Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Truthfully, and probably obviously, it’s not a big holiday here for us, but I am down for any excuse to enjoy some of my favorite things! After work, a friend from up the street came over so we could catch up a bit and we enjoyed margaritas and chips and salsa. Thank was about the extent of my “celebration” LOL! I did make chicken quesadillas for dinner, too. Does that count? In my opinion any time you get to spend time with your favorite people is a good things, so hopefully you were able to enjoy as well. 

Favorite Old Magazines

Favorite old cooking magazines At work, our Friends Group is in the midst of organizing our annual book sale, and although we are pretty specific in what types of donations we accept, people don’t always pay attention. We don’t sell magazines, for example, but we still get magazine donations. When that happens, we just put them out for free. Well it was my lucky day because someone had donated a small stack of “Quick Cooking” magazines from the early 2000s! When I saw them on the freebie table in Town Hall I scooped them right up.

I just love old Taste of Home magazines (actually, it is the only magazine I currently subscribe to), and when they published Quick Cooking, it was one that I made sure to pick up in the grocery store. There are so many good recipes in these magazines. I love that they are pretty simple to make and don’t usually require “boutique” ingredients. Don’t get me wrong — I love experimenting in the kitchen — but most days I just want to be able to put something tasty and filling on the dinner table! I am saving this stack to enjoy while relaxing this weekend!

Reminiscing about Boston

The other afternoon, out of seemingly nowhere, I started thinking about this late-night diner I would occasionally go to back when I lived in Somerville, right out of college. It was called Dolly’s and it was on Highland Ave. If I remember correctly, I didn’t even open until 11:00 or 11:30 PM. It was where we’d get coffee and French fries, or sometimes eggs. After a quick Internet search I found a blog post (scroll to #44) and an article about this establishment.

My mind then started to wander to all the other places I frequented circa 1997-1998. It was a great time to live in Boston, and Cambridge/Somerville in particular. Utne Reader had named Somerville “The Paris of the 90s,” a moniker we loved to bring up. 

Always having been a huge diner fan, I also remember Sunday mornings at Rosebud. They had amazing pancakes!!! Drew and I went there more than a few times when we first started dating.

I also remember a Mexican place called Picante — this was long before Chipotle was a thing — and they had amazing bean burritos. Other Davis Square restaurants I loved were Joshua Tree and Redbones. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention The Burren. Oh, The Burren! Every Wednesday I’d meet up with a few friends from UMass who were living in the area and we’d slog down pints of freshly-pulled Guinness and munch on fries with malt vinegar.

Oh! And Someday Café! I spent so much time sipping lattes there and grabbing coffees to go on my way into work. It had such a cool vibe. 

I also remember there was some discount chain book store — Books-a-Million or something like that. I can’t really remember. But Drew and I bought Christmas stockings there because they were so cheap. They were these cozy knit stockings and mine had an angel and his had a toy soldier. We still put them up every holiday to this day!

I also would occasionally go to the Somerville Theatre. I remember seeing The Sweet Hereafter there one afternoon. Davis Square was really this neat little community, and because Tufts is nearby it still had that college feel I enjoyed in Amherst. I think it made the transition from college to “real life” easier in that regard. I also had a great apartment that I shared with the friend of a college friend. It was like right in Davis Square so I can only imagine how much the rent must be now… so much has changed there (just like everywhere else I guess). 

I definitely feel lucky to have had that experience though and as you can tell I have lots of fuzzy feelings for Boston. The last few times we were out that way last year, Drew and I pretty much stuck around Boston itself (though we did walk around Harvard Square on one trip). Next time I’d like to take the T out just a little bit further and reminisce in person. 

What on the menu this week?

  • Monday: Honey mustard pork chops, loaded mashed potatoes, green salad
  • Tuesday: Chicken with spinach & mushrooms, rice medley, salad
  • Wednesday: Burgers, oven fries, zucchini
  • Thursday: Chicken parmesan, steamed broccoli
  • Friday: Chicken quesadillas, black bean soup, fruit salad
  • Saturday: Pizza & salad maybe?
  • Sunday: Pot roast (bumped from last week), mashed potatoes, green beans

Surprise flowers


Today two of our wonderful patrons surprised the library staff with this gorgeous bouquet of flowers for National Library Week to show their appreciation for what we do for the community. And as I told these lovely ladies, we couldn’t fulfill our mission without support from people like them. So grateful to live and work where I do!

Picking up my pen

Calligraphy practice

Just about 10 years ago I came home from a visit to my parents’ house with a small box of my dad’s old calligraphy stuff. Like most girls who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I had spent plenty of time playing around with “calligraphy markers” and block lettering. I always enjoyed that and couldn’t wait to see what would happen with an actual dip pen. The result was this (December 11, 3013): 

December-11-2013 Calligraphy

Yikes! I would play around a bit but it was not until 2015 when I really got serious about it. This time I decided that I was ready to put some effort into it. I started to follow calligraphers on Instagram, I purchased the right tools, studied up, and found myself in love with Engrosser’s Script. This was when “modern calligraphy” was gaining popularity — you know, the bouncy beautiful letters. But as trendy as it was, I was drawn to this classic style.

In 2016 I invested in myself and took a calligraphy workshop taught by the incredibly talented David Grimes and Joi Hunt. That course completely changed the way I thought about lettering and it pushed me in the right direction. Here’s a sample that I lettered in June 2016:


Well, around this time we encountered a series of life events that started to change things: layoffs, new jobs, kids’ school activities, a pandemic… it was like someone had set up dominos and one by one they kept falling. I didn’t have the energy to put into a lettering practice, so by the end of the year it fell by the wayside.

In 2021 I tried a modern calligraphy boot camp, but… it just didn’t feel right. So the pen nibs and bottles of ink were once again relegated to a shelf in my craft room. But lately I have started to get the urge to dust everything off and begin again. So that’s what I did yesterday. 

I mixed up a new batch of walnut ink, I printed out a fresh set of guidelines, I prepped a new nib, and I spent a quiet hour noodling around, becoming reacquainted with the feel of my oblique pen. It wasn’t pretty (certainly not by my standards), but I reminded myself of how long it had been.

Calligraphy practice

In a way, though, it was like riding a bike — I hadn’t forgotten everything. 

Calligraphy practice

A while back there was an Instagram challenge called #handletteredabcs and I’ve decided to work through the alphabet again. Today was a sheet of minuscule a. This took about 30 minutes and I was still working too fast. I need to focus on slowing down, breathing, and my pen grip.

Calligraphy practice

I know I said I was throwing in the towel on Blog365, but maybe I won’t after all… at least for another 35 days since I have 25 letters and 10 digits to go! 😉

… Anyway, I’m excited to start this journey again and see how my work progresses over the next few months! Expect a lot of calligraphy content in the next few months!

A day of puttering around

Today I…

  • Did a load of laundry and hung out my blouses and sweatshirts. (So happy it is clothesline weather!)
  • Went to the bank for a business deposit
  • Grabbed some items at Sam’s Club for a library program
  • Hit Shop Rite & Walmart for a few groceries we were short on (I swear berries don’t last a day – they are just gobbled up!)
  • Came home and had a quick lunch — broccoli cheese soup and a turkey sandwich
  • Practiced calligraphy (more on this tomorrow)
  • Made bacon burgers, fries, and green bean salad for dinner
  • Got into some warm PJs and covered up with like 5 blankets because it was so cold for some reason
  • Watched a few episodes of What We Do in the Shadows before going to bed.