Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Duck Duck Goal - December

In December I decked the halls and the walls, got a new camera, admitted my love of Katy Perry songs, visited with wonderful friends, completed two minibooks, had lots of cookie baking dates, made a trifle for the first time, ate a lot of chocolate oranges, shoveled snow, had many pizza fails, sent out holiday cards, and cuddled with the cutest baby ever.  

Goal # 1: Fully embrace the holiday season.
I hugged the holidays and hugged them hard.  I made so many decorations and homemade presents that by the time the middle of the month rolled around I was kind of over Christmas already.  While Christmas always seems to sneak up then pass so quickly, it seemed more real this year because I made an effort to appreciate the season. 

Goal # 2: Clean and decorate my apartment.
I had the best of intentions to begin the new year with a tidy and organized apartment.  Instead, I spent most of the month fervently focused on my first goal.  Maybe the new year will awaken the obsessive compulsive in me.

Goal # 3: Enforce a maximum one night stay policy on any dish in my sink, i.e. do the dishes on a regular basis.
While there were often dishes in the sink, they did not stay for more than one night.  Gone are the days where my sink is overflowing with dishes to the point where the cabinets are empty and the sink is so full that even if I wanted to wash them I didn't have space to...well hopefully those days are gone.

Goal # 4: Get an iPad.
Rumors abound that the iPad 2 will be released in February (or April) 2011 and since February is my birthday month I decided to give Santa a break and will instead ask the Birthday Fairy for an iPad.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

As It Turns Out...

Oral is a real name.  Today, two separate people informed me that in fact there are people named Oral.  Most notably, Oral Roberts, a well known televangelist.  Oral was his given middle name.  It seems a scandalous choice for a Minister to adopt the name Oral.  Although, I suppose he could be referencing his abilities as an orator.  But he has a university named after him and I don' what do I know?

I do know that I had a latte and Toblerone for breakfast today.  Possible New Year's Resolution:  No chocolate before 10:00 am?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Man Named Oral

A long, long time ago when I was in high school, my then and current BFF and I worked at a catalog call center.  People would call us, order super strange things, then yell at us because they had to pay to have their stuff delivered. 

When S answered the phone, "Hello, this is Summer how can I help you?" people would frequently ask if that was her real name.  If I recall correctly, one caller even accused her of using a fake name.  Summer is most definitely a unique name but not so unusual that people should be surprised by it.

Today I was at [store name deleted to protect the strangely named] getting some things printed for tomorrow's adventures.  The man who helped me had an official employee name tag with the name "Oral F."  That HAS to be a fake name.  Who would name their kid that?  Maybe it was a situation like on Friends where Phoebe changes her name to Princess Consuela Bananahammock?

I really wanted to ask but I didn't want to embarrass myself or him...damn social norms.

This Is How I Am Making Life Altering Decisions Now...

2011 predictions?
Behold... My Future
I will marry Conan O\'Brian.
After a wild honeymoon, We will settle down in Nashville in our fabulous House.
We will have 17 kid(s) together.
Our family will zoom around in a yellow clown car.
I will spend my days as a Professional Mini Golfer, and live happily ever after.
whats your future

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Camera = Better Photos?

Santa brought me a new camera for Christmas! 

Amy = beyond psyched that she can now take close ups.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow and Movies

Mother Nature delivered.

During the blizzard I had a love affair with my Netflix Instant Queue.  I'm not about to reveal how many movies I actually watched in the last 48 hours but I did find time to dig my car out of a snow bank.  I watched some independent films (I'm Reed Fish) as well as some that I was unwilling to pay to see in a theater...coughthebountyhuntercough. 

The best movie I watched was Zombieland.  As a general rule, I steer clear of anything zombie related.  Zombies just don't do it for me.  But I had heard that the movie was good, so I sat down with some lunch and hit play...then I hit stop about 2 minutes in.  It is not a watch-while-eating movie (at least for me).  Later in the evening, I was ready to commit and I laughed out loud.  I hope that I am never faced with a zombie apocalypse but just incase, I think I should start working on my cardio.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Today I Almost Freaked Out in a Public Place

The weatherman promised me a blizzard far I see only paper snow flakes.   

While waiting for my snow, I partook in the traditional pre-blizzard activities of shopping for groceries and parking my car to minimize my post-blizzard digging out time. 

It was in the parking lot of the grocery store where I almost freaked out.  After purchasing all of my blizzard essentials I walk back to my blue Corolla which was parked three cars from the end of the row.  I look up and someone is in my car stealing things from my backseat.  I have several thoughts at once.  Do I run up to my car and start shouting obscenities?  Did I leave anything of value in my backseat?  Seriously?  I've already had enough car trouble this week.

Then I realize that someone is putting things INTO my backseat...namely balloons.  Balloons that say "Happy Birthday" so I decide to kindly ask the person what they are doing instead of delivering the verbal assault that was on the tip of my tongue.'s not my birthday.  So now I am confused.

I walk all the way up to my car and glance at the license plate which is in fact, not mine.  It turns out my blue Corolla was parked in the same spot in the NEXT row.  Oops!

Glad that I didn't embarrass myself in public, I drove home and assumed the correct parking position for an impending blizzard.  Back into the spot, windshield wipers up, and bring the snow brush in the house.  Last winter when I was an amateur apartment dweller, I spent many a frustrating hour shoveling out my car.  This year, I have gone pro...even the neighbors are copying my style!

So for now, I am tucked away in my apartment with all my single girl blizzard essentials:
comfy sweats
Spaghetti O's
chocolate chip cookies
Netflix Instant Queue
new nail polish
a bottle of wine

Here's hoping that it snows 12-18 inches of light fluffy snow and that the power remains on. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cooking With Amy: Christmas Eve Edition

For Christmas Eve my family hosted dinner.  Dad made paella and I supplied the dessert...a traditional lemon-raspberry trifle à la Martha Stewart.  When my dad requested trifle (which I have never made) I immediately thought of this:

Luckily the trifle recipe was quite simple.  We didn't have a trifle bowl but we did have a solid crystal Tiffany bowl from a time when companies rewarded years of service with expensive gifts instead of pink slips.

Luckily the recipe was quite simple.  Lemon pound cake, smashed raspberries, and homemade whipped cream.

The hardest part was using the electric mixer to turn heavy cream into whipped cream.  It took forever and I can say with absolute certainty that if I didn't have an electric mixer I would have dumped the heavy cream into the sink and bought some Cool Whip instead.

The top of my trifle looked like this:

And we are going to pretend that it looked like this from the side.

But everyone seemed to like it except for L who is the only kid in the whole world who doesn't like whipped cream!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas to My Car: The Sequel

Today was such a comedy of errors. 

I was feeling like quite the renaissance woman this morning when I was able to independently jump start my car in the snow.  I backed out of my spot, drove about six feet, then turned on my heat which made the car die in the middle of the driveway.  I did the only thing I could think of, I put her in neutral and with feet sliding in the snow, pushed as hard as I could until the car was out of the way. 

I called AAA for a tow and was told it would be 90 minutes.  Living in the woods a small town has some benefits.  The tow truck arrived 10 minutes later!  (I must have the value AAA plan because only the first 3 miles of my tow were free.)  So with my car on its way to the dealer I went back to bed.

They fixed my car and I persuaded my dad to pick me up and drop me off at the dealer where he asked if I wanted him to wait for me.  I told him no and he left...with my house keys in his truck.  I paid for my car with my 10% off coupon and the dealer gave me a $10 gift card to Dunks...SCORE!  After an impromptu stop at my parents house for my keys I turned off my car and my daytime running lights stayed on.

Long story turns out that even cars with daytime lights have a light knob thing that you can use to turn on the headlights without the car being on.  You learn something new everyday!  I have owned this car for 5 years and I just found this makes me wonder what else I am completely unaware of in my day to day life.

So, it turns out that my Corolla wanted a battery and not an alternator for Christmas.  This made Santa very happy because a battery is sooooo much cheaper.

Here's hoping for a worry-free Wednesday!

Merry Christmas to My Car

This is how today started. It can only get better right?

It looks like my Corolla may be getting some presents this year.  Today it asked Santa for a new alternator and a free ride.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't Let the Beautiful Appetizer Fool You...This Post is Actually About my Automotive Inadequacies

I spent the afternoon doing my best Martha Stewart impersonation in preparation for this evening's holiday festivities.  And I made the best party food ever.  It's vegetarian, doesn't need to be heated or chilled, you don't need a plate or any utensils to eat it, and best of all it's colorful and festive!

Question:  What is it?
Answer: Pesto covered spinach and cheese tortellini with fresh mozzarella and grape tomatoes on a skewer.
Verdict:  Pretty awesome.

But then...dun dun dun (that is supposed to be the music of doom) car wouldn't start.  It would not light up, make noise, or even pretend to turn over. 

Now, I am good at many things, but car stuff is not one of them.  I know how to add gas to my car, I can sometimes figure out how to defog my windshield, I can open the hood (although to be totally honest I did this for the first time this past summer and I had to use the car manual), I can identify the battery, and I can correctly dial my dad's phone number when it is anything more complicated than that.

Luckily, I was at my parent's house when my car ceased to start so trusty dad got out his portable jump start pack and started my car.  Before sending me home with the portable device he gave me a lesson on how to use it, then made me explain the directions back to him.  Obviously his confidence in my ability to jump start my car without it exploding is minimal.

Finally, I got in my car ready to set off when my airbag light came on.  I spent the whole drive home fearing that my airbag was about to deploy in my face simultaneously causing me to break my nose and cause a five car pile-up on 495.  I made it home without incident, parked, turned off my car, and tried to turn it back on again. 

Still dead. 

So I did the one thing I am best at.  I went inside and decided to deal with the "car stuff" tomorrow.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

This Is What I Get For Reading Crime Thrillers Before Bed...

This may or may not have just happened...but it did.

*FYI: I am currently reading The Girl Who Played With Fire.

After reading for a while, I turned out the light and I snuggled in bed with my iPod.  Now if you know me, you know that I like to tempt deafness with the volume of my music.  So...I'm listening to this French song and I hear something in the other room.  My eyes snap open, my heart finds a new rhythm, and I hear it again. 

By now I am totally freaking out because someone has obviously broken into my apartment.  So I climb out of bed and grab the aluminum baseball bat that my dad insisted I keep near my bed...which I am very grateful for at this point because the biggest knife I own is only 4 inches long and is currently in the dishwasher.

I tiptoe down the hallway in the dark and with my bat at the ready, I peak around the corner and see a tall man standing in the shadows of my living room.  I am certain that he can hear my heart beating and is about to kill me so I flip on the light ready to smash some skull with my bat. 

Here's the part where I feel like an idiot...I almost assaulted my Christmas tree.  Funny in retrospect but at the time I seriously thought I was going to end up on the news.  So now I am wide awake with no intent on ever sleeping again.  I have checked the locks and the windows, made sure my cell is charged and next to my bed, and removed that song from my sleep mix. 

It turns out the sounds I heard were actually timpani drums.  Good to know that my fight or flight instinct remains intact.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Today I Did Not Live Up To My Potential

According to my horoscope, today should have been a promising day:

"You are likely to enjoy a busy day that is filled with fun distractions, chatty friends and new ideas."

It was not. 

Today I...

Exfoliated my cornea.  Not on purpose.  I happened to open my eyes while washing my face which turned out not to be a great idea.  It stung, it hurt, basically it was not a good time.

To make myself feel better, I took a long, un-ecofriendly shower.

Then, I started reading The Girl Who Played With Fire because the library is dragging its heels in transporting the rest of the Hunger Games series.

Yes...that is all I did today.  Admit're kind of impressed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In Honor of the Facebook Guy Being Named Person of the Year...

I present tonight's convo with T via Facebook chat:

T:  Remember annoying (name removed to protect the annoying) I was telling you about yesterday???
Tblah blah blah...stupid bitch...blah blah blah.
T:  I have had 3 glasses of wine... sorry for my rage.
A:  Haha...Don't you have to teach tomorrow?
T: wish I could blog about my rage.
A:  I know...I need a totally anonymous blog where I can just bitch and bitch and bitch.
T:  I was just saying the SAME exact thing to J and he told me I could be Gossip Girl.
A:  Yeah but in real life people would figure out who you were.
T:  True...I am SO mad...something else happened...
A:  Relax...have another glass of wine.
T:  That is HORRIBLE advice!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Today was a SERIOUSLY! type of day which was due in part, to a lack of sleep because of my midnight cricket capers and the fact that the world is a crazy place.  Last week, I struggled to replace two of the three bulbs in my kitchen light fixture and today I flip on the lights and the last one goes out.  Seriously?

T and I had a cooking adventure today which included a stop at the grocery store after a brown sugar mishap.  We parked near this car.  Seriously?  You don't even get your license plate blacked out because the whole world deserves to know how much you suck at parking. 

Any recipe that has less than five ingredients (this had four) was basically designed for me.  This was seriously delicious and I got to take home a goodie bag.

Saltine Toffee is going to happen in my kitchen...maybe not today...maybe not tomorrow...but it will happen.  And when it does I will be a bit lot safer than this:

Why I Can't Sleep

True story...

It is 2:30 in the morning and I finally decide it's time for bed.  I go into the bathroom to brush my teeth and there is some type of insect on the floor.  It is either a spider with only 6 legs, a beetle of some sort, or a baby cricket.  My immediate reaction is to kill it because it is a bug and the less of them the better...but then I remember that killing crickets violates the laws of luck. 

So what does this girl do?  She traps the bug under a cup and uses Google Images to look up crickets.  It turns out that it is a cricket, so instead of squashing or flushing it, she spares its life and releases it into the hallway (hey it's cold and dark outside...if the cricket is smart enough it will figure out how to hop out the door when someone opens it.)

But now I am all skeeved out from looking at pictures of crickets and I just keep imagining if I had gone to bed earlier I wouldn't have seen the cricket and it might have hopped into bed with me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My First Tree!

My tree is up and decorated and totally Amy...a bit classy, a bit quirky, but all awesome. 

Unfortunately, my garland was not so awesome.  It was too flimsy and got tangled into quite a mess. 

Also, as I started to wind it around the tree it occurred to me that the hearts (which were cut from paper bags) could catch on fire from the lights on the tree.  If you know me you know that I have an irrational fear of fire.  I must have died in a fire in a past life because I have recurrent dreams of being caught in a house, building, or store that is on fire and not being able to get out.  Because of this, I religiously clean the lint from the dryer and I water the Christmas tree until it is more likely to rot than ignite.  I hope that my tree fares better than my pumpkin did!

This concludes my holiday decorating spree...for now.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Surprise Surprise...More Decorations

A few days ago I made a version of this ribbon wreath but I didn't like how it came out so I unwrapped ALL the ribbon and started again.  I am much happier with this one.  It is currently hanging on the inside of my front door. (I'm not neighborly enough to share my cheer with others!)

As promised, here are the ornaments I finally hung up.  They are super fun and add some much needed color to my blank white walls.  I like them so much I might make more in different colors so I can keep them up all year long!

A closeup.  They are paper and staples.  That simple.

Currently, I am working on some garland made out of red and kraft colored paper bags.

I still need to decorate my tree but other than that I am about done with the decking of the apartment...mostly because I am running out of space!  For my next project, I am going to teach myself to knit a scarf and hope that I have the attention span/motivation to finish it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Today I...

- Got my culture on at the Peabody Essex Museum.  (I am a bad museum goer because I want to touch everything...Pav can sympathize.)

- Had some family bonding time with Mom getting lost on the way to the PEM.

- Enjoyed a mocha latte.

- Wished I lived in Michigan so I could own these:

- Had a pizza do-over based on some expert advice (Thanks Bonnie!).  I used an entire handful of cornmeal on my pizza peel to ENSURE that the dough did not stick.  Turns out, that was a bit of an overkill and it made a huge mess...but it certainly didn't stick!

This time the pizza cooked on the pizza stone and while the bottom perfect, there was most definitely a layer of raw dough between the crust and the sauce.  Sigh...the perfect pizza evaded me once again.  Oh well, maybe next time.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Open Letter to Minivan Owners and Operators

Dear Minivan Owners and Operators,
Why?  Why is it always YOU tailgating me in rush hour traffic?  Why do you always insist on traveling 5 mph faster than anyone else on the highway?  Why do you yammer away on your cell phone simultaneously pushing 80 mph while solar glare is blinding everyone else on the road?  Why do you weave in and out of every lane like you're Mario and Donkey Kong is about to shoot a turtle shell at your ass?* 
Perhaps you have been lured into a false sense of security by every minivan commercial that touts top of the line safety features.  Let me assure you that your reckless driving fully negates ANY safety features your vehicle may or may not have.

I'm not going to lie and lead you to believe that I obey every limit and law as a motorist.  Don't think that I won't pass you on the right if you are driving 65 mph in the left lane...because I will.  But I always go the speed limit on the Lowell Connector (more out of fear of being pulled over than anything else) and I make a conscious effort to keep my driving habits from pissing anyone off.

Because you are the owner/operator of a minivan, I am assuming that you have and/or transport children in your chariot of death.  Not only are you risking my life (which I happen to be quite fond of) but you are endangering tiny humans.  If nothing else, you are instilling poor driving habits in future generations.

So please, for the sake of everyone (but mostly myself) slow the fuck down...because I promise, if you maim me or my car, this letter will seem like rainbows and sunshine.


*If you are a minivan owner or operator and none of these apply to you then kudos to you and your driving record.  Your fenders thank you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homemade Christmas: Part XCMLVII*

*I promise to learn how to correctly use Roman Numerals...someday.

Today I embraced my geekiness and made ornaments for my tree out of an old antique Scrabble game.  They were really a joint effort as my Dad rocked the table saw while I practiced my glue gun skills. 

Yes, I use my midget ironing board as a craft table.  I also made some paper ornaments that I will share after I hang them up...but here is a preview.

My apartment now smells like sugar cookies (thanks to Yankee Candle) and I caught Charlie Brown's Christmas on TV tonight so my Scrooge-ness is being held at bay.  I think once I get my tree and my apartment smells of pine or fir or spruce (I am unclear on why there isn't just one type of Christmas tree) I will be feeling like Buddy the Elf...mmm spaghetti!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Today I Made...

The coolest paper snowflake ever!

I also made a ribbon wreath but it's not nearly as awesome.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Deck the Halls and Change Some Lightbulbs...

One of my more obvious ploys to embrace the holiday season is to decorate every inch of my apartment so I am constantly reminded what season is upon me.  I was feeling very Scrooge-like today thus failing to obtain the proper attitude one needs for decking the halls.  But after a quick trip to my FAVORITE STORE EVER...coughTargetcough...I have all the necessary trimmings for my tree...except the tree and tree stand.

Tonight I watched The House Bunny (I want those two hours of my life back Anna Faris) and Eclipse (Team Carlisle baby).  While I killed off some neurons, I completed my ribbon trees. 

The trees are just loops of ribbon pinned to a styrofoam cone with some ric rac and a jingle bell hot glued to the top.  Easy and festive!

In totally unrelated news, I changed two light bulbs today and it was much harder than I anticipated.  (Insert joke about how many independent, single ladies it takes to change a light bulb.)  The bulbs are in these glass ball things that are held upside down by 3 screws.  So as I am balancing on a chair, in my socks, in the dark, I am holding the glass ball up with one hand and trying to figure out which way is lefty-loosey with the other...keeping in mind that for the screw on the backside of the glass ball lefty-loosey is actually righty-tighty. 


File this under #thingsthatwouldbeeasierwithtwopeople.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Minibook: Amsterdam 2004 Edition

Remember back in October when I was SFE that I had uncovered some thought-to-be-long-lost-pictures from my backpacking days in Amsterdam? I spent today in The Sticks Western MA doing crafty things with some BFFs and I put the finishing touches on my Minibook: Amsterdam 2004 Edition! (I use the term minibook loosely as it actually measures 8x6 in.)

Obviously I am partial but I think it is pretty fantastic.

DISCLAIMER...should you feel compelled to quit your job, kidnap some friends, head to Holland, frolic among tulips, pet some goats, eat cheese while wearing clogs, swim in a canal, or smoke weed if front of a windmill...please let me know in advance so I can send my résumé to your employer.

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