Tuesday, March 31, 2009



Monday, March 30, 2009

So it was Monday.....

It was a better day at work than it could have been. I am working on getting some of the garbage from Friday crushed into a compact little cube and sent away, as it were. Largely I hid out listening to music, running reports and dealing with the flow of people in and out of my office, although it was a bit more sparse than usual. No problem there.

Tonight we rushed home for dinner, then Lou and I headed off to the pool with the McGoughs....they had a family pass that expires tomorrow, and hey! ending a gray and rainy Monday with a swim is awesome. We ran into some other friends and their kids there and had a great time swimming, playing and just laughing. Ahhh. Now I am in my jammies with damp hair.

And at least there was one thing, prior to tonight, that made me laugh out loud: the new outgoing voicemail message a coworker wrote for me....

Hi. You've reached the voicemail of Lori Nason. Leave a message at your own risk, but before you do, please remember that I control your money, and I know where you live. BEEEEEP.

I am a paragon of stellar customer service.

Here's what we did last night. Yeah, that's my man making meatballs.
And I got myself some flowers on Saturday....because yeah.
Lou loves to play Mousetrap, but what she loves even more is gathering all the mice and pretending that they're desperate to get away...."Help! Let us out!" "No, mice! I will catch you! You can't get away!"
Maybe tomorrow the rain will stop for a while and the sun will come out. Now I am seized by the sudden urge to sing: "....when I'm stuck with a day that's gray and loooonely, I just stick out my chin, and grin, and saaaaaayyyyyyy....."

Yikes. I'll just go back to my beer now.

Monday, when you're four


Sunday, March 29, 2009


This is odd: last year I posted a list of books I had read (and finished) over the course of one year, not counting anything I re-read, or began but did not finish. The total from March 2007 to March 2008 was 17, as is this year's total. Maybe 17 is the magic number......

The Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters - Chip Kidd
Married: A Fine Predicament - Anne Roiphe
Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital - Dr. Heidi Squiers Kraft
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto - Michael Pollan
The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History - Katherine Ashenburg
Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex - Mary Roach
The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Raising Children for Fun & Profit - Jill Conner Browne
A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father - Augusten Burroughs
Fidelity (Poems) - Grace Paley
Rock On: An Office Power Ballad - Dan Kennedy
Self-Loathing for Beginners - Lynn Phillips
The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work - Jon Gordon
The Film Club - David Gilmour
I'm Looking Through You; Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir - Jennifer Finney Boylan
Ugly: The True Story of a Loveless Childhood - Constance Briscoe
Hurry Down Sunshine - Michael Greenberg

Lots and lots of memoirs and nonfiction. It's funny, I guess I never realized that I don't read a lot of fiction. I think it's just that people fascinate me, and I really enjoy reading about what brings a person to his/her particular perspective on things. There are people who have done extraordinary things, lived through extraordinary circumstances....sometimes there is truth out there that is far wilder than anything anyone could conjure up.

Of course, if anyone is reading great fiction right now, do tell....I am always looking to add to my long long list of stuff I may or may not ever get to read but will try anyway......

Oh! and in the strange-that-I'm-finding-this-right-now department, here's what I found in the library browse room yesterday:
Elsewhere, U.S.A.: How We Got from the Company Man, Family Dinners and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms and Economic Anxiety - Dalton Conley

You know, it's not as though I have any sort of nostalgia for the 1950s. At all. In the first place, it would be impossible since I wasn't alive then and have zero experience with that societal model short of what I've learned through history classes, pop culture absorption and general anecdotal knowledge. In addition, I am well aware of the evolution our culture has undergone in terms of opportunities for women, and god knows there would be NO WAY I would want to move backward! But I think that the working world (and therefore family life) in this country is evolving in a fairly negative way. I mean, let's be honest: I manage the college financial aid process for a couple of relatively small schools. Why on earth would it be necessary for me to be available on demand? Is there really such a thing as an true emergency in my industry, where someone in my position is concerned? No.

I am not the only one determined to maintain balance in this weird world; I have friends, both male and female, for whom the work-life balance is more of a challenge than I think it should be. For me the question is: continue to push back so that the hamster wheel spins at a reasonable speed, or just get off? I have my ideas.......



Saturday, March 28, 2009

Okay, so I'm not Julia Child

We're going to a dinner party tonight, and I offered to bring a dessert. After the heinous day that was Friday, I opted to follow a piece of culinary wisdom that I read in one of Amanda Hesser's books: go with what you know.

I made chocolate buttermilk cupcakes in a jumbo cupcake pan. I had assistance.
Once they cooled, I split them in half.
I melted some unsweetened chocolate and made the go-to buttercream....

I tested the chocolate to see if it was cool enough to add:
Oh yeah, unsweetened chocolate.

Added the chocolate to the buttercream. There, that's better.
Then I spread a thin layer of chocolate buttercream on the bottom half of each, followed by a heaping tablespoon of raspberry jam. I replaced the tops and then finished with frosting and berries.

Tiny cakes! Yay!

The weekend that saved my head from exploding

So the week was fine, or at least, I managed to keep the work stuff in the you-can't-get-to-me part of my head for four days. Then Friday came.

I'm not going to go into it too much, because I am not going to rehash it. The day was tense and stressful, for many reasons. It ended with a very unpleasant meeting which left me feeling devalued and bled dry. After that, I packed up and left the office at lightning speed.

After some angry tears on the ride home (why must I be one of those people who cries when I am frustrated?), I made up my mind that I was NOT carrying this day into the weekend with me. There is only so much of me that I will allow to be sucked up by my work, no matter what the corporate culture might be. I picked Lou up from school and headed right home. Then I did something I have never done before.

I changed my clothes and immediately got on the treadmill. I went for about 1/2 hour. I even ran.

It was the best thing I could possibly have done.

It had occurred to me as I stewed on my drive over the bridge that my usual responses to stress are maybe not the most healthy. I knew that exercise would absolutely be better for me than eating, or having a drink. This sounds so trite, and so scripted, as I write it...but truth is truth. It's not at all my usual response to the miscellaneous crap we all deal with day to day.

After that, I felt lighter. Euphoric, even. It wasn't until much later, maybe 9:30 or so, when I finally felt like talking to Pete about it. And I felt better, as though I have solutions, afterward, not powerless like I usually do where these things are concerned.

Now if someone could just give me a good way to get rid of a Blackberry......

Saturday Lou


March 27th


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Looking up


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24th


Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm not a fan

Vacation has ended. Truthfully, I really did go into work with an open mind....operating under the theory that you get out what you put in, and that if I showed up full of tired and bile and growling nothing good would come of it. And I think it worked: despite lots of nagging annoyances and other, more pervasive problems, it didn't suck as much as it could have. I spent the first hour of my day in an impromptu meeting with the dean, I listened sympathetically and tried to offer solutions. People came into my office and complained, I listened and nodded. For once I did not absorb the stress of those around me. Still, though, I am wiped out.

After I picked Lou up and came home I made a pasta dish from the April issue of Food & Wine, which came together pretty quickly...penne with roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives and soppressata. Yummy.

I think it might be time to fold some towels and maybe have dessert. Maybe some knitting, and definitely early bedtime. It's cold! and I am sleepy.



Sunday, March 22, 2009

Signs of spring

Because I was none too pleased to see snow falling as I drove home from the grocery store today, and because it's cold, and because I have been incredibly lazy about posting pics from my vacation, I give you proof that it is here (or coming eventually).

Melting ice on the Cocheco

Hey! you can see the whole top of that bench!
Open window
Finally! the earth in our yard....where we will burn things this year
Hydrangea, starting to grow!
....and, some annuals that will be making way for new tenants.
The lilacs are budding, which makes me so happy!
This also makes me happy:



March 21st


Friday, March 20, 2009

This morning


Thursday, March 19, 2009



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 18th




Monday, March 16, 2009



Sunday, March 15, 2009



Saturday, March 14, 2009

Conversation with the Lou

Lou: "What are we listening to?"

Me: B.B. King.

"Who is the singer?"

B.B. King. He plays blues guitar and sings.

"Baby King sings and plays blues guitar?"

B.B.King. Yes, he does.

"B.B. King? I thought you said Baby King."

No, B.B. King.

"Ha ha. That's funny. A baby could be a king, I suppose....a baby could wear a crown..."

Cocheco River


Friday, March 13, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 11th


Tuesday, March 10, 2009



Monday, March 09, 2009

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Goodbye, weekend.....I'll miss you....

So I really should be in bed, but I know it's going to be another one of those nights....where I won't sleep and when I do I will have weird mishmash dreams involving cousins singing at nightclubs and coworkers on TV in Pepsi commercials. I'm tired but the mind, she just keeps going. Here's more random stuff. Let's start with all the things I did not do this weekend:
  • Clean the house. There was no vacuuming, no dusting, no washing of floors. Nope. None.
  • Shop for food. Nope. I picked up a few things on Friday night, but really there needs to be a full-on trip so that we're not scrabbling meals together using odds and ends of frozen vegetables and canned fruit. Cause no one needs to sample pineapple-cauliflower surprise or anything equally nasty.
  • Deal with the clutter (largely paper) that fills the downstairs of the house. Same for the clutter (largely clothing) in our bedroom.
  • Pay my library fines. It's just embarassing now. Not the total amount, because I've paid bigger fines, but the fact that it's been almost two months since I've been able to borrow anything. I might just mail them a check rather than face the disapproving eye of the grouchy librarian.
So what did I do? Lots, it turns out. In no apparent order:
  • Made honey pound cake and frosted it with honey-cream cheese frosting. Yum.
  • Did at least three loads of laundry. Yay!
  • Caught up with friends today- lunch and shopping with Lauren and then takeout at the McGoughs' tonight.
  • Helped the Lou clean her room and put away lots of stuff that had just been hanging out in the living room.
  • Sewed in the ends (finally) on one fingerless mitt and started knitting the other.
  • Signed the Lou up for T-Ball.
  • And....went down to Uxbridge to visit with Grandma/GiGi for the day!
Saturday morning: downtown Dover
From the car: heading across to Portsmouth and the highway

Lou and GiGi. I had to cut a deal for this picture....so I am not allowed to ask her to smile for a picture for three days (well, two after today).
This one she asked me to take.
And the self-portrait....just because...

One more week until vacation. Just five more days. I can do eeeet!