High School Daze


I’ve been visiting my high school years via memory lane this month, due to two recent and random events.

1. I went to a DIY framing shop to frame some posters a few weeks ago—one of which I had been holding onto for 20 years. I was a member of my high school chorus, and we went on a singing tour right after I graduated. It was a great experience. We had all fundraised for years, parking cars in parking lots and collecting cans and bottles from our neighbors. As we traveled around Austria and the Czech Republic, we sang in churches, we sang in public squares…we sang everywhere. We sang in a festival in Cesky Krumlov, and I brought a poster home with me.










Days after I framed said poster, a Facebook friend posted a photo taken during the trip. Can we say spooky? I hadn’t thought about or talked about this trip in years. Maybe a decade? Who knows.

2. Around the same time that I was framing the poster, I received an e-newsletter from the Humanist Community at Harvard. Last year, the organization gave its annual award to comedian/actor Eddie Izzard, whom I love. I attended the event, having never heard of humanism. I was just there for Eddie. During the program, I learned a bit about what humanism is and was intrigued. I signed up for the email newsletter as I left the event.

I receive its e-newsletters once in a while. I read them and think that I should attend an event. But I hadn’t gotten around to it. Until…

So the e-newsletter that appeared in my inbox a few weeks ago listed a few speakers that would be speaking at upcoming Sunday afternoon programs. I skimmed the content and came to an abrupt stop at the name “Sunny Jain.” I went to high school with a Sunny Jain, I thought. I read on: he is a leader of a world fusion band. Sunny was a great drummer in high school, I thought.

I headed to Google and searched for the band’s name, Red Baraat. Looked at the band’s photo and said to myself, yep, that was the Sunny I went to high school with. I attended his talk last weekend and spoke with him afterward. It was almost impossible to believe that I hadn’t seen him in 20 YEARS. He looked the same and he was just as friendly and easygoing as I remembered him to be.

These events have made me feel (a) much older than I usually feel and (b) grateful that I had an awesome high school experience. I’m sure I’m forgetting poignant episodes of teenage angst, but 20 years on, I remember those years fondly. I had many great friends, classmates, and teachers; I loved being a member of the high school chorus and rocking the props department for the school’s theater productions with my best bud, Dais. I got a job at Wegmans so I could afford to go to Italy with the Latin club, and went on the aforementioned trip with the chorus—which led to a lifelong love-bordering-on-obsession affair with travel.

I wouldn’t call myself a wildly lucky person, but I do feel lucky to have attended R-H. Do you have fond memories of high school?





My First Juice Cleanse


My birthday list has become more interesting and cost-effective since the arrival of Groupon and Living Social. I did a three–day juice cleanse last weekend, courtesy of Living Social. Juice cleanses are expensive; I paid $99 for a three–day cleanse. I didn’t read much about the cleanse before I started it. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that the philosophy behind this particular cleanse is to eat during it (healthily, of course).

The first day, my body was in a bit of shock. I drank five juices per day: three for meals and two that were essentially “juicified water.” I liked some better than others. I had to talk myself through a couple of them. I was also trying to drink a lot of water. I’ve never peed so much in my life.

Over the three days, I ate a lot of fruit and veg as well as brown rice. But I ate my regular cereal and even drank a beer one night. As the joos philosophy says, changing your eating habits shouldn’t be about depriving yourself. Because then you are more likely to binge later.

I became much more conscious about what I was putting in my body, so I am calling the cleanse a success.









So that was #11 on the list. A few days after the cleanse, I checked off #12 by attending a concert at the Sinclair, a concert venue in Cambridge. It’s been open a year and I hadn’t made it there yet. Well, I didn’t know what I was missing! I love the space. It’s a small space, but I really like the layout. There is a small floor area and a balcony that wraps around the room. WITH CHAIRS. I get excited to see chairs at shows now, which means I’m old.

I saw Noam Pikelny, a kick–ass banjo player, play bluegrass music with a bunch of guys I’d never heard of. They were all amazing musicians: a fiddler, guitarist, bass player, and mandolinist. It was quite a fun evening.

That’s all for now—have a good weekend!

Framing, Grooving, Cringing


This girl was on fire the other day. I banged out three birthday list items:


Every year I like to try a new crafty thing or two. When I saw a Living Social deal for DIY picture framing a couple of months ago, I thought BINGO. And the place happens to be a 15-minute bus ride from my house and I’ve always wanted to check it out.

I got out ye olde poster tube to pick out a couple of posters to frame. This is ye olde poster tube:










I acquired this poster tube during my college European adventure in 1996. After my study abroad semester, my friends Daisy and Ellen and I ran around Western Europe as only broke, carefree 21-year-olds can. We bought a lot of art posters during our excursion and got so desperate to store them in a tube, we tried sawing a cardboard tube with a butter knife. That probably sounds dumb and/or weird, but at the time it was hysterical. So on our last stop in Paris, I found a proper poster tube. It has stored a random collection of posters ever since.

I decided to frame a tiny Guster concert poster and a 21-year-old poster that had adorned my walls during college. It’s a pretty poster announcing a music festival that my high school chorus sang in during a Czech and Austrian tour we did right after I graduated from high school.

I went to the Framers’ Workshop on a weekday, so it was fairly quiet. There are a bunch of workstations set up in the back of the shop. An employee helped me pick out frames and then walked me through the process. Another employee cut the glass and put together the frames, which was great. So I learned how to press the poster to get any wrinkles out, mount it on foam core, cut the foam core, staple it into the frame, glue paper to the back of the frame, and insert the hangers and wire.

Let’s put it this way: I struggled. You have to cut a lot of straight lines, which is one of the banes of my existence. The employee was very helpful and easily fixed all of my mistakes. The backs of the frames look like a drunk person put them together, but no one sees the backs, right??










The music festival poster is still at the shop, so I’ll post a pic later.


Every year I buy a CD of an artist that I don’t yet have in my collection. I’ve been building up my jazz collection this way. I decided to buy a Herbie Hancock CD this time around. How could this CD not be awesome?








It’s pretty groovy.


In the same evening, I watched All Quiet on the Western Front. It won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars in 1930 and is #54 in the AFI’s Top 100 films.

Wow. Another war movie. But this one is different. Many of the war movies I’ve seen portray the soldiers as stoic and heroic. They’re in a horrifying situation, but they are nobly fighting for freedom and aren’t we all so grateful for their sacrifice. Well, this anti-war film follows a group of young German men. Young meaning 16- and 17-year-olds. They get swept up in propaganda and volunteer to fight in World War I.

They have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into. They die. Or watch their friends die. They sob out of sheer fright and freak out for various reasons: from starvation, from losing body parts, from killing someone. The acting is superb, so visceral. And the cinematography is great. I will never forget the final scene.

Well, this post is plenty long enough. So I’ll save my adventures in juice cleansing for next time…




Birthday List: London Edition

In the nine years I’ve been completing a birthday list, I don’t think I’ve ever visited England during the birthday list season of January–May.


This is a fast and easy—albeit incredibly expensive—way to knock off multiple items in six days. Is this cheating? I decided that it is definitely not cheating.

This is going to be an extra-super-wild-momentous trip because my brother is joining me and Mom for the first time. I am excited to see London through his eyes: eyes that have never been laid upon a European country.

Hell yeah!

So, since I am planning the trip, we’ll be visiting three museums I haven’t been to before: Natural History Museum, Sherlock Holmes Museum, and Twinings Tea Shop and Museum. Anndd we’ll be taking a day trip to a town I haven’t visited before. Anyone ever been to Winchester or St. Albans?

Five weeks to go until London 2014.

Having tea at Harrods during our last go-round in 2011
Having tea at Harrods during our last go-round in 2011








Oh, and hope all of the quirkyalones out there have a happy international quirkyalone day tomorrow. xo




I tried two experiments recently. One was a kitchen experiment. I made soft pretzels. They tasted fine, but left a lot to be desired in the looks department. The recipe is very simple: water, yeast, flour, sugar, salt. A lack of counter space was the crux of the problem: the recipe called for me to roll the dough into a rope 20 inches long.

Well. The maximum length of any chunk of counter space in my kitchen is about 12 inches. So my pretzels were more like lumps of dough. But darn tasty lumps of dough. I used mostly whole wheat flour so I could feel like I was being somewhat healthy as I ate lumps of dough.








My second experiment was a behavioral one. My friend Lisa told me that her cat loved watching bird videos on YouTube. She suggested that I search for  “Cats. Snow. Hole.”

I had a snow day today so, earlier in the afternoon, I found the aforementioned video. I excitedly unplugged my laptop and brought it over to the bed, where Olive was lounging. “This is going to be so fun, Olive,” I said, as I started the video.

She looked at me, completely nonplussed. “Look at the birds!” I motioned. She looked at the screen for 30 seconds and then started grooming.








Maybe she’s just not keen on this particular video, I thought. I fired up another bird video and went to the kitchen for a moment. I came back to this:








She had walked away from the bloody video! Maybe she is too old to care about such simple pleasures as watching bird videos? Ah, well. It was worth a try.