Catching Up: July (so far)

This month... 

Back to Blogging!

As you can see from this month's plethora of posts, I'm keeping up with my Summer Resolution to get back to writing!  In addition to these posts, I've written some personal pieces, which I hope to parlay into a bigger project that's been in my head for a couple of years now.  Thinking about writing is a bit stressful at times, as I still feel a bit self conscious about it, and I haven't worked up much courage yet to share, but the writing itself has been an exciting relief--I'm looking forward to getting more into the habit and developing my style for this blog.

Our Second Wedding Anniversary!

We celebrated with a delicious (and reasonably priced!) chef's tasting at Giulia, an Italian restaurant in Cambridge that is known for handmade pasta.  Over the past couple of years, every time a restaurant here has advertised "handmade pasta," I've hoped for the soft texture of the homemade pasta I remember my grandmother making, and most of the time I've been disappointed.  The pastas have been good, but with too much of a chew that I presume comes from having to mass-make the dough or freeze it before cooking.  Or maybe my expectations are really just a dream I hold in my memory.  Either way, Giulia did not disappoint, except for in one area--their ravioli dish of the day had a sweetbread filling.  I've eaten some interesting things over the past few years, but sweetbreads are one thing that I definitely do not wish to try again.  At the end of the meal, the chef was kind enough to step into the dining room to talk with us a bit about our meal.  We will definitely be going back--and I hope there will be a new ravioli to try!

Unpacking & Decorating

Most of this month so far has been about unpacking and settling into the new apartment.  We continued our unintentional annual tradition of doing nothing fireworks-related for July Fourth.  For the past two years, we've traveled on the fourth and spent the day doing other touristy things, and this year, pretty much all celebrations were rained out!  So, instead, we stimulated the economy by going to IKEA for some shelving, and built the pieces in the evening.  Last weekend, we went out to the Brimfield Antique Show with friends and stumbled upon this desk from the early 1900s, complete with the original care instructions stapled to the back and an inkwell stain on the inside!

The desk itself isn't a rare antique, but it does have a bit of an interesting story from what I can tell.  It's a variation of the Larkin Desk from the Larkin Company, and it most resembles the Lady Washington Boudoir Desk from a 1908 catalog that I found online.  Larkin began as a soap company, selling small bars of scented soap with trading cards depicting different scenes attached--women would trade these soaps and cards among themselves.  The company eventually developed a business plan in which women could buy wholesale quantities of the soap from the company to sell individually to friends, and in return would receive reward points to order items from their catalog.  So, in the catalog that I found, the Boudoir Desk is listed at a price of "Five certificates, or $10 worth of Larkin Products."

*Most of my research, and the catalog page, came from this article!

Beating the Odds!

Speaking of weekend trips, we've gone to Foxwoods Casino with friends twice in the past couple of years, where I've learned that I have a pretty tight fist when it comes to gambling--I just can't stand the thought of more or less giving my money away!  I generally walk around with my money and watch Amar and our friends gamble, then I play Blackjack for about an hour before we go home.  I don't win big that way, but I don't lose big either!  However, both times we've been lucky enough to not only keep our initial investment, so to speak, but also won enough to cover the cost of a hotel room and meals, essentially winning a free weekend getaway both times.  So when the opportunity came to go to the neighboring casino, Mohegan Sun, for a concert and another night of gambling, I was sure that we would be losing it all this time.  For the early part of the evening, luck seemed to evade us and we called it an "entertainment fee," until Amar won big at the Craps table!  We won enough to pay for the weekend, to splurge on a higher-model grill for the new apartment, and to pay for the IKEA furniture we had bought that week!  I am SO excited to finally have a grill to cook on--I've really missed that taste.  Our first grilled meal: Italian turkey sausage, baked beans, and grilled squash.

Summer Reads

This month I worked on my other Summer Resolution to get reading, and finished Summer Reads #2 and 3.  Back in May and June, I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which is a worthwhile read.  Many people have said that they couldn't get through it, and I'll admit the first half can be slow (it did take me a while to get through), but the second half flies by as Skloot shifts the focus of the story to Lacks's daughter around the time that Skloot was researching the book.

This month, I finally read Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  The writing style can be complex at times, so I wouldn't call it a fast read, but I still found it easy to move from chapter to chapter and there were plenty of moments when I couldn't put it down.  And the ending certainly made me think!  I'm looking forward to see how the film puts everything together.

Recently, I switched to an easy read with The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy.  The story is interesting and complex, although often predictable, and McCoy deals with some interesting themes about the tension between following rules to preserve internal (and external) peace and following your conscience when it goes against the rules.  I confess that I'm a literature snob, so I'd only give it 3 out of 5 stars, but it met all of my requirements for an easy-to-read, enjoyable story!


We're also excited to celebrate my sister's engagement this month!  Congratulations!