Monthly Archives: April 2011

lazy saturday.

I went out last night after a long hiatus of avoiding the awkward bar/club experiences that characterize downtown N.B. nightlife. I only had three drinks in a span of four hours, but somehow still woke up with a major headache! Combined with a general feeling of wooziness. I must be getting older. My po’ liver. 

In any event, nursing a mild hangover calls for a lazy Saturday. I didn’t have any ambitious homework plans as it was, so today was all about relaxing. I took a lesson from the king of chill (Mr. Bennet) and stretched out my lazy limbs most of the day. 


Lazy weekends also call for cozy homemade food with lots of sweet, cinnamon-y flavors. I found a recipe for some banana & blueberry French toast which I dolloped with some whip cream. These were just what I needed! And thanks to my new frying pan, they turned out perfectly toasted but a little soft inside just I like. 

And of course, what’s a nostalgic, cozy Saturday without chocolate? Pretty sure  I should have a sign stamped on my forehead signaling everyone to my raspberry chocolate addiction. These are soooo good and just big enough for a nice little snack. 


I got “Winter’s Bone” Netflixed today so I’m gonna snuggle up in my big chair and hope it’s worth the two hours. Hopefully my queasiness passes before lazy Saturday turns into lazy Sunday… 

letters.

I’m home most of the day which means quality time spent observing the inner workings of the neighborhood. I’m like that old cat lady, but without the cat, unfortunately. When I’m out of the house, I’m usually in class which generally implies an onset of mind-numbing boredom. So while in class yesterday, I composed some short letters/odes to the great people who wander around State Street at any given time between 11:00am and 2:00 pm on a weekday. Here goes:

Dear neighbor-man in the red house, You’re one of my favorite elderly people, even though I’ve never met you. I love your mocassins and tube socks. I’m glad you get out once in awhile for some fresh air, even though your cane and the chopped-up sidewalks make it hard to walk. I hope you don’t get lonely in your big red house. 


Dear Mr. Veteran on your motorized scooter, Please stop dropping your garbage in front of my house. Maybe you should put a plastic bag on one of the arm rests of your scoot-scoot. But you do remind me of my grandpa (minus the littering), so as long as you keep riding in that chair, I’ll keep picking up your garbage.


Dear boy with the puppy husky, I’ve seen you a few times with your headphones on walking your pretty dog. Thanks for gentrifying New Bedsy. 


Dear lady with the shopping cart on recycling Wednesdays, I wish I drank more beverages out of cans so you could take them from my blue bin. I really do hope you make lots of money from the rest of our neighbors who lack your initiative to cash in those soda cans. 

Dear man in the doll-house, I like your accent and your tabby cat. Every day you let him out, he rolls around in the sunny grass and makes me laugh. Thanks for saving space on the street by parking your SUV half-way on the sidewalk. Really! 


And finally…


Dear 12-year-old on the moped, It’s not quite safe to have your roller-blading friend tag along via rope extension from your noise machine. Also, why aren’t you in school? Just sayin’…


Mmmm, that was satisfying and all in good fun. I really do like living here. Too bad it’s raining today which means no one to spy on…

spring!

Spring has finallyyyy showed its pretty face around here. Yesterday was a blissful 75 degrees with a nice wetness in the air and a breeze that blew all the nice spring-time scents through my apartment. The trees are starting to bloom (like this gorgeous pink-flower fellow next door) and an owl decided to roost somewhere in the neighborhood and has been pleasantly hooting the arrival of nice weather. I even had to pull out my fan, because it was almost too balmy. 


I took a walk downtown to enjoy the weather and picked up some dark chocolate on the trek back home (Ghiradelli’s Dark with Raspberry, yum). I think my taste palate is finally maturing, because I can’t get enough of dark chocolate lately. Me, the queen of milky chocolatey goodies. I’ve also can’t get enough of huge, crispy green salads with hummus and sesame ginger dressing. I made this one for lunch… and now I’m off to study in front of my open (!) bedroom window.  Not too shabby, I must say. Happy spring! 

easter.

I haven’t celebrated Easter in the religious sense since I was a wee one, but every year Mom or someone in the family cooks up a ham and a nice meal is made. But this year, I’m unfortunately in Mass. which means no fam’ around, so therefore no Easter celebration. I didn’t think I’d be very bummed, but listening to the neighbors’ revelry next door put me in a little funk, I will admit. It also didn’t help that Momma-sweet called me and listed off all the delicious goodies that were cooking in her oven (caramel rolls? yumyumyum). So I stayed home all day, mostly due to the constant drizzle outside and a little enervation of sprit. I got a nominal amount of homework done, but mostly Mr. B and I participated in our own Easter activities! Consider the following exhibits… 

Exhibit #1:
B-money pondering his next move. He ate a chunk of Lolita‘s cover earlier in the day.

Exhibit #2
When spirits are low, a nice remembrance of the Midwest is in order. And what says Midwest more than a copious amount of cheese consumption? I attended a grad-school schmoozer event earlier in the week and luckily professors truly understand the indigence of grad students, so I parted with this big bag of cheese. They filled me up trick-o-treat style… I really just stood there grasping the Ziplock like a 5-year-old. No shame. Luckily Mr. B is a herbivore (except for processed sugar treats) so he couldn’t snag any of these. 

Exhibit #3

THEN, if all this Easter excitement couldn’t get any more fraught with tension, Mr. B and I… tracked the progress of my new orchid stems! You can imagine my excitement (genuine, this time) when I noticed a few days ago that my beloved little white orchid is sprouting some new stems (two of them!). On top of that, all five white flowers are still intact on top of her (his?) current stem. Who needs Easter lilies when orchids are around? 


And finally, because I was running out of ideas to keep myself occupied, I turned back to the painting I started working on, oh, about a month ago. I’m about half done now… Not sure how I feel about the blue, but we’ll see! In fact, I’m not sure how I feel about any of it, but usually these things turn out in the end…

Exhibit #4

And of course, Buddha presided over the day’s events with grace and calm as always. 


I also…


1) wrote a page of my paper
2) ran two miles on the treadmill
3) finished two books
4) ate two pumpkin treats 


Pretty productive once all said and done! 


Tomorrow to celebrate actual Easter Sunday, I will be making a ham… sandwich. 


Haaaaaapy Easter! 

good things.

I don’t want to turn this space into a food blog, but I must discuss my latest culinary discovery. PUMPKIN. I don’t know why I’ve only ever eaten during this delectable squash during the fall/Thanksgiving season. It is absolutely delicious. I bought an extra large can on a whim during my last grocery extravaganza and have been on a binge of concocting pumpkin dishes all week. 


First I made a frozen ice-cream pumpkin pie that I topped with some slivered almonds and some whipped cream. I used a pre-made graham cracker crust (easier), layered it with vanilla ice cream, added a pumpkin/whip cream mix and froze. Voila! Instant yummy. It also takes longer to eat because of the frozen-ness so the yum factor is prolonged, which is always a good thing.

I still had a bunch of pumpkin left so I whipped up some pumpkin chocolate bars the following day. I would have never thought to mix pumpkin and chocolate, but I’m glad I did. They turned out kind of bread-like because I added an egg when the recipe didn’t call for one, but they were still pretty pleasant tasting. I also decreased the sugar and chocolate chips to save some calories. Considering I still had the frozen pie in the freezer from the day before, I shared a bunch of these with my neighbors and Serena. Everyone put a big stamp of approval on these bad boys. 

THEN, since I still had more pumpkin left, I decided to try a new twist on the banana smoothies that Q. always makes. I blended the following with some ice: 


+1/2 c. pumpkin
+3/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
+1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spices
+1 c. almond milk
+half of a small banana 


So. good. And would you believe it? I still have about half a cup of pumpkin left in the fridge. I really don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this stuff. And it’s not too shabby for the salud, either. Yay. 

$75!

For some reason, my body felt ready to get up today at 9:00am. This never happens. Ever. So I took my extra free time and went grocery shopping before the Saturday afternoon rush (after working on today’s crossword puzzle, of course). And I spent a whopping SEVENTY FIVE DOLLARS, more than I’ve ever spent as a po’ grad student in one outing to the store. I pretty much depleted my entire budget for the month. But OMIGOSH am I excited about my finds! I thank the food gods for PriceRite, because all this would have cost me probably $150 anywhere else. I am SO excited to eat all this food!


Some of my awesome finds: 
+a big bag of couscous
+Kashi cookies and cereal
+pepper jack cheese
+Greek yogurt
+almonds and cranberries trail mix
+italian cherry ice 
+cottage cheese
+all my necessary veggies (kale, carrots, parsley, cabbage, green peppers)
+garlic hummus (a whole pound!) 

+a 9×9 pan (for $3!)
+ and YES, measuring spoons (yayyyyyyy!)


And lots and lots of other yummy goodies. I’m trying to eat less processed food so I said “no” to a lot of the snacks I usually buy. Now however I’m just stuck with that awesome feeling in my stomach of IwannaeatallofthisrightNOW. And an empty wallet in my purse. Give a little, take a little, right?

accountability.

This grimace pretty much sums up how I’ve felt about school lately. All that grotesque lip-cheek action says “you don’t make me accountable for the level of my work, so why should I keep trying so hard?” I should know better, but when your heart’s not in it, it’s hard to produce stimulating, insightful work. Hence, my general level of slacking around. I’ve been doing just enough to get by and by getting by I mean getting an “A+” regardless (yeah, they exist), which seems to be the norm around here. Well, this game doesn’t seem to work outside the Portuguese department because my Spanish prof called me out yesterday on the quality of my recent analysis/homework. Basically along the lines of “this is some sophomoric work, you can do better, what’s going on anyway, huh?” yadda yadda. It’s interesting how an outsider needs to recognize your weaknesses before you feel motivated enough to sort them out yourself. SO! From now until the end of the semester, I’m gonna whip myself into shape and try to crack out some decent work. If only so I can prove (thanks, pai) to Mr. Español my potential to create some OK papers.  

In other best effort attempts, I’ve been on a major soup binge lately. I’ve put together three different soups in the last week and a half! All very yummy. I made this garbanzo bean, tomato, and rice soup tonight. With curry powder and some leftover kale. It came out with a sort of strange flavor, but I liked it and I needed to use up my garbanzo beans. I’ve been trying to eat more healthy and make more dishes from scratch. I ate this with some flat bread/fried dough ala Andra-style (homemade, too!) and red bell pepper hummus (more garbanzo). Foi muiiiiito bom! 

trinkets.

To avoid doing homework, I now present… a list of trinkets! Probably one of the most ridiculous lists ever compiled, but what the hell. Trinkets deserve attention, too. I have too many knickknacks around my apartment, but I can’t seem to get rid of them; they all have their little special histories and I’d feel awfully bad hiding them away. Here’s a list of my favorites and the stories behind them:

#1) My I-love-you bug!

Q. gave me this when I visited him in Ecuador. It’s a little strawberry that opens to wobbly leg lady bug inside! I had one of these as a little girl, but lost it somewhere. This one stays on my bookshelf for safe keeping. 

#2) Strawberry girl!

My mom brought his back for me from her last trip to Germany. You can’t tell but the girl has a little strawberry on her head. This is never something I’d buy for myself (too craftsy house-wife), but you can’t deny gifts your mother gives you. And her butt’s full of beans for sitting on ledges. Cute. 

#3) BUNNY!


Serena found his tiny little rabbit somewhere in Boston and had to get it for me. I’ve also loved rabbit bibelots, but now that I have a bun-bun myself, they’re even more appropriate. This little guy is ever so tiny and cute to boot. 

#4) Sleepy kitty 

Another little goodie made perfectly to sit on ledges and safe-guard books. Q. painted this sleepy cat for me. He’s imperfect because he’s missing a part of his ear and rattles when you shake him. But he’s painted so perfectly! 

#5) Mali thinking man 

Another goodies from Quique… he bought this statue somewhere in Mali, Africa. But I’ve had a lot of problems with it, because the dye on the wood melts everywhere when wet! So another knick-knacker for the bookshelves. 

So, officially the most silly thing ever written. Procrastination is the best…  

pretty pictures.

One day I hope to have a real camera, one that costs more than $200. I’d also like to take a photography class. Art is so rewarding and I wish I knew more of the techniques behind its execution. But that doesn’t stop me from attempting/dabbling. Here are some favorite photographs I’ve snapped in the last few years during some of my life travels. Mr. Q. has taken a couple of these. IT’S ALSO HIS BIRTHDAY TODAY! (But no one needs to know; it’s a secret). In any event, HAAAAAAPY BIRTHDAY, QUIQUE! I’m sorry I accidentally but you a gay-boy jersey. But I’m confident you can pull off the midriff look! Many happy wishes to my modest man who doesn’t like the limelight. Here are 24 photos for your 24 years!


C&L, Minnesota


Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

Emily and Vladi’s Wedding, Minnesota

Baños, Ecuador

Paraty, Brazil

Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

Siblings, MN

Paraty, Brazil 

Neném linda, Muritiba, Brazil

Woman-child, Northern MN
By Q., Montana

Northern MN/Canada

Hasta la victoria, Minnesota

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio (of course).

First Communion, Minnesota

Rio, Brazil

By Q., Quito, Ecuador

Andra, Northern MN

Horseneck Beach, Massachusetts

Northern MN

Quito, Ecuador

Boy meets shell, MA
Q., Minnesota
Someone buy me a nice camera? Please?

progress.

I worked on this gem for about an hour today. I had to remind myself that the first few layers never look good, because I was ready to repaint the whole canvas in a new coat of white. But I’m sure it’ll come together in the end. I hope one day I’m able to be mentally create an image of my own artistic ideas and are able to transfer those images onto a canvas. Most likely though that intuitive creative drive is not something that spontaneously strikes. I suppose I can hope. Regardless of creative originality, painting is a great release tool. I’m happy that I’m able to somewhat master the art of imitation. After all, beggars can’t be choosers. 

In other progress news, I’d like to announce with pride that Mr. Bennet has hit some real milestones in the last 6 months on his path to becoming a cuddly, lovable, domesticated bun-bun. I remember what a disapproving little monster he was when I first adopted him, always running away from me, eating all my headphones, and turning up his nose at food. Now he sticks to his own toys (for the most part), lets me pick him up, and generally just chills around the house in positions that look a lot like this one on the right. I sure love those little paws.