How to halloween up your pumpkin

October 21, 2006 at 2:11 pm (general)

We carefully choose this big one from a pile on the back of a trailer down in Easton. It took a long time and this one was choosen for it’s roundness, sturdy stalk and good orange colour. It is all together personal choice, the lady next to us was looking for a tall thin one.


So we have our big orange pumpkin. This picture shows the bad side, but don’t worry we’ll cut on the good side, plus it will be dark so whats the difference. You’ll also need a knife, one big tough one and one little one. We used a swiss army knife and it worked pretty well. First you have to cut a hole in the top so you can scoop out the guts. Like how we did in the photo below;


Next start pulling all the seeds and stringy bits out. If you want to go for the full experience you should roast those seeds in the oven and eat them. This is hungry work.  You might be surprised to see how dry and gross this pumpkin looks inside. You’ll quickly loose the idea you had of making a million pumpkin pies out of this baby. This pumpkin’s innards are like straw.


Next is the fun part. Choose your face. Some clever people do shapes, like whole cats or witches stirring a cauldron. Be spontaneous but don’t get ahead of yourself. We decided to do a cat face. If you want to be true to tradition you should do a scary dead man face because the story is that some guy sold his soul to the devil, wanted it back and walked around the earth with his head in his hands trying to find it. Anyway we did a cat. It is a good idea to scrape out as much of the innards of the side you are going to carve on as possible. It makes it easier to do. Draw the face on first and cut around the bits you want to light up.

Lets skip that hard and tricky part and go to the end result…


Voila! A very unscary cat. We munched his face up a bit – we should have made it a bit higher up! But if you turn on a torch, (a candle is even better) and put it inside old pumpkin head and turn out the lights….





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Street cleaning

October 12, 2006 at 12:59 pm (Uncategorized)

Street cleaning, move your car from the even-numbered side, you will be tagged and towed.

Street cleaning, move your car from the even-numbered side, you will be tagged and towed.

Street cleaning, move your car from the even-numbered side, you will be tagged and towed.

Street cleaning, move your car from the even-numbered side, you will be tagged and towed.

Street cleaning, move your car from the even-numbered side, you will be tagged and towed.

Street cleaning, move your car from the even-numbered side, you will be tagged and towed.

Street cleaning, move your car from the even-numbered side, you will be tagged and towed.

This loudhailer car drives past our window every two weeks at about 7 or 7.30 am – alternating its warning between the even and odd numbered sides of the street. I’m not sure it is really needed, as they put up millions of signs, and this street cleaning and towing has probably been going on for years and years. People who don’t know about it probably don’t live here.  Type the phrase into google and you will get the Cambridge department of public works. But at least the huge festering bag of garbage outside our building has been picked up…


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A ramble

October 11, 2006 at 7:32 am (Uncategorized)

I am quite tired today (we went out to a concert last night), and I am finding it hard to write.  Most of the people I speak to, other than Mark are from the rest of the world where english is a second language.  In all of the women’s groups I go to I am the only native english speaker, and of course in the english class it is the same.  I find after hanging out for a few hours my english sort of retreats and becomes a bit funny!  I have just come back from my knitting class and a two hour lunch at a cafe renowned for it’s desserts where I met three women, all from my knitting class.  I love how the four of us sat around the little table, our ages spanning three generations (at a stretch perhaps), and our home countries dotted around the globe; Russia, Spain, Japan, and New Zealand.  I am generally the youngest in the group because I ignored the rules to join, it is supposed to be restricted to the partners of staff.  I don’t think it matters.

We are thinking of visiting Japan on our way back here next year.  I think that would be pretty exciting, I have met a lot of women from Japan and will be able to get some good advice on where to go, and we’ll have a place to stay seen as Mark’s cousin and wife are living over there.  Not for sure we’ll go, but maybe…

So anyhow.  I am going to try to learn french again.  I don’t have a lot of time.  My days and hours rush by really quickly and are full of trying to study, to knit, paint, make a quilt, read books, go to these women’s meetings, english class, cleaning our house (which takes ages because we both are as messy as children),  and reminding Mark to clean our house, planning holidays and making sure we do and see Boston stuff, writing letters, emailing.  What a list, sorry to bore you!  What was my point?  I am going to try to learn French because I only speak one language and a teeny bit of Maori, and I could use it when we go to Canada, well at least when we visit Quebec.

Here is my top five list of things in Boston I heart so far…

1. The big deal made of fall; the fall weather,’leaf peeping’, the pumpkins, the apple cider, halloween etc

2. The chance to meet lots of ‘magnificent’ (that is really the word to describe…) women.

3. Birds and squirrels even if the squirrels i have seen lately make a noise like they are seriously diseased with rabies or something

4. The bookstores

5. Burdicks hot chocolate

5*This is sort of cheating because I haven’t been to one, but I think I like the way that Inn’s are decorated.  Over the top ‘Laura Ashley’ florals.  I wonder if it is just New England?  I am booking a holiday in Maine and we got to choose between rooms named after flowers, all themed in the flowers…

Things I don’t love so far…

1. The lack of fish, and the high mercury levels in seafood

2. Pedestrian crossings; they are everywhere but cars don’t stop.

3. Starbucks & Au bon pain
4.  High fructose cornsyrup in everything

5.  The stinky sewer smell on some street corners


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the blog holiday…

October 9, 2006 at 3:16 pm (Uncategorized)

We haven’t written in here for over a week now!  I’ll have to pay more attention.  Tomorrow we’ll write a long exciting entry on things we’ve been doing. There are some stories over at this site. I wonder if we should get rid of one of these sites; that would make it a bit easier.  hmmm.  maybe….

In summary of our week: Autumn is a fun month in the USA.  It is lovely and warm, and orange.  People are excited about pumpkins and apples, and also Halloween coming up, and Thanksgiving. xoxo sarah

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Walden State Reservation

October 1, 2006 at 12:30 pm (general)







Our best American day so far.  We walked right around the pond with chipmunks scattering along the path, and watched a man catch rainbow trout from his dingy.  It was even warm enough to swim, the water was heated up by that hot summer and so clear.  Like Lake Taupo, but warm…

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A museum is a zoo for old stuff

September 25, 2006 at 9:09 am (Uncategorized)

It is only four thirty here, but it is almost dark and really humid, I think there must be a thunderstorm on the way, or else it is about to pour with rain. We walked around the Museum of Natural History yesterday, Mark skipped his work and came as well. There was an exhibition of Native American history, based on some early European Immigrants Lewis and Clark (who I imagine as a couple similar to Lois & Clark, but who were actually two men..), who travelled around America ‘collecting’ things from tribes. Quite a few of the exhibits had been returned to the people they belonged to and so signs were hung that said something like “returned under the Graves protection Act” or something like that. I think that was an act passed in 1990 by GWBush’s Dad. There was also exhibits of Native American dance today, and the start of a sense that the original exhibition of the ‘other’ was being reshaped and given meaning by Native Americans today. I especially liked how a man had made a print out of all the Peabody museums aquisitions and drawn pictures of people on horses over it. I am not sure about what those pictures mean, but I think it is like an image of your ancestors.

I am really interested in ‘folk art’ at the moment, what is folk art, when does it become art, and I loved all the displays of quilts and weaving. I am reading a great book at the moment called Women, Art, and Society which is about women as artists and subjects of art. I won’t talk about it here. Anyway. There was a display of South American quilts or ‘mola’ which girls start doing when they are three years old. They were really beautiful; I liked how there would be tiny little stitches on the main quilt and then around the edges young kids must have practiced their stitches because they were not so neat.

The main attraction, well what I was most excited about seeing was the display of glass flowers. I really love natural science, and I especially love when it is combined with art. A man and his son made glass models of flowers and displayed them like those botanical illustrations, with the seed, a cross section of the seed, the flower and roots, and the fruit.



I also loved this display which is sort of macarbe because it is beatles pinned to a board. You can probably see the same sort of thing at any museum, did you know that beatles are the most biologically diverse group in the world (i think…)


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Dear everybody,

September 21, 2006 at 7:47 am (Uncategorized)

An online weather site said we can expect about eight inches of snow at Christmas. The heaviest snowfalls are supposed to be in January and February which just sounds really weird. I think snow at Christmas is much more acceptable because until recently I think the New Zealand psyche, well especially the Pakeha one, felt a bit lacking for not having yule time snowmen around. I mean, you could go to a town in New Zealand and find pretend snow painted windows while outside people are in togs and jandals.

We are planning what we are going to do for Christmas this year. It will be our first one not in NZ, and our first one together. We had thought of going up to Montreal but are going off that idea because if we go up to Toronto next year we’ll be pretty close to Qubec. Also on our list: New York, Portsmouth, Northhampton, Cape Cod, Stay here, Vermont. I’d quite like to go skiing, and stay in an Inn with a fireplace.

Embracing the neo-craft storm that has swept the western world, I have joined a knitting club, a quilting club, a book club, and an international women’s club. All of this happened today at an open house full of women, mostly from around the world. There are evidently no male partners of staff at Harvard, or else they are all scared to come out, or don’t need a neighbors club. Or maybe they just aren’t into knitting, quilting, and books and things.I guess there was other stuff, conversation groups, a memoir writing club… I think I will go to the knitting club for sure because I have some wool, and no needles and they said they’ll give you some and plus it is only an hour at lunch time, one day a week. I found out the first book on the book club list is War and Peace which I think is a huge huge book which would need to be read Oct 6, so I might skip that. So now I am all domesticated. I sort of feel a bit weird about the possibility that it is only women who have come along with their partners from other countries. But that can’t be true…

I also have an application here to do a class in Art and Spirituality which sounds like a fantastic hippy fest:

Through the responsive medium of clay participants will explore the spiritual source within their being and the channels through which this source can be visually expressed.”
The last pottery class I did I sat next to a freaky, freaky, guy who made a giant 3D swastika from his clay, and in the following class brought along a pair of his white (really greying) Y-front underwear to model his next piece on.

I hope I haven’t missed the close off date for this class… x from SB

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pretty & poor

September 20, 2006 at 12:03 pm (Uncategorized)

Today there was a teenage beauty queen amongst the usual homless guys, shaking her cup for money to go to ‘nationals’.  She looked about fourteen, had long blonde hair, a little dress, a big white sash, high heels, and a tiara.  I wished I could’a taken a photo.

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back to work

September 19, 2006 at 2:34 am (Uncategorized)

Today I am back ‘at work’ after a few days off showing our first ever visitors around Boston. Back at work pretty much means in the lounge at our huge fake wood top imitation ‘queen anne’ (? Mum said it was that) table with my books set up to meet my deadline for my thesis which doesn’t come up for another seven or eight months. I am going to change my ‘deadline’ to December because that would be more fun.

So I am not sure how well we did showing the peeps around. Pretty much because I hadn’t shown myself around so good; so it was more of a practice so the next people (Katie and Ben!!!!! wooohooo!!!) will have the most AMAZING time of their lives. It will start off by a non-visit to Salem with a special stay clear given to the ever so tacky Salem Witch Museum. Although we did get to see a real witch out there who had a spiral tatoo on her face, big white hair, relics from her past life, and a pretty smart black cat. WEIRD (okay I missed her,(curses) I was too entranced by the snakeskin you could buy to do a spell). I guess the weirdest thing was that none of us got taken by aliens; Salem is supposed to have the highest per capita rate of alien abduction!

I haven’t been out to Concord yet (we are going in two weeks look at the mammals they have there!! foxes!!!) but I think that place could be the place to go.

It is pretty quiet without Rose and Rob, I wanted them to stay and flat with us but I think the futon we have might be a short stay incentive. It may also be the military style sheets, but was most definately not the hot chocolate, the ice-cream, or the dried mango. Okay so should do some work. Right now.


Rob gifting Rose a flower at Salem. Rob’s face is the funniest part, but I won’t show it on here in case they object to internet fame.


Mark, unaware Rob is about to pull a sneak attack on him. Also note Mark’s clutch of ‘free’ newspapers. There is one of everykind in that pile. He was hoarding them like he was a homeless man who needed something to sleep on.

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September 12, 2006 at 9:39 am (Uncategorized)

Everything is sorted. Well most things at least. We have a full house of furniture, thanks to a huge sale that a Harvard group has been holding over the past few days. Got a really good computer desk, some nice chairs, another bookshelf. I am typing on a nice keyboard I have to plug into my laptop when I am at home, listening to national radio over the wireless internet we now have. Our other house finally got rented, so we won’t be homeless or in huge debt at the end of the year. Classes are interesting, if a little abstract. We are getting a schedule going, a shopping routine. Sarah works in the lounge, mostly laying about on the couch, and I sit at my desk in the bedroom, looking out the window at the trees and redbrick buildings. Harvard square is commercial, bustling, full of posturing, begging, busking, selling, lobbying. There are 3 of the same chain of bakery within 5 minutes walk, and 2 of a pharmacy within 2 minutes. But there are no McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Subway as far as I can see. We have found some nice food places, mostly mexican. There is a downstairs bar that seems stereotypically American – sorta like Cheers but more busy and with loud music; I like it cause you can get nice food for half-price at certain times. The beer is pretty good as well. Ok, those are things that are sorted. Better go try to sort the last big thing I need to cross off the “to do” list – my dissertation…

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