Thursday, February 28, 2013

Staycation


Today is my 27th birthday.  I've had a lovely day at work, and I'm looking forward to teaching this evening and then enjoying a home-cooked dinner after office hours.  I've gotten so many wonderful messages and thoughts from friends, and I feel like a very lucky lady indeed.

Partially in honor of my birthday, partially in honor of AWP, and mostly in honor of the fact that I lose all vacation days at the end of March, I'm taking a staycation next week.  In case you're blissfully unaware of this, a staycation is where you take time off from work and stay home.  This is, frankly, not a concept I enjoy very much.

I've only ever had one other staycation in my life, in November of 2011.*  You may be noticing that these staycations have coincided with graduate school, when money is low and time is short.  My great hope is that one day, and one day soon, I will never have to "go" on a staycation again.  In case you haven't noticed from this blog, I really love traveling.  The idea of wasting my precious few vacation days trapped in New York in the winter is really gross to me.  This is particularly painful because I'm wasting them to catch up on school and teaching work, and I know when I return, I'll have a massive amount of job work to re-catch up on again.  But alas, c'est la vie.

While I won't be following the common advice of "explore new parts of your home city!" and wandering out to Forest Hills or Staten Island, I am going to be heading to Boston on Thursday morning for AWP, and may stop at my parents' house at some point to do my taxes on their computer and watch The Walking Dead.  And, on the days when I will be in the city, I am really looking forward to holding office hours, teaching, and being able to really devote myself to writing for at least a few solid hours.

So, sure, it's not going to be Key West.  And it's certainly not going to be San Francisco/Portland, which we're planning to do this August.  But, it'll be productive, and that's going to be wonderful.

Have you ever gone on a staycation?  Any tips for how to make it feel less daunting/depressing?

*This actually ended up being a lot of fun, because it was Thanksgiving week and a bunch of friends stayed with us.  Sadly, it also meant that I didn't get a lot of work done.  Which was probably okay, because I look back at that time, and think, Kristin, with that workload, you did not know how good you had it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Capitalistic System?

Possibly I am against capitalism because I lack these three things.

Unrelated to the above image, this weekend, I am looking forward to a tiny birthday celebration at a big over-the-top Italian restaurant with my family and best friend.  And also to getting a whole bunch of work out of the way.  Hope you guys have a great one!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekend Wanderings: Work

photo by Roger.


I spent most of this weekend catching up with work.  We had a nice trip to Whole Foods (where we ate dinner on Saturday night - glorious hot food bar) and I did a double-workout (pilates and spinning with two dear friends) on Sunday morning, but otherwise, I was holed up with books, papers and applications.  And, after two straight days, I'm more caught up than I have been in weeks, and yet still don't have everything done for the week.  I think this will be a common occurrence for the next few months as I try to clear my weekends out a bit, but still enjoy life.  It's all a balance.

Hope you all have a nice Monday!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Light or Dark?


On Monday night, after a particularly rough day at the office, I met up with a friend at McSorley's, New York's oldest continuously running saloon.  I was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn't nearly as crowded as the last time I'd been there, ages ago, while I was still in college.  There was still sawdust on the floor (though not heaps of it like I'd remembered), and the tables and decor were exactly the same, but I have a real taste for beer now, so the whole experience was much improved.

McSorley's Cream Stock Ale (dark) and McSorley's Famous Lager (light) are your only choices, and the food menu is equally sparse (though I'm dying to try their cheese and onion plate), and it's cash-only, but with a pint of pretty great beer costing just $5 and coming in two glasses, it's a load of fun.  I think it's a great spot to meet up, particularly a bit earlier in the evening when you can still get a table.  They've been serving everything up pretty much unchanged since 1854, though ladies are now allowed in (since 1970!), and it really feels like sitting in a bit of history.  I'll definitely be back again soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ah, Valentine's Day.  That lovely holiday where you spend your evening teaching and in office hours while your partner goes to a conference and has dinner at his adviser's house.  Also known as Thursday.

via: The Vault

Oh, I'm joking, a little.  I do really love Valentine's Day, even if I don't have time to send out any cards or make any special treats this year.  Roger and I don't have any big romantic plans, but it's always a nice day to celebrate love and chocolate.  Two of my very favorite things.  And maybe we'll celebrate this weekend by actually making a real meal for the first time in ages.  Whether you're celebrating today, tomorrow, or this weekend, I hope you have a great one!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Audience-Specific Advertising


And "Virginia Woolf quotes are the way to this woman's heart."  Clearly facebook knows me a little too well.  Still not sure I'll be visiting this steak house any time soon, but A for effort, copy-writers.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Crossing

“You were a great Cunarder, I / Was only a fishing smack.”
I've wanted to go on a transatlantic cruise since I saw the Parent Trap when I was in middle school.  Oh, how glamorous.  Never mind that I hate cruises, that I'd really much prefer to take the Concord; once I learned that they still had classes, with separate dining rooms, I was absolutely sold.

I doubt very much that I'll ever actually do this (there are plenty of other ways I'd rather spend my travel money), but it's still something very much in my consciousness, as anyone following me on instagram in August can attest.

So, I was thrilled when Leah sent me this article, "Seven Days on the Queen Mary 2," from the NYT.  If I can't live it, perhaps I can experience it vicariously through travel writing.  I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did, and that you'll join me in tossing a champagne flute into your bathtub as a toast to the rolling north Atlantic.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Saratoga Chowderfest 2013

This weekend, I made an all-too-short trip to Albany to hang out with Shelby.  I arrived around 11:30am, and was promptly whisked off to Saratoga, a town I've never been to, despite how close and awesome it is.  I'd love to come back and visit in the summer, to check out the spas and the horse races.


We were in Saratoga to celebrate Chowderfest.  You may not know this about me, but every summer when I was growing up, we'd rent a house in Rhode Island, and do very little but bike to the beach, sit on the beach, and eat delicious food.  I'm pretty sure this is where my taste for chowder started, and it's never abated since.  Chowderfest showcases chowders from all sorts of vendors around Saratoga.  It costs $1 for each sample (about three ounces) and we tried seven of them (one doesn't count because it was a cupcake!).  My absolute favorite was from the American Red Cross.  Serving out of an ambulance, they gave us a little cup of Adirondack Big Game Chowder, which was made with elk.  Made by the head chef at Six Flags, Terry McCallum, it was thick, creamy, and incredibly flavorful.  It rivaled some of the best chowders I've had in New England.  In second place was Maestro's bourbon smoked chicken corn chowder with a cheddar poblano biscuit.  I love corn chowder, and this one was great.  Plus, they get bonus points for great presentation with the biscuit.  After trying five places, you could go back to the main station and cast your vote, as well as pick up a long-sleeved t-shirt for $10.  (It featured the logo above, and Shelby and Mike now have matching ones. Aww!)

After Chowderfest, we enjoyed drinks at the Olde English Pub (how could you not love a place that has two fireplaces and a portrait of Winston Churchill on the wall?) and dinner at Bombers (a burrito joint that I really love).  It was a short trip, but I really had a blast trying some new foods and some old favorites!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Things to do in Leicester

If you're as much of a nerd as I am, you've probably already heard that the bones found last fall under a parking lot in Leicester belong to Richard III.  (If you haven't, here are two good articles summing it up from the NYTimes and the Guardian.)  I really love bones and Shakespeare, so of course this caught my eye.  No sooner had this been posted than I read Patrick Barkham's list of things to do in Leicester.  I've never been there, but if you're planning a trip soon, I think you might find this list helpful.


Now is the winter of our discontent 
Made glorious summer by this sun of York; 
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house 
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
-William Shakespeare, Richard III