A visual ode to libraries

I already mentioned that libraries make me swoon,  and that I have our bookshelves organized by the dewy decimal system (which I completely realize is archaic). Therefore, these photos have me drooling. In my dream home, there is a room just for books.

Whoa. Too bad I’m afraid of heights.

I think these books might be painted on, but I love the space.

A bookshelf that serves as a staircase. Great space saver. Probably hard on the knees.

I wonder how supportive these are?

I would never leave.

Sometimes you can judge a book by it’s cover. Especially when you can’t read yet. What a great idea for a kid’s room or a classroom. Brilliant.

Now If I could just find my dream home to fill with books. Do you have a favorite place to read? Or a great storage solution for your books? I’d love to hear about it.

Two big people, one small space

…And yet, we’re more in love today than we were when we moved in in September.

I’m not going to lie, living with your husband’s grandmother during your first year of marriage doesn’t sound like a recipe for romance. And our sex life has suffered accordingly (sorry mom). BUT, today I am more in love with The Writer  than I was last week, or last month, or last August when we were painting our soon-to-be bedroom.  A few of you (Kelly) have expressed interest in seeing where we live. So here it is, in all it’s tiny-space glory. The back bedrooms at G’ma’s.

This is standing in the hallway, looking onto our living room/office (Layla is yawning, not growling)

My favorite part of our space are these great book shelves that were in my in-law’s garage. I have them organized according to the dewy decimal system.

Another bookshelf shot. Love them!

These are our desks. We both wear headphones when we’re trying to get work done because we’re so close together.

My desk. Where the magic happens.

And the bedroom. Where the magic usually doesn’t happen. This is taken from the doorway. Since we already had a king bed, there wasn’t a whole lot of wiggle-room.

And that’s it. Our two rooms. We like to think of it as European living (small spaces in exotic locations). I’m not showing you the bathroom, because that just seems weird. But if you’re wondering, it’s right next to The Writer’s desk.

A new(England) Easter tradition.

G’ma wanted to make lobster rolls for Easter dinner. I think lobster rolls are up on my list of top-things I’ll miss about New England. Below clam chowder, but above Fenway Franks. The Writer and I are going to try to recreate this scene each Easter because it’s such a unique tradition (plus I don’t really like ham). It’s funny, lobster used to be considered a food unfit for people “of society” to eat . In colonial America, servants had it written into their contracts that they would only have to eat lobster once a week. I guess that’s because they hadn’t invented mayonnaise yet.  And butter was more difficult to come by. Ah,  Sweet, sweet butter. That would have been a game-changer.

Making lobster salad is essentially like making tuna salad. Just a lot more expensive.

You need:

  • Lobster, chopped into bite-sized pieces–G’ma bought ours already cooked and out of the shell, which saves a lot of time. Plus, you don’t have to throw a living creature into a pot of boiling water, which doesn’t do it for me.
  • 4-5 celery stalks, thinly diced
  • Mayonnaise to taste
  • A squirt of of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to season.
  • Rolls, sliced length-wise. Lots of people use hot dog buns, but I bought hoagie rolls
  • Lettuce and tomato

Mix the first four ingredients together in a large bowl. Melt a table spoon of butter in a frying pan and griddle the rolls until they’re a nice golden brown. This really does make all the difference. Don’t skip the butter, or we might not be able to be friends anymore. Pile on the lobster, lettuce (I used Boston lettuce), and sliced tomato. If you like, add more lemon and salt and pepper.

Side-note- How do all those food bloggers remember to take pictures as they cook? Also, what do you do if you never actually measure anything as you cook? Geez. Sorry for the meh pictures. I’m still trying to figure out how to take photos of food.

Love your library…

Apparently last week was National Library week. I must have missed it, but luckily, my local public library still had their banner up, so I was eventually clued in. I love libraries. LOVE. I walk in, see all those books, and get weak in the knees. I actually used to be a librarian, and it was the best job I’ve ever had. Being in grad school this year, and living with G’ma has given me an excuse to spend some serious quality time in libraries. Here are the ones I’ve visited so far this year:

My dear friend, the Gutman library at HGSE

The lovely, and historic, Lynnfield Library

The gorgeous ocean-side Falmouth Library

And the grand (although rather imposing) Boston Public Library.

Do you have a library that you love? I hope so. They are like dear friends– free of charge and always ready to share a story.

(I was going to say free of charge and always welcoming, but then I thought that might sound like a really generous lover…and that might take my adoration of libraries a little too far)


My love-hate relationship with New England

The reality of moving back to Texas is starting to sink in. And this is unfortunately coinciding with the arrival of spring. I think spring is the reason New Englanders haven’t yet abandoned ship on these small states. I love spring. The bright green on the trees. The sound of birds in the morning. The sunlight. Oh God I missed the sunlight.

Most of all, I love going to Cape Cod and walking on the beach with the dog and The Writer. We went down there this weekend to visit his parents. Even though it was only 43 degrees (Spring in New England is a relative term), I am still starting to realize what we are giving up to move.

But then I remember this:

And this was from the first storm when snow still seemed “romantic.” Three months later that horrible stuff was up to my waist and Layla looked even less impressed.

Texas, you’re lookin’ good. See you soon.

Have you heard of pinterest?

I am officially hooked.  I first heard of  pinterest.com from Sherry over at young house love. I just got my invite this afternoon, and I can’t stop gawking (if that’s something you can do via the internet). There is such a wealth of creativity and inspiration it could put a spring in almost anyone’s step. It’s more than just another internet timesuck; it’s ice-cream for your soul, and fondue for your mind. Here are a few of my favorites (from the last 10 minutes!):

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I love how they include a little button for your toolbar so you can “pin” things you see as you traverse the interwebs. I still have a few friend invites, so let me know if you’d like to join.

I can’t help it…

I love Murder She Wrote! Netflix-on-demand has really gotten me through graduate school. After writing a paper all day, there is nothing like zoning out to a little JB Fletcher. I don’t usually like scary things, but look at her! Who wouldn’t want that face to show up at the scene of a crime and do some sleuthing? There’s nothing scary about Murder she Wrote except for the awful 80’s music they started using around the 7th season. Blah.

Live the dog’s life…

Layla, our amazing dog, turned five last week. Happy Birthday Love!

Here is a glimpse at what she used to look like:

And here she is today:

Despite her occasional lapses into doggy depression (and who can blame her, since we live at Grandma’s and she sleeps under my desk),  Layla has a pretty good life philosophy.

Here’s a peek into her mind (as adapted from an old email forward)

Wake up- my favorite thing
Eat breakfast- my favorite thing
Play catch- my favorite thing
Take a nap- my favorite thing
Greet Family- My favorite thing
Get a belly rub- my favorite thing
Eat dinner- my favorite thing
Go for a walk- my favorite thing

I think that this is the way to approach all aspects of your day. And if something doesn’t feel like your favorite thing, just fake it…eventually it will be, or you’ll find something else to do.

Oh, and Layla totally stole the show at our wedding.

 

 

They say hip-hop is dead…

I LOVE old hip-hop. Love love love. The other evening, it was warm enough to drive around with my windows down, and 88.9@night (you can stream it live from anywhere in the country, fyi) was on featuring a rotation of all of my favorites: Mos Des, Common, Talib Kweli, Little Brother, A Tribe Called Quest, The Notorious B.I.G., and Lauren Hill. And I thought, they don’t make them like this anymore.

But you know what? They do. I just have to look harder. For one thing, I think that hip-hop has started to transform and blend with other genres. The Gorillaz are a great example of this, and I think in a lot of ways indie-rock is starting to take on the inovation that we used to see in underground hip-hop. Jay Z has a great quote about this. He says, “The thing I want to say to everyone — I hope this happens because it will push rap, it will push hip-hop to go even further — what the indie-rock movement is doing right now is very inspiring…These concerts, they’re not on the radio, no one hears about them, and there’s 12,000 people in attendance.” So maybe the face of hip-hop is changing, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we, as consumers, have to succumb to the jerky beats, repetitive lyrics, and imprisoned mentality that makes me want to grab my students’ by the shoulders and shout, “THEY’RE NOT REALLY SAYING ANYTHING!” I know this makes me sound old and out-of-touch, and I can’t tell if I have a generational bias, but I really think a lot of popular rap expects so little of it’s audience that they don’t even maintain a message.

To quote Jay Z again, We as rappers must decide what’s most important/And i can’t help the poor if /i’m one of them/So i got rich and gave back/To me that’s the win, win. Um, NO. This doesn’t have to be an either or Hova. You can say something of value AND make money as a musician. At least, I hope you can.

For example, my friend Justin Lamb’s blog features some really great underground hip-hop. And this has reminded me that good hip-hop is still being produced, but it’s not being circulated widely. It’s become the kind of music you have to work for. I think I like that.

So you don’t have to work quite so hard, here are some of my favorites: