Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rating this month a 10

Last year, I claimed that December is my favorite month of the year. Well watch out 12, there's a new name on the ballot. October has been a whirlwind of visitors, Saturday get-aways, and leaf viewing. One of my major projects has been in QA and development, so I've been working a ton and spent a few quick days in meetings in Portland.

Here's a sample of my last week--pretty indicative of how all of October has been:
Sunday night: fly to Portland
M, Tu, Weds: project management meetings; after hours socializing, working from 8-1:30 most nights to get actual work done
Thurs: fly back to Boston--a man on the plane had a seizure onboard in the first hour so it was a pretty dramatic flight, get picked up by my mom at the airport (in Boston. it was trippy as it was a complete polar opposite of what happens when i usually fly.), drive to NYC to stay with my Dad in his hotel (there for business). That's right. Portland, Boston, NYC all in one day.
Fri: work from the hotel in the AM, Canal Street, the MoMa, Olive Garden in Times Square, West Side Story lottery (Dad won!), a piece of cheesecake with Whitney while the parents were at the show, and to sleep on the ground. (Night six not in my own bed.)
Sat: flea market in Chelsea, pizza on the Upper West Side, and a drive back to Boston in the back seat of a convertible Ford Mustang. Pouring rain, so the top was up. Dinner at "Jimbo's Roast Beef and Seafood," the hole-in-the-wall restaurant near my house that's a new favorite I take all of my visitors too. 100% success rate so far. Grocery shopping. Bed.
Sun: Sleep in. Oh so glorious. So so so glorious. Church with the parents. Tacos and mexican chuttney. Another "most gorgeous day of the year" so this time we get to ride with the top down. Looking at leaves and visiting Concord and the Old North Bridge. Took these photos:
I love having my parents in town. They do a good job of keeping themselves busy, but also including me! It was nice to know somethings never change--for instance.... we were nearly late for church as mom was trying to get the roll dough made. (On the plus side, I now know how to make the best rolls in the history of the world. Surely this is a marketable domestic skill!)

This weekend is the every-other-year Education Conference in Boston; and I have quite a few folks coming up from NYC to stay with me and attend. The go go go continues... Sorry I've been inconsistent, I hope you're all happy and well!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

fall: food and photos

Last week it was corn; this week it was pork salads. The day dawned against-all-meteorologist-odds sunny and bright and I knew we couldn't spend the day at home cleaning my room and packing for a whirlwind work trip to Portland, Oreg. tomorrow. Instead, I convinced Colleen to drive to Portland, Maine with me this afternoon for some leaf peeping. And of course I snuck in a trip to good ole Costa Vida. (Raise your hand if you think Costa Vida deserves its own blog label.) Colleen's first trip, and I'm pretty sure it was a success.
The leaves were perfect. Portland is about 90 miles north of Boston, so their leaves are a titch ahead of ours in terms of loveliness. How can you not love New England this time of the year?

Our Fall Photo Shoot was taken outside the South Portland Fire Station. Hey. It was off the main road and right next to the Costa Vida. Pardon all the singular photos, but if there aren't people in them, who's to say I didn't just poach them from a Google image search?
I'm still the world's worst poser. It's cool; I'd rather be a perpetually poor poser than have perpetual conjunctivitis. It's all about priorities people! So there are still several good solid weeks of leaves left. It's not too late to come visit...! Though between the parents next weekend, and a host of NYCers the next; you have to be cool with a full house.

PS -- in a crazy twist of events, the single readers have pulled even with the married readers in the blog quiz. Way to come through singletons! The married were winning by a landslide a few days ago. Make sure to cast your vote in this life and death poll!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Children of the Corn

It's raining today. Dreary, windy and wet. (Oh my.) The kind of day that necessitates both rubber boots, an umbrella, and a dedication to your job that forces you to bite the bullet and commute to the office instead of working from bed in your pajamas from 9am-8pm (like you did yesterday).

The good news is that this last Saturday was the kind of day that's quintessential New England Fall. The sky was piercingly blue with scattered clouds and the leaves are changing into a postcard palette of oranges, yellows and reds. Each year we take a Fall outing--an unofficial kick-off to the holiday season with drives through picturesque towns and trees AND IT USUALLY INVOLVES FESTIVE SNACKS. Festive snacks people!

This year's Fall Fest brought to you courtesy of the Davis Farmland MEGA-MAZE; a corn maze with 8 acres of corn, 2.65 miles of mazed pathways, 10 bridges, 1 zipline, and inter-maze putt-putt, slingshot activities, water stations and restrooms. The path out of the maze changes every day, so suffice it to say, the maze was pretty intense. We made it through in about 70 minutes but felt proud we'd never walked on the same path twice. It may not have been the quickest way out, but it was a way out.

Where we were really hoping for a piece of pumpkin pie, we settled for a tasty brick of cornbread. Here's some photos we took:

October is my favorite month in Boston, there's just so much going on. And the good news is that it's still early in the month; I'm sure plenty o' Fall activities are still on the menu! And so help me, pumpkin pie better be too...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Dear Mallory

We've watched enough Dance shows since 2007... My lines could be much cleaner and body could have better extension. You however, bring a great personality to your performance, and you were really there for your partner, every step of the way! Yes you were! I think we'd be much more graceful should we give it another go when you come visit again.
PS--Thanks for the Cinnamon Satans. I'm embarrassed to say I ate all but four and am paying for it in el estomago. The Devil made me do it.
PPS--Come visit again.

Monday, October 05, 2009

the swine flu, central europe, and you

So it may not have been a tumor, but this morning I discovered that I survived the swine flu outbreak of 2009. In fact, I'm pretty sure I brought it home from Portland post-Kendall's wedding and proceeded to spread it throughout my office. I'm rather persuasive you see.

My coworker Heather and I spend quite a bit of time together. We sit feet from each other every day of the week, and oftentimes shop, eat, or see movies after work. Our lives run a different track, but we get along smashingly. Earlier this year, we decided it'd be fun to skip the country for a few days. (Post-time-off approval, the higher ups realized we were both gone at the same time and had a minor meltdown at having no project management coverage in Cambridge. It's good to feel needed!)

Yes, I'm four months behind in posting more pictures. But better late than never!

Both Prague and Zurich were uncharacteristically warm for May (95 degrees?!); we'd packed for a spot of cooler weather, so we tried our best to make do with the rolling sweat and humidity. We didn't have any agenda items for either town (both of us were coming off crazy work quarters and were looking forward to just taking it easy) so we spent our time wandering around and eating wherever suited our fancy.

Before leaving the States, I read that Zurich is the most expensive city in the world. Boy howdy, reporters finally got something right. The 3-hour ride we took on the Zurich Lake ferry cost less than our lunch did--a $5 coke and $6 hot dog. We did some shopping (mostly window to be honest) and walked and sweat and walked some more. Glad I can check the Czech Republic and Switzerland off my list. Greece is now my last major European destination to hit--any one up for a little weekend getaway?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Interview with another lurker

Alternate title: Even though it may have jumped the shark, why I still blog

Two weeks ago, I posted my first interview with a lurker to great fanfare. Within minutes, I had several emails from a few other lurkers removing their cloak of invisibility. The stories and encouragement I'm receiving from perfect strangers was the balm of Gilead to a rather crummy week. People, I may have shed a few tears. Believe it or not, this lady is a bit of a softy.

I shared a few amazing emails with Gail, who runs a custom tack shop in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. How Gail stumbled onto this canvas of the wanderings of my mind is rather miraculous. Are you ready for the bacon-less degrees of separation?
  1. A search for a website of a former classmate's daughter injured in a car accident lead her to
  2. Cancer patient Johnathon Walls from Oregon and four years of following his blog where
  3. A link was posted to Alexa Aigner in Texas where "I positively fell in love with this wonderful little girl and followed her story, shed a lot of tears and grieved right along with everyone else, in silence. I still follow Crys and have written her several emails about a donation of my custom horse tack for a raffle to benefit the Princess Alexa Foundation." Sweet Alexa is the niece of
  4. My girl Colleen who "doesn't post often enough. Boo." (Yeah Colleen! Boo!)
  5. "So, here I am, a devout fan of The Nat Attack. You give me inspiration with your independence and spirit of adventure and your dedication to your friends and family. I love how you fly off to another country to explore and take a drive 200 miles from home for awesome good food."
"Sometimes we humans are connected through trouble and sadness or joy and happiness and we are not even aware of it. It's a way to see that we are all alike and so different at the same time. We find humor and camaraderie in each other without knowing it or others and we also inspire others silently as well. "
The title of this post really should be "Gifts from Gail." What a sweet, honest, unsolicited email to receive. I promptly wrote her back, thanked her for her support and asked if I could use her story and words. She replied with the following:
"By all means, share my words. I feel for you, I really do. I gathered it was hard for you to be so far away but I do admire how you have plunged ahead and are carving out a nice life for yourself in Boston. You truly do not know how encouraging that is for me. Isn't it funny how lives are intertwined? I have to say I have felt guilty at times for peering into the lives of others and I have seen such sadness and also joy in those lives as well. We don't know how our lives or examples affect others along the way and that it really laces everyone together as a human race, most of the time we aren't even aware of it. There are so many things in the new technologies we are in to make things impersonal but maybe knowing that you are giving others strength and courage each day as well and that others are giving you a silent 'woot woot' is a good thing too."
Friends and readers. I don't know Gail (I hardly remember where Michigan is) and yet she spoke some of the nicest, kindest words of encouragement. And also defined why lurking on blogs is perfectly acceptable (all you silent viewers can rejoice!).

Gail touches on one of my favorite parts about the blogging community I've thought a lot about recently. I've been amazed at the way we're all connected as a human family--frankly who knew this little project started three and a half years ago would become what it has! Fifty people took my "How do you know me?" quiz and the results are fairly shocking. I've heard repeatedly in the last month how excited people are that I'm back to blogging (for the record, I'm thrilled to be back as well.) I don't take y'all for granted--I appreciate the response and comments and links and general support. After my post re: vertigo, I had an insane amount of gChats, comments, and texts with treatments and cures--true empathy displayed at its finest.

Sometimes I don't know if I'm doing this whole blogging thing right. Too many words, or too many photos, or being too braggy, or playing too much of a highlight reel, or being too downtrodden, or being too this, that or the other. Regardless, when I discuss frustration with life, y'all are some of my biggest supporters. When I achieve something great, you're the first to cheer with me. As one of my guiltiest shames claims, we're all in this together--and figuring it out together. And together, wondering why I'm still waxing nostalgic and sentimental and probably borderline cheesy, but it was General Conference weekend and I'm still riding the spiritual high... like I said, this lady is a bit of a softy.

So hold tight for the next ride, I don't have plans to go anywhere. As Gail so eloquently states, "we find humor and camaraderie in each other" and let's make it for several more years to come.

I once was a baby that looked like a dude

But really, is that a face only a mother could love or what?
Also, isn't it fun to see that I started as a natural redhead? Perhaps the year I spent dark was taking it back to my roots.

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

If NatA! posted a photo with this blog, here it is!