Matchbox Art

Every year, I like to try a new art form, such as glass blowing, ring making, mosaic tiling, Turkish water marbling….there are so many art classes to be taken!

This year, I picked up a brochure from The Eliot School in a lobby and read through it. I decided to try a one-session matchbox art class, since I had never heard of such a thing.

A group of about seven of us attended the class in Jamaica Plain, which was a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. We were encouraged to bring some supplies with us, but the teacher also brought a TON of supplies. I walked into the class knowing that I wanted to make a piece of art for my niece.

I thought I would have plenty of time to make multiple pieces of matchbox art, and was I mistaken. Even though they are small pieces of art, they are still art. I finished the one for my niece and finished half of two other ones.

It was such a joy to focus on making art with some like-minded folks for a few hours. Now I just need to find a few more hours to finish my works-in-progress.

Niece approves of her artwork and Auntie is happy. 🙂

Seafood Boil and Dominican Chicken

I ate a seafood boil out of a plastic bag for the first time at Shaking Crab, which just opened in my Boston neighborhood. My boyfriend and I ordered the mussels in the one non-spicy sauce offered, cilantro lime (thanks, Boyfriend, for accommodating my zero tolerance of spice). We also ordered fries and I had a sweet tea.

Everything was very tasty. It was messy but in a fun way. We were offered plastic aprons and gloves, and I was grateful to have the gloves. The food came pretty quickly and the service was good. I am almost OK with the fact that it took over the space of my former favorite Thai restaurant in the neighborhood.

My coworker who is a native of the Dominican Republic mentioned one day that she frequently picks up rotisserie chicken at a Dominican restaurant called Alex’s Chimis in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. It’s only a few miles from my apartment, so my boyfriend and I picked up a chicken for dinner one Sunday. It came with rice and beans and a side…we chose sweet potatoes. Everything was enjoyable and we had enough leftovers for a second meal. Thumbs up!

Old School Game Show

I kicked off my 15th annual birthday list in December by attending a holiday edition of Old School Game Show with a friend. OSGS is a live theater experience that is part game show with audience participation, part musical, and part sketch comedy…with a ’70s/’80s vibe. The event was held at the Oberon in Cambridge, which is just a plain cool venue.

Yes, it was FUN! There were a few games that were set up Family Feud style. My friend was called up on stage for one game. Announcers described favorite holiday toys of yore, and the first contestant to announce the name of the toy won a point. Unfortunately for my friend, her toy was a ’90s toy, and neither her nor her opponent knew the answer (Furby).

The interludes with live music were witty, the Cubic Zirconia dancers added flair, and the sketch comedy bits were groaningly funny. Another hilarious game entailed the contestants deciding whether or not certain album covers were real or made up.

The seating was cabaret style and there was a bar, so the atmosphere was jovial. If you’re looking for a unique outing with friends, you can’t go wrong with Old School Game Show!

Another Family Recipe

I decided to make another of Grandma Peg’s recipes for the birthday list. When Mom and Dad married, Grandma Peg gave Mom a small book of handwritten recipes of some of Dad’s favorite foods—one of which was glorified rice.

When I read about the origins of the dessert, I was kind of at a loss, since my family is neither from the Midwest nor Norway. Glorified rice wasn’t frequently on the menu, but I recall enjoying it whenever it was. What’s not to enjoy about marshmallows, cream, sugar, rice, and fruit, right?

OK, that might sound a little odd to some people.

The recipe is easy to make: you just throw together the fruit, marshmallows, rice, sugar, whipped cream, and stir it up. However, when I made it, something went wrong when I tried to whip the heavy cream, as in it didn’t whip at all.

So everything turned pink from the maraschino cherry juice and the consistency of the cream was runny instead of whipped. I won’t even show the photo of it because it is less than appetizing. I’ll show you a picture of a successful recipe instead. It was still edible, though, and I enjoyed a few servings.

Courtesy of

Well, that brings us to the end of the #43 birthday list, finally! 2018 was not a good year, but I did finish 43 items before the end of the year. Next week, I’ll start telling you about #44…

A Moonlight Tour of Gore Place

Visiting historic homes is one of my hobbies, so when I saw reduced tickets for a Moonlight Tour of Gore Place, I bought some for me and the boyfriend. I had heard of its annual sheepshearing festival but have sadly always missed it.

The Gores were a wealthy New England couple who built the “country house” in 1806. Christopher would become governor of Massachusetts and a U.S. Senator, and Rebecca worked with an architect to design the house. They had no children, so the property passed through private hands for years after they died. Thankfully the house was saved from the wrecking ball in 1935 by a group of preservationists who created the nonprofit Gore Place Society.

The tour started in the carriage house. The tour guides, holding lanterns, led us to the front door of the house and split the group into two. We saw multiple rooms of the house, which were all lowly lit, it being a moonlight tour and all.

Much of the furnishings were owned by the Gores. For me, a highlight of every historic home is the library, and they had a lovely library. We went on the tour during the holiday season, so I also enjoyed seeing a grand Christmas tree, which, to my pleasant surprise, was decorated with teacups.

It was an enjoyable tour, and I’d like to go back in the daytime in order to walk around the grounds. Maybe I’ll make it to the sheepshearing festival this year.