Thursday, October 30, 2008

The End.

of my seven-year publishing career. It is over.

I realized on the drive home today that I get to keep the skills and knowledge I gained there, but the company loses a lot of institutional knowledge with my departure. Interesting, that.

We wait and watch. People ask if I'm excited, sad, happy, nervous...I suppose I am all and none of those at once. I don't really know how I feel, and I often feel that I don't know how I feel. I think it's because I'm a meditator: I can hold lots of feelings at once instead of painting them all one color, and I know not to get too attached to any of those feelings.

Most importantly: 30 Rock premiere tonight!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Last Week.

It's my last week at work. It's weird.

I was treated to drinks at the car of the local Mexican restaurant after work today. It was fun. I'll really miss everyone.

I won't miss the work, though, and I suppose that work is the point of work.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

In which I cannot be trusted alone with popcorn.

I have created the caramel popcorn equivalent of a meth lab in my kitchen.

The plan was to reduce my consumption of the addictive, high-calorie dark choolate Moose Munch sent as vendor gifts by creating my own, healthy version at home. A little popcorn, a drizzle of homemade low-fat caramel, a few dark chocolate chips--you get the idea.

Instead, I found this caramel popcorn recipe, which was given 5 stars by 929 users. I had all the ingredients. I set to work. Five stars! Almost a thousand users!

I made supremely decadent, unhealthy caramel popcorn when I set out to do the very opposite. And just now, just now as I found you the above link to Moose Munch, yes, just now, I discovered that Harry & David make a light Moose Munch anyway!


My popcorn is mighty tasty, though. I may make it in lieu of Christmas cookies this year.

What is WRONG with me?

I need to exercise. I need to do some yoga, in particular. But it's like I'm so stuck in my head from doing research that I've forgotten how, like I am physically incapable of moving from the computer, unless I am armed with a highlighter and ready to read my hardcopy.

I've become an online databasaholic. I think
What if I search the EBSCO with an AND instead of an OR, and the OR term has to be in the abstract, not just anywhere in the text, and then I might get one additional hit, and if the article only has an abstract available, I can look for full text on Google Scholar, and if it's not there, I'll use WorldCat and see if it's an B.U. and then ask G. to find it for me there? Maybe that would find me two more articles! I already have 14 and I only need 10 for next week, but I'm on a ROLL!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Week in Surprises

  1. A small mermaid was frightened by my innocuous pirate hat at the office Halloween party.
  2. The Microsoft Word menu seems to be slightly different between platforms.
  3. The parts of NCLB I'm reading are surprisingly good.
    3A. Apparently most of the screw-ups are thanks to state interpretation and implementation.
  4. Sometimes? When you RTFM? It really does answer your questions about how to use the online library.
  5. Buying health insurance through the state website in MA is surprisingly like choosing a flight. Little comparison tables.
  6. When you get more student loan than you need for tuition, the college sends you a big, fat check that makes you breathe a whole lot easier, and will handily cover health insurance costs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dislike and a Like

There is a woman at volleyball who resembles nothing so much as a terrier.

I dislike terriers. They are aggressive, yappy, noisy, pushy, uncouth, clueless things.

I relate well to cats.

It would be a foolish experiment to put a cat and a terrier in a room together. If one were to be supremely foolish and put a cat and a terrier together for 90 minutes every Tuesday, eventually blood would be drawn. This is not because the terrier is inherently bad; nor is the cat inherently bad. It is because terriers and cats are so fundamentally different as to be completely incompatible.

There is no room large enough for a cat and a terrier to cohabitate peacefully. The cat will attempt to get away from the terrier, but the oblivious terrier will chase the cat in order to yap at it more. This will not do. The cat can only take so much of the terrier before she strikes. The terrier will whimper and not understand what happened.

Terriers are dumb.

On a happier note, I freaking LOVE this stuff:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Signor Lorenzo

Today, we celebrated G's birthday with lunch at Lorenzo's, a venerable Italian restaurant and local landmark since 1950. (Normally I avoid naming specific locations on this blog in the interest of relative anonymity, but I want all who stumble across this humble page to visit Lorenzo's, eat lots and lots of delicious, reasonably priced food, wash it down with some house wine, and chase it with dessert. Go! Eat at Lorenzo's! Mangia! You look too thin! Mangia!)

Lorenzo's was a great location for our purposes, an hour's drive for us, an hour's drive for G's mom, an hour's drive for my brother, and half an hour for my parents. My sister was home for the weekend for a high school chum's wedding, so even she could join us. We were lucky. Everyone was in good spirits, and we had a convivial afternoon.

I ordered chicken livers in marsala sauce. It's a surefire way to prevent anyone from nabbing food from my plate, but in fact, I just really, really like liver, and G. hates it, so I eat it out when I can. My sister agreed to try it. She said, "I don't like it, but I respect you." Later, when my Dad teasingly asked her what she thought of the liver, she replied, "It's disgusting!" It is not. And someday, when everyone else is pale and fatigued with anemia, I shall be rosy-cheeked and whistling a happy tune. Except that I can't whistle. Sad, isn't it?

After we ate desserts and drank coffee, an older, fit man with a shock of thick, wavy white hair, came to our table. It was Lorenzo himself! I charmed him with my three or four words of Italian, and he rewarded me by sharing that he was originally from northern Italy. He told us that optimism was his secret in life, and that he would turn 87 years old in two months. Eighty-seven! He looked about 70 at tops. My dad shared that we were celebrating G's birthday, and Lorenzo asked if we had a cake. We said that no, we had canoli and tiramisu, and they were delicious. Lorenzo would not hear of it. He looked around the room. "Are you their waitress? Bring them a cake! It's his birthday!" No no, we insisted, we were fine. Lorenzo would not hear of it. "Bring them a cake! Bring them a cake!" While we waited for the cake, Lorenzo asked me in Italian if my brother was my husband. I set him straight. He chatted with us about his wife's after-church bingo habits and how his optimism got him through both colon cancer and prostate troubles, and soon a candle-topped cake with blue and white icing was carried glowing into the room. We all sang, including Lorenzo. We thanked him, me in Italian, and then he meandered to the next table to say hello.

Although we were already stuffed, we ate cake. It was good.

Grazie mille, Signor Lorenzo!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This one's for Larry.

Last night I was in Pyongyang. I needed to find Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, to explain to him what makes a good suspense book versus a good suspense movie. My sidekick (whom I didn't know, as in all good suspense fiction) and I ran through the empty streets of the massive city, dodging under overhangs and flattening ourselves against skyscrapers to escape view from black government helicopters.

We found Dan Brown in a park. I explained to him that suspense works better as a book, because in movies, the sound track gives away whether someone is a good guy or a bad guy. Covert message delivered, we ran back through the streets of Pyongyang to our car, again dodging to evade Kim Jong Il's helicopters.

We had stashed money in our car, wads of wide green bills. When we reached the car, the bills were gone, replaced by useless North Korean pennies. We fled, knowing that government operatives had been in the car and it was no longer safe.

We needed to acquire a guanabana soda as a sign of goodwill to the Brazilian spies up north. The better part of our money gone, we checked our wallets to make sure we had enough cash to buy the soda. We set out on foot, running, evading helicopters, toward the northern edge of the city. Ahead we saw the two Brazilians, looking very hip in their black outfits. We had the soda---

The alarm went off. I felt more tired than I had when I went to bed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Goodbyes: I'm Not Such a Fan

People at my Day Job are being Really Nice and throwing me a bon voyage party. makes me all, "Oh, maybe I should stay!" But no. No, I shouldn't: I'm simply in that awkward transition of saying "goodbyes" but not yet any "hellos" and it's messing with my head.

This same thing happened before I left for college. I was ready to go. It clearly was TIME to go. That summer, one by one, all my high school friends left before me. I'm not sure why it turned out that way. Perhaps some orientations began earlier, perhaps some friends joined college sports teams, perhaps some colleges were further away than mine. As my friends left, one by one, I became sadder and sadder. Then there was just me. I wanted to hang onto something that was clearly past, but it was just because the next part hadn't yet begun for me. When I arrived at my own orientation, things began looking up.

Or maybe I should just work at Day Job until I retire.

PS Clever (I think) tip: I ordered free business cards from Vista Print with my contact info. I'll hand them out at my party. Clever, si?

Anxiety Dreams

So, yes, OK, it is understandable that I would be having some difficulty with my threefold major transition, ie: 1. leave the company that has given me a steady paycheck & benefits (but little joy) for 7 years; 2. close (or put "on hiatus") my shiatsu practice; and 3. begin substitute teaching for less/unsteady income and no benefits.

OMG, I just saw it for the first time: shiatsu hiatus. OMG!

Anyway, my anxieties are lurking at night, waiting to infuse my dreams. To wit:

1. I am working in Chef's kitchen with Lucinda, the sous chef from season 1. Things are not going well. Orders are piled up and we can't cover them. Everyone else is gone and not helping. At any time, Chef Garreth Blackstock will return and begin ranting at us. And, unlike on the show, it won't be funny.

2. My dad is insisting that we go to a health center as a family. I don't want to. They try to make me drink grapefruit juice and put me on a raw foods diet. I run but can't escape the massive building. I finally get out and discover that my sandals are missing and my feet are bare. I have to dodge back in without anyone finding me to retrieve my beloved sandals.

3. I'm starring in a high school production of a musical. I can't get there. I am lost driving on highways. I stop at a green grocer for directions, but I park in the wrong place and get hemmed in, and the delivery man yells at me because it's his drop off area. Inside the green grocer building is a craft shop with lots of cheesy stained glass leaves. I really need to pee, but I can't find a toilet. Someone gives me directions, but when I get in my car, I can't follow them. The show began at 6 PM and now it is 6:12 and I am still 40 minutes away.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Warts and All

My friends, it is time we talk about a serious issue. That issue, my fellow Americans, is bacne.

Now, I am not a zitty person. (Senator McCain--he is zitty. His record is clear on this. His complexion was not.*) I am a veteran of puberty, I have served my hormones, but I was fortunate enough, with God's blessing, to escape acne. From a young age, my face was dry. While the other children in our blue-collar small town were learning to apply benzoyl peroxide and endure salicylic acid, I was exfoliating and slathering on cream. To this day, my face remains blemish-free, except for one monthly whitehead on the side of my chin.

Imagine my surprise, then, my friends, my fellow Americans, my favorite Joe Sixpacks, when I began experiencing body acne, or what Washington insiders call "bacne". My dry back riddled with painfully deep, bacteria-filled eruptions. My pores cry out for a liberator.

Senators Obama, McCain, and I are looking for a solution. We are exploring many possible avenues. Our current plan is to work with a store-brand (imitation Neutrogena) body wash and scrub containing salicylic acid. The online experts call for more expensive solutions that will spend taxpayer money hand-over-fist.

My fellow Americans, our committee needs your solutions. If you have bacne, do what you can for your country and tell me what has helped your skin.

Thank you.

My fellow Americans.

*Just kidding. No idea about McCain's dermatologic history. It was for effect. EFFECT, PEOPLE.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Today in the Life

In the oven: rising dough for classic baguettes and experimental rosemary-sage-olive oil baguettes*

On the radio: American Boy by Estelle

Still in bed: my spouse

On the meditation cushion: in a moment, me

*Most likely I am violating the definition of baguette, but I suspect that deliciousness awaits anyway.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My hospice patients...

...Keep getting better and going off of hospice! Isn't that crazy?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


The Red Sox are in the pennant race. G*d-F^ck1ng D@mmit! Do you know what this means? DO YOU!

It means that for the next month--or however long baseball goes on, see what a fan am I--everyone will be tired. They will be tired, and think that they are somehow Warriors of Fandom for their team. And the next day at work they will say, like a warrior fresh from battle, "I'm exhausted." And I will say, "Me, too. Why are you tired?" And they will give me incredulous/pitying/angry looks, and, although almost too fatigued, they will find the strength, somehow, to explain to me through their exasperation that The Game went late last night. And I will avoid asking which game, and restrain myself from explaining that I am tired from going to grad school while working and running a shiatsu practice, you know, having a real life in which I do things other than cheering.

I will speak to people who live elsewhere and follow baseball. They will assume I am thrilled, or desperately sad, depending on how the Sox are faring. I will try to be polite. It will be a strain.

From Boston right through the 495 belt, everyone will go stark raving mad. In the epicenter, The Hub itself, cars may be turned over. Once a girl was shot in the face. Riots? Riots, people??

Worst of all, my husband's office is in Kenmore Square. Kenmore Square, I now explain for those fortunate enough to be uninitiated, is the home of Fenway Park. Fenway Park is--you got it!--home of the Sox. This means traffic, no parking, mooing out-of-towners shuffling along in herds, taking up the sidewalk, unable to decode the subway. My husband's commute quadrupled, all the lunch spots near his office overrun.

Pray for us.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ranting for Homework

My assignment became a rant.

The prompt asked me to write 1 page about a problem I see facing the educational field today.

I emailed my advisor, saying essentially--

Dear L________:

I am not a yet a teacher. I feel presumptuous telling the field of education what it needs to fix. Please advise.

She wrote back, saying essentially:

Give it a try.

I thought a bit. And here's what I ended up thinking. I ended up thinking that education is becoming more and more corporatized, with the large-scale assessments (aka standardized or "bubble" tests) intended to improve Accountability and Integrity, and with the charter schools being all "charter" with their fancy CEOs, high salaries, and quickness to fire your teachin' ass in the name of Accountability.

And then I thought: Who the hell is holding Wall Street accountable? And what credibility does the corporate world have preaching to education about accountability?

So I wrote a page and a half just like *that*, essentially a rant. I attempted to be scholarly and conclude with a couple paragraphs about how We Need to Examine the Relationship Between Business and Education and Analyzing the Goals of Education, to wit:

1. producing worker bees?
2. allowing students to have a wider intellectual life than their future monotonous jobs?
3. producing people who can analyze and imagine new approaches to business, home, education, the state? (I like this one)
3a. or at least having the skills to grapple with the ethics of daily life? (like this, too)

What do you think?

Rantaciously yours,