Friday, May 29, 2009

Boston, Day 2

Our second day began with breakfast and the business meeting that brought us to Boston and then a guided tour set up by the company. We chose the tour of Harvard, because the Fenway tour and the whale watching tour were already booked full. But it was in no way a third rate tour, despite it being our third choice.

The tour started at John Harvard's Brew House, a historic restaurant (is everything here historic?) and brewery just down the street from "Harvard yard." (That's what the fancy Eastern intellectuals call the campus, except they pronounce it "Hahvahd yahd") I scarfed down my chicken sandwich and fries, forgetting that dessert was included, so by the time I waddled out of the restaurant, I was ready for a walking tour. This is Harvard's main gate, which we learned was bad luck to walk through, unless entering as a freshman and then the only other time you should walk through is as a graduating senior. Since we accidentally walked through it ourselves, I guess that means we are in for a spell of bad luck. I hate when that happens.
Our tour was "unofficial" led by 2 students, a freshman girl and sophomore guy, who gave us the inside scoop on famous pranks between Harvard and MIT, freshman hi jinks and the ongoing feud between Harvard and the town of Cambridge. Oh, and they gave us some historical information, of course, but I really only remember the funny stories.

This is one of the dorms for freshman. Apparently people like John Adams and other famous historical figures lived here. Like I said, I only remember the funny stories. Like when our tour guide Collin said that he lived here as a freshman and saw a limo pull up and the Dali Lama got out. And then a few weeks later he saw 3 limos and a Lincoln Town Car pull up and wondered who was more important than the Dali Lama and saw Oprah get out.

This is Memorial Hall, dedicated to honor the students who fought in the Civil War - but only for the North. A few died in service to the Confederacy, but they aren't honored here. I guess we can figure out which side Harvard was on.

The inside was like a church. Beautiful stained glass windows and archways, but it was built as a completely secular memorial. The freshman eat here and their dining room was the inspiration for the great hall in Harry Potter. What other claim to fame does one need?

The grounds were being prepared for graduation, which was happening in 2 days. Harvard boasts some pretty big names as graduation speakers, people like Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, who is the only man to have dropped out of Harvard and later given an Honorary Diploma. Of course, it doesn't compare to some of the big-wigs Maranatha gets for graduation . . . wait, I can't even remember who spoke at my graduation.

This is the statue of John Harvard, which reads: John Harvard, Founder, 1638. It's known as the statue of the 3 lies, because John Harvard didn't found the college, he just bequeathed a bunch of money to it, and it was founded in 1636, and there are no surviving images of John Harvard, so it's pretty safe to say he didn't look like this. Anyway, it's historical (do you sense a theme here?) so we had to take a picture.
After we got back to the hotel, we collapsed for about an hour and then met up with some new friends for dinner. I was still digesting lunch and didn't plan on eating, so when the group decided on seafood, we were good-natured and agreed, even though neither Dan nor I like seafood. We were encouraged that every seafood place has other choices, so Dan was satisfied.
We ended up going to the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in America. The building is over 250 years old and boasts housing Revolutionaries. We sat down to order, our entire group (save Dan) ready to eat lobster or oysters. Dan opened the menu and realized there was nothing but seafood available.

Don't be mistaken, this is not battered fish he is eating. Never deterred, he saw a small menu for children 12 and younger which included chicken fingers. He asked the waitress if he passed for 12 and she obliged his squeamish appetite.

This was the most expensive children's menu platter of chicken fingers he has ever eaten.

Tim, our new friend from Iowa, enjoyed the lobster. I had to take a picture to prove to Elijah that people actually do eat those creepy things that swim in the tank at Walmart.
After dinner, we wandered the cobblestone streets and learned that if Paul Revere were alive today, he would still recognize these parts of Boston. Coming from Wisconsin, where the most historic landmark we have is Lambeau Field, that impressed me.
We ended the day in a picture-perfect moment. Window shopping around Faneuil Hall, music pouring out of pubs and restaurants mixed with the chatter and laughter of people enjoying their evenings, walking hand in hand with the man of my dreams in beautifully perfect weather and still revelling in the fact that Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert on American Idol. What more can you ask for?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Boston Trip, Day 1

As a special spring treat, Dan and I escaped, all on our own, to a 3 day get-away to Boston. Neither of us had ever been there, so we were pumped to check out one of America's oldest cities and to drink in the history and culture. Oh, and squeeze in that business meeting that made this trip possible . . .

Boston, here we come!

After arriving late Tuesday evening (or was it already Wednesday morning?) we hopped the "T" and rode to Copley Square where we checked our bags in some swanky hotel that the company was paying for.
After marveling at the old-world feel of the Fairfield, we looked forward to returning and resting there for the next two evenings, only to find out that there had been a mistake and we were supposed to be at the Westin across the street. Still, it was a pretty hotel to wander around and they were nice enough to keep our luggage until the 4pm check-in time.

We headed out to the street and started snapping pictures right away, although I must confess to you that almost all of the hundreds of pics we took on this trip were taken by Dan. He wore the camera bag and has a natural affinity for scenic pictures, so I let him snap away while I looked around.
This is Trinity Church reflected in the glass of the John Hancock building. Breathtaking, don't you think?We then picked up the freedom trail and wandered around the state house while important people bustled around us. We stopped into a historic church along the trail and marveled at the box pews. I think I recall a story about a church that locked the pews of errant members . . . well, after seeing the tall boxes, that made much more sense.
We finished the trail at the USS Ironsides and toured the USS Cassin Young, a WWII Destroyer. At this point, I decided that we needed proof that Dan was actually there, so I snapped this pic of his photography skills. It reminds me of our trip to the Grand Canyon, where I couldn't recognize him without a camera attached to his face.
It's all good . . . he's very capable behind the camera and more patient than I am, so he usually gets the better pictures.
Up next, Day 2 . . .

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quilted Table Runners

With so many fantastic fabrics out there, I had to find another way to use them besides in purses and quilts . . . so enter table runners: I actually quilted 3 of these - 2 as presents for Mother's Day and 1 for myself! ;)

And this one showcases this fabric I had dreams about I loved it so much. Unfortunately, this table runner gave me lots of problems because it didn't fit where I wanted it once I finished. So sad. So instead of finding a new spot to use it, I took the majority of it apart and refashioned it to a size that would work. Lots of frustrating moments with this project, but I like the way it turned out!

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Effort at Garment Construction

Not exactly difficult work, but here is my attempt again at making my own clothing . . .
A kimono to be used as a summer robe,
And a fun, floral apron.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I {heart} Half-Price Books

We stopped into Half-Price Books the other day to drop off some books and videos we don't want to dust any longer and I had it in my mind that I would like to see if they had a book I've been wanting to read.

Just one book, thank you.

Well, if you love bookstores as much as I do, and you love bargain books as much as I do, then you'll understand why I left with more than "just one book."

After perusing a few different areas, I did spot the book I was looking for . . . (or should I say, the book for which I was looking . . . you'd think all the reading I do might improve my grammar.)

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand for only $9.98. I've been meaning to read this book, and I just recently read an article about how the book is flying off of shelves again since it is viewed as "prophetic" concerning our current economy, so I decided now was the time to tackle it's 1,168 pages.

Yes, that's right, over 1,000 pages. This will be a record for me, if I ever get through it. Don't expect a review anytime soon.

Moving on to the Children's section, I found Elijah deeply absorbed in an "I Spy" book. I gotta get me one of those books! He was enchanted!

And Alli was busy locating any and every book that was pink and had a princess on it.

I started looking and found this . . .and had to have it because I remember checking this out of our school library hundreds of times during my elementary career and even reciting one poem for a contest in 5th grade. I looked, and sure enough, "Homework Machine" was inside. I relived my childhood in 3.5 seconds right there on the spot.

"Homework Machine"

The Homework Machine, oh the Homework Machine,

Most perfect contraption that's ever been seen.

Just put in your homework, then drop in a dime,

Snap on the switch, and in ten seconds' time,

Your homework comes out, quick and clean as can be.

Here it is - "nine plus four?" and the answer is "three."


Oh me . . .

I guess it's not as perfect

As I thought it would be.

If I recall, I didn't score well with that poetry entry. I remember a judge saying something about it being awfully short for a 5th grader to memorize. Why do you think I chose it?

And after reading some poems and deciding that I HAD to have this book in my children's library (after all, Shel Siverstein inspired me to write poetry more than any classical poet) I sat down to look at some books with the kids.

Elijah found a wonderfully illustrated book about the human body, so I added that to my growing stack of "just one book" (no pic of that one, I haven't been able to pry it out of my kid's hands since we bought it), and then I proceeded to clean out every children's book I found.

Okay, that is exaggerating. I really did stop with just 3 books. But I went home feeling like I had conquered Amazon, for they were cheaper than even the used books on that site.

And now I have to remember to shop there first, before I buy online.

I just love Half-Price Books.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Glory of a New Haircut - Before and After

I've needed a haircut for sometime now. But you know how life goes, you put it off until you're ready to shave your head out of impatience. So this is my "before" picture. You can see that my hair is getting a bit unruly and it wasn't curling like it usually does. Sorry 'bout the self-taken pic. My son isn't great with the camera yet. You can look at this post to see the craziness of my curls, too.

I decided to go shorter, since my hair wasn't quite long enough to put up for the summer. I'm not sure why I was so nervous, I've worn my hair short most of my life, but I guess I've gotten used to the length and the curls.

So, without further ado . . .

. . . my after.
Shorter in the back, tapered to the front. By no means an original haircut, but I like it!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Projects for Allison

Dan built the headboard for Alli's bed, while I made a throw pillow and a little pillowcase for her "mini" pillow.
Posted by Picasa