Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photo Journal: Back to Normal...

Taste buds are back, just in case you were worried. ;-)
Sunday's bacon becomes Tuesday's dinner

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pass the Tissues--Or Not

Living alone certainly has its advantages--from not having to keep panty liners hidden away in a bathroom cabinet to not offending anyone but yourself after eating French onion soup-- but it has its drawbacks as well. I was reminded of that over the past few days when I was feeling under the weather. I do get migraines, but I don't get sick very often, so I suppose I was due. I was miserable. And I was on my own.

There was no one to make me a hot toddy or to run to the store for cough medicine. When I ran out of Kleenex I used my purse packs. I didn't feel like cooking so I didn't eat (now you know I'm not feeling well when I skip bacon and eggs on a Sunday morning!); no one offered to make something for me or run out for takeout. I took the trash out when it was full and I cleaned the toilets because they were dirty. And I unloaded the dishwasher.

I know none of that is extraordinary. And I guess that's my point here. I think singletons like me get a bad rap sometimes, as if we live in reckless abandon: a responsibility-free, glamorous life. But the truth is, like most other adults, we have to power through colds and flus and stomach bugs too. And there's nothing glamorous about phlegm. Ever.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Note to My Neighbors

Don't misunderstand me. It's not that I don't like show tunes or how energetically you sing them. (That friend of yours does a nice job with Olivia’s part in “Summer Nights.” And which one of you covers John Travolta?) It’s just that I don’t enjoy hearing them in the middle of the night when I’m trying to sleep.

Hoots and hollers to encourage or congratulate rounds of shots? Those I’m not of fan of anytime quite honestly. Remember, I’m in my forties now. Even when I was in my twenties like you, shots weren’t my thing.

The banging doors, the stomping up and downstairs? That’s just annoying any time of day, and I dare say it’s deliberate on your part. You’re both so skinny, I can’t imagine why it sounds like I have tight ends (oops) linebackers living next door.

Now, when all of them—shots and show tunes and the stomping and slamming doors in and out— lead to one of your brawls, which invariably forces one of you into the wall that separates our units and shakes my metal wall sculpture? And it’s 3 in the morning? Well now, I’m good and pissed off. And because it’s not the first or second or third time it’s happened, and you’ve been duly warned, I’m going to do more than shake my head at your immaturity.

It’s called 911, b*tches.

When I can’t sleep at home, we’ll see how well you can sleep in jail. Game on.

PS Those cops that responded? Pretty nice to look at though, wouldn’t you agree?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo Journal: My New Addiction

Words With (Polish) Friends
on my iPad

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

[Heart] Note...to Garlicky Spinach Soup

Last year I discovered a recipe that I modified until it became my very own Garlicky Spinach Soup. It's easy to make, and soooo delicious. If not for the spinach and chicken floating around, I'd want to pick it up and drink the broth. (Which I usually do once the spinach and chicken are gone.)

Amy loves it too, and she and Chris are featuring me as guest chef for this recipe, which you can find at their newly improved blog: A Couple in the Kitchen.

Monday, January 16, 2012

By Chance or By Design

Last night, I met up with a few friends by chance and had a surprisingly good time. Earlier in the day I had nice lunch with my cousin Debbie. Just the day before I ran into a friend (and colleague) in the supermarket who was there with my chili recipe in her hand, there to buy the ingredients to make it for dinner that night. Each of these encounters--both chance and planned--came on a long weekend after a fairly stressful week. All of these encounters lifted me up a little and made me feel better.

As I drove home last night I thought about the wonderful assortment of people my life. Funny that I should choose a word normally used to describe a box of chocolates, but I think it's a perfect analogy. Really. There are no two alike, outside or in. And their appearance sometimes belies what waits inside. Haven't we all bitten into what we hope is a caramel only to find it's strawberry nougat? Or expected something soft and nearly broken a tooth? But loved it anyway? But I digress. I mostly thought about how these people in my life enrich my life.

My moment of gratitude was followed by one of hope...that in some small way I lift them up or enrich them too.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Leaping Forward

When I started teaching fifteen years ago, having just been a textbook editor who got manuscripts via email and a not-for-profit program director who relied on email for communication, I asked in my interview if [we] were using email. The principal looked at me like I had three heads. I'm not sure she even knew what email was. Mimeograph machines had been replaced by photocopiers (barely) but that was the extent of technology. I would go home at night and use my second hand computer to write and print curriculum materials and I would photocopy them the next day. If ever I had to fly by the seat of my pants, I am loathe to admit I had to photocopy handwritten materials. That's how behind the times my school was with technology. 

While we all have computers and school email now, and some of us even have Smartboards (despite being near the bottom of the barrel in per pupil spending) and are up-to-date in the classroom, I'm by no means a technology maven at home. Long gone are the days I was ahead of the technology curve.

No DVR, no TiVo, no flat screen TV. In fact, my TV goes back about two feet deep behind the screen and weighs about a metric ton. I was one of the last hold outs to get a cell phone. (My parents don't count. In fact, my mom still doesn't have one.) I put up an equally stubborn fight against texting, which meant it took a while before I got myself a phone with a slide out QWERTY keyboard.

Needless to say, I don't have an iPhone. I've never had an iPod. Of any sort. But this weekend I took a giant leap and got an iPad.

Yeah, I did.

How do ya like me now?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Progress Report

So the Ponytail Plan is working out pretty well for me, as is trying to be positive and grateful. I’m getting eight hours of sleep, I’m keeping a gratitude journal, and I even started a new writing project. But, if you know me at all, you know I’m wishing for a snow day.

Aside from Nature’s freak show back in October we have had no snow. I don’t mean no appreciable snow. I mean no snow at all. Supposedly after tomorrow there will be a shift in weather pattern and it will become wintrier, so I haven’t given up hope yet, but c’mon now!

My lucky snowman is out. So is a lucky snowflake. And I’m using a Let it Snow pencil. I need that bonus day that is not already earmarked for work or housecleaning or a holiday party. I need that day that says Journal, blog, work on your new project. Go back to sleep if you want. Enjoy.

I don't need record breaking amounts and power outages. Just a few inches of fluffy white precipitation.

Anytime now...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Amy's Amatriciana

So the three wise men made it to the manger today, and I made it through my first week back to school…due, in part, to Amy's amatriciana, which was my dinner on Wednesday night.

Amy turned me onto this spicy pancetta and tomato sauce the summer we were in Rome and even shared her recipe—which remains unpublished on her blog— with me. I’ve made it before and it’s easy enough to make, but there’s something about hers that’s better than mine—the way I always hope my chili is better when I make it than when someone uses my recipe.

Anyway, Tuesday night I got this text: Making amatriciana, want some?

Sure! I replied.

Amy: without or without noodles?

me: I'll take some sauce. I can make it for dinner tomorrow night.

How nice it was to bring home some sauce and set it on the stove to simmer while my wine breathed and I got good and hungry, and cozy and warm. I made a small salad to start and eventually boiled my bucatini, poured a glass of wine and sat down in my pajamas to what felt like a big bowl of love: a restaurant quality meal in the comfort of my own home, made by a dear friend who sometimes keeps me both sane and sated.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Ponytail Plan

Clearly it hurt to get up in the middle of the night this morning in the dark, when for the past week the only reason I had woken up during darkness was to pee, have a sip of water, blow my nose, or a combination of the three. Having to respond to an alarm that blinked 5:20 was torture. Thank god I could hear my coffee brewing downstairs.

But then I had a moment of clarity. While I was putting on my mascara, just after I remembered that I still needed to fill out discipline referrals on some students who cheated on a quiz before vacation, it occurred to me that I can make my life a little easier these next couple of months while it’s cold and dark in the morning and I’m craving more sleep. How?


Yes, I spend lots of money to keep my hair styled and “the right color,” but who the hell really cares if I wear it down? In fact, half of why I keep my hair long (well, shoulder length) is so that I can pull it back on those early mornings. Why not just commit to them for the next couple of months? Showers will take 10 minutes in the morning and will not require the 20 minutes of hairstyling, which needs to follow 15 – 30 minutes of air-drying time, which means—yes—I get an extra 30-45 minutes of sleep! Every day! I can wash and dry my hair at night, when I’m just hanging out watching TV. Because really what’s more important? Knowing that Russell Brand and Katy Perry broke up, or having a strategy for sanity and sleep (and clean hair)? Plus, it’s not like Access Hollywood and Extra don’t cover the same celebrity news stories back to back.

Won’t it be nice to put my hair in a ponytail because it was the plan all along, not because I couldn’t get my a*s out of bed and hit snooze 3 times and it was the only thing I could do to make it to school in time. With The Ponytail Plan in place, I’ll start my day having accomplished something: sticking to a plan, not feeling defeated—again.

And getting off to a good start is a good start...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy [to be in a] New Year!

Goodbye, 2011. I can’t say I’m terribly sorry to see you go. Thank you for the good times you brought, and for making me stronger during the bad times, but mostly goodbye--to sadness, sickness, frustrations, worries, tiredness. I have had enough. So go! Run like the wind! Bu-bye.

Hello, 2012! I hope you have in store fewer limitations, and in their place bring more health and happiness, strength, abundance, love, vitality, energy, beauty, power. Welcome. Settle in and make yourself comfortable. Let’s do great things together.

Happy New Year!
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