thankful list | February 2015

On our way to Grandma Marilyn's 85th birthday party. #queenforaday

01. good food and conversation with our community group coach.
02. made-from-scratch bananas foster Pop Tarts.
03. a Super Bowl watch party with great friends.
04. reading books to G.
05. a surprise Patriots win (because Monday at the office would be rough if they lost).
06. new gloves, because my old pair didn't keep my fingers warm.
07. a sweet new solid wood ironing board, half off, to replace the old rickety one Ian had in college.
08. a winter season clothing swap, organized by a coworker.
09. the Patriots parade (because we've added it to our Bruins and Sox parade experiences).
10. yoga.
11. Oscar shorts at the Coolidge.
12. Bootstrap Compost, for allowing us city folk to give our food scraps a new life.
13. a photoshoot for the Sasaki project in Dudley Square (a rare opportunity to be a project model!)
14. a fun party to celebrate a coworker's birthday.
15. Super Cluckin' Sunday at Cutty's.
16. the option to work from home (because snowstorm, again).
17. community group (despite the mountains of snow).
18. a catering tasting at the office (a perk to being a studio assistant: being courted by caterers).
19. Valentine's Day conversation heart sugar cookies with a catering order from Fuel.
20. a Valentine's Day date with Ian (brunch at The Merchant and an attempt to climb the MIT Alps).
21. getting our friend Anna as our server on said Valentine's Day date.
22. making the DR meeting happen virtually, when the snow prevented us from getting outside.
23. a holiday (i.e. no commuting through crazy snow on the Make Believe Transit Authority!).
24. far exceeding my step goal after walking from Kenmore to Coolidge (thanks, no-show C Line shuttle).
25. hosting Dane, Micki, and Grandma Judy before their 6 a.m. flight to Kansas.
26. meeting another one of Ian's favorite cab drivers.
27. safe and on-time flights back to Kansas.
28. catching up with family, some of whom we haven't seen in years.
29. fun stories at Grandma Marilyn's 85th birthday party (flopper stoppers and Fudgesicles).
30. unexpectedly visiting my parents while driving Ren and Emily halfway back to Boulder before the storm.
31. a safe drive back to Wichita despite the snowstorm.
32. no damage to the rental car after getting rear-ended bumped at a red light on our way to the airport.
33. two more safe and (mostly) on-time flights.
34. a ride home from Logan (thanks, Wilbs!).
35. K-State beating KU!
36. ordering Filipino food from JnJ Turo Turo for the office (for a discussion of our project work there).
37. carpooling with a coworker who we just learned is a neighbor.
38. great conversations to and from the office.
39. a clean apartment.
40. a night at the Paint Bar with coworkers (all our paintings turned out so well!).
41. the Kids Baking Championship.
42. Ingrid's surprise birthday party.


and the 2015 nominees are...

the coolidge

For the seventh year in a row, Ian and I watched the Oscar-nominated animated shorts (our fifth year watching at the Coolidge Corner Theatre). Our prediction record is now 3 for 4, counting just the years we've seen all the animated shorts. Here's hoping we're 4 for 5 after tonight!

Me and My Moulton — This was a delightful recounting of a memorable summer for a young Norwegian girl and her two sisters growing up in the 60s. Their quirky and unconventional parents, both modern architects, often leave their daughter uncomfortable, wishing they could be more like other families. But over the course of that summer she learns to appreciate her family, quirks and all. I loved both the storytelling style and the bright, simple, yet expressive animation. Ian and I relate closely to the parents' design sense, which made us enjoy the short even more. (Someday, we are going to be those parents. #notpregnant)

Feast — This year's Disney short is a boy-meets-girl story told from the perspective of the boy's dog — more specifically, the dog's food bowl. Food is love, so reflecting the story of a relationship through a series of meals is an intriguing concept. However, the pet perspective reminded us of Adam and Dog, a 2013 animated short nominee. The animation also felt very similar to Disney's Paperman from two years ago. Like Paperman, this short was sweet but a bit contrived, and the ending seemed too cliché.

The Bigger Picture — Two brothers deal with the responsibility of caring for their aging mother. Her increasing dependency changes her relationship with each of her sons, and also reveals the brothers' differences. Most impressive is the stop motion animation of the characters, painted life-sized, frame-by-frame, on the walls of the rooms, and the way they interact with the three-dimensional rooms and the objects the contain. This unique technique combined with the creators' willingness to address such a difficult topic makes this a serious contender for the Oscar.

A Single Life — An album mysteriously turns up at the door of a young woman, and it turns out to be, quite literally, the record of her life. It's a hilarious two minutes of film that still achieves a poignant message about what can happen when we're in a hurry to get to the next phase in life. And the soundtrack is fantastic.

The Dam Keeper — A young pig has inherited his father's job as dam keeper, protecting his small town from the ominous dark cloud on the other side of the wall. His job is thankless and unappreciated, and the other animals at school bully the dirty pig. When a new student appears at school, the pig begins to hope he might not be so alone. But with friendship comes vulnerability. The story touches on important issues of bullying, loneliness, and metal health. Beautiful and epic, this is my pick to take home the Oscar.

Highly Commended Shorts

Sweet Cocoon — A well-fed caterpillar needs some help squeezing into her tiny cocoon. Two kind bugs work hard to assist her, with surprising results. I loved the almost slapstick comedy, and the humor of a lady working hard to wear a too-small dress translates so well into the insect world.

Footprints — From the creator of The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger is a story of a man who wakes up in the middle of the night to a crash through his window. He grabs his gun to track down the intruder, and with each new clue, the imagined monster grows larger. This was a dark short with a deep twist, the meaning of which we're still debating.

The Duet — Glen Keane, an animator who worked on The Little MermaidPocahontas, and many other Disney classics, created this short for Google's new virtual world app. A love story is told in one continuous spiraling shot, twisting to follow the two characters crossing paths until they finally unite. It's a beautiful animated short, which I can imagine is even more impressive when experienced in the viewer for which it was created.

Bus Story — A woman has an idyllic dream of life as a school bus driver, picking up happy children and waving at parents while rolling along the beautiful Canadian countryside. When she gets the opportunity to drive the only school bus in town, she soon feels the reality of a temperamental boss, charmless passengers, and an unwieldy bus. This was a delightfully funny short, and I particularly loved the narrator.

As always, we enjoyed all of the shorts, and highly recommend catching them if you have the opportunity. Have fun watching the Oscars, and may the best films win!

2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014


77.3 inches and counting

We thought the January 26-27 blizzard dumped a lot of snow on Boston. And it did: 24.6 inches made it the sixth biggest snowstorm for the city. (I can't find snowfall totals for Brookline, but based on other nearby totals, I'm guessing we actually got more than Boston proper.)

Post-blizzard commuting with @scherling200 and #llbean. #24inches #moresnowtonight

And then the past two weeks happened, setting record after record (making national news and prompting the Boston Globe to create a fun infographic for our current season total). In 18 days, we've had 71.8 inches — more than two feet higher than the winter season average. The snowstorm this past weekend is now Boston's seventh biggest. The MBTA is struggling. Schools are cancelling vacation days to make up for snow days. Commutes are twice as long as usual.

It's off to work we go. #llbean #76inchesandcounting #makeitstop

And there's another storm on the way. Thanks goodness for L.L. Bean winter gear and a long weekend.

Curious about our past snow adventures in Boston? 2013 still stands as the fifth biggest snowstorm. And winter 2011 was impressive as well with a season total of 81 inches, 4 inches short of maxing out the Boston Globe's Shaq-o-meter (we documented 20 inches and 70.1 inches).
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