Monday, November 28, 2011

Running for the Phone

The other morning, Thanksgiving actually, someone called while I was upstairs folding laundry. I looked at my phone to check caller ID, but the display was dark; my phone was not working. Oh well, I thought, as I returned to my laundry. I’ll check my message when I get downstairs.

Turns out it was Jill. Five minutes later, I called her back.

“Happy Thanksgiving,” I said, and then explained that I had been folding laundry and my upstairs phone wasn’t working.

“You don’t run for the phone?” she asked.

My honest answer to her was, “God no. I haven’t run for the phone in years.”

Immediately we both started laughing, because it’s the truth, and because it brought back memories of one of Jill’s favorite stories, when way-back-when I replied--with equal candor-- to a doctor who had inquired if I was tired, “I’ve been tired since high school.” Seriously, though. What do you mean tired? Like more than normal?

In the end Jill said I should change my outgoing message to reflect my honest answer.

Hi, this is Joanne. I’m sorry I can’t take your call right now, but I don’t run for the phone anymore. Haven’t since I turned 40. Leave me a message and I’ll call you back.

I think I’ll stick to the message I have now, but couldn't resist giving Jill’s idea an audience.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Notebook

Thanksgiving is over (and it was wonderful), but it’s not December yet, so I’m not quite ready to get rid of my fall decorations and put up my tree yet. But it is time for The Notebook.

No, this is not a post about that Notebook, the epic love story cum tearjerker motion picture that I admit, somewhat smugly, I have neither read nor seen. I’m talking about a notebook—probably the most aesthetically unpleasing, but most useful notebook I’ve ever had: my Christmas journal.

meal planning on a page
I am a note taker and record keeper and list maker and at any given time I have a dozen notebooks and journals in use. I like to keep one in my purse and one on my coffee table. I have one for recipes and menu ideas that I started when I moved here and finally got cable (and Food Network,!) and one for scribbling down first thoughts for posts. I even have a Betty Crocker notepad for meal planning and grocery lists.

my Christmas journal
aka The Notebook
Then one Christmas season, I unearthed the wrapping paper and gift tags I had bought after Christmas the previous year, when I had just gotten home from buying wrapping paper and tags because I had forgotten said purchases. That same season I forgot I had stocked up Christmas motif napkins and paper plates too, and stocked up again. Clearly, I needed to start writing this stuff down. But in my recipe journal? No. My blog journal? Not there either. Obviously, I needed another notebook. And I found one while I was shopping on line. Again, it’s not pretty, but it is functional.

The journal is set up by chapters, if you will; every year has eight pages. Within those pages two are devoted for a Christmas card list, one for gifts given and gifts received. There is a page for special foods, recipes and baked goods, and a page for notes and memorable events of the past year. Another page has a variety of prompts to write about the weather; parties of the season; decorations and trimmings; trips, travels and visitors. The last page, designated for photos, is where I make notes for the next Christmas season, like all set with paper products, wrapping paper and bows !!, and Make more cranberry vodka: excellent! The latter, it turns out, I already remembered without needing a note. Which worked out nicely on Thanksgiving.

cranberry vodka for Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful for a Break

I was supposed to go out tonight with my friends Erika and Shannon, but I cancelled at the last minute.  My house is a mess disaster area, and I have a gazillion things to do, and in general felt overwhelmed by it all when I got in from school late this afternoon. I felt that, as much as I would have fun with them (always do), my time would be better spent trying to clean up a little and get a few things done, so that when I get home tomorrow I can say aaahhh, and not ugh.

I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year, and to four glorious days off from work. I don't remember ever feeling so desperate for Thanksgiving weekend--although I'm not sure if it's because my memory escapes me these days or because this year my stress and fatigue is actually at an all time high. Either way, I am ready for a little break from routine (that has nothing to do with a natural disaster or major weather event), some time with family, and some extra rest. I can't wait to kick it all off with a grown-up lunch tomorrow with Amy before fighting the crowds in the supermarket so I can buy what I need to make my appetizer for Thanksgiving.

But I have to get through tomorrow first. One more wake up until I'm there. And a little more housework before I can turn in tonight.

Almost there.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Photo Journal: Quintessential Comfort

grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Love them, I Love them not...My Bangs

That’s exactly it. One day I love them, the next day I hate them.
One day they behave and do what they are supposed to, which means I’m pretty likely to have a good hair day, which in turn means I at least start the day in a good mood.

The next day my chances of taming them are about the same as taming a wild animal—and I don’t even have the experience of training pets. When my bangs misbehave I get aggravated and overheat while I’m getting ready, and that usually makes me run late, and I walk out the door in a bad mood. Then I spend the day wondering if I should cut them myself later (and you know how that turns out—especially if there’s wine involved).

I wish I didn’t have bangs, but I don’t look good without them. Even if I could get past that, I don’t think I’d have the patience to grow them out—unless I was holed up in a cabin in Vermont somewhere finishing my novel, interacting with no one.

You see? It’s a vicious cycle. I want to grow them out, I know I could never do do that…I love them, I hate them...Which means, I suppose, that maybe most of all I hate that they have so much influence on my mood.

Bangs, be damned!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

[Heart] Weekends

Extra sleep and another leisurely cup of coffee--or two--without worrying about getting in the shower; time to experiment in the kitchen after flipping through magazines and cookbooks and going grocery shopping first; back-to-back episodes of Chopped; Shuffled Row on my Kindle; phone calls with Jill and Deanna, and sometimes Tamara; Friday night dinner out; a Saturday visit with my parents; Sunday bacon and eggs breakfast; maybe a stroll through Home Goods and TJMaxx, maybe a trip to Lord and Taylor; the option of not leaving the house at all: these are all things I love about the weekend.

A teacher friend of mine, Mike (whom I affectionately callBr other Love), said to me once that if all he did over a weekend was stare at the paint on the walls, it would still be a good weekend.

True, that, Brother Love. True, that.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Photo Journal: Newfound Comfort


new recipe: slow cooker pork burrito bowl

new dishes: C&B and Pier 1

new comfort

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Breakneck Speed

How is it that we went from Halloween--or The Halloween That Never Was--to Thanksgiving in a heartbeat. Really. For that matter, the whole month of October is a blur...and it's the second week of November already! Only two weeks until Thanksgiving, then one more week until December. And you know what that means. Christmas shopping and (more) snow days!

Is it me or is time flying at breakneck speed?

The snow is mostly gone, and there are still leaves on the trees that haven't fallen or broken in half and I'm feeling confused and hurried and suddenly it's as if I am a kid again at an amusement park and wish I hadn't gotten on this stupid ride. I don't know whether I'll feel better if I open or close my eyes, and I can't seem to take a deep breath, but I have a feeling that if I did, I might enjoy it more.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Because We Could

I know I have lamented here before, as Amy has in her blog, that grown-up lunches for teachers are rare. Well, with an unexpected week off (that we will make up in June or, worse, April) we decided we should treat ourselves to a grown-up lunch and shopping. I got there first and ordered Prosecco.
a split of Prosecco
Amy did the same. I started with a Caesar salad and Amy ordered crab claws. For our entrees, I ordered fried sea scallops and she ordered whole belly clams. We took our time and savored every bite.

fried sea scallops
Dessert would come later in the day, so we decided on a little digestivo before venturing off to shop... Which is to say, I suppose, we decided that when life gives you lemons, finish with some limoncello on the rocks.

limoncello on the rocks

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stormy Weather

I was in Boston over last weekend, so I missed actually seeing the record-breaking snow fall from the sky. Boy did it fall. Twenty inches of freakish preseason snow fell with a vengeance and took down trees and limbs and power lines everywhere.

What I came home to was a cold house and an eerie darkness and no plan. Thank goodness I had prepared for Irene and still had candles and flashlights on hand.

But I lucked out anyway. My power was restored within two days, unlike my parents and some close friends in the area who are without electricity--still. My sister Mary had her power restored just yesterday, as did my friend Jim, both of whom had been without since Saturday afternoon.

To say the least, it was a interesting experience: no traffic lights, grocery stores without perishable food, gas stations with hour-long waits causing traffic jams...while around the corner there might be a fully operational restaurant. Just yesterday, since school was cancelled for the week, Amy and I met for an afternoon of lunch and shopping in a town where 67% of the people are estimated this morning to still be without power. In a word, it was weird.

Although in some cases it became tragic, and people lost their lives to carbon monoxide poisoning while trying to stay warm, mostly it was an inconvenience..and, I hope, a lesson for us all on the creature comforts that we take so for granted.
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