Archive for May, 2009

three good days

May 31, 2009

On Friday after school, a bunch of my coworkers and I headed to Ryan’s, our art teacher’s, home to see the small organic farm that she recently moved to, have some drinks, and share good company after a long & tiring week. It is a magical place that is difficult to describe. There is stuff everywhere–absolutely everywhere–and I couldn’t stop looking all around me in amazement. Paintings, sculptures, books, art supplies, papers, old toys, and junk… There are chickens, bees, gardens, and mint leaves. It reminded me a little bit of my sister’s apartment, but it was so much more than that…

Yesterday, David and I went to Earthfest, an annual concert put on by 92.9 that celebrates music and the environment. It’s held at the Hatch Shell, an outdoor concert venue in the Charles River Esplanade. There were lots of booths set up with free samples (Whole Foods, Vitamin Water, Stoneyfield Farm, Burt’s Bees, Olivia’s Organics, Nantucket Nectar, etc.). We got to hear Shawn Mullins play “Lullaby,” which was a highlight for me. Afterward, we met up with Ross by the Common for coffee.

Shawn Mullins playing "Lullaby"

David & me standing in the Esplanade, in front of the Charles.

Today we met up with my mom at the Rail Trail, a bike/walking path that is on what used to be railroad tracks. It follows the Nashua River, and offers beautiful scenic views. We rode 20 miles; my mom (who is in her mid-50s) was way faster than either of us, and I always brought up the rear. Still, it felt good to be able to go that far since I haven’t been on a bike in so long. I’m going to train for the Seacost Century (or possibly the half century…) in the fall, which my mom and I plan to ride together. She’s also riding the International Century this summer, with Uncle John. My butt hurts so much, and my thighs hurt a little, but overall I feel great. In a way, the soreness feels nice. I’m really looking forward to training.

growth & transformation

May 30, 2009

Yesterday, a student who has been mean & disrespectful to me all year (and has been suspended for things he has said to me) told me at the beginning of class, “I really like your sweater.” It was sincere & kind. At the end of class he said, “I hope you have a nice weekend.”

It was the best moment of my week.

sarah turns 24

May 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, SDDBBITWWW!

I wish I could be there with you to celebrate. Miss you so much!

“our love / our love / our love is all we have” -Wilco

May 26, 2009

Today, I’m saddened by the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8.

being outdoors in the sun & planting herbs & friends

May 25, 2009

This has been a really nice long weekend, filled with lots of time outside in the sun and absolutely no work.

Yesterday we went to Harvard Square for lunch and spent a lot of time walking around there. When we got back, we found a place that sells bubble tea that’s only a five minute walk from our apartment. We sat in a park we hadn’t yet been to, drinking it. I started a Jodi Picoult book, Nineteen Minutes, that so far I think is terrible. I can’t stop reading it, though, fearing that it will get really great any minute now… I haven’t read anything else by her, but heard wonderful things about My Sister’s Keeper.

Today we walked almost three miles to a Mediterranean restaurant we found online that looks so delicious. We got there and found out it was closed for Memorial Day. We were disappointed, but the six mile or so round trip walk in the sun felt so good. We ended up at a market in downtown that we didn’t know existed–it’s pretty amazing that we’ve been here for nine months and are still discovering new restaurants and shops. It’s a small market that sells a lot of produce, but limited groceries (as David pointed out, catering to our demographic–all natural cleaning products, Stoneyfield Farm milk, etc.). They have a counter in the back where you can order sandwiches. We brought our veggie sandwich on flaxseed bread and falafel wrap back to our apartment, and ate out on the deck. We then headed to the grocery store and bought popsicles (made with real fruit), which we started to eat on the walk back. Popscicles always taste so good when you eat them outside.

I finally got around to planting herbs today. In just a couple of weeks, we’ll have organic cilantro, basil, and chives.

I wish I were more ambitious this year now that we have a huge outdoor deck, but we’re going to be away a lot this summer.

Growing up, we always had a huge vegetable garden in the backyard. I still remember the wonder I felt watching the seeds turn into green beans, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, and pumpkins. My parents have composted for as long as I can remember, and it amazed me to see our scraps turn into soil, which in turn produced food and flowers. My mother taught me patience; eager and excited, I always wanted to pick the food before it was ready.

I was reflecting on why I ended this week with a smile, even though overall it was stressful and exhausting. Certainly, the sunshine helped. There’s also the excitement of travel–David and I bought plane tickets this week and we’re heading to Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and LA this summer. But I think it’s mostly because I connected with a lot of my friends who I haven’t talked to in far too long. I caught up with Julie, Alexis, and Sarah on the phone this week. On Wednesday, Anne and I met up for dinner. I miss them so much and I hate to know how much I’m missing in their lives, how much we’re missing in each other’s lives, on a day to day basis. I’ve known Sarah and Julie since I was three. I’ve known Alexis and Anne for more than half of my life. It’s hard being so busy and feeling like we don’t have time for each other anymore. This week, we made time, and it felt so good. (Now, to call Amanda, Abby, and Danielle…)

fresh squeezed lemonade

May 25, 2009

In honor of this beautiful weather, here is the lemonade recipe David and I made in LA over April Break.

Ingredients

For sugar/water syrup:

  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water

To combine with syrup:

  • 1 cup of lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
  • 4 cups of cold water

Directions

1) Pick 4-6 lemons (well, if you’re staying with folks in southern California and have a lemon tree in the backyard… if you’re in New England, go and buy some).

2) Make the sugar water syrup by boiling the 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water together. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved.

3) Juice 4-6 lemons, straining the pulp, until you have 1 cup of lemon juice. (Note: in this picture there are more than twice the number of lemons you’d use for one pitcher.)

4) Combine the lemon juice and sugar water syrup in a pitcher. Add 4 cups of cold water, or more, depending on taste. If it’s too sweet, add more water and/or lemon juice. I like to add ice to the pitcher so it’s really cold.

happy birthday!

May 19, 2009

rest well, baby birds

May 17, 2009

Yesterday morning I walked out onto our patio, which is one story above the street. It’s huge, with grey wooden boards stretching out far from the apartment. On either side are brick buildings that rise one story above the patio. I’d gone out to see what the weather was like; it was sunny and warm and I stretched my arms above my head, so happy to feel the sun on me.

I looked to my right and saw something that looked rubbery. My first thought was that it was a child’s toy, one of those gooey things that you get for a quarter in a machine at the grocery store–when you throw it against a window it sticks. But there was a yellow, sharp spot that didn’t match the rest of it.

I walked closer and realized, with a sudden panic, that it was a baby bird, about three inches long. I ran and got David. We stood looking over it; it was definitely dead. We then found another baby bird three or four feet away. They were so soft looking, but without a single feather–just pale peach, almost translucent skin. And sharp, tiny, bright yellow beaks. The second one’s neck was obviously broken.

We then found a broken egg on almost the opposite side of the deck. It was too tiny to have held either of the birds, and yellow was spilling out from it.

We left the birds, not quite knowing what to do. We left for the day and when we got back one of them was gone. We went to sleep. This morning before breakfast, looking out the window at the pouring rain, we saw that the second one was gone too.

I can’t get the image of them on our deck, fragile and broken with the sun beaming down, out of my mind.

I know it’s been a while, but… CA continued!

May 11, 2009

I haven’t been updating as much as I want to. We got back from vacation and it was absolutely insane at school for the past two weeks (more on that to come). I really wanted to finish my blog entries from CA, though, so before I write about what I’ve been doing these past couple of weeks, here’s what we did after our first day:

Day 2 (Monday)

We spent a lot of time in the morning outside. Here is a lizard in the backyard. They were everywhere!

Here I am standing in front of the lemon tree. Today we made fresh lemonade (the recipe will be on here soon!)

Here I am standing in front of the lemon tree. We picked lemons and made fresh lemonade (the recipe will be on here soon!)

For lunch, we went out with Bruce & Randy, and the rest of their office. We ate at an Italian place called Giorgio’s that you can walk to from their office. I got the Vegetarian Trio — three different types of pasta (so good!). Afterwards, David and I went back to the house to change into our bathing suits so we could take advantage of the 95 degree day (a dry, nice 95 degrees…not like a 95 degree day in humid New England.)

We went to Redondo Beach. There were tons of dolphins playing in the water, pretty close to shore. It was hard to capture them jumping, but you can see a fin in this photo…

Here we are on the beach after getting out of the water. The waves were huge, but David says, “They were not big.”

After drying off, we walked to the Redondo Beach pier. There are tons of fishermen, ice cream shops, and pelicans.

Here’s a view of the pier.

Day 3 (Tuesday)

We spent more time outside in the morning. Here I am on the deck, looking out at the ocean.

We headed to Venice Beach because it was another 90-something degree day. We walked along the Ocean Front walk, which is filled with artists, hippies, t-shirt shops, and lots of locals trying to sell stuff (incense, art, bongs, CDs, etc.).

What amazes me so much about the beaches there is that you can have a whole strip of beach to yourself, even when you’re in a popular area–there is so much beach. While it wasn’t isolated, we walked for a long time without seeing too many people (they all congregate near the piers).

Here’s David in the water, with a large pelican behind him.

We walked from Venice Beach to the Santa Monica pier, which is about a three-mile walk. We walked along the Third Street Promenade where we got falafel for lunch. We got yogurt-like ice cream with fresh fruitĀ  (Pinkberry esque) at Citrus Valley before heading back to Venice Beach, where the car was parked.

We went and visited David’s grandmother, and then headed home.

Day 4 (Wednesday)

We left early in the morning and drove to San Diego. We walked around Old Town, downtown and the Gaslamp quarter. We ate lunch at an excellent Mexican restaurant, and for dinner we headed to an all-vegetarian restaurant that we found on Happy Cow. Sipz is one of the best vegetarian restaurants we’ve been to. If it weren’t for Happy Cow, we never would have found it; it was in the middle of a strip mall outside of downtown. It was a large restaurant, but was crowded and the customers kept flowing in the whole time we were eating.

Day 5 (Thursday)

On Thursday we went to the San Diego zoo!

I could have watched the gorillas (& especially this baby) for hours…

That night, we met David’s parents and some friends of theirs for dinner in Manhattan Beach. We got there early and watched the surfers. Dinner was delicious!

Day 6 (Friday)

Friday is a blur… We think that we didn’t do much of anything because we can’t really remember it. David went to the bank…. That night, David’s grandparents came over for Shabbat dinner. We had cookies for dessert that I’m still thinking about.

Day 7 (Saturday)

We drove to Burbank to have breakfast with Abby, my friend from high school who works for the Disney Channel. It was so good to catch up!

We then headed to the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA. It was nice to see so many people excited about books, though it was disappointing that a lot of the tents were devoted to religious texts and self-help books.

We had ordered tickets to hear Kate DiCamillo, the children’s author who wrote Because of Winn Dixie and Tiger Rising speak. It was set up like an interview of sorts, with an LA Times reporter asking her questions…it felt kind of like a conversation. Then she took a lot of questions from the audience. It was awesome, and I was really impressed with her ability to be both entertaining and informative.

We stopped at Sammy’s Woodfire Pizza for a late lunch, and headed back home. We left that evening on a redeye flight.

I wish Bruce & Randy lived closer (or that we lived closer to them). It was so nice seeing them, eating lots of food, and just talking… Hopefully we’ll be back this summer.