Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rough, it is.

Despite having been in Minneapolis for 3 days, I haven't done anything outside of the apartment besides walking the dogs and going to Target, the grocery store, Home Depot and Menards. The only people we have seen are my family members that have come over to bring food, tools and cleaning supplies (THANK YOU!). The reason for our lack of fun time is the state of our apartment. Despite having paid rent for August and the apartment having been vacant for nearly the entire month, nothing was done to refresh the place after the last tenants left. And, they left some funky stuff. Like these kinds of paint jobs:

They also left a million bajillion hooks, nails and screws E V E R Y W H E R E in the apartment. I mean everywhere! After three days of removing them, we are still coming across more. When Paul looked at the apartment it was stuffed full of the previous tenants things. He had no idea it would be in the condition it was when we got here. What he did see was the amazing potential and uniqueness of the place. We still think it has great potential. It just needs, as my sister put it, "a good spit shine."

We have talked to the landlord and will hopefully be working out an arrangement that pleases everyone. For now, we are busy focusing on getting the place cleaned and painted so that we are ready for our stuff to arrive next weekend.

Part of the specialness of the place are the tremendously high ceilings. Paul is standing on the radiator, has his monkey-armed 6' body stretched out and still isn't able to touch the ceiling. Somehow all our pets managed to sneak into this random photo. Also apparent in this photo is another of the apartment's perks, huge windows that let in lots of light.

Lucky for us, we moved close to family and friends who aren't afraid to don their workshirts and pitch in. My dad has been a great help in figuring out solutions to some of the "quirks" of the apartment (no light in the bathroom, funky plumbing, seriously tricky paint scenarios), accompanying us to the hardware store and lending us tools. He also hooked us up with some homemade food and some homegrown veggies.

My mom showed up bright and early yesterday morning with breakfast and cleaning supples, ready to attack the grime. She scraped the paint off the sloppily painted windows and showed our nasty oven who is the boss. She made a commendable dent in the nastiness and left us equipped to clean up the rest.

I guess there was truth in advertising with this place. I think we were just expecting to not find paint like in the picture above and 4 years worth of dirt in the apartment. You think I jest? The paper in this picture was printed out in 2004:

Let's just hope we don't run out of spit before this place is shining!

August Recipes

I still don't have an internet connection in the new apartment. I am at a local coffee shop to connect for a bit. It is amazing how much I have come to rely on the internet for information. I've been missing it for getting directions, store hours, using email and lots of other stuff. I sure hope we get this internet thing resolved stat.

August's version of the New Recipes Resolution was pitiful, but for good reason. Very little cooking was done at all in August. We are moving and it is hard enough to get food in our respective stomachs at the appropriate time amongst the moving chaos, much less cook from new recipes. I only made one new recipe this month and it was for the last meeting of the Veggie Dinner Club:

Blackberry Tartlets from Vegetarian Times

We did eat really well for some of the meals in August, as we wanted to revisit our favorite places to eat before we moved. One of the special highlights was eating at Helmand. Their food is so delicious. I especially love their vegetarian entree called "Special". Really. That is what it is called on the menu.

In lieu of the usual bread and butter, Helmand serves freshly baked flatbread with an assortment of sauces. If you sit in the main dining room you can see them making the bread in the huge oven.


All of the food on the Special plate is delicious but my favorite is definitely the Kaddo. I've had it elsewhere and it just doesn't compare to how they make it at Helmand. We ate at Helmand after my last day of work. The combo of great food, a whole bunch of wine and a day of "lasts" left me so satisfied and exhausted, I went to bed right after dinner.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

We are here!

After a lot of time on the road, doing this:

and this:

and this:

and this:

We have arrived! Visits from family and working on our apartment has taken up a lot of our time. We are getting an internet connection tomorrow, so you'll be hearing from me again soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On the Road

If it wasn't for the spotty internet connection in our hotel last night, I would have posted some of these yesterday. Rest assured, we are on the road and making speedy progress. On our first day we made it to Niagara Falls.

We made such great time on the road that we ended up in Niagara Falls before dark. We had enough time to walk around and see the falls at dusk AND the next morning in the bright sun.

American Falls in the foreground and Horseshoe Falls in the background

Looking across the Niagara River at the Canadian side

Next to Horseshoe Falls with the Maid of the Mist boat

The American Falls with Luna Island

Horseshoe Falls from Goat Island

Well-exercised dogs

Paul has been a driving maniac.
Current score: Paul - 1100 miles, Trinity - 0 miles.
He says that he should do all the driving because moving the drivers seat would upset the stuff that is jammed into the back seat. I think he might be secretly wanting to drive the whole way just so he can say he did.

The pets have been doing way better than expected. Fanny has been a champ. She complained a little for the first hour and has been sleeping and chilling out since then. We have sedatives for her but we haven't needed to use them. We've been giving the dogs nice long walks each morning. I'm not sure if they are so calm because they are tired or if they have just finally gotten used to being in the car.

All in all, we've had a smooth trip. I'm getting a lot of knitting done on my sweater, we've seen some great sights and all we have left is a few hundred miles. Then, we are HOME!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Best Breakfast Joint

Well. This is it. Today was the day before the big move. We started out the day at the Best Breakfast Joint with a delicious combo of savory omelette and stuffed french toast.

Guy, Sarah and Silas joined us for the breakfasty goodness.

We then headed over to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery to walk around and see what there is to see. Which is, lots of amazing headstones, trees, flowers and birds.

And, a wee bit of stained glass.

After some last minute errand running, Paul and I each went our own ways for the evening. I was given a great sendoff from my library knitting group, complete with Kickass Cupcakes and a visit from Barrett and her brand spanking new 2-week old baby. A fine way to spend my last evening in Boston.

In the morning, we are getting on the road. Keep your fingers crossed that the POD follows us there without incident, that our pets make good travel companions and that Automobile Edward can hack it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Boston Harbor Islands

With an unexpected free day today, Paul and I had time to do another one of the things on my "to do before I leave" list. I had pretty much written off the rest of my list, because I thought we were out of time. It was excellent to have this bonus time. And, it was a great day to spend outside.

We took the Harbor Islands Express to two of the Boston Harbor Islands: Georges and Spectacle.

It was nice to share this time on the water with Paul, since he opted out of last weekend's Whale Watch.

Our first stop was Georges Island, home to Fort Warren.

On top of the fort walls, there are trees. Some of them were growing parallel to the ground!

We spent most of the day on Georges Island, but we also stopped at Spectacle Island before heading back to Boston. Spectacle Island exists in part due to its use as a landfill and as a dumping ground for earth displaced by the Big Dig.

We are both a little sunburned, but happy to have been able to spend the day taking in some new sights and viewing some familiar ones from a new angle.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Supermover and his sidekick Underdog

Yesterday was my last day of work. On my lunch break, I took one last walk around the Longwood Medical Area and Fenway. There are so many beautiful buildings in the neighborhood. Who knew hospitals could be pretty to look at?! I really appreciated working in such a historic and picturesque area.

While I was marking all the "lasts" of the day, Paul aka Supermover was performing superhuman P.O.D. loading feats. Seriously, this man is a moving maniac. He had nearly all of our stuff loaded by the time I got home from work. He even devised a solution for moving our insanely large collection of hangers, only a third of which is pictured.

Jack, our Underdog, is a little stressed out about all of the transition. We've loaded the bed into the P.O.D., thereby removing one of the Underdog's usual haunts. He has yet to figure out how to get under the air mattress.

Paul got so much done on Friday that at 3pm today we had all of our stuff loaded into the P.O.D. and have completed many of our other little tasks. We have time to CHILL OUT. I can't get over it. Way to go, Paul.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Monkey Socks! This is a pattern that gobs of people have knit and I know why! It is a fun pattern with a good balance between interesting and easily memorized. I knit these out of a yarn that I really like: Dancing Leaf Farms' Sock Hop. It was a super good bargain for superwash merino at $13/skein. I think they might have increased the price since I bought this skein, but it is still a good deal at the new price.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thirsty Scholar

Fellow Minnesotans-living-in-Boston Arturo and Sam bid us farewell at the Thirsty Scholar on Monday evening.

We know we'll all see each other again soon, since they are getting hitched in MN in October. We're looking forward to it and until then, we'll be practicing our best photo poses.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Watchin' Whales

After some intense days of packing, I took a well needed break to go on a whale watching cruise. I've never seen whales in the ocean before, so I was really hoping it was my lucky day. I went on the Boston Harbor Cruises high speed catamaran because it is "Boston's only 3 hour whale watch" and that was about how many hours I could spare from packing duty. The weather that day was absolutely perfect.

The whale watch trip goes out to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. It takes about an hour to get there from Boston. The view in this picture was taken a short bit away from the harbor.

I can see why the whale watch companies can guarantee that you see whales. Stellwagen is full of them. Apparently, the sanctuary is a rich feeding ground for whales. It was hard to take pictures because it was really bright out and I can't really see my camera screen in the bright sun. Also, those whales are tricky. It is hard to tell where they are going to surface. The best clue is their spouts:

They also make these bubble areas to help them catch more fish. The bubbles make the water a different color, so you can sometimes guess where they are going to surface if you see a discolored area in the water. There are a bunch of birds out there mooching off of the whales' hunting efforts.

I believe this photo is of a humpback whale. If I remember right, they told us that humpbacks are the only whales that bring their flukes out of the water like this.

There was a naturalist and an intern on board from the Whale Watch Center. The naturalist was a crazy multi-tasker. She was simultaneously spotting the whales, taking photos of them, telling the intern information to write down on her clipboard (they conduct research on each trip out), telling the ship's captain over a walky talky which way to turn the ship and narrating for us over a microphone telling us where to look and explaining what we were seeing. She had mad skills.

At one point, we were watching a small group of whales a good distance from the boat. The multi-tasking woman was telling us that we were looking at a mother and calf that they have been tracking. They are from the Dominican Republic and came up north for some good eatin' at Stellwagen. The whales went back under for a good amount of time and suddenly resurfaced really, really close to the boat. Here is a lame, quickly snapped photo of them:

In this photo you can see a whale's open mouth sticking out of the water. I'm not sure why it was doing that but the birds seemed to take advantage of it and many of them landed on the whale's mouth.

I wish the photos better demonstrated the magnificence of the experience. It was truly beautiful and awe inspiring to be so close to such huge creatures on their turf. The multi-tasking lady told us that they aren't disturbed by the presence of the boat so I didn't have to feel guilty while gawking at them.
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