Thursday, October 01, 2009

One last weekend.

Last weekend I went to KooKooKoosh Kamp one last time.


As the house is being removed from the property, the contents also had to go. So I went back to get a couple of things.

Luckily for me a few friends came along. And how did I reward them? With a 6 mile hike in Jamaica State Park! Yeah! How awesome is that?!!

To Hamilton Falls no less.

Which starts off at a reasonable grade - flat - for nearly two miles:


Along the West River, which was extra high due to it being Dam Release weekend and was full of kayakers.

Oh and I also figured out where Tic Tacs come from:

(Tic Tacs plant: last of the season)

We jaunted along until we came to the bit where the sign says "Hamilton Falls" and an arrow points upward into the sky.

Should have paid attention to that part really.

Because the path literally veers off at a steep angle for a mile upward. Something like this:

Woof.

This trail nearly killed me. True story.

I'd hike and hike and hike, then rest a second to re-inflate the lungs. Then look up and realize that there was a sh*tload of trail to go. All up fricking hill.

Frick!

However this is what awaits you at the top of the trail:

And since I was over-heating at that point I went in, followed by the two lads I was with:

Let me just tell you: THE WATER WAS COLD.

It was so cold that the minute I got in, every single tiny cell and fiber of my being shut down and all I could think about was OUT.

GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT NOW!!!

Yeah. That kind of cold.

After I got out and brought my core temp back to normal, I actually felt refreshed enough to tackle the trek back. And then we headed back to the camp for the night and grilled a couple of steaks on the woodstove.

The next day was all about a big camp breakfast and packing. It was sad. I don't want to think about it. But fortunately I was with some really fantastic people who made the whole thing 100% easier.

Before we left I took a photo of the yard:


And of the big tree in the yard:


Because it is the tall silent sentry that always made me so reassured about staying in the little house in the woods.

There is something magical the way the clearing where the house sat was surrounded by tall, swaying pines. Sometimes the entire clearing would be covered in great drifts of sparkling white snow and though the other trees would be bare and the bright moonlight would reflect off the crystallized snow and highlight the massive pines, gently waving in the wind.

I am truly grateful to at least have had the opportunity to enjoy the camp.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TGIED!

Thank Gawd It's Election Day!!!

Hopefully this means that the days of coming home to an answering machine full of vote requests are behind me.

Yesterday I had 18 messages waiting for me. Deletedeletedelete.

And through the night, another 7 calls.


Too bad I got a call from each candidate because my original plan was to NOT vote for the candidates who called.

But on the upside, I LOVE to vote. Seriously. It is my favorite civic duty.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Maybe it was all the rain...

Apparently the bumper acorn crop this season means it is going to be a really tough winter this year.

According to Deb G anyway.
(via Universal Hub)

She points out that the last big ass acorn crop was in 1995-6. See diagram below:


All I can say to that is: fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu*k

Not as smart, but still not dumb.

Trivia at Trident Cafe on Friday night was a sh*t show for Team SmartiePants.

The place was jam-packed with freshly arrived students so we snagged a table off to the side. We were followed by a group of 10, who were promptly turned away.

Everyone wanted in. Although I don't know why. The trivia is hard and weird and obscure and the first prize is a $35 gift certificate, the other two prizes are a DVD and a book. How would you split that 10 ways? That's barely a small latte per person.

Anyway, we gave it our best shot and fell on our faces. And the last round was this really long spelling bee. I misspelled "abscission". Can you f*cking believe it? I missed an "s". And don't feel so smug. You would have missed one too.

Oh well, I give it until November when classes really start slowing people down. That's when you can expect the next Team SmartiePants triumph. Until then I am sticking to Scrabble.

What a year.

I am pretty much already done with 2009. Yep. I am starting 2010 a little early.

For starters, I am surprised that there are any celebrities left alive in this year o'death. Do you think that this is God's way of saying "sort out health care RIGHT FRICKING NOW before I kill them all off!"?

Because I am willing to wait on resolving healthcare until the Death-a-Thon catches up with the Olsen twins.

I'm just saying.

And if I never hear the word "Recession" or a tip about living frugally again, I'll be happy. There is a reason the word "recession" exists and it is directly related to the fact that it can't always be a boom or a plateau. So deal.

If you want to complain about something, complain about the new look of Boston.com or about the fact that digital tv stinks.

Have you seen the new Boston.com website? First of all, this box:

annoys me. Surely the webmasters over there can at least set the list up to rotate through town names. And when you click on the the red arrow next to "Your Town" it brings you to this box:

Apparently the Globe/Boston.com is only read by people in those 12 towns. No wonder they are hemorrhaging money. People in those communities have mortgages to pay and Prius payments to make. They read Boston.com for free, they aren't going to pay for a $40 a month Globe delivery. And once Boston.com becomes a pay site, they aren't going to read it at all.

And after the lame "Your Town" box is the lame news area:

This is another section that needs to be refreshed with frequency. There are some days when I check this section in the morning, and then again in the afternoon, and nothing will have changed.

Ugh. Lame.

Oh and about the digital tv business. Well let's see. It doesn't work properly when it rains, is windy, a helicopter flies over, someone sneezes....

Totally annoying and a good as any reason to keep my Netflix account.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Not news

Sometimes news is news - something big happens and people report on it.

Sometimes news is not news, but instead it is a press release that a public relations person would like to see in print, preferably in a "news" format. Press releases are about the only written word that is perfectly ok to reprint nearly verbatim without having to attribute a source.

And then sometimes you read something that just really leaves you wondering "what the huh?"

Like Christopher Muther's article on Boston.com about Karen Bartolomei, who evidently would very much like to become the stationary queen of Boston. I do not know what the point of this article is at all. To take up white space in the Lifestyle section? As a favor for her PR person?

Ms. Bartolomei is described as being "delicately pretty" and "high energy" who is "quietly building a stationary empire" of f*cking expensive as sh*t paperie products.

And when I say f*cking expensive, I mean f*cking expensive!

Wedding paperie ensemble suites or whatever she calls wedding invites are described in the article as being for "monied brides" who spend $10,000 to $50,000 on her product, a figure that ranges up to $70,000 for the monied, monied, bride.

(A cursory check of her website seems to show that 100 invites for the less monied bride starts at $4000. If it seems like a lot, it is.)


As to the point of this article, I don't see it. If you can afford that kind of $$$ for wedding invitations, you probably have already left the Boston Globe for dead and have started getting the New York Times delivered. Everyone else is going to order their invites online.

And if you do send out that kind of invitation, everyone is going to know you have nothing better to do with your money, and that is sort of tacky, just so you know.

You are better off going to Crane.


PS: I can 100% guarantee you that if you take that $10,000 from the invites budget and switch it over to the alcohol budget, everyone you invite will have a $10,000 better time.

Oh and...

PPS: The "delicately pretty" Ms. Bartolomei the same Ms. Bartolomei who used that famous "high energy" to knock over some police barricades after a fatal fire on Emerson Street a few years ago and then proceeded to use her self-described "potty mouth" to get herself arrested. Click HERE to read all about it, it's the second story. Seems to me that the Paperie Cut Queen is not only "quietly building a stationary empire" but is simultaneously trying to quietly dismantle her image as a totally obnoxious, self-absorbed jerk.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

OMG this blog again?!?!

I have been a majorly lame duck when it comes to poor old Shamrag.

It's a little bit that I have not felt at all funny this year, a little bit that Calamity Shazaam has taken over my life, and a little bit of blog burnout.

But when I think about just never writing it again, well I can't quite give her up just yet. SO I am going to set making the decision at 1000 posts. Write now (get it? get it? it's a pun! get it?) Shamrag is somewhere in the 700 range. At this rate I will have to decide if the 'rag gets to stay or go in about a year and a half.

Unless I really want to finish her off and then it would be in more like a year.

Which gives me ample time to get the funny back. Similar to getting the sexy back only not as skinny.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer refund

I know that talking about The Weather is, uh, passe, but I just want to say that I want a mulligan.

Seriously.

I barely even have a farmer's tan. Being excited on account of two consecutive days without rain is depressing.

I want it hot HOT. I want to stick to car seats. I want to go for a swim at the beach. I want ice cream to melt down the side of the cone. I want heat and strong sunlight and dry ground and sand flicking off the back of my flip-flips.

Things are dire when you can't find your sunglasses, but aren't too pushed to get a new pair...

Y'know what I mean?


At the least it could be raining Diet Coke....

www.nataliedee.com
www.nataliedee.com

Monday, July 13, 2009

When Scrabble smarts collide....

it, well, it just smarts...

Me n' the other half of Team SmartiePants failed to notice the following error:

Let me just say that yes, I DO actually know how to spell u-n-s-a-l-t-e-d correctly.

It's just that I was giddy at being able to use ALL my letters in one go. Not only that, if I HAD spelled "unsatled" correctly I would have hit both double word scores.

Double word score + double word score + 50 point bonus = a bajillion points!

But I don't feel so terrible because 1) neither of us copped on to this error until well into the game (yep, stupidity loves company), and b) we both got a turn to lay down all our tiles.

Sweet!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sign ' the Times - Part Two

So I guess what they meant when they said coming soon....


Is that a whole brand new building was literally going to be coming soon.

Wow.

'Membah when it was Nash's





And yeah, tonight, it was a beautiful night.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

On being sick

In my universe there are four levels of sick:

Level One: is sick and tired. Happens occasionally. Usually around day 21. Whatevs.

Level Two: is the Screwyou Flu. This dreadful malady hits you the Friday before a long weekend, or slightly less obviously, the Tuesday after a long weekend. I typically get this flu when I've gone too long without a random holiday. Signs of this illness include getting all my work completely done before the end of the day, skipping lunch, and using extra tissues.

Level Three: Allergies. I get them all the time - spring (blooms), summer (heat & dust), fall (leaves), winter (indoors too long). I am also allergic to cats and gods and unloading the dishwasher and filling the gas tank. Anytime I sniffle or cough, it's an allergy.

Level Four: Food poisoning. I cook, I don't follow direction, I will eat cheese that I accidentally left out all night, and I regularly eat stuff a littletinyweenyittybittybit past the expiration date. Oops it's the poops that get me every time! And since I write about food related things I write about this level of sick with alarming frequency (yep I checked). Oddly enough I am therefore totally paranoid about cooking for others, which is why I turn into Baba Yaga at Thankgiving. Yaga, not WaWa. The rule of Level Four is that I only poison myself.

Level Five: SICK. This is when allergies can't be cured with Claritin, or Emergen-c, or garlic, or pho, or spicy food. This is when a virus or bacteria invades your system and there is nothing you can do about it but smash it to bits with severe antibiotics (if it's bacteria that is). Oh and lots of fluids and bedrest. I hardly ever really get to this level. Usually I can garlic, C, or pho my way out of it.

So that is where I am right now, Level Five. And it totally sucks. I am a dreadful patient. I am impatient and it's hard for me to lie in bed all day. I thought I would be a productive sick person and do laundry, but the kibosh was put on that plan because I couldn't even get the laundry together without feeling dizzy and winded.

For the past couple of days I've had a dreadful cough and a sore throat. I haven't been able to eat much because the coughing makes me want to puke. And I can only really eat soft foods because of the throat. Plus I have been drinking about an ocean of water which is good for my skin, but bad because I keep having to go pee and if I don't go right away and I start the uncontrollable coughing, I wet myself a tiny bit. Which is why I was going to do laundry today, since I am quickly running out of underpants.

*sigh*

I f*cking HATE being sick.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Wait. Did you get the same call today too?

From the Fireman's Local 718 (617-288-2100) around 1pm today telling you that your local firehouse was closed today by the Menino administration and that you should call the Mayah (617-635-4500) and complain? Because the Mayah was putting YOUR life and the life of YOUR family in danger?

What kind of sh*t is that?

I would like to be put on the do not call list for dumbass Boston petty politic bullcrap. Thanks.

Oh and PS: the local firehouse wasn't closed today.

Oh and PPS: I am not necessarily knee-jerk anti-union, but I am against dumbasses who have lost the point. Yeah, complain about the money going into your pocket, but where was all this effort when you wanted to get new mechanics to check brake lines and equipment function and all that sort of thing?

Oh and PPSS: And when I say dumbasses, I mean union officials. Because most of the ordinary firefighters I've met, do it because they like to fight fires and stuff. Not because of the money. I would love the money too, but there is no way I would ever want to do that job.

Oh and PPPSSS: I am done now.

Oh my god make it stop!

So you know when you check something online at work, only you really shouldn't be online, and the office is super quiet and everyone is diligently working super hard?

Yeah that time.

I find it completely annoying that the entire Boston.com website is silent EXCEPT for the weather page. Well I don't know if the entire site is silent, but the pages I check out are EXCEPT for the frickin' weather page. WTF? Sound should be optional.

Whenever I click on the Weather page, there those frickin' meteorologists are yapping about "precip" and "stalled low pressure systems" and stuff. And for some reason it is always totally loud. It is basically my computers way of saying: HEY EVERYONE, SHE'S SURFING THE NET OVER HERE WHILE YOU CHUMPS ARE ALL HARD AT WORK! SUCKAS! because I can't find the mute or pause button fast enough.

Sometimes I hate my computer. And I always hate the Boston.com weather page.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A few wobbly shots...










Skyyyyyyyyyyyy rockets in flight!

July 4th, 2009

For the past few years we've gone over to my Grandad's apartment by the Pru to watch the fireworks. And so this year, even though Grandad is still at the rehab center, we went anyway.

In my opinion, the fireworks should come on at 10. And Keith Lockhart is a pompous git.

But what I DO love is the flyover:



And the fireworks. Especially when they are so loud your sternum vibrates and all around the city car alarms are going whooopwhooopwhooop banbanban beeeboobeeebooo:


(as seen from the balcony on the 24th floor!)

I am glad to be an American. For all the f*cked up crazy sh*t that makes up this wacky nation, I would not trade my citizenship for anywhere else.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other great places to live, but not for me thanks.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where the f*ck have I been? Where the f*ck have YOU been!

How is it possible that tomorrow is July 1?

I cannot explain the hemorrhage that has been the month of June. The CelebrityDeath-a-Thon, the weather, the economy, the Swine flu, the $300,000.00 parking space, the pursuit of vote integrity in Iran, the decision by the US Supreme Court regarding drug analysis, the Grandview Topless Coffee Shop in Maine burned down, Madoff actually got 150 years in jail AND they took away the wifey's money, the sales tax is going up, and again with the weather.

I want a f*cking beach day already!

Scrape the moss off and let me know when we have two fully sunny days in a row.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Letting at the Goodwill

I have wayyy too much stuff. Things, objects, projects that never quite happened... you know the drill.

So I sold stuff at a yard sale on Saturday and then what didn't sell went to the Goodwill. So far so good.

Except for that yesterday I was looking at my cabinet and I counted my champagne glasses. One.. two... three.. four.. five...

Five...

Five?

That's not the right amount of champagne glasses.

And then it hit me: the sixth glass had gotten mixed up accidentally into the yard sale things. I knew I had seen it forlornly sitting on a table at the end of the day and so it must have made it to the Goodwill.

I mean, I just knew it. *sigh*

So today at lunch I dragged my co-worker over to the Goodwill. When we dropped everything off, they made us bring it to the main store rather than the trailer so I had a pretty reasonable idea that it might be in the store by Monday.

And while my co-worker browsed the clothing racks, I combed the glassware. To no avail.

But then one of the Goodwill employees started unloading a large cart and the stuff started looking familiar. I made a beeline.

Sure enough at the bottom was the carton with the cups and glasses from that one table at the yard sale. And lo and behold - there was the champagne glass!

Woo hoo! I could not believe my good luck.

Oh but then you know what I remembered at work? There were only five champagne glasses, I never got a full set of six, since I had found them at the Goodwill in the first place! I had gotten rid of the 6th one because it didn't quite match (slightly smaller, different stem) and I had quite totally forgotten.

Ahh hahahahahah! Whoops!

Oh well, into the cabinet it went anyway. I will just use that one the next time I have five other people over to drink champagne with me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You'll get mail!

In this day and age of email and text and Facebook and Twitter and IM and DM and everything else, sometimes you forget what it is like to actually get mail.

Mail that isn't a bill or a circular or a solicitation, that is.

I am talking about the fun kind of mail, personally addressed to you, just to say "hey, how's it going?".

Well I have a couple of postcards I picked up and I am going to mail them out. There are 6 cards, so the first six people to email me with a name and an address will get a card sent out.



Note: These are scenic postcards, nothing inappropriate. And I won't write anything inappropriate on them either. Even if you ask me nicely. And I guess I should say one per email.

I said it once before, I will say it again.

I don't like this digital tv business.

Yes, I have the converter. Yes, I have an antenna.

But now that the analog signal has also been turned off, the new digital signal barely comes in. The antenna I bought for my tv was meant to be some awesome super-strength digital signal sucker. But really all I get is a couple of channels that mostly break apart into little squares.

Which seems to get worse when the wind blows, or when a helicopter flies by, or if I walk by the tv, or if mercury is in retrograde.

I no longer get channel 7, which is fine since their programming has fallen down the crapper although this also rules out that weird channel 7-2 that shows old B movies. I still don't get channel 38. And annoyingly I now don't quite get the WGBH channel 44 selections. Which is a bummer for a PBS geek like me. Although I guess I won't feel so guilty any more about not donating to PBS since I won't be able to see the fundraising drives.

Possibly the most annoying thing about this conversion is that now when the signal breaks apart, not only does the picture fall apart, but the voices chop up. At least before with the analog signal you might not be able to get the picture, but you could still get the sound normally. Listening to a signal that is breaking up, where you are getting about every third word, is going to drive someone bonkers one of these days.

Hopefully that won't be me! I have been meaning to cut out my tv time, so I guess this would be the right time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

See you later alligator

I am going camping!

Well not really camping, more like camping out. We have this house see, up in Vermont, and time has come to sell it.


The buyer for the land is in place, but they cannot take the house (very specific buyer, thankfully not a developer tho) so we are going to have to decide what to do with the house and the contents.

The contents part is easy. Mostly it's just the odds and ends kind of furniture that you find in a camp house - a garish couch circa 1976 thankfully covered by a sheet, chipped plates, a rug from the dump.



But the house is special. It's a pre-Civil war farmhouse.

It is virtually untouched inside. No electricity, no running water, there is even an outhouse.



Unless we find someone to take it away, it's going to be torn down. Which would be a shame.



So if you know of anyone who really would like to live just like Laura Ingalls did in the Big Woods, let me know.

I really would hate for this to be the end of the road for the little house that could.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

If Boston was a one newspaper town...

This is what your afternoon read would be:

How about the 19 year old stripper (!) who had a "torrid" relationship with a teacher when she was a junior (in high school!) and just 18, who is now suing the high school for allowing their relationship to "flourish". She claims that a teacher she confided asked her out instead (oops!) and still another decided to pop into the strip club (Centerfolds!) where she worked (!) for a lap dance.

Get the f*ck outta here! You cannot make this stuff up.

In other news, two lowly drug dealers shot, dismembered, and cooked their drug wholesaler on account of them owing him $70K and it was just easier to kill him than pay him. Can you imagine if that kind of street thuggery was taken to the executive level? Madoff would have been chuck roast by now.

Meanwhile, over at the Globe, a slightly different news preference prevails:

YAWN!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Too much Tuesday

I am pretty convinced that time occurs differently that how people think it does.

How else do you explain how the Friday before a long weekend is a third longer than a regular Friday? Or how vacation time passes a quarter faster than work time?

You see?

Here it is only Tuesday and I am wondering how come it isn't really already Thursday....

Well, here are a few pictures I took yesterday on my stroll through the South End. I grew up in the South End; we went to Tony's (the fruit & veg shop where Formaggios is now), bought Jordan almonds at the Syrian store, had bologna sandwiches at the Premier Deli, and laughed that our fancy friends weren't allowed to cross over to this side of the river.

The Syrian store is still there. And one of these days I am going to buy myself that big gold tray.



This is a jeweler near the Syrian store. I am not sure what is going on there with the display, but I like it. Very blobby and pretty.


The intersection of Waltham and Shawmut. I like this view. I also think that it is funny/sad that the old Waltham Tavern is now a fancy condo. Hahahaha!

Too bad the Sahara building is falling apart. Not so bad that it hasn't been made into luxury condos with high end finishes and gleaming hardwood floors that will stun you.

Is it Friday yet. Seriously. WTF?