Sunday, January 27, 2008

Judge a book by its...

This is a good wine...

I enjoy Benton-Lane pinot noir. I especially like the label. Not to judge a wine by its label, but it is attractive, you must admit...


Friday, January 25, 2008

Tiny tea party...

Happy Birthday, tiny K! K's lovely cake...

In early January, P&I were invited to celebrate tiny K's first birthday with a high tea party at T&R's house. What fun! Tea parties are among my favorite girly activities, and was an especially fitting way to celebrate this tiny lady's birthday.

T&R had created quite a spread with scones, tea sandwiches, petits fours, and (most importantly) mimosas! As you may remember from earlier posts, I am always delighted to drink champagne early in the day. How celebratory...

Delicious! And, impressive....

T and I have made it our job to explore high teas around Boston. We started with a ladies outing to the Ritz Carlton, before it became the Taj. Heartbreaking! I have not been since this change, but understand they still have Tea. What could be more lovely than tea at the Ritz?

Well, tea at Upstairs on the Square turned out to be quite lovely, too. I took my best ladies there in May to say thank you for being wonderful...

S&I enjoy springtime Tea.

T and tea...

I love pretty dresses, pink rooms, and tiny sandwiches. I think K will appreciate all of these things someday soon. She's already on her way....

K enjoys cake & tea... Adorable!

Looking forward to our next tea, ladies! Where to?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Perfectly perfect...


Is it bad that it is only afternoon and I'm already planning my evening cocktail? No, really, I have been very good and healthy lately, but I have had a long day and have to work late, so looking forward to a lovely cocktail definitely helps!

Tonight I will have one of my very favorite new cocktails that I discovered in my very sadly discontinued fave magazine Blueprint (Why, Martha, why?): The Perfect Storm.

Here's how to soothe yourself after a hard day:

Serves 1


1 vanilla bean

1/2 cup superfine sugar

1 ounce ginger brew (Reed's is the best!)

1 1/2 ounces apple cider

2 ounces dark rum (Gosling's Black Seal is the best!)


Split a vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the inside and add it to the sugar, setting aside the pod. Stir until the sugar is speckled with bits of vanilla. Dip the rim of a glass in water, then in the sugar to coat. Mix ginger brew, apple cider, and rum in a measuring cup (Whatever! Mix it in the glass! Mix it in a pitcher! Mix it in your mouth if you must!). Pour over ice into glass and garnish with half the vanilla bean.

NOTE: These things are DEADLY. I highly suggest setting a pre-determined drink limit in advance of imbibing.

PS - Just received some extra lovely photos that will soon become a post re: K's 1-yr high tea birthday party!

I did it.

Not my rear end.

I did it. I finally got myself to the gym after, er, too long not getting myself to the gym. Now, just have to get myself there a 2nd time.... Motivate!
PS - I do not claim that the above is my rear end.
PPS - a running tally of gym visits: iiiiiiii

Sunday, January 20, 2008

How to survive the winter

Best hot chocolate ever: LA Burdick

My best advice to myself on how to survive the New England winter has been to think ahead.

I'm trying to enjoy wintery things like how winter sunshine is sharper than summer sunshine, hot chocolate, cashmere sweaters, ice skating, making Valentines. My problem arises when I think about March. I am afraid of the longest month ever where you start to think that maybe spring is just about to surprise you, but then you have a blizzard every year on March 21st...

View from my window on the latest snow day...

Thus, the thinking ahead to spring/summer tactic. For example, the other day, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how nice it will be when the farmers markets reopen.

Farmers market just up the road...

Dreaming of farmers markets wasn't cutting it, so P & I just booked a fantastic, and almost free (yay, points!) Trip to St. John USVI in April. Cannot wait. More to come on this, but for now, soak up the sun in this tiny pic....

Cannot wait to go here!

Please share any ideas on how to survive winter! I'd love to hear them...

Morning moment...

Accidentally waking up very early on the weekend is lovely.

I'm not tired, P is not up.
I've just been sitting on the couch contemplating tulips.

That is all.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I love this book.

I love this book...

I just finished reading this book at 10:43am. I love this book. Maybe I can get some sleep now that I have finished. Thanks, OA, for a fantastic Christmas present.


PS - I would also recommend The Meaning of Night, which is what I read prior to this book. Get through the first 135 pages and it is fantastic. I definitely seem to be in some sort of moody mood where I need lots of atmosphere in my books...

Happy day...

Birthday evening in the park...

This year I had a truly lovely birthday. Thanks so much for all of the phone calls and emails -- I have a SNOW DAY today, so I will be sure to catch up with all of you! P planned a busy weekend for me, so I'm behind in my calling and correspondence, but please know how happy I was to hear from you. I especially enjoyed the unidentified birthday chorus (was that a horn honking in the background? Or, was it a chicken?). I think I figured out who was behind that masterpiece of a voicemail.

In a nutshell -- delicious dinner at Craigie St. Bistro (where we have not been since the night we got engaged), a lovely walk home through the Common still lit with Christmas lights, B-Side with friends, HOCKEY!!!! Clarkson was victorious over Harvard and their poorly chosen mascot (the "Crimson?" What is a Crimson? That's a color not a mascot, although Harvard says it is a "pilgrim-like figure of John Harvard." Lame.). Good game!

Line change!

Action shot!

Now, to top it all off, P and I have a glorious snow day! Who knew I'd get so many snow days as an adult. Still in my fleece pants and loving it....

All in all, not a bad 29. THANK YOU!


Friday, January 11, 2008

Rainy day...

Something bright on a rainy day....
Thank you, P!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Part III: A Lovely little lady...

Part I
Part II
Part II.ii

Tiny Lady E

When A&T were expecting baby E, they didn't know whether E would be a he or a she. When E finally made her appearance, the doctor said: "It's a lady!" In reply, A said: "What?!" A girl, T explained.

I must say, baby E certainly is a little lady. Beyond adorable, and bearing quite a resemblance to her lovely mother.

A,T, & E celebrate Christmas...

P&I (I especially) were thrilled to meet her and get to spend time with her parents. I hadn't seen A since her shower back in October. E dozed snugly in her swing most of the time leaving the adults to feast on Thai food. We definitely over-ordered, but especially enjoyed T's extra-thick "soup" and the "golden bags." I think they were called golden bags, or maybe something else equally as appetizing?

We had such a nice time that we decided to stay the night in E's bedroom. Sorry to kick you out of your room, baby!

E and Me!

The next morning, we were on the road back to B&B's, winding up our trip with some quiet(er) time with P's parents and a few friends. Then back in the car for the last leg back home. Our grand tour came to a close. Phew! Or, sigh....

I loved seeing you A&T and was thrilled to meet little E! Miss you tons already. Can't wait until you are all closer next year.

PS: don't want to forget the "first" child, Moose...

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Lovely year...

A belated happy new year!
There were many reasons for P&I to celebrate in 2007, and we're looking forward to 2008.

My one resolution:
Have more lovely thoughts...


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Redux 2.2: Lovely lunch, or... Holy Sheep!

Part I

Part II

NaRae, RiRa, and Nora (not necessarily in that order)...

Leaving the Chevy Cobalt open to potential chicken attack, we made our way toward Heartrock Farm. Nephew H, and M came out to meet us, closely followed by nieces H&G, and ALV! We were immediately led past the barn, past the chickens, up a hill to meet the newest members of the family: a trio of Icelandic Sheep imported by way of VT just a few months ago. They stood in eerie stillness watching our approach...

We came bearing gifts (apples and grain) that managed to coax them over to us, food overwhelming caution. I learned that these sheep have no top teeth! Because of this, they can't really bite you when you feed them, they just sort of mouth your hand. They also have horizontal pupils (better for sighting predators on the horizon), and super thick, shaggy coats. They are the envy of all the knitters in the surrounding area.

After meeting the sheep, we paid a quick visit to the chickens. There are now 19 of them. I gave Little Ren Hen a little pat on the head. Such soft, smooth feathers! Leaving the animals behind (except for Eli, who seems quite spry for his age), the seven of us hurried into the warm house.

My black wool dress coat was not suitable for sheep/chicken/dog petting, so I left it in the car. The wood stove in the cozy dining room immediately warmed my chilly bones. This is a room I love; a room that feels like the heart of the home. I don't have any pictures of it, so I will do my best to describe.

To the left, a doorway to the living room, framing the Christmas tree, holiday cards decorate the wall to the right of the stairway leading to the second floor. To the right, a low wood-stove works diligently to keep the house toasty. A back window looks out on a side yard, framed by shelves holding various projects and books. The room is dominated by a large, sturdy table, the kitchen can be glimpsed throught the back, right corner doorway.

H went to work on an apple strudel of some kind, using phyllo dough, cinnamon, sugar, yum.... G&H hunkered down to read in the living room, popping in from time to time to say hello and generally check in on all of us.

Still in holiday food recovery mode, I couldn't have been more thrilled with the lunch we had! Soup with escarole and meatballs, grapenut bread (ALV - Thanks for the recipe!), and salad; to finish -- H's delicious baked apple dessert and eggnog in our coffee. Our plates were blue with white speckles.

After lunch, we sat and talked until it was time to start on our way to see A, E, and T. P & I began the process of bundling up (except for me with no coat), tugging on boots and shoes, moving Eli off of H's helicopter upon which he had decided to rest, and heading out of that warm house to get back on the highways of WNY....

Thanks to the LVs for a lovely lunch! Wish we could have spent more time with you. Next time!

Next: WNY concludes, and the return home...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sick day

I am sick.

Ok, I am sick and I'm not happy about it. I am the worst sick person ever, so I thought I'd try to think of some lovely thoughts about being home sick. Can I do it?
  1. I am still in my bed. I love my bed.
  2. I got nice notes from my co-workers telling me to feel better.
  3. I will drink lots of ginger tea, which I love.
  4. I can watch Martha Stewart's show if I want to.
  5. I can write extra lovely thoughts today.
  6. It is freezing cold today and I do not have to go outside.
Pretty good, eh?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Holiday Redux, Part Deux: WNY, or how we put 1300 miles on the car

Part I

Part II: WNY, or how we put 1300 miles on the car
Part II: Sheep, and chickens, and doggies, oh my...
Part II of the grand holiday tour started the day after Christmas. P and I jumped in our rented white Chevy Cobalt (yeee-haw!), which had 12 miles on it when we picked it up, and headed southwest to the land of VanDer...

For those of you unfamiliar with VanDerChristmas, let me enlighten you. I am by no means an expert, as this is only my 2nd VDC, but I will do my best to describe the festivities. I have 5 people in my family. P has 5million. Ok, ok, that is totally not true, and fortunately each one of the VanDers is fantastic (or, VanDertastic, you really can't over use the prefix). Upon arrival, we were greeted by approximately 11 family members and 2 friendly, furry dogs. I don't like math, so if my numbers are off, forgive me, but I think there were 15 people at B&B's house by the end of the night.

VanDers, VanDers, everywhere...

It was beautiful Christmas mayhem filled with kiddies (which we had none of for NoCo xmas), cookies, lots of laughing, presents, noise, homemade beer (courtesy of J), and "dead monkey." It's ok, it wasn't really dead, but that's another story. Actually, it wasn't really a monkey, either. Huh.

New nieces and nephew engage in serious conversation...

Anyway, I'm off track already. The next day, people started going their separate ways, and P and I began making the rounds by family. This was very enjoyable for me -- I'm not a competitive conversationalist, and do much better in small groups. First, off to Tburg to see H, J, and L. We had our first non-holiday oriented meal, and it was fantastic. I've never enjoyed eating bean burritos so much in my life. I could feel my arteries clearing. The Broken Tree Ale and H's special slaw didn't hurt either. L entertained us with her "beautiful hair," fairy dress, and various Simon-says routines. H showed us L's ukulele, which L apparently mistook for a magically shrunken version of a guitar and was therefore afraid of it. Their house was so cozy, warmed by their brand spankin' new stove. After our relaxing dinner, we headed back to B&B's for the night.

Day three. Place: the Chevy Cobalt. Rather, the Chevy Cobalt with the huge spoiler. The time: morning-ish. Our destination was the LVs, to be followed by a visit to the family M close to Buffalo.

We arrived at the LV homestead around noon and made our way toward the house. I had asked P if he had locked the car and he made fun of me because clearly there were more chickens around than people. Whatever. You should always lock your car. Crazy chickens....

To be continued.....
Dun dun DAH!
ps - photos to be added as soon as I acquire them.
pps - thanks to H for my beautifully wrapped, wonderful Secret Santa gift. We used the truffle oil on NYE -- DELICIOUS!!
ppps - other gifts various people received included Mad Housewife Merlot, a Maul (sp? Which, is like a giant ax/sledgehammer, I learned), socks made of corn, and a singing snowman that grew and melted...