Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fears Faced - Bring on the Baking!

I finally did it! Kristi – you’ll be so proud. I bit the bullet and finally decided 11 months was long enough to wait to get acquainted with my KitchenAid. And I’m no longer afraid.

I used it for the first time Friday night. My girlfriend was telling me a week ago she uses hers for everything so I figured why the hell not – I used it to make mashed potatoes. No one told me it does things in seconds that normally take me forever! I was in love!

So Sunday, after another marathon afternoon of house hunting, I settled in to make my grandmother’s German cheesecake. This was a first (although I have a vague recollection of making it years ago once but it did not come out well at all).

And since I have the counter space in my temporary kitchen, that I did not have in the old house, Little Miss KitchenAid is now always in place and ready to go. And I’m obsessed – spent the most of last night looking up recipes to make just to use it! C certainly isn’t complaining – it’s a nice treat for someone who usually does all the cooking to have me obsessed with a kitchen appliance.

Remember how happy I was when I got it for Christmas last year? (little did I know I'd be so intimidated by it that it would be almost a year before it was put to use)

Here she is – unveiled for the first time.

A work in progress as my cheesecake fixings come together.

And the finished product!

Thanksgiving Shots

Happy Belated Thanksgiving everyone! Another holiday has passed and I can't believe it's less than a month until Christmas - so much to do! Where does the time go?

I wasn't my usual camera-happy self on Thursday, so I only have a couple of shots to share.

Here's C cutting the turkey at mom's

And of course a photo (OK, a couple) of the little guy with my Dad!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Early Sesame Street: Adults Only? You've Got to Be Kidding Me

I don’t know what to think. The New York Times this week ran an article about the “Sesame Street” we all enjoyed as children. The article, which is highly cynical, actually talks about how the original “Sesame Street” is now available on DVD but it has a warning on it: Adults Only. Are you kidding me?

“What they did to us was hard-core. Man, was that scene rough. The masonry on the dingy brownstone at 123 Sesame Street, where the closeted Ernie and Bert shared a dismal basement apartment, was deteriorating. Cookie Monster was on a fast track to diabetes. Oscar’s depression was untreated. Prozacky Elmo didn’t exist,” said the author. And let’s not forget that only Big Bird can see Mr. Snuffleupagus – thus he’s hallucinating.

Now, I for one never thought anything like this as a child growing up watching these episodes. But then again, in the 1970s we weren’t exposed to things that are so mainstream today.

The article talks about a segment in the first issue where Gordon brought Sally home to meet his wife and gave her milk and cookies. And in today’s world, a child going home with a man to meet his wife is just frightening. Why? Because the world we live in today is a pretty scary place to be.

My mom always says she gave me the gift of fear – and we both believe it’s a good one. And we do laugh about it – but know deep down this is the greatest gift she could ever give me. Not a fear of everything, but more of a fear to be aware of your surroundings at all times. When the other kids used to cut through the woods on the way to elementary school, it took me a little longer because mom told me not to walk in the woods and I never did.

As a little girl on my necklace chain I had very small gold whistle – the size of a charm. The idea was if my mom and I were ever separated while out shopping, I was to stop and blow the whistle. I have a very vivid memory of losing my mom in a department store and looking up and seeing all these women with the same blonde hair but couldn’t find my mom. I called out to her. Nothing. A woman came over, took me by the arm and told me she’d help me. No way! I started blowing the whistle (while this woman, who honestly in 1974 only wanted to help me find my mom looked at me like I was a lunatic). All of a sudden an arm went up from across the store and my mom called out “Elizabeth, I hear you – I’m coming.” Now that was pretty forward thinking on my mom’s part if you think about it.

Today I always check under my car as I approach it (you never know when someone might be hiding underneath it). I always check the far back of my SUV before opening the door. I walk with my key stuck out between my fingers in case I need a quick way to defend myself from a predator. I lock my doors, don’t let any strangers in my house and overall think I’ve lived a pretty safe existence.

While this author goes on to explain why the original Sesame Street series is carrying this adult only rating, it makes me nostalgic and disappointed at the same time. Those decades were a lot different then the one we are living in now. The world was a friendlier place, people weren’t abducting children and doing horrible things to them, terrorism wasn’t something we thought about on a daily basis and people socialized with their neighbors, said hello to passers-by on the street and left their doors unlocked. I think watching these early episodes of Sesame Street are no different than watching 1950s television programs. They are a reminder of the world we used to live in and a refreshing break from a world where we are always looking over our shoulders.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I'm Not Crazy

So yesterday I posted about the fact one of the houses high on our radar screen felt to me as if it had a bad vibe to it. In fact, that was one of the reasons that turned me off to it completely when we first looked at it. And I didn’t feel crazy about it because I’ve always had a sixth sense – ever since I was a little girl – and it comes and goes and that’s the way it is. Plus when I sensed it the first time we looked, my realtor felt it, too. Though C I swear thought we were both nuts.

In any case, we went back to take another look at the house last night. It is after all a great value, a giant house (2400 sq ft), is on more than an acre of land and is only 17 years old.

So we did and I had to admit, I wasn’t having too much of that feeling last night. Until I went upstairs. While it wasn’t super bad, I did get a bad vibe. I was talking to our realtor last night while C was walking around checking the outside of the house and I asked him if he felt anything this time. He said, “not like last time.” Again, not so bad, but I was starting to feel a little crazy. It's a great house. Am I willing to give it up because of a "feeling?"

Today I was on a mission. To find out EXACTLY what happened there to make me feel that way. And here is what I found out thanks to a little detective work. The police were called 10 times in 10 years for domestics. Absolutely horrible and these people had three children. I can’t image how horrible it was inside that house.

On a lighter note, no one died in it and I think this beautiful home just wants a happy family to live in it. Hopefully if all goes well, we’ll be putting in an offer this week. I’ll keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

How Do You Choose?

Another day another house panic. We looked at a really beautiful split level in a nice neighborhood on Sunday (along with seven other houses). There’s really nothing wrong with it. Brand new kitchen, beautiful floors, ¾ of an acre of land, a garage, but I think, personally, that the bedrooms are too small. Of course our old house had huge bedrooms and some of the other houses (close to 50) we have seen have had larger ones as well. But overall it’s well kept – well loved, and very attractive.

On the flip side there is another house we looked at quite a while ago. It’s a split gambrel cape. (which works out for both of us as I love capes and C is a big fan of splits). It has more than an acre of land. A front to back living room and a front to back master. When we looked at it many months ago I felt like I got a bad vibe from it. I’m pretty intuitive and maybe my intuition was off that day, but frankly I didn’t like how it felt. But it’s in a great neighborhood in a location I want to live in – and every other house on the cul de sac also boasts more than an acre of land each. It’s large, sunny, everything. But I poo-pooed it for quite some time.

The past few weeks I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. The size, the yard, the location. Ah. So I did some research and no, contrary to my initial belief no one died in it. It was a divorce, just as C suspected and that’s why it is on the market.

Here’s the problem. We are going to look at both of them again tonight after work. The first one the owners are anxious (even though they just put it on the market) because they have found a new home and want to move. The second one is empty and has been for quite some time and has been on the market even longer. They are both the same price. Though the second one is assessed for less than the asking price and the second one is assessed for almost $100k more.

It’s hard. I feel like the split is smaller than some of the other houses we’ve looked at – but it had a good family feel. Then again it’s well decorated, painted in tones I would have chosen and lived in. The other is empty and begging for a family to move in.

Decisions decisions. Going to head over to both tonight with an open mind and hopefully come to some decisions. We’ll see. Whoever would have thought this would be so difficult and there would be so much to choose from?

Friday, November 02, 2007

My Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s officially Autumn and we officially have a break. We are settled into my grandmother’s house while we continue our house search and for the first time in quite some time I’m at peace. There’s a nice feeling knowing there is no more rush to pack, move boxes and be sure not to send anything you might need to storage for an indefinite amount of time.

But the best part for me is it’s November – which I’ve always enjoyed, but after meeting C it’s an even better month for me.

This is my favorite time of year. The crisp autumn chill (though this morning in Boston it felt a lot like winter). The crunch of leaves under my feet. The smell of a fire from neighboring chimneys after the sun goes down. And it’s apple season! Every year since I was a little girl I’ve spent my fall weekends making apple pies. My great Auntie Eva taught me and made a tradition out of it – baking apple pies and watching old movies. To this day I still make sure I have an old classic on while baking them in her memory.

November is also very close to my heart as C and I met this month and had our first date. What more could a girl ask for than to meet her perfect guy during her favorite time of the year (and yes, C is a BIG fall fan too!)

And (I know many find it annoying) but my other absolute favorite thing about the month of November? Come the week of Thanksgiving there’s a radio station in Boston that plays 24 hours of Christmas music everyday until Christmas. I simply can’t get enough of it! Though I know, unless some miracle happens and we buy, paint, replace carpeting and move into a new house before Christmas, this will be the first year in a very long time that I won’t be trimming my tree with my heirloom ornaments or decorating my mantel. It’s bittersweet – but will be worth the wait knowing when we do find our perfect new home it will be a place where we can build new holiday traditions year after year after year.