31 July 2012

Another goal

Apparently I'm in a goal-oriented mood this week. I find that with every passing day I grow more and more disenchanted with Facebook. I just don't really like it anymore. I do like the possibility of keeping up with people I don't see often, and it is a good tool for planning get togethers and such, but I don't like the way that I turn to it in boredom and fritter away my time. And I don't like the way it changes frequently. And I don't like the compulsion I feel to check it, when I know for certain that nothing will have changed since I checked 15 minutes ago. Because of these things I created the rule for myself that I could only check Facebook on my own laptop. Which has been great, since I'm not home that often to use my own laptop I don't check Facebook as often. But I still feel trapped by it. I want to be free of Facebook, but at the same time I'm afraid that I can't actually live without it. I'm afraid of quitting Facebook and then having to come crawling back later. So I've planned another baby-step in the right direction. I'm going to try to be Facebook-free for one month. Hopefully all of you readers who find that I've updated my blog through Facebook won't abandon me as I won't be posting the links there for hopefully the whole month of August.

Wish me luck.

And tune in tomorrow. I have an exciting video for you.

30 July 2012

A goal revised

I'm still feeling pretty good about my goal of having all my possessions fit in my car. However, the day after I made that goal I woke up in the morning and realized how many large things I own (many of which I've acquired since moving here). I now own an oscillating fan (which I use nearly everyday). And I have the rights to a window a/c unit, and I have a nightstand that I am absolutely not disassembling for such a short move (it was kind of a nightmare to take apart last time and I'm not doing it again). And so I find myself in a quandry. I don't want to revise my goal to say that all of my small possessions shall fit in my car, or all of them except for the half a dozen large things, but the reality is, that oscillating fan is going to take up a pretty good chunk of my back seat all by itself, and I don't consider it to be something that I don't really need. So, for the present I'm not exactly revising my goal, but am being conscious of the fact that my goal was perhaps a little unrealistic. That said, I have most of a box of stuff on the floor of my room already that isn't going to move with me.

27 July 2012


This morning I got off the train on my way to class and walked down one street and there was this awesome market just opening up. I was delighted. And they had super cheap produce. I bought a box of strawberries and a bag of grapes for $2. !!! I later found out that this is Haymarket, that the T stop next door is named for. And that it's pretty awesome and runs all year round. I'm excited about it. After class on my way back to the T, I stopped again and bought 2 pounds of zucchini for $1. $3 later and I have two bags of produce. Beat that grocery store!
Yep, I took a picture, for once.

26 July 2012

The fight against excessive consumerism

Yesterday I discovered a new blog that I now subscribe to in my Google Reader, it's called zenhabits. This led me to discover another blog, today, called Becoming Minimalist. I read this article about de-owning things and de-cluttering. And between these two new blogs I have decided that I really want to stop being an excessive consumer and I want to simplify my life by simplifying my possessions. This decision comes at an opportune moment. In about month I am once again moving (this time merely to a new apartment in a better location) and so I have time to de-clutter before I have to pack up and move. And really, the fewer things I have to move the better.

When I moved out of Utah at the end of 2010 my dad had to come bring the family minivan to help me get all my stuff back to Arizona. When I moved to DC a few weeks later it all fit in my little four-door compact car, and there was room for my mother who helped me drive cross-country. When I moved to Boston in January it all fit in my car, but there wasn't room for anything (or anyone) else. While I lived in DC I made a conscious effort not to accumulate anything more than I really needed to, because I knew that it was a temporary place. But since I've moved to Boston I've not done so well at that (partly because I've acquired things like a bed, that will make this move with me, and because I once again have my bike--which might not fit in my car even disassembled and partly because I know I'll be here for at least a couple years). I would love to say that when I move next month that it will all fit neat and tidy in car, but I know that it won't because my bed alone will get one trip. And the bike will get another. But I'd really love it if everything else fit in one trip and if it fit easily.

So that is my goal: for all my possessions (minus my bed and my bike) to fit in my car neat and tidy and completely behind the front seats (in other words, so I can have a passenger too). And I tell all of you, because then you can hold me accountable to it.

25 July 2012

Milk--does a body good?

A couple of weeks ago this article caught my attention. I've heard before about how in several parts of the world people have a tendency toward lactose intolerancy because they don't all have the gene mutation that allows us to digest milk after we've been weaned off mother's milk. I'll admit that I rather enjoyed reading the article, but I suppose that could be in part because I don't particularly care for milk. Don't get me wrong, ice cream is delicious, and I don't know what I'd do without cheese, but a glass of milk? not so much. I'm not sure I'm ready to completely cut dairy out of my diet, but I do think I agree that humans weren't really meant to drink milk as adults.

24 July 2012

A wrench in my week

I'm pretty sure I had something fun planned for a post today about how I used actual wood carving tools to very successfully carve my boards today, but all I can think about now is how my bike getting a flat on my way to work this afternoon has thrown a wrench into the rest of my week. Now in addition to the myriad of errands I already needed to run, I have to find time to fix my bike. Or rather, to get someone else to fix it, because someone else can do it a lot faster than I can and therefore that saves me time. But I did manage to perfectly time my arrival at the train station (sad bike in tow) with the arrival of the bus I needed to take to get to work. That worked out kind of nice. And I even arrived nearly on time to work. 

23 July 2012

New Yankee Workshop

Today in class we worked with wood. Our Gothic model has wooden boards and so we worked on shaping them--making them fit into the shoulder of our text block, and also shaping the head, tail, and fore-edge in some traditional manner. I have virtually no woodworking experience (sometimes I envy the cub scouts that get to learn things like how to work with wood...) and so it took me most of the day to shape just one side of each of my two boards. It turns out that while I know enough about woodworking to know what dovetail joints, rabbets, and dados are, I apparently don't know enough to deftly use a rasp or a plane. While all my years of watching The New Yankee Workshop have taught me that: "there is no more important safety rule than to wear these--safety glasses", I guess it takes more than watching to actually be good at woodworking.

20 July 2012

Bike Ride

As this week draws to a close I have biked approximately 70 miles. I think that's a lot. And I confess, today I cheated and took the bus for 7/10 of the last mile home. I have no excuse, but I do think it was high time I learned to use the bike racks on the buses. Besides I did still ride the other 7 miles of the ride.

19 July 2012


The class that I'm taking right now meets at North Bennet Street School in the North End. The North End is a pretty awesome place. It's filled with Italian restaurants, little bakeries, tiny winding streets, and more tourists than can possibly be healthy. There is one delightful little bakery right across the street from school that sells the best biscotti I've ever had. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about biscotti, and have probably only had it once or twice in my life before this week. So I'm not sure if the biscotti I'd had previously were just really bad examples of biscotti or what, but this biscotti has opened my eyes to what biscotti can be. (How many times can you use the word biscotti in a sentence?) This biscotti is hard, but not crunchy; soft, but still firm; chewable, but still hard; dry, but not too crumbly; it's really quite amazing. And it's just so delicious. And it's cheap too. I got two pieces today and a cookie for a dollar. I have a feeling that too many of my dollars will be going to this bakery's coffers this summer.

18 July 2012


Today in class we started sewing our Gothic book structure. So far it's pretty cool. We get to sew on a very quintessential looking stand. I'll try and take some pictures one of these days to share with you. But for now this is something like what we're making:

17 July 2012

Transatlantic Oceanliners

One of my dreams in life is to cruise on the Queen Mary 2. I think that a nice transatlantic cruise from New York to Southampton (or Southampton to New York) would be fabulous. I love the idea of a week at sea, and eating good food while I read books, and dressing for dinner every night. And the Cunard line is the company to cruise with. They've been in the oceanliner business for ages and they are the top of the line. I got to see the QM2 in dock in Boston a couple of weeks ago. It was a gorgeous ship, and much, much larger than I had imagined. I hope one day that I can sail on her. Unfortunately, most of the people I know who enjoy cruising are more interested in the ports of call than the days-at-sea. So not too many people think that my transatlantic trip with only days-at-sea sounds too exciting. And besides, it's incredibly expensive. I could go on several cruises on other lines for the price of this one cruise. But someday...

16 July 2012

Class time is here again

This morning started my final course for the summer. It is a five week, intense, bookbinding workshop at North Bennet Street School. While it is located at NBSS it is actually taught by a woman from the Winterthur program at the University of Delaware. There are three other people in my class. Two kids from the art conservation program at Buffalo State University and one from the art conservation program at the University of Delaware. Which leaves me as the only non-conservation student. All three of the other people seem really nice, and one girl was actually in my other class this summer. I think it will be a fun five weeks.

I rode my bike down to the North End this morning. It was a delightful almost 7 mile ride. I know it sounds a bit pathetic, but it was the longest ride I'd been on yet. I looked pretty gross when I got there, but I think my classmates (and my colleagues at work later in the day) will just have to get used to me looking pretty awful.  My about 3.5 mile ride to work after class was pretty good, though if it hadn't rained for about half of it I would have liked that better. c'est la vie.

14 July 2012

Movies in the Park

Last night a friend and I went down to the Hatch Shell and watched a movie. The movie itself was only ok, but it sure was fun to go sit in the grass and watch a movie on the big screen. And it was such a beautiful night for it. I love free things to do!

12 July 2012

The worst graduate degree. or not.

About a month ago an article was published in Forbes magazine that has made a bit of a splash in my library world--so much so that the ALA had a formal press release about it this week. Basically, Forbes thinks that a graduate degree in library science is the worse graduate degree you can get. Forbes and I will have to agree to disagree. Though I will give them credit for knowing that we don't have a lot of earning potential and we don't have a huge anticipated growth rate. Since those are the two factors they based their rankings on I guess it is only fair that we are at the bottom. But you know, us library students don't need Forbes to tell us that our earning potential sucks. We know that. Besides, money isn't everything.

For anyone who missed this the first time around, here's a link to the article:

And here is ALA's rebuttal:

11 July 2012

Dinner in a pocket

Last night I came home to find a delightful little note from my roommate on the table welcoming me home and informing me that dinner was in the fridge. The note by itself pretty much made my evening, and the fact that there was food too was just icing on the cake. And it wasn't just any food either. It was food in a pocket! My favorite kind. My roommate had made empanadas (they are some specific kind that I can't recall now). But they were delicious. I'm sure I've shared my thoughts about pocket foods of the world before, but I really do find it appalling that so many cultures have awesome meals in pockets and America fails completely. For example, here is a super broad and thoroughly incomplete list roughly by region of some of the awesome pocket-shaped foods out there:

South/EastAsia: samosas, eggrolls, pot stickers 
British Isles: pasties,
Latin America: empanadas
Europe: calzones, pierogies
US: hot pockets

Seriously? Hot pockets were the best we could do?

10 July 2012

Gelatinous desserts may make a comeback yet.

A couple of weeks ago I was in the library and walked past the circulation desk where this book was on display:
Naturally, I was intrigued. For those who can't see the image well: those are limes, with jell-o in them, that look like watermelons. I picked it up. I thumbed through it. I checked it out.

Later I went to the grocery store, found that jell-o was on sale (5 for $4!!!) and stocked up. The hardest part was trying to decide which recipe to try first. I finally decided on the Cherry Cream. It is a two layer mold, The first layer (eventually, the top layer) is plain cherry jell-o, and then the second layer is essentially cherry jell-o with sweetened condensed milk. Really, can you go wrong with sweetened condensed milk? I think not. It turned out really well. Especially considering this was the first time I'd ever made jell-o more complicated than following the directions on the box. And my layers stuck together properly, and after some (a lot) of coaxing it even came out of the bowl I made it in. I'm already looking forward to my next jell-o mold. I think next on the docket is an orange creamsicle-like one.

09 July 2012


For your viewing pleasure:

Boston from the Cambridge side of the Charles River
And to celebrate the return of my computer.

06 July 2012

Panera Bread

Ok, so Panera Bread is pretty much one of my new favorite restaurants. One, they have good food; two, they sell their bread as loaves, and they'll slice it for you; and three, they have a fantastic loyalty program. I went in earlier this week to buy my loaf of sourdough bread and the gal at the check out tells me that I've earned a free pastry and wonders if I want it now or later. Now, please. I felt pretty good about having a cherry danish. The next day I stopped by again because I needed something to drink and it was hot and everything and when I ordered I got a frozen lemonade and a roll or something but when the guy rang me up he told me I'd earned a free drink. Two free things in less than 48 hours! Yeah, Panera has earned my loyalty.

05 July 2012


Today I rode my bike into Boston proper for the first time. For whatever reason on the other days I've had to go downtown I've never felt like taking my bike was a good idea. But today the stars aligned and I ran errands. I rode about 8.5 miles and I'll ride 4 more to get home tonight. Somehow numbers like 8 just seem super big, even though I know that in biking miles that is exceptionally small. I guess because I couldn't run 8 miles (let alone not even hurting afterwards) that makes biking that far seem like a long distance. I love the freedom of not having to walk everywhere but also not having to worry about parking. So far I feel like Boston is a pretty bike friendly city, and it's been pretty easy to find somewhere to chain my bike up when I've been out and about. I haven't quite mastered the art of the left turn, but I imagine that I will get more practice...

04 July 2012

Happy 4th of July

No good news on my computer yet, so you'll have to forgive me for the lack of exciting pictures. I did take some today... This morning one of my roommates and I headed downtown to the Old State House and listened to a reading of the Declaration of Indepence. It was pretty neat. The Declaration of Independence was originally read from the balconey of the Old State House on 18 July 1776, and has been read since then every 4th of July. It was cool.

And after that I wandered down to the harbor to check out the Tall Ships. It was a very long wander. I'm not the best at following crowds apparently. I figured as long as I was headed approximately the right direction that the crowds would guide me. Yeah, no. Crowds have no idea where they are going. Though later when I tried following crowds to the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal it worked much better. The Tall Ships were cool, though very crowded--so much so that I didn't actually go on any of them. But I made up for that at the naval ships. Which were super cool. They had two more from Canada (a destroyer and a refueler), an Irish aircraft carrier, a US frigate, and  German frigate. The Canadian ships were my favorite (probably because the aircraft carrier was closed). It was a fun day. A lot of walking, but it helps make up for all the days that I don't do much walking? I also managed to get nicely sunburned, so now I look like I'm wearing a pink collar.

I had planned on watching the Boston Pops concert on TV tonight (you know how I feel about fighting crowds and staying out late). Unfortunately I don't really know how to work the television and so I couldn't get it to play. So instead I streamed it live on the internet. I love WGBH. But about 3/4 of the way through the concert the people in charge of safety told everyone to seek shelter because there were a couple streaks of lightning and thunder. But luckily they let them come back about 20 minutes later adn the concert could finish. It started raining at my house almost right as the closing notes of the concert were being played. And my neighbors down the street set off some fireworks a while ago so I've even managed to catch some of those. I don't feel at all left out now.

Anyways, it was a very satisfying day. And one day when I have my own computer again I will post some pictures. Because I took some.

P.S. The Queen Mary 2 was in dock at the cruise terminal. It was almost like a dream come true to even get to see that beautiful ship. One day my dream to crusie Southampton to NY on the Cunard line (or the other way, even) will come true too. 

03 July 2012

Sneaky, sneaky

Today I opened blogger to find the following message at the top of the screen "Your browser is no longer supported by Blogger...try Google Chrome." Well played Google, well played. Way to promote your own browser by not supporting your wildly popular products on other major internet browsers.

I will admit that in my personal life I use Chrome and love every moment of it. I don't even have Firefox on my computer. That doesn't change the fact that on every other computer I ever use I pretty much always use Firefox. And while I love Chrome, I'm not sure that I love Google's world domination plans.

02 July 2012

busy, busy, busy

Today has been busy, and this weekend has been busy, and I don't really know where to start. So instead, I think I'm going to whet your appetite for upcoming posts, because I can.

Last Thursday my computer came down with what seems to be a pretty nasty virus, so I've been without a computer since then. Luckily I have awesome roommates who have loaned me theirs, but so what that means is that there won't be much in the way of cool pictures till I get my computer back from the de-virusing people.

But I do have some fun posts planned already for the week. I made a Jell-o mold on Saturday. And today I went to the Charlestown yard and toured the USCGC Eagle. Later in the week I'm hoping to go and see the rest of the Tall Ships that are here for OpSail. I've also got big plans for the 4th which include the Boston Pops. So stay tuned. And with any luck my computer will return to me soon and then there can be pictures for these exciting things.