Dear Present-Day Boston,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot today, even though I don’t really know you — I have fond memories of 1979-1983 Boston, but I haven’t been back in years, or maybe decades. There are probably a lot of people like me, who lived with (or across the river from) previous versions of you and were transformed from clueless teenagers into slightly less clueless adults. I loved the time I spent with you, and I just wanted you to know that I’m thinking of you, and I hope you’re okay.

I Am So Incredibly Good At This

Graph showing mood and real and perceived competence

One thing (well, really the only thing) I love about being truly incompetent at home repairs is that when I do manage to complete a DIY project, no matter how small, I get a huge feeling of accomplishment completely out of proportion to my actual achievement. I still remember how giddy I was the first time I replaced a washer in a kitchen faucet (with only three trips to Home Depot!) and the heady feeling of euphoria I got when I assembled my Ikea chair.
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Better Living Through Candy: Creative and Practical Uses For Halloween Leftovers

It’s the day after Halloween, and chances are you either have more leftover candy than you know what to do with or know someone who does. Traditionally, people in this position are advised to either eat the candy (but not all at once, and possibly chopped up and baked into another dessert or sprinkled over ice cream) or give it away (to coworkers or to charity). This year, why not try something different?
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Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Here are some simple tips that should help keep it safe and fun for everyone.

1. When planning your children’s trick-or-treating route, stick to residential neighborhoods. Try to avoid deserted industrial areas, construction sites, and toxic waste dumps.

novelty contact lenses2. Novelty contact lenses can add a new dimension to a Halloween costume.  Please get yours from a licensed eye care professional; resist the temptation to create your own using an empty plastic water bottle, a razor blade, and a set of colored markers.
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Sentiments I’m Incapable of Expressing on Facebook

Recently, there have been a few things I’ve wanted to say to some of my Facebook friends but haven’t been able to, because of technical or other issues with the Facebook framework. Here are some examples.

“I’m happy for you, but I don’t care who else is happy for you”. I'm happy for you, but I don't care who else is happy for youThis happens to me all the time — someone posts a Facebook update announcing a pregnancy, birth, graduation, or other news, and I foolishly click the “like” button or add a “Congrats!” comment. And then, for the rest of the day, I get a constant barrage of Facebook notifications. I click on each one expecting lavish praise for my latest astute observation that my car is dirty or that bees exist, only to have my hopes dashed when I realize it’s yet another person adding a “Congrats!” comment of their own.
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My Car is Really Dirty

car in river

My car is dirty. Really, really dirty. If someone were to steal my car and replace it with a car-shaped pile of dirt, I probably wouldn’t notice until I tried to open the door. car taking a bathI’m tempted to drive my car into the nearest body of water and give it a nice long soak before washing it, as the owner of the car in this photo apparently did. I say “apparently” because she claimed she drove into a river because her GPS told her to — but seriously, if the car was clean, what made the water turn so brown?
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Vampire Bee Update

This probably won’t make much sense if you haven’t read my earlier post about vampire bees.

A yellow jacketI’ve never understood why, in most vampire fiction, everyone conspires to keep the existence of vampires secret. It makes sense for the vampires to do this, of course, but why would the human vampire hunters go along with it? Wouldn’t it make more sense to educate the public about the existence of vampires and the steps we can take to protect ourselves?
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Vampire Bees

Vampire bee from the 1931 Dracula movie.

Vampire bee from the 1931 Dracula movie.I’ve been trying to get a picture or video of the bees on my patio, with no success. No matter how many bees are around, I always wind up with a picture completely devoid of bees; in fact, I don’t even see them when I look through the viewfinder. This is probably because I’m taking the pictures from a distance (because they’re bees, and they’ve already stung me once), or because I’m not a very good photographer, or because my cellphone camera just isn’t up to the job of photographing small insects flying rapidly with bad lighting conditions from a distance.

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. But no matter how hard I try to rationalize, I just can’t ignore the fact that the simplest explanation is that I’m dealing with vampire bees.
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An Open Letter to the Bees Swarming on My Front Porch

Dear Bees,

I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time, so let me start by saying thank you for all the hard work you put into pollination and honey production. Also, I love the expression “hive mind”, which never would have been coined if it weren’t for you guys (well, I suppose someone might have used that phrase, but it would have referred to an itchy allergic reaction and wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting). So, thanks again.
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