Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Did you see one of these today? I didn't. But I heard helicopters overhead for hours. This is why.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dining with the Nerd Herd

I organized a lunch today for the LDS/Arlington Ward/MIT students and workers. There were 8 of us there (including baby Grant) and it was VERY fun! We sat in the student center and chatted. I had a little trouble following some of the conversations among the five Ph.D. candidates but didn't feel too bad since one of the group said this when I sent the email about lunch: All it took was a non-engineering type to bring all of us together.

I hope we can meet every few weeks. Long live the Nerd Herd!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Say cheese!

I had a little trouble using the timer on my camera. But here is a picture of Mimi and me tonight minus the toilet paper and snake and plus 34 years.

P.S. Happy Birfday, Wilbert!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Collecting scales

This is the scale I bought in Wells, Maine yesterday. I've been to an antique shop in Saratoga Springs, New York a few times and the owner collects scales and must have nearly 100 of them in her kitchen! I've got two now and am happy with my collection.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Snow on the beach is...weird

Today Mimi and I went to Maine. We shopped at the Crate & Barrel Outlet in Kittery, saw Nubble Light in York Beach, walked along the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, lunched at the Maine Diner (we had a delicious lobster roll), drove by the Bush Compound in Kennebunkport, did some antiquing (I bought a red scale and some dollar bottles) and strolled along Old Orchard Beach.

Years ago I worked with a woman who was born and raised in a Boston suburb. One Monday she asked what I had done over the weekend. I told her I went to Maine. She thought I went for the weekend and asked where I stayed. I told her I went up and back in one day and she was stunned. Maine was a 70 minute drive from my house; why would I stay over night? After that she would always ask, “Did you go to Maine for five minutes?”

Mimi and I were both born and raised in southern California. Since moving here I've had trouble understanding snow on the beach and today Mimi was having trouble grasping that same concept but we had a fun day and thoroughly enjoyed our 5+ minutes in Maine.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Movie night

Mimi and I are going to see Freedom Writers tonight. Stay tuned for our review.

REVIEW: The movie was outstanding! I highly recommend it. Could be a big award winner.

NOTE: If there are a dozen 4th and 5th graders in your theater laughing, talking, using their cell phones, and walking around get them kicked out BEFORE the movie starts or you are going to be miserable.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mimi--my oldest friend

My friend Mimi is visiting from southern California. Our grandmothers were friends and our mothers were friends. So, she's not really my oldest friend but we've probably been friends the longest. I haven't seen her in 15 years (when I was in southern California for my grandmother's funeral)! It will be fun showing her around New England (she's never been here). Poor thing; it's supposed to be 13 degrees in Boston tomorrow. I wouldn't send my worst enemy on the Freedom Trail on a day that cold! We're definitely going to Maine on Saturday to see at least one lighthouse and do some antiquing. A lobster roll could be in our near future!

Here is a picture of us many years ago at a cabin on New Year's Eve. Each of us got to bring a friend and I invited Mimi. I can't explain our weird outfits...hey, we were 13 and ringing in the new year!

I'll have someone take a picture of us this weekend and I'll post that later.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Baby shower

I hosted a baby shower tonight for my friend Amber. She is having a girl in a few weeks. She got some adorable clothes and a digital photo shoot (from me). It was really fun. We usually don't play games at baby showers in these parts but I emailed MOF (my on-line friend) Heather last night and she gave me some ideas. Thanks, Heather!

One of the games was to name the animal babies. I'll send 3 of my "baby photocards" to the first person that can name the baby that goes with all 3 of these mothers:




Here are a few pictures from the party.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Phone home

Tonight I was thinking about phones. I have 4 of them: a home phone, a work phone, a business phone...and, now I have a cell phone.

My Grandmother Pitchforth was born in 1898 and raised in Nephi, Utah. Her family had the first phone in the town and their phone number was 6. That is one of my favorite stories about my Grandma.

Monday, January 22, 2007


"The getfit@mit challenge is intended to encourage exercise during a time of year when the cold weather and short days make it more difficult to stay active," explains Maryanne Kirkbride, MIT's clinical director for campus life. "It's a chance for you to start making exercise a regular part of your life, a habit." In fact, of the 70 percent of getfit participants who began exercising more as a result of the 2005 challenge, almost half continued exercising at this increased level for the rest of the year, right up until the 2006 challenge began. Additionally, about a quarter of participants in each previous year have reported losing weight, reducing stress levels, and sleeping better. About 40 percent reported improvements in general mood.

I'm on the "West Wing" team. Tonight I walked on my treadmill for 15 minutes and I even ran for 3 of those minutes (I know that sounds lame, but for me it's a big deal). I have to exercise 150 minutes this week so I'm off and running. hahaha

Sunday, January 21, 2007

This is The Place

My friends have a vacation home in the Berkshires (western Massachusetts) that they generously share. This was the 3rd annual winter escape for this group of friends. We had a great weekend and it went by way too fast. We watched movies, read books, talked, ate, rested and relaxed. was wonderful.

We left Friday night and it snowed on the way out there. Two cars in front of us spun out and one hit the railing. My friend and I stopped and stayed with one of the drivers (her car was facing the wrong way on the Mass. Pike) until the state police showed up. When the trooper stopped he was very rude to all of us. I just might have to write a letter.

Aside from that unpleasant experience, it was a terrific weekend though the re-entry to reality is always tough...

P.S. No blog entry yesterday; I got an excused absence!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Book Club

This month we read "Circle of Quilters", an Elm Creek Quilts novel. Tonight we had good food, a good discussion, and a few of us brought quilts to show and tell. I took a quilt that my Dad's aunt Mae made for him when he was a little boy.

Confession: I didn't finish the book. Most of the time I don't even read the book club book but go for the food, I mean conversation. I really liked the book (and I've read another one in the series) so I'll try to finish it this weekend. That's if I'm not too busy eating and watching movies and relaxing.

Next month we are reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan and I am the hostess.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It was 9 degrees today

It's time to crank the heat, find my hat, and make some hot chocolate.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

sewing, cookies & collecting

My friend EB and I made more headbands tonight. My nieces in OR and FL will be getting a little package in the mail by the end of the week (cute matching headbands). I can multi-task with the best of them so made some thumbprint cookies inbetween stitches (thanks neighborly neighbors for loaning me some apricot jam).

Does anyone still use a sifter? I haven't used one in years. I bought this one at an antique store in upstate New York last year (the red handle won me over). I'll be near the New York border this weekend in the Berkshires but will skip the antiquing and will read/relax/eat/watch movies instead.

I can't wait for the weekend!

Monday, January 15, 2007

productive Martin Luther King, Jr. day

It was rainy/icy today so I was home most of the day puttering around and doing some sorting/organizing/de-cluttering. Then I drove neighborly neighbor to the car dealership to pick up a car and stopped by the mall on my way home. I found a great winter coat on sale at Eddie Bauer and then bought some new towels at Macy's. I was getting tired of my RED towels. I still have a few more hours before calling it a night.

It's been great having a long weekend!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Patriots 24, Chargers 21

I didn't watch the game (late church) and I didn't take these pictures (credit goes to Barry Chin of the Boston Globe and AP).


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Rouladin dinner

Tonight, after much anticipation, was our German Rouladin dinner. My friend's mom is German and she prepared the meal. We were celebrating Dave's birthday and even had German Chocolate cake for dessert!

Remember: It's not a German dinner unless you're having Easy Cheese!

Friday, January 12, 2007

MIT Mystery Hunt

There was a large crowd of people in the main lobby of building 7 today right before noon. This is what all the noise was all about.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cards are done!

My Christmas cards turned into New Year's cards and at last they are (nearly) done! I was ready to finish them last night and my toner was nearly out. I bought toner on the way home tonight and finished printing, stuffing, and stamping while gabbing on the phone.

One more thing to cross off my list of "things to do". I hope they are worth the wait!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tonight I got together with one of my young women (one of the girls I was the leader of when I was Young Women's president ten years ago) and I took her out for dessert at the Cheesecake Factory. Anyway, the whole point of my post is that I had a delightful visit with my friend over a slab of overpriced cheesecake.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

craigslist is AWESOME! ----- PART II

This is how I thought the transaction would go:

Mr. Never Grouchy would knock on my door Saturday morning sometime between 10:00am and 10:30am, hand me ten dollars, and the beautiful pillows would be his.

This is how the transaction went (and I did not make this up):

1. The phone rang at 9:15am. It was Mr. Never Grouchy telling me that he was "running on time."

2. There was a knock at the door at 9:57am. I live in a secure building so someone let him in. I guess I wasn't meeting him at the elevator.

3. I opened the door to find Mr. Never Grouchy (let’s just call him "MNG" to save me from extra typing) in a trench coat, wearing a felt dress hat, and carrying the biggest duffle bag I had ever seen.

4. MNG immediately commented how perfect the pillows were and that they matched the ones he had. This is when I thought I’d get the ten dollar bill. He then asked if I was a "MIT person" (since I was wearing my MIT sweatshirt). I mumbled that I worked there and he said he was a "Harvard person" and that he lived halfway between the two.

5. I reminded MNG that the pillows were ten dollars.

6. MNG pulled out his wallet (well it was like a leather coin purse). He had four crispy twenty dollar bills. He asked if I had change. I told him I only had a five dollar bill. He reached down and unzipped the duffle bag and said something like, "Sometimes when I deliver things to people they are interested in buying things I have and he – AND I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING – took an IRON out of the bag and asked if I wanted to purchase it. I immediately said, "I am not interested in buying anything."

7. He suggested that he give me a twenty dollar bill and I could write him a check for ten dollars. Do I look completely stupid? We discussed where he could get change. I suggested Lexington Center and then he commented that he had seen a Dunkin’ Donuts on the way here. "Ah yes" I said, "the Dunkin’ Donuts is the closest place to get change."

8. MNG left. I wondered if I’d ever see him again. I was hoping I wouldn't. At this point I didn't really need or want the ten bucks.

9. I watched out my window and saw him walking down the sidewalk heading for Dunkin’ Donuts.

10. My phone rang upstairs. I ran up to get it – FULLY KNOWING WHO IT WOULD BE.

11. Yep, it was MNG. "Hi Ellen, it’s Mike. I’m redecorating and wondered if you had anything else you were selling." "No, I’m not selling anything else. My friend gave me those pillows. That’s it," I lied (I had posted 3 other things on craigslist the night I posted the beautiful pillows). Mike said, "Oh, it doesn’t have to be more pillows, it could be anything." Again I told him that I wasn’t selling anything else. And, I told him to buzz when he got back and I would meet him in the lobby.

12. A few minutes later I looked out the window and saw MNG walking back towards my building. I ran for the door, grabbed the pillows, and took the elevator to the lobby.

13. MNG was in the lobby with his back to me calling me on his cellphone.

14. I said, "Hello, here are the pillows."

15. MNG said, as he wadded up a Dunkin’ Donuts bag, "I am one donut fatter." He handed me a crumpled up ten dollar bill, I thanked him, and handed him the beautiful pillows.

Here is the status of the other three items I posted on craiglist:
I dumped the frame at Goodwill.
I sold the shelf to a friend.
I am keeping the fax machine.

Craigslist is not that awesome.

Monday, January 08, 2007

phone features

I've been trying to connect with my sister-in-law Kim for a few weeks. I called last night at 10:50pm and she answered the phone. We talked until about 3:30am. We finally got caught up!

I've got unlimited long distance. She's got caller ID and will probably start using it.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Midnight Mass started today

We share our church building with two other congregations ("wards") and there is not enough parking to overlap so we rotate between having church at 8:30am, 12:00 noon, and 3:30pm. My sister-in-law Kim was the first to call the latter schedule "midnight mass". It's rough when it comes to naps and meals but pretty sweet for sleeping in.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sewing headbands

A few months ago I promised some friends that I'd come over and we'd sew headbands and today was the day! It was really fun. I took fabric from my stash and let the girls pick out what they liked and then I sewed the headbands. I found the free pattern on this website.

There are FIVE girls in this family (the baby and their one brother didn't have headbands so they didn't get in the picture). They are SO lucky! The last few years I've been very envious of my friends that have sisters. One of my friends has SEVEN sisters! I can't even imagine...

I really enjoyed our little sewing project today and having dinner together. They were fun to hang out with. I'll definitely be going back!

Friday, January 05, 2007

My most expensive dinner...EVER

So there I was standing at the counter at Baja Fresh ordering my two fish tacos and a small drink (free refills). I had my debit card in hand and looked at the total on the register and it said $350.25!

I wanted 2 fish tacos not 145 of them.

Long short week

Why do the short weeks sometimes feel so long? Tonight I'm going to dinner with a friend (I'll be ordering my favorite fish tacos at Baja Fresh) and after that might go to another friend's to look at her quilt patterns.

I'm soooooooooooooooooooooo glad it's Friday!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

craigslist is AWESOME!

Have you heard of It's awesome! You can buy stuff. You can sell stuff. You can barter for stuff.

Recently I went to help a friend pack for an out-of-state move. When I got to her house she was done packing for the night and started offering me things that she was going to throw away. My first thought was "I don't want that crap".....and then I remembered craigslist! My reply was, "Sure, I'll take anything" and then I started seeing dollar signs!

She gave me these three beautiful pillows. I put them on craiglist last night for $10.00. This morning I got this email: SOLD! I'll BUY your 3 Red-Gold Pillows, and will bring CASH. I have two similar already, and this will make a wonderful set for my couch! As my signature mentions, I am one of the reliable ones. I have NEVER missed a Craigslist appointment, buying or selling. Please phone me. I've been looking for this for months, it's perfect for me. Appreciate your putting good pics on CL so I could see it so well. Can't wait to hear from you! He also wrote: You can call me as late or as early as you like, I am NEVER grouchy on the phone. I'll file that last part under Too Much Information.

Mr. Never Grouchy is coming over Saturday morning to pick-up his pillows and give me a ten dollar bill which will go in an envelope that says "Canon PowerShot A630" on it and I will be on my way to saving money for a small digital camera.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Where is my orange chicken?

I bought lunch from one of the trucks today. One friend told me that I'd have a 20% chance of getting sick if I ate there. I was willing to risk it and I've felt perfectly fine (knock on chicken). The problem is this: I ordered orange chicken. It neither tasted like orange nor looked orange so obviously this picture was lifted off the internet and was not taken by me today at lunchtime. Two lessons learned today: I really do want a small digital camera that I can carry with me every day and I'm not going to pay $4.75 for bland, light brown chicken ever again.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

more organizing and chocolate chips

I'm organizing everything in sight. Well, not really, but tonight I cleaned out some drawers filled with old patterns, old fabric, and old craft crap and put new fabric, new patterns, and new craft crap in its place. And, I sorted my red pie holder fabric stash shelves. I found the pie shelf at an antique shop in Maine and fell in love with it the minute I saw it. Red...Maine...what's not to love?! I'm planning to start my next quilt soon.

Tonight my friend Kristen gave me my first installment of chocolate chips for blogging every day for a month! I'm going to make chocolate chip cookies and will take some to work. My coworkers don't know that I'm a baking fool...they will soon though...

And, one more thing. Why would you ever pay full price for a calendar? They are always half price on January 2nd. I bought two tonight at the MIT Coop on my way home.

Happy Happy New Year!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Thought for the year

My friend sends a "thought for the day" to her coworkers and this is one she sent a few weeks ago:

(German proverb)