Saturday, October 18, 2008

In the Air

I found an apartment today that is very promising. In fact, I told the landlord that I'll probably take it. I want to, but I'm unsure because it does not include heat/hot water and it's an apartment in a house. It does have new windows though, as well as a new hot water heater-so that is good.

The apartment is on a quiet one way street on the first floor of a house. It's got a huge kitchen with a built in china cabinet with glass paned windows. I love that. Also, the tenant that just moved out was a carpenter and he built an island with a dark brown wooden top. He put it on top of the cabinets that were already there, so the bottom part isn't beautiful, but the top sure is. It's great too, because I could easily get 2 stools and use it as a table as well.

The living room is a bit smaller than the one I have now, and it is carpeted instead of hard wood floors. I really love my floors. It's got a big closet though, and that's a plus. The bedroom does have the wood floors and is bigger than my current one-it's big enough for a desk to be added in there and the closet is quite big, as opposed to my little weird triangle closet I have now. The two big pluses to this apartment is the bonus room and the storage closet.

The bonus room is small-not quite big enough to be a bedroom, but it's great for an office or maybe even a futon-but for sure it'd be great office space. The storage unit is under the stairs and it quite big. It would enable me to bring most of my catering stuff from my parents house, as well as keep lots of things stored that I have strategically hidden now.

Another bonus is that I can paint the rooms whatever colors I want. AND it's got free parking on a one way street, a little backyard with a bend to read on and even a tiny plot for me to plant herbs (he knows I am a chef and told me I could use it for that.) I drove past the place tonight to see how the block looked in the dark and to hear if it was loud or crowded. It was neither, which is a good sign.

My worries-I don't know how to even estimate how much my utilities would be. I don't want to get into the apartment and find out that I'm paying MORE than I am now. I can't handle that. As it is, if I stay here I am giving up my parking space. The land lord doesn't know how to average the utilities because he just replaced the windows and got the new heater-and hasn't had a tenant since then. They are gas utilities, which is a plus but apparently not as huge a plus as it used to be.

I'd also lose my view, and be far away from a T-there is a bus route there though and the village is very cute.

So-to any of my local Boston/Allston/Brighton readers who lurk...do any of YOU pay for heat/hot water? If so, care to share how much it averages per month? I'd really like to take this apartment because of the kitchen and the potential it has for dinner parties and such-but I'm really nervous about the $$...help!?!?!

Just Grand

Last night my friend Nicole came over for a dinner of Dim Sum takeaway and drinks. I hadn't seen her in over a month so it was fun to catch up. While I was here in Boston preparing for my RI vacation, Nicole was roaming around London for a couple of weeks-lucky girl! Over a couple of glasses of wine and yummy food, we brought each other up to date on our lives.

Sad news, she's probably going to move to London. What'd I tell you? Almost every friend I've ever had and liked more than an acquaintance has moved away on me since I was a little girl. Booooo!

After spending a couple of hours laughing, eating and drinking we got ready to go downtown. Nicole's friend has a band and she invited me to come see him with her. They were playing here which is just a short T ride from my apartment. Nicole's a little girl who I've never seen drink. In fact, when we were friends with the German girl (who drank a lot) she said she was "allergic" to alcohol and never drank with us. When she came over and pulled a huge bottle of wine out of her bag (that she carried on the T!) I was shocked. But what shocked me ever more was when we got to the bar, she bought me a few beers as well as a few for herself! (She insisted on paying for my drinks because she claims to have eaten more than me at dinner.)

I'm not a fan of dancing really-mainly because of the trouble I have with my face. (Since you all know about that, I might as well be honest about why I don't like to dance.) Especially with alcohol in me in a hot bar. All 3 of those things make for a very good chance that it'll happen, so I steer away from it. That being said, I love music and really enjoy being there listening to it and watching people dance. However, people I am with are usually uncomfortable with that and think I am not having a good time so they worry or worse-tend to try to stay near me so they don't feel bad. Luckily Nicole listened to me (I told her about my face before we went) and went to dance a few times. She's very silly when she is drinking! I love her. She's a great friend and I'm sad that she might be moving so far away.


Very ugly picture of me with Nicole. Mental note: never scrunch neck back to get closer to people for pictures. Causes ugly double chin effect (something I don't have in real life but if I did, I'd get me some of the best diet pills!)

The lead singer (Nicole's friend) had his wife there with him-she was awesome. We sat up front on the side of the stage and just hung out with a group of others with the band pretty much all night. After a few drinks (added on top of the drinks I had at home) I was feeling like I didn't need any more, especially because I would be taking the train home by myself and it was late.

Let me tell you-taking the T around midnight on a Friday is always interesting-but doing so when you are, ok, I'll say it, drunk, is a whole other ball of wax. The noise seems to be 1000 times louder, the lights are too bright and the smell is worse. Thankfully I had my favorite single seat on the right side of the train so I didn't have to stand. That would have been interesting. I also felt like people were looking at me, even though that was very far from the truth. I am surprised at the level of paranoia I had! Especially be the train was full of college kids who were probably worse off than me.

Overall my night was fantastic and I had such a great time. I've only gone out to a bar in the city a couple of times-and this is the first time I've been to see a live band while living here. It was definitely fun and I hope I can do it more often. Now I just have to get rid of my headache. :)

Have a great weekend everyone! Enjoy the nice weather-if you have it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Down the Street

Yesterday I looked at an apartment that is about 1/2 a mile away from mine. The area is fine, of course, because it's just a few blocks up but while I was walking to the realtor office I knew I wasn't going to like it.

I know, I know...go in with a positive attitude, right? Well, remember that last year a saw a boat load of apartments around town in a very short period of time. I knew just by looking at the outside of the building that the apartment would not be as nice as mine.

My main objectives in looking for an apartment are:

1. Rent: No more than I am currently paying (including the extra $25/month if I stay, but not my parking space.)

2. A larger kitchen, preferably eat in (So that maybe I can really start my home based business)

3. Ample on street parking or a parking space that comes with the place

4. Heat and hot water included

5. Updated bathroom (You would NOT believe how many of these nice places have crappy disgusting bathrooms! In fact, that was the real reason I chose the apartment I'm in now-it's cleaner.)

When I walked into the building my concerns were affirmed. It smelled funny, first of all. Next, the doors to the apartments were flat panel cheap wood-not very secure at all, and very outdated. It was dark in there too, not very inviting.

The apartment itself wasn't horrible, it was just small. The ceilings were low (mine are high) and there was no hallway to separate the living area from the bedroom, like in mine. The windows were smaller, making it darker and the kitchen was smaller-if you can believe it-than mine is now.

I was nice and looked around, but when I came out of the bedroom I told the guy that I was sorry but that it wouldn't work. He knew that I am about to renew my lease and that I don't HAVE to move, so I don't think he was expecting to sell me right off the bat anyway. Still, I always feel bad for taking up their time, because I know they do a lot of running around, especially in these neighborhoods.

I have a potential meeting today during lunch to view another 1 bedroom and tomorrow I am meeting with a lady about a 2 bedroom in a private house. I'm sort of excited about that one and hope it pans out to be just as good as it looks. It's got 2 bedrooms and a little space for an office, and a large kitchen. It would be great for me, and it would be worth moving and worth giving up my view if it's as good as it seems...we'll see!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives

Last night I attended a movie/lecture at the Museum of Science here in Boston. Though it wasn't quite what I thought it would be I was very happy that I went. I was fun and interesting and I learn quite a lot. Read the event details below and continue on to my commentary afterwards:
The Museum of Science


Event Details

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you did something or didn’t do something? Well, somewhere in another dimension, you did make that choice and you are living that life.

Come to the Museum of Science for a sneak preview of the film Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives which is all about Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) theory. Basically, the theory means that there is a very large, perhaps infinite, number of universes and that everything that could possibly happen in our universe (but doesn't) does happen in some other universes. MWI reconciles how we can perceive non-deterministic events with the deterministic equations of quantum physics. Prior to many worlds, this had been viewed as a single "world-line". Many-worlds rather views it as a many-branched tree where every possible branch of history is realized.

The film Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives follows Mark Oliver Everett, lead singer of the cult band the Eels, on his quest to learn about his father, Hugh Everett III, a physicist who gave birth to this bizarre and influential theory. At first derided, Hugh Everett's theory has steadily gained traction among physicists while Mark Everett has increasingly grown curious about his emotionally distant father. In this intelligent and imaginative film, the wry and charismatic Mark embarks on a journey back into his father's life, meeting his old friends and colleagues, and takes a crash course in the weird world of quantum mechanics in order to understand his father's mind-blowing theory.

Join physicist Max Tegmark and Nova Senior Executive Producer Paula Apsell for a sneak preview of the film, which airs on PBS's Nova on October 21 at 8:00 p.m.

********

First off, the film is funny and I recommend you watch it on the 21st. Mark is a funny quirky guy and his quest to understand his father is touching. While watching it, I did not feel bored at all even though we were being fed theories about Quantum Physics.

Max (mentioned above) was very good at explaining things to us in a way we could understand. The idea of thousands of alternate universes where we exist is somewhat far fetched for most of us to grasp. His reasoning was this:

Think about how baseball players can gauge where the arch of a ball is going to end so they can catch it and make the out-but this wasn't always the case. At one point, our ancestors couldn't do this and that guy got killed because he got hit in the head with a rock. Eventually we developed it or thought about what would happen if we put our hands up to block it. And then it went to what if we try to catch it? At some point, everything we think is "normal" now was once a radical idea. That's the only way we discover things-is to accept that things are bigger than they are now, and try to make sense of them.

I thought it was very well put. It brought things into perspective and though I still have trouble thinking that I am split into millions of other universes, I can accept that alternate universes MAY exist.

Can I just tell you how happy I am that I moved here? Never in my life would I have imagined that I would attend a movie/lecture about quantum physics with a bunch of fun people and actually LIKE it. This city offers so many fun and interesting things for so many different types of people, it's just so wonderful. I don't know why anyone would want to live in another city!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Randomivity


Sometimes people are brought into your life to remind us that we need to define ourselves-that others don't and can't do that for us.

When you ask someone to be straight with you and they lie it's sort of hard to be sad that you're not friends anymore.

I'm covering for the mean girl at work this week and it's great. My 2 gals are out of town and it's been slow. Having the extra work makes the days fly by.

I'm dying to tell someone that I've decided to bring my chocolate fountain in for snack day. They want me to blow them away-they'll get it. I just have to figure out what else to make.

I just got my lease renewal in the mail today and my rent is going up $25/month-which seems crazy because if I leave, they'd charge the same as I'm paying now. I don't want to move but I'm looking at a couple of cheaper apartments up the street on Thursday. If I stay here, I have to give up my parking spot. Not sure how I'll adjust back to that but at least I can walk to work or take the T.

One catering job has now turned into 3 or 4. Same amount of people, just a little bit higher class food in a more intimate setting. I like that better anyway.

I found a really cool program that prices my recipes out for me in about 2 seconds but the software is over $100. So I'm just putting tons of stuff in while I have a free trial.

I continue to be amazed at the fact that I like salmon now. Yesterday's dinner was Mediterranean Salmon with brown rice and broccoli. Fantastic!

I also decided to get soy chocolate milk. I figured it's chocolate milk so I won't drink it all of the time (over doing soy might be bad) but I'll benefit from having some in my diet.

I can't get rid of my cough. And I feel bad because I cough at night and my new neighbor is super quiet-I know he can hear me because I could hear the other guys coughing. Wish I could stop it, but even medicine isn't working.

I have to make a dentist appointment. My left front tooth is 1/2 fake b/c of an unfortunate accident involving an icky boy and a 10 foot slide in elementary school and it's starting to feel like it's crumbling. It's been well over 20 years since it's been done, so I'd say it's been a good run.

I'm going to an interesting film/lecture tonight at a local museum. It's about what life would be like if you'd made other choices. Should be interesting...I'll blog about it tomorrow if I can.

I can tell you from experience that brandy does indeed help you stop coughing. It also burns the shit out of your throat and makes you sweat like a bastard. But I'm not coughing!

I'm very thankful for my true friends-both close to home and far away. All of you make my life brighter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Toosdae ?'s

1. What job would you never do, even if you were in extreme need of a job (like, to feed your kids).

2. Are there any sounds that you know exactly what they are when you hear them, even if you can't see the item? If so, what are they?

3. How are you today?

1. I would never become a hooker. Not only is it illegal and immoral, but it's gross. I can't imagine having to touch people who are not clean.

2. The sounds of a soda/beer can opening is pretty clear to me.

3. I'm doing well today. I'm looking forward to a busy month of fun things with people in this city. In addition, I know I know my family and true friends love me, and that's quite a nice feeling.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

This weeks Ruby Tuesday pick is my niece Rye Bread at Christmas a few years ago. She did this balancing act while my sister was opening her gifts. I think she thought if she impressed us, she wouldn't have to wait her turn!

For more Ruby Tuesday participants, visit The Teach.

Manic Monday: Moon

This weeks Manic Monday word is Moon. Be sure to visit Morgen over at the Manic Monday Blog to find out who else is playing along!

My first thought when I think of the word moon are my favorite cousins because that is their last name. They are the daughters of my favorite aunt and were just the cutest little girls. Of course, it helped that they adored me too, but even if they hadn't, I still would have loved them!

Because my family lives in CT, they were always far away from us so visits were fun. I'd sit on the floor for hours with them coloring and playing games or we'd go outside and play hopscotch or walk to the park. I wanted to squeeze as much time with them in as possible. They're older now, but still quite adorable-I stole these pictures from one of their facebook profiles...
Above: Moon #1-she looks just like my aunt here except with straight hair. I could just eat her up!
Above: Moon #1 and here sister #2-who Rye Bread looks a lot like-and my uncle, their father.
Above: The girls and Rye Bread. They love her as much as I love them-she Rye thinks the sun rises and sets by them. PS. I hated that stupid frog.
Above: Moons under the table. Probably at Thanksgiving. We always played under the tables then.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What's Cookin? Black Bean Burgers and Pumpkin Brittle

I was literally wondering what the heck I was going to make for dinner (because I forgot to take the fish out of the freezer) when I read Marilyn's blog about the Black Bean Burgers she made. The recipe she used was Matt-Man's and they looked GOOD. I always have canned beans in the house-I'm not really sure why, but I do, so I decided to make a batch of my own.




Marilyn's burgers look much better because she bakes her own bread and made the rolls! She also had good stuff like lettuce and tomatoes which I didn't have in the house. My burgers included:

1 Can Black Beans, coarsely mashed
1/2 Onion, chopped
Cumin to taste
Salt & Pepper

And that's it. I grilled 2 pieces of wheat bread in the pan and cut it into a circle. Then I formed a burger and browned it in a very hot pan with olive oil. Very simple, good for you (black beans are known to lower cholesterol and are high in fiber), cheap and most important of all-good! I have leftover bean mash so I will have it for dinner tomorrow too. Thanks Marilyn/Matt for the inspiration!

Next I made the infamous Pumpkin Brittle. I have to admit, I don't like it all that much. It's way too sweet for me-so if you like sweet things, you'll like it. It definitely has a "brittle" taste and the pumpkin seed flavor comes out. I'm not sure if I'd make it again, unless it's to use it as a cup for another dessert:


While it was still warm I just formed it over a small bowl and let it set. Then I broke off pieces around the corners and make a small bowl. I think some sort of pumpkin ice cream would be cool in here. I wonder if I could put my pumpkin creme brulee in there...hmm...that's a good idea!! This brittle was really easy to make:

1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
1/8 t. Salt
3/4 Cup Raw Pumpkin seeds

Boil the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Cover the mixture (this eliminates the need to "wipe down" the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush) and continue boiling until sugar reaches the soft ball stage-238 degrees. Remove from heat and add seeds. Cool 4-5 minutes.

Put back on stove and cook until sugar becomes a deep caramel color. Pour sugar onto parchment paper and allow to cool. Break into pieces and store in airtight container for up to two weeks.