Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Awe Inspiring

Naming the beams for Dana Farber Patients

It has become a beloved ritual at Dana-Farber: Every day, children who come to the clinic write their names on sheets of paper and tape them to the windows of the walkway for ironworkers to see. And, every day, the ironworkers paint the names onto I-beams and hoist them into place as they add floors to the new 14-story Yawkey Center for Cancer Care.

The building’s steel skeleton is now a brightly colored, seven-story monument to scores of children receiving treatment at the clinic.

For the young cancer patients, who press their noses to the glass to watch new names added every day, the steel and spray-paint tribute has given them a few moments of joy and a towering symbol of hope.

Click through for the rest of the photo set, but if you are like me you will need a tissue.

Sometimes I come across things that completely replenish my faith in humanity. This was one of those things. It was too good to not share anywhere I could.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Postcards from the Weekend

I had to document somewhere, that for the first time in months I actually ironed clothes, fixed my hair and wore pearls. Although it may be hard to tell all that from this fuzzy picture ( I don't know why the shirt seems wrinkly, because it wasn't. I startched it and everything.) I guess you could say I've been in a bit of a funk lately. Seasonal depression maybe. But my daily uniform has been yoga pants and pulled back hair.

True story: when you look like a house frau, you feel like a house frau.

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The sad occasion was a funeral. I had other plans for a wrap dress and strappy thin heeled sandals but I learned I'd be watching Miss Riley during the visitation and therefore I went with something comfortable and un-trippy. I had visions of dropping the baby...and they were pretty terrifying.

After two days of funeral going and a million stirred up memories of my grandmother I was pretty ready to do something that didn't involve dead grandmas.

Tada! The garden!

Before tilling, note the little square I used last year that housed 18 tomato plants, 3 squash plants and 1 cucumber bush:
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After tilling, note the tremendous expansion:
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Our neighbor offered to come over with his tractor and till it for me. Saving me $32 and a broken back. It was awesome. I don't think the proportions appropriately correlate in that photo as the plot seems much larger in person. For reference, the shorter plot is 16ft x 30ft and the long stretch is 9ft x 53ft. More garden than I've ever worked with. But it should be amazing.

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Then we had a bonfire. And learned Jack loves his marshmallows roasted, not plain.

The end.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Few More Favorites

I can't resist posting a couple more photos. These were all taken with my tiny little Fuji camera...because at first I couldn't decide which SLR I really want and now all of my free time is consumed by Honda and transmissions. Such is life I suppose.

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We did a little baby list making and brainstorming with my parents last night. My friend has always relied on my parent's advice, and they came up with the following to help with a few issues.

Otherwise known as:

Things I've learned every parent will need after the package has been delivered. Some of which will save your sanity and none of which I'd ever thought of, not that it was my responsibility..but Riley's Mama didn't either so there:

A Miracle Blanket (Really, it's truth in advertising. That thing is a miracle.)
Saline Nasal Spray for Babies (Babies get colds, noses get dry. My Dad reminded everyone of this one. He's practical and full of great advice like that.)
What to Expect the First Year (or something similar of your choosing...obviously.)

Jonathan has informed me he is very happy he only has an older sibling. I informed him I was very happy he is now 14.

Photo of the Day

Riley came to visit tonight with her Mama. Poor thing is battling a cold, thrush and a touch of colic.

Out of the hundred photos I snapped of her, I think this was my favorite.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Springtime Covet List

LL Bean Maine Isle flip flops in lobster critter print

Vineyard Vines tote, crab woven style

Vera Bradley zip around wallet, I have this wallet already but in the Java Blue print. It's old and well used and I'm in love with the new Hope Garden print. So I definitely think I'm overdue for a new one.

--A new haircut. I'm way overdue and in desperate need of something shorter and bouncier.

A new car. I'm using this one as an example, but I found three of them yesterday and I'm seriously considering giving the dealership a call and seeing what they can work out in terms of trading my car in.

It's a 2008 Toyota Yaris, and it's certified used with an awesome warranty package. I'm drooling...right now...I swear. Devin says she loves her Yaris, which is enough of an endorsement for me.

I'm in the market for a new desk, I've decided I love this one

Baby chickens. Which I've actually been greenlighted for! Can you believe it? My chicken coop/fresh eggs dream might actually become a reality.

This adorable camera strap from Etsy.


And a new key fob for the keys to that Yaris I'm going to buy. ;)

Maybe this one:

I think that's enough for today. But goodness, did you all know it's possible to get lost on Etsy for a long time? This morning...two hours of my life I can never get back...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

My name is April. I'm 23. My Mom still gives me a basket full of candy and I like to dye Easter eggs.

Our baskets.
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Jon enjoying a slim jim, I find them gross...but whatever.
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The PAS kit was amazing. More colors than ever before. We did them this morning because I think I've got mono or something and lost the ability to stay awake past 9:30.
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Ham. I did my research via a Herald-Leader article I read on Thursday while chomping down on a Chipotle burrito and decided bone in was the way to go.
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And cupcakes. Which I thought turned out cute.
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If I wasn't running short on time today I'd have piped on the grass and made nests for the jelly bean eggs with toasted coconut. Maybe next year. In the meantime, pretend these were elaborate.
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Hmm, pictures of people? Yes, I seem to recall that photo subject. I'll have to try more of that sometime in the future.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It Started with Paula Deen

It started with Paula Deen, as these things usually do.

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Her memoirs are interspersed with recipes. Which is where I've found my favorite take on homemade biscuits.

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Before I knew it I had a group of ingredients going.

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I have found the secret is to handle them minimally. Not too much mixing, not too much kneading, gently patting them out to cut.

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I cook them in a cast iron skillet. Partly because it seems like the Paula Deen thing to do, and partly because I just love cast iron skillets. My mom's skillets came from her mom. I want them some day.

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You have to indent the middle with your thumbprint. I don't know why.

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And whatever you do...DON'T FORGET THE BUTTER.

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Before you bake, brush them and brush them when they're done. It's pertinent.

Then I made gravy. I don't have a recipe for it. Just pan drippings from the sausage, a scoop of flour, lots of salt and pepper and a pan full of milk. I'm precise like that.

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And before I knew it, this was on my plate.

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Thanks Paula Deen. Smooches...

Basic Biscuit Recipe
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

  • Directions

    Preheat the oven to 450° F.

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the shortening with a fork until it looks like cornmeal. Add the milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly until well mixed.

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly two or three times.

    Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch cutter.

    Place the biscuits in a greased iron skillet. Brush the biscuits with half the melted butter. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush the hot biscuits with the remaining butter. Slit the biscuits in half and ladle Sawmill Gravy over the hot biscuits.

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    Funny Math

    4 vehicles.

    3 drivers.

    1 working truck.

    It doesn't quite add up, does it?

    I told my Mom to buy a Honda Odyssey because all you ever hear is how amazing Hondas are.

    Her transmission went out this weekend. Something that happens to almost all Odysseys. Now mind you, I understand cars don't last forever before things break down. My first car was an 89 Toyota Corolla, and its transmission went out...when it was 13 years old and had a gazillion miles on it.

    So pardon me if I think a 6 year old vehicle with 70,000 miles on it should not have a transmission problem.

    The good news is that sometimes Honda pays for 50% or more of the cost of the repair out of 'good will'. I called and got a Honda case manager and a request opened yesterday, so we'll just have to see what happens from here.

    And then there is the Aveo. The Aveo I told my Dad to trade in months ago. The aveo he sat on for an entire winter (I stopped paying the payments in this is all HIS issue now). He found a guy who can fix the engine problem, but maybe it's a better plan to just replace the entire engine (he found one for $600), and then even after that the transmission is probably shot...or so we've been told.

    My Dad's truck is a 1986 Chevy C-10...that sputters and mutters and acts like a contrary old man.

    So really, what do you do?

    Except maybe cry into your wine glass every night over the combined $552 in car payments your household is sending in every month for vehicles that DON'T WORK.

    In all honesty, considering the circumstances, I'm pretty chipper. I've even been known to partake in a little manic laughing about it all over the last few days. Which is good, because the alternative in this situation is driving the honda off of a bridge...

    (kidding) (kinda)

    Monday, April 6, 2009

    What I'm Watching

    There's been some pretty intense buzz about this show in various corners of the internet lately, Lainey is a huge fan...and I love Lainey. But up until today buzz alone hadn't actually driven me to watch it.

    And then I started this morning, because 42 full episodes of it are available to watch on why not?

    I'm hooked.

    If you aren't watching you should be. Seriously, seriously.

    Saturday, April 4, 2009

    Scenes from a Saturday

    Bird Retreat Part Deux:

    Clearing out weeds and prepping for May planting,
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    Jon making use of the stack of bricks left at the house when they bought it,
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    Finding a spot for Cotton Cuddlesworth IV,
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    Hanging baskets and feeders,
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    Decorative Labrador,
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    Having your mother and brother do all the work,
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