Thursday, May 29, 2008

Duran Duran

The concert was one of the best shows I've ever been to. We had so much fun!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The Bush family compound in Kennebunkport--booooo!:

Friday, May 23, 2008

We're not alone!

"This exchange is characteristic of my overall attitude when it comes to home improvement. I am both self-righteous and incompetent, a truly American combination. The result is a kind of flustered inaction familiar to those who have lived in tenements."

Carmen, I see why you like him so much.

One day in Maine

We're heading up to Maine for the long weekend! I am so excited to get out of the house and enjoy the good weather. First we're going to Ogunquit (I've never been there before) and then to Portland (not so new, but close to other, newer places). The weather is supposed to be spectacular and I'm looking forward to having a break from the SMTT and other house-related stress (the toilet that just broke and needs replacing, the bathroom tile that is popping off the wall, etc). When it rains, it pours. At least it is no longer raining into our basement!

The garden is green and growing. It looks like we're getting that window enlarged sometime this summer, so there's an ugly patch that will just have to stay ugly for a little while longer. I can live with that. Our next door neighbor is itching for us to re-do our walkway and we'd love to make it look less crappy, but 1. it would cost a lot and 2. it would mean cooperating with SMTT and that is not going to happen right now. The same neighbor told us that SMTT is telling everyone in the house that the plumber she sent over said he wouldn't go back into our basement without a gas mask. Which is patently false--he told us he smelled nothing and that he thought she was a nutcase. It's possible he said two different things, but we've had like 5 people go downstairs in the last few days to do a smell test and just make sure we're not sticking our heads in the sand if there really is a smell issue. So far the consensus is that SMTT is crazy, like crazy taxi crazy. The theory held by the rest of our condo is that she's realizing she overpaid for her unit and is taking it out on everyone else (she calls our next door neighbor to do her handy work ALL THE TIME, poor guy. She treats him like a serf). This is the woman who didn't lift a shovel all winter but gave us crap for putting a coat rack in the foyer so we could hang up our wet coats after we shoveled. Her reason? The rack "intruded on her line of sight." Whatever, you Dwell-obsessed bitch.

Ah, nothing more interesting than other people's condo issues, right? Right. Sorry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In which it would be nice if McDreamy was real and less annoying

During 2000, when I was finishing up grad school in Washington, DC, I covered a Senate subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill. It had something to do with technology. Tom Daschle was speaking. I wasn't really paying that much attention because 1. I couldn't stop fondling my Hill credentials and being amazed that I was actually there, doing something that felt REAL; and 2. I was starstruck because, in the back of the room, joshing around with his favorite reporters, was Ted Kennedy and no Senate hearing could compete with him. Red-faced (you could literally SEE the years of drinking), rotund, with that iconic smile dancing around his face, it felt like being 15 feet away from history. Which I guess in a way it was. He was effortlessly at ease in what was shortly a target-rich viper pit (the election was like a week away), and I could see immediately why he was on a pedestal, why the Kennedy legend was still alive. I was too young for all the dramatic Kennedy stuff, but it still broke my heart to hear that Ted Kennedy has brain cancer. Being a Massachusetts native, I always felt kind of safe knowing that Ted was in Washington looking out for us (unless you're Mary Jo Kopechne, but again, too young). I hope he is able to stick around for a while longer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The short version--updated

The main impetus for our urge to look elsewhere is that our our upstairs neighbor, who used to be annoying and kind of farcical, has now gone completely off her high-and-mighty Harvard professor rocker and is edging toward unbearable. As in, should be living in a single family house, NOT a condo where you share space with other people. My impression was always that academics could be reasoned with, but I've since learned (and been told by my favorite academic), that this is not true. She's perfectly content to pull shit that is patently false, such as insist that her leaky gas line be paid for by the entire house because "it's a safety issue" (hello, do you not understand the way condo assessments work?) and make intrusive, offensive claims, such as that her unit is being polluted by tainted air from the cat boxes in our basement and it is "affecting the quality of her life." Never mind that she is happy to stomp on our heads at 6am, midnight, whenever she decides to forget that her living room is directly over our bedroom, despite the fact that we have asked her repeatedly, politely, and reasonably to be more considerate. Or that the place she says her unit smells like cat is in her bathroom, where the previous owners stored their cat's litter box. Or that our basement is three floors below her. Or that I am OCD about cleaning our cats' litter boxes because my greatest nightmare is for someone to walk into our house, wrinkle their nose, and say "Oh, you must have cats." Or that we have complied in a neighborly way with her requests to insulate pipes and block any openings that might somehow lead to her unit. Now she is threatening to fine us $5 a day for having 3 cats. True, our condo docs allow us to have one cat, but until now no one ever gave a damn. Our condo board president has a dog that is larger than what the condo docs allow, too. So really our neighbor, who I call SMTT (which stands for a nickname that is rude enough for me to keep it to myself), is just being malicious and vindictive.

SMTT is also the woman who bought a unit in a house built in 1886 and FREAKED OUT when she discovered that the house was, gasp, imperfect. That there were spots of dry rot on the exterior walls and mold in the grout of her brick walls. Lady, if you can't handle an old house, BUY NEW CONSTRUCTION. In a single family home. Where you can be a flaky control freak and mistress of your domain. Otherwise, please check your shit at the door.


This weekend was a bit of an adventure, in some ways good and in others that were challenging. I moved the wisteria so it is now along the ugly-ass chain link fence that runs along one side of our property line (but belongs to our neighbors). Now the wisteria can climb and be free and hopefully provide some more privacy along that part of the patio. I also moved both rose of sharon bushes and got rid of the rocks that were lyng along one side of that weird patch of yard. In the process, I also found a lot of slugs (ew) and two big nests of the nasty red ants that I've been battling for a year now.

A more creative person would think of ways to use those rocks in that weird back space, maybe to create a little rock garden, but my brain doesn't work this way. So the rocks are still in a pile until I figure out what to do with them.

On Sunday, we hit a bunch of open houses in a suburb north of the city. We are still a year or so away from being in a position to sell our place and move, but some new factors have come into play that may or may not speed up our process (I'll get to that in a minute, and no, I'm not pregnant). Neither of us was terribly familiar with the suburb, but it has a good reputation, good schools, a stop on the commuter rail, and nice houses for prices that won't cause collective apoplexy. It was my first foray into house hunting, as Lunchboy bought our place right before we started dating, so I've never had the chance to shop for homes. After watching what is probably way too much Flip That House, it was interesting to see what's on the market and how people are presenting their properties for sale. Of the four places we saw, there was only one that I really liked, a bungalow with lots of light and a distinctly non-Colonial layout.

But are we really ready for the 'burbs? This is the question. And the answer is that we are not sure. Pros: space and quiet and privacy. Cons: far away from friends and community, will mean relying a lot more on the car. We're spoiled because right now we have everything we need two blocks down the hill. I know that kids will change the equation in a major way, and I wish we had St. Paul, MN-like neighborhoods in Boston, close to the city but still very lowkey and affordable. So we have a lot to think about (thankfully we also have lots of time to think!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hangin' tough

In the end, I did not get New Kids On The Block tickets. Not because I didn't try but because we couldn't get through the Ticketmaster site and were already being scalped for upwards of $200.

Am I alone in asking WTF?? $200 for New Kids tickets? I was unaware that the loss of 5 grown men's dignity was that pricy.

To console ourselves, my best friend and I have watched this video a few times. It's somehow deeply satisfying to see the looks on the guys' faces change from "What on earth have I gotten myself into? Why am I doing this AGAIN???" to "Yeah, I've still got those moves! Bring on the ladies and their hot cougar moms!"

Instead, Lunchboy and I got tickets to see Duran Duran in two weeks. I'll have to content my teenybopper self with dancing along to "Girls on Film."

Does "makes a mean mixed drink" count for anything?

Update: the full charts for husbands and wives can be found here (thanks to Lunchboy :)

I found this on The Morning News and it made me think of my grandfather, who I know I've mentioned in the past because he often (as in, every time I saw him) used to tell me that I would never find a husband if I couldn't cook or sew. "Grandpa," I replied, "If I'm dating someone who can't cook for himself than I don't want to marry him." Then learned to sew, went out and found myself an amazing cook and married him a lightspeed before he could realize that I was deadly serious when I told him I hated to cook.

Apparently, however, if we were back in 1939 I'd be begging for scraps in a boneyard or something.

As per the Marital Rating Scale: Wife's Chart, I freely own up to #9 in the demerit column: "Puts cold feet on husband at night to warm them." But hopefully that's balanced out
by #6 in the Merits column: "Neat housekeeper: tidy and clean." As for "good sense of humor: jolly and gay," I'll leave that one alone. Because, you know, I ALWAYS dress for breakfast, slather myself in red nail polish, and treasure my closet full of beloved soiled, ragged dresses to wear around the house.


I would like to know where the accompanying Husband's Chart can be found, please.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

In contrast

If you looked at the garden photos and thought, "Um, that's not so great," well, you'd be right. But here's what it looked like three years ago:

So while I am far from having a talented green thumb, I think I've made some progress.

If only it was like Viva Pinata

Some newly green images of my budding urban garden. I have to emphasize once again that I do not know what I'm doing, so it's a mess. But so far I haven't killed anything major and I'm having fun with it.

Beginner garden, with newly planted salvia, ice plants, hens and chicks, bleeding heart, and wild columbine:

The weird back area, with rose of sharon budding, the lilac blooming (why this one and not the one in the front? Who knows.) And the wisteria, still tied up:

The ginormous rhododendron tree, providing shade:

Sideways lilies and hosta on their way up:

The area I do not know what to do with:

Up front, peonies, hydrangea, and lilac, oh my!

Just like that river twisting through a dusty land

We booked our flights out to San Francisco! Road trip is ON! Woohoo!!!!

At Bligh's suggestion, I am now on the prowl for good road trip music so we can load up the iPod. Do you have any suggestions?

I am home today trying to kick the last of whatever this bug is. It is gorgeous outside and I am thinking about relocating my sorry ass to the porch for a little sun. I'm going to feel really bad if I infect the book club tonight, though I think only 4 people are coming, which is kind of a blessing. More Trader Joe's cookies for us later :)

Netflix is taking a leeetle too long with the next disc of The Wire. We are 70% of the way through Season 3 -- as always, we're behind the ball on what everyone else knew was awesome years ago -- and our addiction is full-blown and ridiculous. Just so you're aware in case we have a son one day and he somehow gets named Omar.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Despite the cold, rainy weather and the cold/flu I picked up from Lunchboy's BF (who is now-- very gladly -- back in his own home), the weekend was both comforting and, somehow, productive. The weather was a bummer mainly because the Somerville Open Studios were this weekend and it's a lot less fun to wander around looking at art when it's crappy outside. Because of the rain and my cold, we only ventured out to our neighbor's studio across the street. This time we were prepared for the scrotal art, but we paid more attention to her garden and peony drawings and we went home with two semi-labial partial proofs of ocean peonies that I am quite fond of but unsure where to hang.

Powered by almost 12 hours of Nyquil-induced sleep, I went to the Despot today and bought bleeding heart, salvia, three small ice plants, some lamb's ears, hens and chicks, and one other thing I can't remember the name of. It's supposed to be nice this week, so I hope to put them all in the ground soon. So far everything else seems to be growing happily. The hosta are just poking through now.

I'm almost finished with The Book Thief, which I'm reading for a book club that I joined a month ago. It's a very good book, the kind whose words stick in your head for no good reason, so that I'll be walking through the supermarket and "saukerl" will suddenly spool through my brain. Not a nice word, I think, but it stays with you. I'm still not sure how I managed to do this, but despite only having attended one meeting of this book group, I am now hosting the next meeting this Wednesday. Hence my rush to finish the book, and also my frantic trip to Trader Joe's to get munchies for the meeting. Entertaining is not my forte (surprise, since it usually involves cooking or dealing with food), so this is me stretching my horizons.

We got takeout Chinese for dinner last night and my fortune cookie read, "Practice makes perfect."

I think the Nyquil also enabled a McNulty dream. Eeeep.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Road trip

So there is a good chance that our big summer vacation will be a cross-country trip from San Francisco to Boston!

For real. We are extremely excited.

In June, our great friends J&K (otherwise knows as the Ims) are semi-reluctantly relocating to Brookline after 10 years in Noe Valley. Rather than putting their car on a truck, they are considering letting us drive it out here for them.

We had so much fun on our trip up the California coast, and this would let us see so many other places that we might not otherwise get to for a really long time, so my fingers are crossed that it happens. It would be my first major road trip traveling light (my life won't be stuffed into the back seat) and sans Scully fretting loudly in her carrier, so we'd really be free to do as we pleased.

(Scully would actually be missed--my little white girl has become a road trip pro and it wouldn't quite be the same without her company. But I think we'll manage :) Cat screaming while driving through the Donner Pass? Not so much.)

We aren't quite sure which route we'd do, but I think that's half the fun of a trip like this--the opportunity to have a mostly spontaneous adventure. Yosemite? The Badlands? A side trip to see friends in St. Paul? Who knows... Updates to come!