Sunday, December 31, 2006

Yesterday and Today

Tommy called an early evening audible and decided to head into the North End of Boston for supper last night. We called our friends Sarah and Scot to see if they were up for a last minute (really last minute) evening out. Fortunately they were up for a instant night out, so we agreed to hook up at Artu Trattoria on Prince Street in Boston.

I dealt with the hair issue by washing out all the crazy product that salon girl had applied (6 or 7 various goos, glues and unknown substances) and tried to suck it up so I could have a pleasant evening.

It was wicked cold out so we drove into town - on a decent evening we would have taken the train, but the last one home is 11:30pm. Forgive me for being a baby. We had time to wander around before supper so I could play with my new camera (which I love love love!) [Hanover Street, Boston]

After a lovely, long evening of food and wine and laughter (& pastry!) Me and Tommy, Scot and Sarah. It was a very Happy almost New Years Eve!

Our friends Jamie and Liz (and son AJ) will spend New Years Eve with us as they travel from Maine to St. Thomas. Whenever they are with us there is a special trip to Whole Foods so our island friends can marvel at the world of food unavailable in the islands. Tommy and Jamie were preparing the feast, so Liz and I hung out while the men hunted and gathered. Liz asked for some special goat milk yogurt. The men returned with that an something extra special.

Um, yeah - it says Water Buffalo Yogurt. (From Woodstock Vermont?)

We sat around yacking and eating hors d'ouvres before Tom and Jamie prepared an amazing feast for New Year's Eve dinner. Liz (giggling) and AJ.

Tommy is amused.

I have no idea what Jamie is doing.

T-Bone hoping for something from the special meal.

How Badcat spends many dinners. (Liz is freezing, thus the Genghis Khan hat.)

We rang in the new year by flipping between Mtv and ABC's New Year's Rocking Eve (both networks had very little music...) and toasting with Veuve Cliquot. Happy 2007 people - it couldn't suck nearly as much as 2006. Good riddance!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Day For Me!

Well it started out as a day for me. I scored a last minute appointment at my salon and planned to shop for business apparel (in an effort to upgrade from my creative department uniform of denim and fleece.) So after a disastrous haircut (As in OMG! will it ever grow out?! Fuck fuck fuck!) that will probably be fine in a couple of weeks (fuck!) I decided to hit all the swanky girlie stores in my town center - none of which I've ever been in.

I started with the the shoe store, which always has lovely window displays and an interesting mix of Mephisto, Dansko and other hotsy totsy shoe names. It started snowing just as I walked out of the salon, so I was in the holiday, snowy, Saturday (pre-fucked up hair) light mood. I very nearly whistled! (Except that only serial killers and sex perverts whistle in public.) The store was bustling - I guess a lot of the ladies were in the mind of escaping the Christmas clean-up and doing a little shopping. I received a hearty "welcome" upon entering, and nearly had a stroke when I found the first pair of plain and simple low-heeled black boots sporting a $310 sticker price. Now I am a girl - and there are times when you absolutely must have a pair of something that costs $310 - but on December 30th with very little left of the Winter (I hope) - rack rate was unacceptable. I put the boot down gently and took a look at the other footwear on display. I found a few pairs of slip on casuals that were as reasonable as $125 but nothing that wowed me - and nothing that I couldn't get at TJMaxx for less than half the price. (This is where the internal struggle comes in: wanting to support my local "in town" shops vs. realizing I'm not the rich bitch of my dreams.) I thanked the shop people and backed out carefully.

I went next door to a French(ish) sort of place. There were a couple nice outfits in the window. The young ladies at the counter were lovely and welcoming, but everything in the store was party clothes. I work at an ad agency - the dress code is very flexible, but this stuff was pushing even those limits. I pawed through the racks of $300 trousers made of crepe and multi-seamed pinstrip flannel cuffed gauchos and decided I was not the target audience. I backed away slowly and said thank you.

In a (now) driving snow, I walked through the center and entered the last store on my planned slate. The two young ladies at the counter said "Hi" and "Welcome" and left me to my own shopping devices. I liked the merch in this paricular store. It covered every spectrum from work to play, day to evening and they carried lots of cool brands. I found a lot of dressy dressy pants and a ton of denim, but my wish for work clothing was eluding me. So I asked the girls at the counter (what's up with today's retail clerks hiding behind the counter?) if they could point me to some pants. Blonde girl #1 actually came out from the counter to bring me to "the" pants rack. On the pants rack I found some blue velvet trousers, that while very appealing, (on a lot of levels) were not very practical for my life in an ad agency. So I asked the girls if they had any other pants that weren't velvet. Blonde girl #1 walked me three feet to the left to another pants rack. This one contained brown velvet pants. I informed the ladies that I was looking for something other than velvet pants and (exasperated) blonde girl #2 exclaimed to me "Those are BROWN pants" - and when I finished stifling my giggles I backed away slowly. Bummer.

I did score some fabulous gift boxes on sale at CVS (thanks for the hook up Cynthia!) and wandered on home in the snow. I wish I'd brought my iPod because I totally would have listened to Christmas music in the winter wonderland that was unfolding in front of me. Not a bad afternoon despite the hairfuck. I totally just invented that word.

Friday, December 29, 2006

We're Not Going There - Are We?

Coming to Lifetime (apparently no longer "television for women") "Gay, Straight or Taken." That is so, so wrong. I'll watch once just so I can validate the vile, sick feeling I'm having right now.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Random things

My kitchen calendar for 2007. Go Dooce!

The ceiling of Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street in Boston where I went for a concert.

A Christmas present I gave Mom. I doubt she'll put butts out in Jesus' face. From

Museum of Fine Arts in November.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Farewell Gerald Ford

I have few warm feelings for most Republicans, but Gerald Ford escaped my wrath for a few reasons: one, I was too young to develop any real animus toward him (but a little after some American History courses) and two - Chevy Chase in the '75-'76 season of Saturday Night Live (the season I got grounded after getting caught watching with my little sister) and three, this totally inappropriate Dana Carvey Saturday Night Live clip from 1996. I wish I could have found a clip from the '75-'76 season, but nothing is out there on YouTube or GoogleVideo world. Farewell Gerald Ford, and prayers of peace to Betty.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Day After Christmas

Had to work today. Bad cold. Bad weather. Bad day. All that and the fact that James Brown passed away on the day that I listened to "Merry Christmas Baby" about 73 times made me very sad. I'll regroup for tomorrow. Until then, visit some of these fine places:

Hee Haw Marketing
Brand Spankin'
Cute Overload
Badcat recommends Le Shadow Noir

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day 2006

This will not be a recitation of "what I got", but I did get the coolest bag ever. Tommy also framed some artwork that he bought for me in Switzerland last year and all the photos below were taken with my very awesome Nikon D-40. I finally have a digital SLR that fires immediately. Very awesome.

Badcat enjoying her birthday catnip toy on Christmas morning. Because she totally doesn't have enough.

The centerpiece on the dessert table at Tom's sister Andrea's home. This used to sit on Tom's mother's holiday table.

Christmas night: T-Bone enjoying a catnip toy from Andrea & Ollie. Badcat waiting for her turn.

Badcat demanding her turn. It was a very meowy Christmas. Chalk that one up to a lot of Christmas wine.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve 2006

Had the family over for the traditional Christmas Eve food and arguments. Tommy and I hosted buffet-style this year (the food - not the arguments...) and had a great time. Tom's menu: Martha Stewart's Tuscan Roast Turkey Breast over Farro and Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Brandy Sauce (both from the December 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living), Michael Chiarello's Roasted Winter Squash (but I didn't puree, I just left the squash cubed) and Food & Wine Magazine's Herbed Polenta & Parmesan Gratin. I made a ton of pizzelles and molasses cookies and Cashew Nut Brittle. Tommy did all the chef work - I prepped and set the table and bussed dishes and opened the door. And I tested everything before it was served. I think it was a successful evening.

T-Bone acting like he is meant to be on the stove with front paws in the pot lapping up the last of the fish chowder. For the record, the pot was virtually empty and he is NEVER to be on the stove. Crazy cat people PLEASE NOTE - I do not approve of cats on stoves. He took leave of his senses when the house was packed with family and friends. Yes, I sent Tom for the camera while I stood there and laughed. Much like this photographer surely stood there and laughed. Heartily my friends, heartily.

Tom's gingerbread centerpiece 2006 featuring ice skating gingerbread creatures. This is tame compared to Tom's gingerbread effort last year.

Yeah, um, a guy wearing a thong, and a dude with a broken leg and bleeding. These were delivered on a gilt platter to the family on Christmas Day 2005. Hey - I only baked the gingerbread - Tommy decorated.

My friends Janet and Larry posing with the Christmas tree. I've titled the photo "Jews for Jesus" - but that's a secret.

Badcat getting all mopey because I took away the pile of ribbon (which she would have eaten and yakked up in the middle of the night.) Please note I do not approve of ribbon eating any more than I approve of cats on stoves.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Badcat Gets Her Christmas On

Badcat and sibling T-Bone arrived in our home 10 years ago this Christmas. I'm guessing that many of the photos over the next few days will feature the cats enjoying their "birthday tree" and other festivities. I will refrain from posting photos of the cats hurling up bits of ribbon and other illicit holiday items. The cookies are baked, the menu has been planned - tomorrow will be the first of several pleasant days. Don't sweat the stupid stuff - no one cares if you didn't vacuum the guest room and I doubt they will be checking your baseboards for dust. Enjoy the family and friends and be thankful for what you have. I already am.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Enjoying My Holidays Already

Hanging with friends and loved ones over good food, good wine and lots of laughter - that's what the holidays mean to me. I am blessed and grateful. I wish you happy, peaceful, funny, tasty moments. I got mine.

Me, Peter, Janet and Tommy after tasty treats at the Bristol Lounge.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Just Sayin'

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Music I Long For at Christmas

This gentleman is Vince Guaraldi. Most of us became aquainted with him through the Charlie Brown Christmas special. How can it be 41 years ago. That's right - "It's Christmas Charlie Brown!" was first broadcast in 1965. I watched it on Sunday night and my how beautiful it remains. The story, the animation and most especially the music. The 2006 Fantasy Records package of the soundtrack to "It's Christmas Charlie Brown!" is lovely - and likely to be on sale at your local music vendor - pick it up. It has a nice backstory on the people who made that wonderful piece of Christmas history.

I was aware of Vince's song "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" as a kid. And to this day it can transport me to places I never imagined. Positive, dreamy, hopeful places. His latin-influenced jazz is stunning and the pure joy of his compositions is transformative. Why do I blather on? I'm suggesting you get into the Vince Guaraldi back catalog and get yourself some new tunes for 2007.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Let It Snow For God's Sake

A faux winter scene from Faneuil Hall in Boston. I suppose this would have been adorable(ish) if it had snowed at any point in the last two months. Instead we have crushed stone simulating snow. Nice work hiding the electrical cables.

Holiday Cheer

The holiday cheer part of my holiday season kicked off with a few co-workers last night. The most well-behaved group of people ever. We had some of those up top. And some of those down there and ate food that is definitely not on anyone's WW list - but good laughs and and a sense of fun were plentiful.

Many company holiday parties are coming up and I am compelled to remind all my friends out there that the company thing is still a company thing. Here's a great article to help remind everyone.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Colorado is Colorado

As emergency trips go - this one was pretty smooth. The flights departed and arrived pretty close to on time. The rental car place was realtively agreeable and staying in a five star hotel is highly recommended to reduce stress. We stayed at the Broadmoor and it was pretty much flawless. From a nice upgrade at check in (thanks Kelly!), to kind service and attention at every turn (thanks Jamie, Josh, Andi and Sacia!) It makes Colorado Springs tolerable.

Mother of Moda di Magno is doing really well post hip surgery. She is walking with a cane and in good spirits. We did some medical rounds, packed up some Christmas boxes for the family scattered around the US, and talked and laughed the way that we do. Mom came out to dinner with us one night and will ground me for life for putting her picture here, but I'm back in Boston - so the grounding will have to wait.

Tommy waiting in front of the Broadmoor for the bright blue rental Ford Focus to be pulled around. The valets parked it with a straight face.
A close up of the brass panel in Tom's photo.
William, the bartender at The Tavern at the Broadmoor - he knows how to make a drink.
Taking a walk around the lake on Saturday before we departed for lunch at my brother's home and then the airport in Denver.
My brother Al's dog Scooby. He's a good boy.
My brother Bobby's cat "Little Kitty" - the sweetest, most lovey cat ever.

Little Kitty is his name, but he is actually an Urban Legend-sized cat .

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yo! I'm in Colorado

Peeps: I'm in Colorado visiting mother of Moda di Magno who fell and broke her hip last week. All is well - updates tomorrow (with photos of CO).

Wednesday Was a Travel Day

I traveled to Colorado on Wednesday to visit mother of Moda di Magno, who is recovering from a hip fracture. She's doing great - good attitude, and she is young - but it doesn't matter how young you are when you fall on an ice covered front porch. Ow!

Haven't flown United to Denver in years, but I had the good sense to pay the extra $80 for me and Tom to "upgrade" to Economy Plus, with its 5 additional inches of legroom. Verdict: totally worth it.

Everyone's gotten into the selling food onboard racket - here is United's "Snackrite" box. It was $5 worth of cute little snacks.
Hummus, lemon pepper tuna, cheese, chocolate, pita chips, crackers and raisins. Nutritious and delicious. It definitely has shelf life, I would have liked some organic baby carrots for the hummus, but I see where they would have to rotate stock more frequently if they did that.

What you get if you don't buy the snack box:
Love that classy receipt. My accounting department would get a good chuckle.
Since I have to be in the land of dry air, and totally random weird people and things - I'll blog the crap out of it. Or photo essay the crap out of it. I'd love to do a "Christmas Sweater Spectacluar" while I'm here, but in the meantime - amuse yourself with these.

Exiting the rental car place. I told Tom the sculpture was made from the bumpers of totaled rental cars.

The first bumper sticker that caused me concern:

Finally having supper and a glass of wine at the Golden Bee at the Broadmoor.

Taking a walk around the Broadmoor and posing with the fireplace:

It was a long day, so Tom was too weak to fight a portrait in front of the entrance to the Broadmoor.

I may have to link out to YouTube later and post a video of Tommy driving while listening to George Strait's "I Sure Do Like Those Christmas Cookies, Babe." Hickalicious!