Field trip!

One thing that I really like about school are the field trips. Somehow it makes the day go by faster and it makes everything that you've talked about come together in a very different way. Last Friday we went on a field trip to the Harvard Depository.

The Harvard Depository is a pretty nifty place. It is a high-density storage site for Harvard where they keep millions of their lower use books and periodicals. They store the books on shelving units that are about 30 feet high and are arranged in aisles about 200 feet long. I wish I could give you some kind of comparison to illustrate how very big that is, but this picture will kind of give you an idea. They also store their books in a highly climate controlled environment so the books are kept at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit at about 30% relative humidity. Though they do have one aisle of stacks that are kept colder, at more 40 degrees (this is where they store many of their films and other things that need the colder environment. It is a very fascinating operation.

30 foot high stacks in the Harvard Depository

18 June 2012

The Butterfly Circus

A good friend of mine recently shared this short film with me. It's about talents, dealing with weakness, and turning weakness into strength. It's a nice film with a good message

15 June 2012

Transferrable knowledge

I love it when you're sitting in class listening to lecture and trying to figure out how in the world you are ever going to remember all this information because it's information that you actually want to remember. In class this morning we've been talking about cost analysis and contracting and it has been really satisfying to sit in a class learning about something that I legitimately can see myself doing in the future. I can see there being a time in my life that I may have to deal with writing a contract for something and sending out for bids or dealing with vendors. In all reality, I have kind of felt like this all week in my class. I feel like I'm truly learning some of what it takes to effectively manage a preservation program in an academic institution (we've mostly focused on academic because that is what our professor's background is, and really that's where a lot of preservation programs are). For one of the first times in my life I feel like I'm learning things that will translate into skills and knowledge that I will really use in my life. And it's a great feeling.

14 June 2012

Cyrano de Bergerac

So we got a new roommate about a month ago and I have discovered that she likes French films too. She checked out Cyrano de Bergerac from the library. When she showed me, it sounded familiar, and when I read the back I remembered. Remember in Rigoletto when Porter is telling that story in the general store after his miracle at Mr. Ribaldi's? That's this story. So we watched part of it together at that time. But we ran out of time to finish it because we were tired. And I've been fairly busy of late and while I had managed to snag it from the library again it's taken me a while to get a chance to watch it. I finally watched it last weekend. It is just so good! Cyrano has the best lines. Here's one example: "Lug your guts away, salami, or stay and I'll remove you slice by slice!" Oh, the wit. I'm going to have to read the play next... 
Roxane and Cyrano

13 June 2012

Preservation Management

Well, I am officially one third of the way through my Simmons summer class. So far the first three days have been pretty good. And not nearly as long as I might have imagined them to be. A class that meets from 9:30 to 4 everyday certainly has the potential to be very long. Luckily our professor is very engaging and the subject matter is super interesting. Even the many many readings have been useful, informative, and worthwhile. Though I certainly would prefer if there weren't so many, but at least they are well chosen.

Already I have been given lots to think about and some new ideas about directions that I could head in my life. So far, I'd say that this has been a success, but we'll see what the next week and a half bring--I do miss sleeping at night...

12 June 2012


A couple of years ago a friend sent me a link to this blog post. Every once in a while when I feel like my life is getting cluttered I reread it and feel like there is hope. Now I only have to learn to put her principles into practice. The author lists five principles to taming materialism:

1.Test the meaning of money by doing stuff that's scary.
2. Put a bunch of stuff in storage to see what it's like.
3. Understand the concept of aspirational clutter. Get reality and throw stuff out.
4. Know this: You could dump everything if you had to.
5. Throwing stuff out is not wasteful.

I love number 3. There are so many things in my life that I have because I aspire to be a particular kind of person. The part about getting reality and throwing stuff out I'm definitely still working on. But someday I hope to be there. I definitely still have a long way to go before I've really tamed my materialism, but I hope to live a junk free life one day soon.

Maybe this weekend when I'm ready to throw my homework out the window I'll clean my room instead...

11 June 2012

Ordered by importance: procrastination follow-up

Can you follow-up on procrastination? Is that an oxymoron?

Some time ago, years maybe? I really can't remember. I read an article, somehow I think it was in a magazine or a newspaper, but I definitely feel like it was an article on paper, about using procrastination to become an effective human being. John Perry suggests that structured procrastination is a method to take your procrastinating tendencies and use them for good. Basically, we all have a list of tasks we need to complete in our heads somewhere that is more or less ordered by importance. So as items reach top importance on our list we procrastinate doing them. However, procrastinating doesn't mean that we're doing nothing, we're typically just doing something that is less important on our list. The key is to realize that this is how we work and then to use that knowledge to ensure that there is always something that is more important. His article is really interesting, I'd highly recommend reading it.

As an aside. I'm writing this less important post in place of doing my more important reading assignments for school. And I readily admit that the thing I will do after I finish this is also not going to be my homework. There are other less important things that I can do first. Besides, I have those sixteen readings that I have to have done for class on Monday and that is just a lot.

08 June 2012


Harvard Depository
I don't have any life changing stories for today. I'm sitting here putting off doing my homework. It feels weird to have homework (and a mountain of it at that) when I don't actually start my class till Monday. But the professor sent out the syllabus  this week and we have sixteen readings for the first day of class. And about 6-8 readings for each of the days following. Now you know what I'll be doing in my "spare" time for the next two and a half weeks.

07 June 2012

Ray Bradbury

Sad news, I just found out that Ray Bradbury died yesterday. I was reading this blog post from LC about it and the author--Jennifer Gavin--recommended Bradbury's short stories as being some of her favorites of his writing. I've only read Fahrenheit 451, but I've checked out The Martian Chronicles, and am looking forward to some more scarily realistic dystopian fiction. I really enjoyed Fahrenheit 451. At least as much as it's possible to enjoy a book about burning books.

06 June 2012

Life in a Day

 On the topic of documentaries. I can't remember who all of you I have shared this with, but it's pretty awesome. Back in 2011, one of my roommates went and saw a movie called Life in a Day in theaters. She came home and highly recommended it. Basically, it is a crowd-sourced documentary about a day in the life of the Earth. A specific day was set (24 July 2010) and thousands of people around the world filmed their life that day and then uploaded their videos to YouTube. Kevin MacDonald, director, then took the thousands of hours of footage and developed a 90 minute documentary documenting life on earth. It is quite amazing. One of the best parts is that the film was developed in cahoots with YouTube and so you can watch it free online (which is where I finally saw it, months after my roommate told me about it).

05 June 2012


Every once in a while, when people ask me what kinds of movies I like or something I've watched recently, I get a little embarrassed and admit that I just watched this awesome documentary (or something else equally nerdy). I never would have pegged myself as someone who watches documentaries. They're really not anywhere near as boring as they sound. In fact usually, when just talking about the kinds of movies I like I'd have to go with foreign films, or Brit-coms, or something. Though I suppose that those are also rather nerdy genres to like.

So I was catching up on my google reader. Why is it that I'm always catching up on it? I really do try to read every day... But anyways, I was reading a post from a preservation blog that I sort of follow and the gal who writes it was talking about an art exhibit she went to recently, and about an installation by Werner Herzog that she particularly liked.The name Werner Herzog was familiar to me so I clicked on the link the gal provided and looked through the list of his films to see which ones I'd seen. Encounters at the End of the World sounded familiar so I looked at it. It's definitely a documentary about Antarctica. That I've seen. And that I feel like was pretty good. And then further down in the list was Nosferatu, which I definitely remember playing one week at the IC, but I don't actually think I ever saw it. Maybe someday I will (or maybe not...).

On a rather different note. You probably recall the last documentary that I posted about 1900 House. Well this week, I've been working on watching Antarctic Mission. It is a delightful documentary about one of my favorite topics: Antarctica. (Who knew there were so many documentaries about Antarctica?) It's been a good one. It focused mostly on the affects of climate change on the the ecosystems in the Southern Ocean and also the effects that the Southern Ocean have on the rest of the world. It is amazing how much on an impact global warming has on remote places like Antarctica. And I think that it is a topic that deserves more research and attention paid to it. I would hate for us to lose such an important part of our world, or such a beautiful one.
Mt. Herschel, Antarctica (from wikimedia commons)

04 June 2012

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The end of my exploration took me past the Cheers Beacon Hill bar and restaurant. Formerly known as the Bull and Finch Pub. You may remember it from the tv series Cheers.

01 June 2012


I don't know if I've mentioned it before or not, but a few weeks ago my boss gave me a display to be in charge of (in a little used corner of the library where everyone forgets about it, but which happens to be near my desk). For the last month or so it has had cooking books on it and so every few days I go and fill it in where people have taken the books. I've recently noticed that when I add new books they tend to be books about vegetarian dishes or vegan cooking or other organic-y kinds of things. While I love me some red meat, it makes me wonder if I'm becoming one of those kind of people. But I enjoy my meat so I brushed off the feeling.

Don't those look delicious?
Back in March I found a cookbook from Taste of Home that had full color photos on nearly every page and had tons of simple relatively quick recipes and that had 12 weeks worth of menu ideas. It was pretty cool. Best part: clearance for $5. So I bought it, put it on my shelf, and didn't look at it again. This week I've been trying  to pull together some meal ideas so I can shop more efficiently and so I pulled it out again. I was looking through it on the train on my way to work and I kid you not, almost every single recipe had meat in it (with obvious exceptions like for breakfast, where many more didn't have meat). And I love meat, so that should be fine, but as I was reading it, I couldn't help but wish that there were more vegetarian dishes.

Yesterday, I was invited to come in to work a couple hours early (hello extra money next week.) and then have a full hour for dinner. So I decided to splurge and treat myself to a nice dinner at Panera Bread. So I walked in and was looking at their sandwiches, trying to decide what I wanted to go with my half caesar salad. I was rather surprised that none of the meat filled sandwiches sounded very good to me. Usually, meat is the first thing I spring for when eating out. I ended up having a hot tomato and mozzarella panini (which was fantastic and hit the spot).

All these things make me wonder if I'm losing my taste for meat to some degree. Not that that would be a bad thing. I mean the Doctrine and Covenants is pretty clear that meat is to be used sparingly and I'd be pretty on board with sparingly meaning not everyday, or maybe not even most days. But, I think the best part of losing my taste for meat a little bit is that means I won't have to fight the urge to buy it as often when it's so expensive. Score! (don't you love how every paragraph ends with my reassurance that I'm really not vegetarian?)