31 December 2012

Wrapping Up 2012

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
I'm A Big Fish, You Can Be A Big Fish, Too!
  • Caught a striped bass
  • Went to a group meditation class
  • Traveled internationally with my husband
  • Ate frozen wedding cake
  • Stripped paint from dining room chairs
  • Patched drywall
  • Ran a 5K
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
From last year:
  • Work on my yoga/meditation
    • I would like to be able to do crow pose without looking like a stuck barnyard animal. 
    • I would like to get my hips closer to the floor in pigeon pose, and I would like to touch my heels to the floor in downward dog 
    • I would like to meditate at least three times a week, and check out group meditation at least once this year
  • Start earning more money as a freelance designer
I did do more yoga this year, but it tapered off in a really bad way after the summer. I still can't do crow pose, my downward facing dog is worse, my pigeon is better. I did check out group meditation exactly once this year. I earned some money freelancing, but I did begin to found a company with some graphic designers, and I have some work slated for 2013.

This year? Rather than resolutions, I'd like to set goals:
  • Run a 10K
  • Open an etsy store
  • Redesign my website
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, friends of ours had a beautiful baby girl! We were actually there when she went into labor, which is apparently much less exciting than you'd think it would be (if you haven't had babies).

4. Did anyone close to you die?
J had a relative pass on this year.

5. What countries did you visit?
Romulus and Remus
Croatia and Italy

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A complete dining room chair set (all painted yellow)

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
August 18th. This was the day we were in Venice eating outside, and a parade of Hare Krishnas danced through the streets while we were having dinner. The one meal when we didn't have a camera!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I had an actual breakthrough where I figured out that I was angry, not because I was actually angry, but because of something I was feeling embarrassed and sad about—it was the first of many steps towards not being so angry all the time, and it felt so big, even though it was over something that was actually somewhat inconsequential.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I let someone completely insignificant get the best of me, and I turned into a total drama queen in front of my family.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got yoga mat burns on my elbows, and a nasty burn on my arm from our wok. I also inflamed my ankle, possibly by running too much too soon, and caught a nasty cold around Christmas.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I finally bought new, fancy, grownup sheets for our bed. They came from The Company Store, and they're so soft and so pretty.

I bought a Kate Spade bag and wallet, and I bought a new office chair. We also bought tickets to Europe, and while we were there, a Bad Memories Eraser for my sister.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My friend Jessica, who is the reason I ran an entire 5K. I was not the fastest, but I finished, and I didn't walk any of it, all due to her encouragement and support.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
One of my original designs had been accepted into a T-shirt contest and I was really thrilled about it until some wet blanket reported my T-shirt and another person's T-shirt for using unoriginal material, and their claims were baseless and factually untrue, but instead of being rational, the committee pulled the T-shirt designs and publicly called me and one other person out on not having "original, previously unpublished designs."

This all worked itself out in the end because me (and the other person) were in the right, and the committee (and the wet blanket) were in the wrong, but I had to fight this fight for two weeks. The first guy sends an email, and our T-shirts are pulled the same day, but they have to deliberate about their intrinsic wrongness for two weeks?

Anyway, it was really tough to keep my shit together for those two weeks. Especially because it was a stupid internal T-shirt contest, but I kind of didn't want to let it go that they emailed a good percentage of the university where I work and baselessly accused me of some form of not producing original work.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Most of our money went into paying for the wedding, the aftermath of the wedding, and our Europe trip.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Geek chic Massachusetts wedding  Briar   Jason   Real Weddings   100 Layer Cake
  • Our wedding was featured on a wedding blog—100 Layer Cake.
  • We went to Italy and Croatia in August
  • We decided to adopt a greyhound in 2013
16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
happier or sadder?

thinner or fatter?
about ten pounds fatter

richer or poorer?
richer in experience

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
uppercuts, exercise.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Being angry all the time.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
El Paso

21. How will you be spending New Years?
Black and Gold NYE party at our house!

22. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Again and again.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Wilfred or Breaking Bad.

24. Do you "hate" anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I think that I've come to decide that "hate," even the mild pretend "hate," is a completely wasted emotion. This doesn't mean that there isn't anyone that could have made this list, just that I choose not to participate in this question anymore.*

*I have added an addendum to include the dislike that I feel for people who mark up library books.

25. What was the best book you read?
I didn't enjoy, but learned a lot from Tich Nacht Hahn's Anger: Cooling the Flames. I found a lot of inspiration in Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation. As far as non-meditation related books? I really devoured the Hunger Games trilogy this year. Admittedly not the best books ever written, but can we please stop comparing it to the Twilight series?

I also read a few Anne Boleyn biographies that were fascinating and illuminating. She was such a powerful and intelligent woman.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I am going to forever regret publishing this on the Internet, but Call Me Maybe. Maybe?

Just kidding. My favorite album this year was a tossup between Hot Chip's In Our Heads—in particular the song Look at Where We Are and Stars' album Night. Neither of the bands were discoveries, but in lieu of Carly Rae Jaspen, it's better, right?

27. What did you want that you also ended up getting?
New riding boots, an immersion blender, a trip to Europe, and a Canon EOS 60D.

28. What did you want that you did not end up getting?
I Miss the Mountains
Relocation to the West/Southwest. I miss my mountains.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Wuthering Heights, Argo.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?I turned 28. The night before my actual birthday (which fell on a Sunday this year), we went to dinner at Cantina La Mexicana. After dinner, we all went down to Central Square for Heroes Night at TT The Bears—where they celebrated David Bowie's birthday at midnight. It was awesome!


The next day, my actual birthday, J continued our tradition of going to Harvard Square and eating cupcakes, plus going to Eastern Mountain Sports and American Apparel.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
This year not being an election year would have made a lot of things easier. Not being pressured to have babies woud have been nice, even though the thoughts are well meaning.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Lots of running clothes.

33. What kept you sane?
Avoiding my mother's facebook page.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Ryan Gosling, of course!

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
In fact, many of the political issues I was stirred by weren't political issues at all—or shouldn't have been. Religion, women's rights, gay rights—you know, rights for people that are all equal in every way except when they're used as political props.

36. Who did you miss?
Our old neighbors, still. I'm also sad that my graphic design classes are over, but I still keep in touch.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I met some really great people in my graphic design classes this year.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
I learned a lot of valuable lessons this year.
  • It is okay to cry 
  • It is okay to know that you're right about something when you're right about something, and simply ask to be heard
  • It is not okay to visit my mother's facebook page and then get angry at what I see
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I'd done
And I don't wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say 
-Gotye, Somebody That I Used to Know
I'm so human
and it's ok
for me to feel this way 
-Lady Sovreign, So Human

02 November 2012

Project 365 Update: October

October was once again not a great month, photo-wise, but they do tell a story. I tried a juice fast (and failed after a day and a half). We went to a wedding. I hacked some old pajama pants. We cooked every single day one week. We survived a frankenstorm. 

My favorite photo is one I try to get every road trip, but this one was pretty successful. It shows the autumn foliage really well, both in the mirror and in the reflection on the car.

Autumn Foliage

26 October 2012

Pinned It, Made It

Scallops à la Provençal

This meal was delicious, except for the frozen corn. I learned that boiling is always better than microwaving. The only thing we changed about this recipe was that we added sautéed onions.

22 October 2012

Music Mondays

Martin Solveig—The Night Out

This song was introduced to me by, wait for it, the almost-three-year-old of some friends. Yes, folks, this is a 3 year-old's favorite song. If the song itself weren't already so great, that fact alone would be enough to get me to listen to this over and over again.

02 October 2012

Project 365 Update: September

I thought September was my month, man. That first orange block, I was like, "I am going to make up for this—I am not going to miss any more days. The orange blocks? Mostly I was in a funk. I think there's some important data here in that I may have figured out that the orange blocks mostly correspond to days I'm feeling blah (or days that I'm REALLY excited about something, but don't have a camera). Still? WAY BETTER than August.

My favorite this month? The photo of my new typography edition of Scrabble, a spontaneous gift from J:


01 October 2012

Music Mondays

AlunaGeorge—Your Drums, Your Love

This video is a design dream, and the electro-soul song is pretty damn good, too.

27 September 2012

Things I Love Thursday

I found this store on dooce, and I couldn't help pick out my own favorites.

24 September 2012

Music Monday

Ben Folds Five—Do It Anyway

I don't know if it's because this song is so catchy and cute, if it's because Ben Folds is a band that I have liked for a while, or if it's the adorable Fraggle Rock themed video, but this is my new favorite music video.

22 September 2012

Swagbucks September Promo

I have mentioned my love for the site swagbucks a couple of times before. Lately, they have been adding some pretty sweet incentives for using the site more often, such as daily goals that, when reached, automatically add extra swagbucks to your account at the end of the month. Since I mostly use my points for Amazon Gift Cards, their latest promotion made me swoon:

When you snag an Amazon.com Gift Card from Swagbucks during the month of September, you are rewarded with a $1 promotional credit for Amazon MP3. I know this is flagrant self promotion, but you can use this link to start earning reward points today and snag your Amazon.com Gift Card and $1 Amazon MP3 promotional credit before Sept. 30th. I would hurry before the month is over! This is a pretty sweet deal, and I've already used it to purchase two songs, one of them may have been Call Me Maybe (but I'll never tell!).

If you have any questions about the promo, you can read more about it on the swagbucks blog.

20 September 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Greyhound Snoods
from Etsy shop GoodWitKnit
The only question is, how many snoods should my greyhound have?! Also, I love this guy, modeling like a boss. Matt, I fear I will have knit eighteen snoods for my hypothetical dog before I finish your gloves/set of koozies.

Honorable Mention
Red lipstickautumn weather ♥ Zyrtec (for the ragweed that comes with autumn weather) ♥ scarf weather (not the same as autumn weather, or sweater weather, which also gets a shout out)  being able to pump my own bike tires (yes, I was once a weakling, but now I am STRONG...enough to do something a twelve year old can do, probably.).

17 September 2012

Music Mondays

Mumford & Sons—I Will Wait

Video for the first Mumford & Sons single from their upcoming album Babel. Drops next week, Sept 25th.

13 September 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Rufus Tower!

I know that cats give zero F*s about people, but this video was still adorbs. Seen on Jezebel.

10 September 2012

Music Mondays

Dominique Pruitt—To Win Your Love

This song is super cute with a vintage '50s vibe. I can't wait to hear the whole album.

06 September 2012

Things I Love Thursday

dinosaur GIF

I got this dinosaur free when I made a purchase on photojojo some time ago. I really, really like this dinosaur. I liked him before I discovered he glowed in the dark.

04 September 2012


Hey all, remember this entry about GoDaddy's acquisition of Outright?

Remember specifically the part where Outright insisted that GoDaddy's advertising was shifting? That the commercials are evolving to focus more on what the company does to help its customers instead of being sexist drivel?

Yeah. Uh, buh-bye Outright. It's been nice knowing you, ya jerks.

01 September 2012

Project 365 Update: August

Guess what we did in August! We traveled to Italy and Croatia! Yes, sure there are a bunch of orange squares. In addition to packing for travel, I was able to score a part-time temp job in the weeks leading up to the trip, which was great in that it gave us spending money, but man was that an intense two weeks!

It was great, but it did not leave a lot of time for photography. I hope to set more clear goals in the future that allow for these contingencies, so that I still feel like taking a photo even after an exhausting day.

Rather than choose a favorite image from the month (because after all the great shots I got in Europe that would be practically impossible), I will simply refer you to this flickr photo album, which more than makes up for those orange squares.

23 August 2012

Things I Love Thursday

My Bicycle
Caution: Bikes are not allowed on the pier

We recently got back from a two week vacation to Rome, Venice, and Croatia (Poreč and Zagreb), and one of the things I didn't even realize I missed was riding my bicycle to work. We had walked so much (SO MUCH) that I even considered walking to work today, but instead I brushed off my blue hybrid and I rode to work. The phrase "like riding a bicycle" was so apt. Even though it's only been two weeks, it feels like it's been ages. It feels like we were a world away. Riding my bike reinforced the idea that, yes, I am back home again.

13 August 2012

Music Mondays

It's Alright To Cry—Moufette

This song is featured at the end of the first act of an episode of This American Life called How to Rest in Peace. It is an incredibly sad episode about murder and suicide, but this rendition of this song stuck out to me because once upon a time my therapist told me, "It's okay to cry...haven't you ever heard the song?" Then he sent me a link to the original, and I laughed and laughed and had a good cry. It felt really good.

The song is also featured on the Half Nelson soundtrack. Hope you enjoy the Moufette version which reminds me a little bit of Sia's Breathe Me

06 August 2012

Music Mondays

Animal Collective - Today's Supernatural

This isn't the first animal collective song I've posted, and it won't be the last.

02 August 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Big Fishes
I'm A Big Fish, You Can Be A Big Fish, Too!

We caught some Striped Bass last Thursday, and they were delicious. More delicious than this fish, probably:

Big Fish

The bass I am holding was maybe the smallest fish we caught that day, although I believe they were all around 30 lbs. I have held the fish before, but it was the first time I've ever caught one on my own—those bastards are heavy!

It was also really nice to see my family. Even though they've been to Boston before, we managed to find a lot of activities that they still hadn't done (and a few that they have, but that we love so much, we had to do it again). We definitely got our visit off with a bang with the striper fishing trip, though. We also highly recommend this Martha Stewart recipe.


'nuff said.

01 August 2012

Project 365 Update: July

Keeping in trend with my failure to take a picture everyday, July was pretty bad. The second to last week, you can see my final presentation for my graphic design class, which was a major component, but other than that, there are no excuses. Here's hoping August will be better.

Back to the wall? I'd have to say my favorite photo was the one taken the day we went out on Captain Tim's boat to catch fish.

30 July 2012

Music Mondays

Do Not Push - A Gotye Call Me Maybe Mashup by Pomplamoose

Now that you have both of those songs stuck in your head simultaneously, your brain will explode.

23 July 2012

Music Mondays

Stars—Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It

Like everything else that comes from Stars, this song is exceptionally great. Shoegazing music was my life in '05-'06. It's great to see a band that continues to put out the same quality music that made me fall in love back then.

19 July 2012

Things I Don't Love Thursday

Thursdays are usually my day to reflect on the positive, but today I thought I'd take a departure from that to stand on a soapbox.

For a few years, I have used a service called Outright to track my freelance profits and expenses. Because I always had a second job while freelancing, it was never much help, but it was still a clean, simple tool that I looked forward to using it when I switched to freelancing fulltime—until I got the news that Outright has been acquired by GoDaddy.

Quite some time ago I purchased the domain name I use for my portfolio. I did some research and I settled on GoDaddy because they came recommended by their very low introductory prices and decent but not stellar customer service. By men, mind you. College aged men. In pure Baader-Meinhof fashion I finally started noticing their extremely sexist ads. I had probably never noticed them before because at the time the ads never said what GoDaddy did. I kept them as my domain name registrar, but switched servers immediately. A week ago I moved my domain names to another registrar when they were about to expire, and I was happy to be done with them.

When Outright sent an email announcing they were acquired by GoDaddy, I initially thought, "oh no." But it's a free service that I like. I'm uncomfortable supporting a company that indirectly gives money/information to GoDaddy...but decided to see what they had to say before I made any snap judgements.

This line clinched it for me (emphasis mine):
Like I did, many of you probably recognize Go Daddy for its controversial Super Bowl commercials. Go Daddy is much more than a company with edgy ads, it is a company committed to customer service and helping small businesses grow online. And, by the way, Go Daddy’s advertising is shifting, as you’ll see in the upcoming Olympics. The commercials are evolving to focus more on what the company does to help its customers.
Um...back it up a bit, Outright. First, thanks for being all condescending and telling your customer base what GoDaddy is (lord knows GoDaddy never did). But are the commercials...sorry, edgy commercials going to evolve away from sexist trash, or is it just that cleverly edited topless women are FINALLY going to explain to us what, exactly, it is that GoDaddy does to help its customers? I guess I'll have to wait and see.

But let's hold the phone, here. Never mind their edgy offensive ads. Let's take a look at their support of SOPA (their stance ever wavering and always unclear). We could also talk about former CEO Bob Parsons trying to pass off shooting an elephant as a humanitarian act after getting tons of backlash for gloating about it in an Internet video. Afterwards, you can see poor Zimbabweans ripping meat from the elephant...all in bright orange GoDaddy clothing. But if their advertising is shifting, well, then. By all means, Outright...that's a horse of a different color!

Now, all of this is incidental. I left GoDaddy, so I have no actual beef with them—they can do whatever they want with their company, but I will no longer be funding my portion of it. In the past, the company has been a sexist, childish, boy's club—if they decided to change their structure top down...great!  But it wouldn't change how I feel. I'm really happy with my current web host—a company that uses wind farms to power their servers and does not have the second most sexist ads ever aired on TV in my lifetime (You're welcome, AXE). Their mascot is an inoffensive cartoon cow.

In the meantime, I will be making my own excel files and writing Outright a letter wishing them luck but telling them how disappointed I am with them. I guess them's the shakes in small businesses, and this will probably be a good move for them, but I will be happy to move on from yet another company controlled by GoDaddy.

16 July 2012

Music Mondays

Lupe Fiasco—Around My Way  (Freedom Ain't Free)

This song is another departure from my regular listening, but I liked this song—surprising how something like this makes great background noise for browsing the Internet for pictures of wolves (another story for another time), because of it's energetic fervor. The video on the other hand...Well, it's very Paula Abdul circa 1989 meets X-Men (Cyclops' eyes, people.)

This is the first single from Lupe Fiasco's upcoming Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1. The Album Drops September 25th.

09 July 2012

Good Times Music Mondays

Kitty Pryde & Riff Raff—Orion's Belt

This is a departure from my usual style of music, but I thought I'd include this Myspace-like track because the video reminded me of this adult arcade we used to go to called Good Time Emporium. Good Times was, just that—a place to play video games and go karts and laser tag and maybe get stabbed in the parking lot. The only arcade I ever knew to have an armed police officer at the front door at all times.

Bonus: some pictures of us looking (and being) really, really young, courtesy of a friend of ours who loved Good Times maybe more than we did.

05 July 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Birds With Arms

Forget bird watching, birds with arms is the next best thing. See the tumblr here.

02 July 2012

Music Mondays—SCIENCE!

Mates of State—I am A Scientist

On July 3, Spare the Rock Records will release Science Fair, eighteen exclusive tracks — all sung by women and girls — themed around and benefiting science and engineering education for girls. The album will be on sale for $3 (JUST $3, PEOPLE), to support girl's foundational science education programs, from rural areas to the suburbs to inner cities.

This video was the first video to be released from this album.

01 July 2012

Project 365 Update: June

June has been my worst month, by far. One of the reasons for this is that my DSLR has been on the fritz. Something inside is rattling, and for two weeks, we were unable to get it to work. The last picture I took before it broke was of J walking downstairs to grill our burgers. The next time it worked was when I photographed my Moscow Mule. It was as mysterious as it was concerning and if it breaks when we go on vacation I will blackout rage, I swear.

My favorite photo this month was by and far this one:

This is the first photo from one of my last packs of 600 Polaroid film. I was testing my SLR 680 to make sure it (and the film) still worked, and lo! It does. Maybe it will find its way to Europe with us when we finally take that vacation.

25 June 2012

Music Monday

Twin Shadow—Five Seconds

Today's offering is this video from Twin Shadow. A B-movie and a new Bowie-esque synth-song all rolled into one. You're welcome.

18 June 2012

Music Mondays

Leona Naess—Swing Gently

Ignore the fact that this song is from an episode of Private Practice that aired in December 2008 (Worlds Apart). Ignore the fact that I am not discovering "new" music this week. Also, ignore the ugliest video ever posted on the Internet because since 2008, no one has made a respectable video for this beautiful song. I came across this song because I have started watching Private Practice from the beginning again, and it struck a chord with me.

The whole album, Thirteen, is something I wish I had had in high school—maybe even in 2008. It's a little young, but I think that's the point, but this song just sways so melodically, and the title, Swing Gently, is exactly what it does.

I just downloaded this one track, though. I have enough angsty female pop vocalists on my playlist.

14 June 2012

Things I Love Thursday


The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, marking her 60 year reign, happened June 2nd-5th. The Jubilee used to mark the 75th year of reign, but Queen Victoria withdrew from public life after Albert's death, and they decided to bump it up fifteen years then, and it's been tradition since.

IKEA decided to celebrate with the above marketing—a corgi dog (CORGI DOG OMFG).

Google did what Google does:

Even though I am in America, I am and have always been an anglophile at heart. I must admit I got sucked into this whole thing. My favorite part was still the corgmonsters.

11 June 2012

Music Mondays

Hot Chip's new album, In Our Heads, comes out today, but you could have been streaming the full album this whole time! Only I didn't post this until today! What a bitch! Anyway, the streaming link is here, but seeing as how you should just buy it and all, I don't see how that's useful.

The song I chose to represent this album is If I Was Your Girlfriend—a Prince "cover" if you will. It starts out all Hot Chip, and then gets all Prince on you, but they riff the lyrics in a great, unique way. Pretty Much Amazing describes this song as a "slow burner." True, but if you listen to it fifteen times in a row like I did before I chose this song, it sticks to you like glue.

09 June 2012

My House Is Never Cleaner

I have a school assignment due on Tuesday. During a normal semester, class meets once a week, but in the summer, classes meet Tuesday and Thursday. There's not a lot you can get done in 40 hours, so Thursday—Tuesday is when the meat of the work gets done. As a professional procrastinator, this is how a typical day goes during the semester:

"J just left to run errands and get some work of his own done...I should really get to work on this assignment. Let me sit down at my desk and focus."

"Hmmm...I have a lot of old emails. I should play the email game (emailga.me) and try to clear that out before I get started."

"Ah, Inbox Zero nearly achieved. Close the browser. Now I can start working."

"Is that dust on the floor? I need to sweep before I get started."

"Well, the floor is clean, but my desk is a mess. Better clean that up before I dirty up my assignment."

"Okay, my desk is acceptably clear. Just a cup of tea, and then I'll sit down and get to work..."

And so forth, and so on.

My house is never cleaner, and I am never more hydrated than when I have other, more pressing things to do.

07 June 2012

Things I Love Thursday

99% Invisible—Guilt Free

I really enjoyed this 99% Invisible podcast about sustainability and design. They talk about the lunar-resonant streetlight project, which utilizes available moonlight instead of overwhelming it, and returning the cityscape to a more natural environment while still providing adequate lighting. The whole podcast is interesting, but what struck me as a designer was this part of the discussion: 
I think a lot of the current design discussion is about how to make design more relevant…how to make it part of these processes that really shape the world: government, all of the sort of processes that we don't think of being designs or having a relationship to design.

Climate change is a design problem, you know, the national debt is a design problem. All of these things are design problems in different ways if you expand the scope of how you think about it a little bit.

Our challenge as designers, really, is to expand that scope and to become part of bigger discussions.
This was a portion of our discourse during a graphic design class I am taking at MassArt this semester, and so the whole episode really struck a chord. The podcast itself is really interesting, too—definitely worth checking out (at 99percentinvisible.org)

This XKCD Comic

Although I rarely if ever think about a certain ex-boyfriend now that I'm happily married, sometimes I remember him—like when I saw this comic, which I had to laugh at because it's so uncannily true, it's almost like it was written about him.

As is usually the case, the mouse over is the best part: "I'll never forget you--at least, the parts of you that were important red flags."

04 June 2012

Music Mondays

The West Coast may be the Best Coast, but the East Coast is the Beast Coast. Still, surf rock is pretty cool, I guess.

01 June 2012

Project 365 Update: May

I thought May would be even better than April, but it wasn't. There was one week there that I just didn't feel like leaving the house, much less taking pictures. I don't really like any of these photos, but the one I chose this month is from Plumb Island, a 16 mile bike trip J and I took this month to go bird watching.

I like that the bird is the focal point against a neutral and kind of boring backdrop. I thought it was best in square format.

Red-Winged Blackbird

24 May 2012

Things I Love Thursday


J has been eyeing this grill for a while now, and we finally ordered it on amazon last week. We spent this weekend grilling every meal we ate at home. Rain has put a damper on the week-time grilling, but the point of buying a propane powered portable weber was that it takes 20 minutes, tops, to have a delicious grilled meal, anytime we want.

Firing up the charcoal grill was so much work that we never bothered grilling for ourselves—it just wasn't worth it unless at least six people were eating burgers and dogs. We still have it, but we just plan on busting it out when we have company and want to spend the whole day grilling.

This grill is fantastic, and I can't wait to see what delicious meals we concoct this summer.

Bird Watching
Empire State Pigeon
via flickr user villes
We have started a weekly routine of riding our bikes to brunch on Sunday, and stopping at Mount Auburn Cemetery afterwards. We usually spend about 20-30 minutes at the cemetery watching for birds, and taking in the beautiful views. So far, we have seen turkeys, falcons, chipmunks, and other really interesting birds that I am not equipped to identify. Armed with a new pair of binoculars, though, we are going to start making the most of our cemetery walks and bird watch the hell out of Sunday afternoons. I am even going to get some bird identification books from the library.

I am officially a 50-year-old woman.

17 May 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Stephen Colbert Says MIT is the Harvard of DeVry

But the thing I loved most was this response from Stu Schmill, MIT Dean of Admissions (Class of '86—note the brass rat). A perfect example of what makes MIT such a special place. Read his blog post about it here.

10 May 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Some Kids Demand Listening to Gotye in the Car

Originally posted on swissmiss.

Walk Off The Earth Covers Gotye

Okay, the kids in the car were cute. If kids aren't your thing—watch this version. It's way, way, way cooler. Also, much less weird that adults know the lyrics to this song, you know?

Also, This.

07 May 2012

Music Mondays

Last week I posted Sad Baby Wolf's cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's Everything Is, but here's the single they released in December, 8th Level.

01 May 2012

Project 365 Update: April

April was my best month so far. Quite a few of these are iphone photos, but I still tried to capture the days as they happened, not just out of convenience, but because I had my phone on me, and the moment happened. Now I will remember my decision to get that brightly colored outdoor rug. I will remember when they put the new sharrow in front of my house. I will remember when I stocked up on red truck individual sized wine.

My favorite photo this month was the one I took of our dining area:

Our apartment has come a long way towards a home, especially so since we've gotten married, and this picture is a strong reminder of how beautifully it has done so.

30 April 2012

Music Mondays

Former Shins members Marty Crandall and Neal Langford have a new band called Sad Baby Wolf, which is about the cutest name ever, in a sad baby wolf sort of way. That, and they made a Neutral Milk Hotel song sound happy, which is funny because until I'd heard this version, I thought Jeff Mangum's version was "happy" so...there you go.

Look for their self titled EP sometime soon.

26 April 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Witnessing moments of growth

Road meditation

Lovingkindness practice (in Buddhist terms) is based on cultivating loving kindness towards yourself, then your loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, and finally all sentient beings. It is something I struggle with only when I am conscious of it. I would be happy to struggle with this daily, but it is regardless immensely gratifying to witness a moment of growth, and it was only with therapy and sporadic lovingkindness practice that I have even been able to identify these moments. It could be that you are fighting with your significant other, and the fight and the anger could carry over for days. Then, in a moment of clarity, you might realize what separate issue you were fighting about all along. The anger dissipates, and eventually recedes, and you two are left closer than ever. Or it could be that a family member surprises you by catching a habit that they would like to stop participating in before they are helped. Either way, it's a brief and beautiful reminder that no matter who we are, we can still grow.


I adopted a new pup a few weeks ago. His name is Snausages O'Houllihan, and he's smart as a whip and really great at agility training. He's a corgi.

Oh. And he's a Nintendog—trapped in my Nintendo DS. I watch videos of real dogs doing real training, and I'm all, "My nintendog totally does that. Whiffed it. Geez. Dogs." We also recently moved into a country home. It was a good move, lots of birds and nature and stuff, very relaxing.

On other fronts: oh my god my husband needs to get me a dog. Or professional help.

23 April 2012

Music Monday

Gotye — Somebody That I Used To Know

J: People on the Internet were saying this video was really weird.

And as a graphic designer, I responded "Weird? This is beautiful." It reminded me of Stefan Sagmeister. Also, it's a really great song! Reminds me a little bit of Sting.

19 April 2012

Things I Love Thursday

Texts from Dog
These hilarious conversations between an owner and his pit bull are priceless. You can see all of them here at Text from Dog's tumblr. Some of them are kind of vulgar, so be warned.

<---This Guy

Nothing to brighten up the day like an Anchorman reference!

16 April 2012

Music Mondays

Garbage—Blood for Poppies

Here is the video for the latest single from Garbage, invoking the likes of Salvador Dalí and Georges Méliès in a grainy black and white that really contrasts with the catchy pop song that Shirley Manson is singing. I am torn as to whether or not this is really a good thing. I don't understand what Surrealism has to do with this song, and I am so over people misusing vintage medium to needlessly demonstrate how edgy they are, or involve their own art with art that already invokes pretty strong feelings (this from the woman with a large collection of vintage Polaroid cameras that listens to vinyl just because). Also, I am loving the vintage dress Manson is wearing at the beginning of the video. LOVING. Spoiler alert, there's a little bit of Un Chien Andalou in there, so if watching eyeballs being sliced open is not your thing, maybe only watch the first 3/4 of the video.

I knew Garbage was on tour to promote their new album, Not Your Kind of People (dropping 5/15), but I had no idea when it was dropping, or what their sound would be like these days. On the other hand, I really like this song, and I really like Garbage. At 15, Garbage was my first live concert, ever. My friends and I drove all the way out to New Mexico to see them, and I loved every minute of it, bought a bright orange T-shirt that was three times too big (they were out of Smalls), and listened almost exclusively to the two CDs of theirs that I owned on repeat for about six months afterwards.

I thought I'd include this song, not just because I like it a lot, and am strongly considering getting this whole album, but for nostalgia alone.

13 April 2012

What To Do About Poo

Recently, I've had the pleasure of dealing with neighbors who think that their backyard is a great place to let dog feces do what it does best: bake in the sun, melt in the rain, and basically smell up the whole joint. My bike gets parked at a prime spot inside the radius of poop smell, and it's been fantastic thinking about how this summer is going to be when we try to barbecue while the smell gets worse because we weren't proactive about it.

I find a lot of articles online about ways to deal with neighbors. They all say the same things in the end, though literally zero of them are about what to do when your neighbor won't pick up their own dog's shit in their own yard (what are we—in Texas?), but this is how I've been dealing with it.

Talk to your neighbors. In my case, I tried to talk to them a few times, but I am a sissy and the opportunity never presented itself. Eventually I left a (nice) note. No threats, no nastiness, just what I would have said face to face if we were ever outside at the same time: the poop smells pretty bad, and it's been getting worse lately. We want to enjoy our backyard, since it's one of the reasons we moved into this place, and we understand that it can be difficult to be on top of this, but we'd really appreciate it. Simple and to the point (not passive aggressive) and not anonymous; I signed my name and let them know which unit I was in.

Report it to the city (or HOA, if that applies). No one can be less surprised than I that my note tactic didn't work, and I didn't want to leave any more because as nice as it was, more notes could be considered harassment. Once I left the note, I realized that it was silly and pointless, since now I couldn't really talk to them about it. Besides, I pay taxes so that the local government bodies responsible can take care of crap like this for me (pun intended). Since a government official has gone over there, the problem has diminished greatly, and by that I mean I haven't seen a single poop stay on the premises for more than two days, and I call that a win, even if my neighbors don't like me (I could have gone over with wine/brownies/flowers, but I'm not that person. I don't like them, either, but I'd rather be the person calling the city than the person letting feces fester in my (and my pet's) environment). The only important thing I learned by doing this step was the next step:

Call Animal Control. We aren't there yet. Are there still steaming piles of poop out there occasionally? Sure. Do the neighbors know I am the one who sicced the City of Somerville on them? Unfortunately, I'm positive they do. On the other hand, I have this tidbit in my back pocket—animal control is a separate entity from who I contacted through the city's website (Somerville in my case, but you can always check your local ordinances), and they can issue fines. This could be your first step if you really hate your neighbors.

I meditate. I try practicing lovingkindness...but at the end of the day, I am literally dealing with shit here. City anonymity is so frustrating that it takes it to a whole new level when your neighbors who are less than thirty feet away from you are doing things they wouldn't do under a microscope. And that's why these local government offices are in place, right?

12 April 2012

Things I Love Thursday

This is what I want our living room to look like someday. Looks like we'll need a bigger couch.