Around here…

As I was transferring photos from my camera to my computer, I discovered that I didn’t take a single picture in September. That’s probably an indication that I spent too much time at work in September. Or too much time running. Or possibly both.

A few photos from October…

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Hiking in the Berkshires

Head of the Charles

On the eve of The Head of the Charles

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Portland Head Light

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Lunch at Eventide in Portland…It was like being back in LA…

Oysters at Eventide Portland

…with the addition of lots of Maine oysters

Boston at night Full moon over Boston.

The last days of summer

Talk to me in October, right around progress note/report card/back to back Parent Nights/is it Thanksgiving yet? time, and I’ll give you 101 reasons why teachers, school therapists, and all school personnel are the most under-appreciated, underpaid, and overworked employees you’ll ever find anywhere.ย  But right now, after a full three weeks off, I don’t have much to complain about.
Here are a few photos from the last days of summer.

P1010681Afternoons at the Esplanade

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Getting cultured at the MFAP1010675

P1010707Discovering a great restaurant in Inman: Puritan & Co

P1010811Evenings in the park

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Where we met the local raccoon (look closely)P1010807And ate yummy summer food

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Bike ride from Cambridge to deCordova

We’re trying to make the most of our last few days of summer, so yesterday we hit the road for a cycling adventure out to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. deCordova is only 15 miles from Cambridge, which makes it a nice day trip. As an added bonus, cyclists get into the park for free!

As someone who currently rides my bike about three times per year, I found the route to be enjoyable and not too challenging. We started by riding across Cambridge to the Alewife T Station, where we were able to hop onto the Minuteman Bikeway. We then took the path out to Lexington, where we stopped for breakfast. After fueling up, we rode out of town towards Lincoln and out to deCordova. There were some decent sized hills between Lexington and deCordorva, but nothing that caused me to get into my lowest granny gear ๐Ÿ™‚

deCordova turned out to be an interesting place. The park was full of modern art sculptures, and the museum currently has an exhibit by Tony Feher of everyday objects turned into quirky pieces of art. I might be missing the point, but at least that’s how I would describe the exhibit.

Here are a few of the highlights from Sculpture Park:

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No, that’s not spilled paint. It’s art.

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P1010759This was my absolute favorite. The pictures don’t do it justice at all. Something about it reminded me of a hologram. It’s worth a trip to the park just to see this sculpture.

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P1010762No, the groundskeeper didn’t crash. This is more art.

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And a couple of shots from inside the museum:

P1010802This was created by using painter’s tape on a window. Very pretty.

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P1010795Samples of the art made out of everyday objects.

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SoWa + the quest for the best hot dog ever

My husband has been wanting to eat a Super Dog (aka – America’s #1 Hotdog) for quite some time, and I’ve been wanting to check out the SoWa Open Market (also for quite some time), so a few weeks ago, when we were looking for something to do that required “low brain power” per my husband’s request, we knocked two things off our Boston to-do list in one afternoon.

The SoWa Open Market has three sections: a farmers’ market, an arts market, and food trucks.

The farmers’ market looked a bit weak, so we didn’t even check it out. The arts market was okay, but not as big as I expected.

While perusing the art market, I did learn how to tie a bow tie from the nice gentlemen at this stand…

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…and I loved every piece of art at this stand by Elizabeth Benotti.

Elizabeth Benotti SoWa

I ended up leaving without making a purchase, but she had so much more available at the market than at her etsy store, so I might need to take another trip to SoWa if I decide I’m ready to commit to a piece. At least these great hanging planters are available online in case I don’t make it back.

After my indecision about the planters, we moved on to the food trucks.

The food truck section felt a little bit like being back in Southern California. Food trucks + hipsters everywhere = the closest Boston can get to feeling like LA.

I don’t think any food truck can top Kogi, but the food trucks at SoWa were unique in their own way and had a nice New England feel.

SoWa food truck

SoWa food truck

SoWa food truck

I can’t say that I ever saw a lobster or oyster food truck in LA.

And of course there was the Boston Super Dog truck.

SoWa Super Dog Food Truck

We ordered fried green tomatoes and a Jr Dog (which was the size of a regular hotdog; the regular size was huge). I then proceeded to not take a photo of the hotdog, so you’ll have to take my word for it that we got one. The fried green tomatoes were okay, but nowhere near Sweet Cheeks.

The verdict on the hotdog? “Pretty good, but I don’t know about the best.” According to my husband, who is apparently a connoisseur of hotdogs, as he said it would have been better if he’d gotten the regular size, because the bread to dog ratio was off in the Jr Dog. Who knew such a ratio existed? To me, it was just a hot dog.

Worth a visit: The MIT Museum

What to do when your day off work is rainy? Head to a museum!MIT Museum But first I swung by the Central Square library to pick up a museum pass for the MIT Museum. Somehow the library has funding to allow patrons to check out museum passes, which is a pretty awesome library perk.
MIT Museum The first exhibit was on artificial intelligence, which is just not that interesting to me, so I started out feeling especially happy that I didn’t pay $10 to get in.

Then I got to the Gestural Engineering exhibit by Arthur Ganson.
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It’s hard to explain what gestural engineering is, so think art + engineering = quirky moving objects that are mesmerizing to watch.

This picture looks pretty dull, but the beads were coming out of the faucet at a speed that was almost hypnotizing. Video wasn’t allowed so you’ll have to take my word for it, or go visit the museum and see for yourself.

MIT Museum - Arthur Ganson

Since taking video was not allowed, here’s my attempt to show how interesting the pieces were. Look at the next three pictures quickly and you’ll get an idea of how the objects moved.

MIT Museum - Arthur Ganson

MIT Museum - Arthur Ganson

MIT Museum - Arthur Ganson

Next up were the special exhibits. Both of the special exhibits that are currently running were outstanding.

The Kurtz Gallery for Photography has an exhibit called Compass Points by Joel Tettamanti. His photos focus on the impact of human settlement on the landscape. It doesn’t sound all that exciting, but the photos were stunning. I didn’t take any pictures (because I think it’s weird to take pictures of a photographer’s photos…), but you can click here to see my favorite photo.

The other special exhibit that is currently running is called Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things.

This exhibit artistically displays common objects, like teabags, and shares the history and design process of each one. Many have been unchanged for decades, because the original engineering can’t be improved.MIT Museum - Hidden Heroes

And of course the MIT Museum has to have a couple of these things….no science museum would be complete without them.MIT Museum

MIT Museum

All in all, it was an enjoyable way to spend a rainy afternoon in Cambridge.

From where I stand

During the month of July I’m taking a class called the Phone Photography Project through Big Picture Classes, which is perfect for me because I’m always snapping pictures with my phone. And I love learning ways to make simple phone snapshots look better.

Challenge #1 was “Shoot Your Feet”

Here’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to, taken from I stand:

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I’m on a two week break before summer school starts, so I’ve been catching up on things, like laundry.

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And reading in the park. Not that I really ever get behind on reading, but I do get behind on relaxing in the park.

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Summer stripes before heading out to get groceries.

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Enjoying the flowers on my walk to the grocery store.

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Not having to be at work at 7:00 means my husband and I can run together in the morning. Like our matching new shoes?

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And this guy is always there to greet us when we get back from a run. What you might not be able to tell is that his claws are actually stuck to my socks and he’s pleading with me to help him get unstuck ๐Ÿ™‚

 

An afternoon in Kittery

We’re enjoying the brief lull in between my husband’s spring semester and summer term. Yesterday we decided to make the most of it and we drove up to Kittery, Maine for the day.

I guess Kittery is known for its outlet malls, but we bypassed the shopping, asย  it was much too nice outside to be indoors.

First stop was Robert’s Maine Grill for lunch, where my husband had some oysters and we shared a sampler of Maine brews. A good choice for the undecided.

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For our meal, my husband had a lobster roll and I went with the fish and chips. The menu boasted the best fish and chips in Maine. I have to agree. It was the best fish and chips I’ve ever had.

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After lunch we drove down to Kittery Point and wandered around Fort McClary.

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Inside the Rifleman’s House.P1010289

I don’t remember what this was, but it was a little creepy. I felt like I was in the book, The Maze Runner.P1010290

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The view’s not too shabby from the Captain’s Quarters.P1010301

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Then we headed across the street to a park, where we took in the scenery and wildlife.

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We stopped at Beach Pea Baking Company to have a little dessert before dinner. Some people claim this is the best bakery on the east coast. From what I tasted, they might be right.

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This Black and White Cupcake was filled with white chocolate mousse and it was delicious.

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I picked up one of these lavender mint cookies to go. I ate it this morning as a post-run snack. It was buttery and smooth and had just the right amount of mint to go with the lavender flavor. I should have gotten a dozen.

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The whole point of our trip to Kittery was to eat at Black Birch, so after dessert we walked to Black Birch, put our name on the list, and had some drinks while we waited.

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The entryway was filled with people waiting to eat. Everyone was friendly and many were repeat customers who reported that the food was worth the wait.

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We made it in and it was worth the wait.

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We started with deviled eggs and shared several small plates. The food was so good, we didn’t stop to take pictures, and didn’t stop eating until we licked every last bite of the chocolate doughnuts off our plate.

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See you soon, Kittery!

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Spring is in the air

I’m enjoying every minute of living in a place with four seasons and I just can’t get enough of all of the flowers that are blooming. My snapshots don’t fully show how beautiful springtime is in Boston, but hopefully you will get the idea…

Some early flowers popping through around Easter.

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More early flowers at Arnold Arboretum.

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Tulips at dusk in the Boston Public GardenP1010181

An bright spring day on Commonwealth.

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An afternoon in the park.

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Daffodils along the Charles.

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Spring has sprung…

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…with a blossom tunnel along the Charles.

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And a walk around the neighborhood.

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Snow Day!

I was a little crabby this morning about having another snow day, but I really can’t complain about having a long weekend and I’ll still have two entire months off this summer ๐Ÿ™‚

The real lesson I learned was to put my phone on silent (not vibrate!) if I think there is even a chance of a snow day, to avoid being rudely awoken at 5:00 am. Lack of sleep and hunger are really the only two things that make me crabby ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s a winter wonderland outside.

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One casualty of the storm. I guess on the bright side, at least the light is still working.

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The second casualty of the storm was my camera when I dropped it in the slush while crossing a street. It wouldn’t turn on after that, otherwise I would have more photos to share ๐Ÿ˜ฆ At least I was able to get the photos off of the memory card. I’m sure as soon as it all dries out, it will be up and running again.

My kind of Saturday school

While my husband spent the day over at Harvard Business School, I went to school too. He’s not the only one filling his head with knowledge around here. Thanks to Groupon, I spent the afternoon at Boston Chocolate School learning how to make chocolate truffles. This is clearly just as important as whatever is going on over at HBS.

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The class took place in the basement of the Elephant & Castle Pub and was taught by Dorian McCarron, who isย  a retired pastry chef, now full-time tattoo artist, and self-proclaimed chocaholic. He recently won Sweet Genius on the Food Network, so I think it’s safe to say that he still knows what he’s doing, despite being retired (and from the looks of it, a 30-something retiree).

Upon entering the classroom, we were each given a mug of hot chocolate to sip on while we learned about the history and science of chocolate. This was real hot chocolate, not Swiss Miss, and tasted like I was drinking a chocolate bar. Dorian kept the lesson entertaining and we got to sample cocoa nibs, milk chocolate and dark chocolate, as well as rub some cocoa butter on our hands to soften our skin.

Then it was on to the chocolate making. In all actuality, Dorian did all of the chocolate making, we just assembled our chocolates by rolling the ganache into balls and then rolling them in toppings or dipping them into chocolate.

My workspace could probably be labeled “hot mess.” Good thing I didn’t have to actually make the ganache and temper the chocolate.

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The ganache flavors were caramel, raspberry, and milk chocolate. I chose cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and toffee bits for my toppings. There were also cocoa nibs and coconut, but the cocoa nibs were too bitter for me, and as many people know, I have a serious aversion to coconut, thanks to my brother and a traumatic incident involving coconut as a child…

I dipped most of mine into dark chocolate and then drizzled some milk chocolate on top in an attempt to make them look a little nicer and to distract from the oddly shaped chocolates I created.

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I couldn’t believe how many chocolates we were able to make.ย Here’s my bottom layer.

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And then another layer on top.

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I’m still feeling a little overdosed on chocolate from the hot chocolate and the chocolate samples, so I haven’t tried any of my chocolates yet, but I’m sure they will be delicious. I’m especially excited to try the molded ones that we filled with an earl grey ganache, which just so happens to taste a lot like Froot Loops. Now that’s my kind of chocolate filling.

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