Sunday, April 26, 2009

Heading out ...

Training walk this morning -- should be right around seven miles, I think.

I'll be walking to the park on Polly Drummond by the Unitarian church & back. Check out the route here ... 

Should be a nice walk -- sidewalks all the way, and lots of stuff to look at. I'll be home around 11:ish, hopefully without any appreciable damage. :)

To do next weekend (as this weekend is almost over):

- buy backpack/camelback/hip-pack thing for walking (there are not enough pockets for all the stuff you need to carry!)
- check out shoes
- buy socks -- the breathable, wicking, padded, won't-cause-any-blisters kind

Yup. It's serious walking time, kids. Don't forget to click on the widget at right to donate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


My Storypeople "pick one for me" today was:

I've always liked directing. It's the only time I can get people to do exactly what I want without having to pretend I don't care whether they do or not

This is fitting.

Happy Amy's birthday and Administrative Professionals' Day!

Happy birthday to Amy!

Happy Administrative Professionals' Day to anyone who is inclined to celebrate said holiday. I'll be taking flowers and some small treats to some of the very wonderful ladies at work who make my job a heck of a lot less unpleasant than it might be otherwise.

Especially Sue Ellen, who saves me from phone conversations that I really don't want to have, and tells me I'm great when I'm just being cooperative and doing my job, and as Miss Diane would say, is always a "ray of sunshine." And she's on my bowling team, starting Monday.

While I don't usually cotton to celebrating commercially invented holidays, every day should probably be Administrative Professionals' Day. Seriously. I wouldn't last for a minute at the switchboard.

On a side note, every now and again, just when I think I've seen it all, people surprise me. I had two such surprises yesterday -- completely different, but both were net positive -- though again, with radically different results. Yay for surprises.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More happiness ...

because that, of course, is my favorite stuff to post. There's more than enough misery in the world without my whining, thank you very much.

- congratulations to e. on finishing her very first triathlon this morning. This is spectacular. You rock!

- congratulations to Cynthia on her fabulous Greek Easter feast. Yum-o. 

- congratulations to NOM for making us all giggle at just how ignorant they are ... Seriously? This is your big plan to convince us that same-sex marriage is scary? There's a lot of scary stuff out there, folks, and this just ain't it. (Okay, this isn't really happiness, per se, as it's really about groups who don't respect the rights of others, but I have to give a nod to anyone who gives Rachel such entertaining material. I'm not above saying it -- the teabaggers are awesome ... awesomely hilarious.)

- a big thank-you to Deb at smittenkitchen for her Chocolate-Caramel Crack(ers) recipe; my friends & co-workers thank you in advance, as do future patrons of The Box. 

- love and kisses to Josh & Roger, for taking time out of their crazy pre-finals schedule to spend a fun evening eating great Greek Easter food & putting up with my ridiculous barking dog.

and last, but not least, some general happiness for great weather for walking, an afternoon to relax and get ready for the week ahead, and excellent dinner plans this evening, including seared ahi tuna, zucchini ribbons, a little saffron orzo and some more terrific company. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Training walk #1

I went on my first "official" training walk with my team today -- yay! The weather was AMAZING, and we walked around Battery Park in Old New Castle, which is on the Delaware River, and it was just spectacular.

Fun times.

It was about 3.2 miles, which is low for me on a Saturday at this point, but it was very, very nice. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

That's gonna leave a mark ...

Just wanted to share that I somehow managed to whack myself in the face with a three-pronged plug today -- quite hard, I must say -- and it's left a lovely red mark (and likely a bruise) on the bridge of my nose.

It hurts.

(And I feel stupid.)


Otherwise, a pretty good day, all in all.

The cat ... and some general happiness ...

There's no particular point to this, except to say that I think the cat has a drinking problem. 

Well, maybe not ... but Mousse has discovered the top of the refrigerator. In fact, he's sitting there now, staring up at the ceiling (which is one one giant fluorescent light panel), looking for *something.*

Yay for the sunshine that's coming our way (it's supposed to be 73 this weekend).

Yay for Greek Easter.

Yay for friends that know that holidays are important, even if they're not holidays that you've ever heard of before.

Yay for my fabulous staff, rocking the DYFS licensing review yesterday. Love you guys!

Yay for the first official training walk of the season with my 3-Day team.

And a last, final yay for sushi, documentaries and surprises. Hmm. Unexpectedly great.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How strawberry-rhubarb became lemon meringue

The world's best zucchini bread is baking in my oven, right now. Now, I was supposed to be bringing lemon bread to Easter at Grandma's tomorrow, but let me tell you what happened ... 

In an effort to a) make Easter easier for my grandma, b) make the dining selections slightly more palatable, and c) win some kind of "best granddaughter" award, I called my grandma on Tuesday, to gently suggest that my dad & I bring some of the Easter luncheon. I offered lemon bread, like I'd brought last Easter, and she happily accepted. And then I offered a sweet potato casserole, but No, no -- she said, she already had the ham, canned sweet potatoes, frozen broccoli-in-cheeze (yes that was supposed to be a Z), and she was planning on pie for dessert.

I remembered the Thanksgiving pie debacle of 1994 (or was it 1995?), and reminded her of how much I love to bake. Especially pie. Now, this is not a lie -- I really do love to bake. And I really do love to bake pie. So, when she said, oh -- well, strawberry-rhubarb pie would be nice, what could I say but "wow, Grandma, great idea."

So, I set out today in search of rhubarb, despite my fairly certain knowledge that rhubarb is not out ahead of kale & chard and other green leafy things that are just starting to make their way into the local markets. Perhaps you can get strawberries from anywhere, but rhubarb seems to be one of those you-can-only-get-it-in-its-growing-season kind of things (usually mid-spring through summer), and I wasn't super-optimistic.

I drove up to the Lancaster Farmers' Market in Wayne, PA, but the nice Amish folks didn't have any rhubarb yet. I checked out the Whole Foods in Devon, but the yuppies didn't have any rhubarb either (and man, that store was *nuts* today). 

Feeling somewhat disappointed, I popped in to Trader Joe's with one last small hope, and found no rhubarb, but was inspired by the tower of organic lemons. Aha, I thought -- lemon meringue pie. Seems spring-y, and like it would be a nice finish for Easter, and it would be pretty, too. But ... could we have lemon bread AND lemon pie? I thought not.

Hence the world's best zucchini bread (which is so much easier than the lemon bread, anyway), the second loaf of which I'm quite looking forward to for breakfast this week. Here's hoping the pie's not half bad, either. It's my first lemon meringue (or cooked-filling-and-meringue of any sort, really), but aside from being a heck of a lot more work than a fruit pie, it seemed to come together well. The blind-baked crust didn't shrink, the filling didn't curdle, the meringue didn't separate -- so far, so good. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A few good things ...

First -- and more importantly than anything I have to ramble about -- please check out Stacy's Helping Hands, and consider supporting low/no-cost accommodation for families of individuals receiving cancer treatments at Western Pennsylvania Hospital. You can read more about Stacy, her life, and her impact on others on the site, or on Cynthia's blog ... 

Here are a few good things about today, as always -- in no particular order:

- team meeting with my 3-Day team tonight. Fun and productive.

- I might have a date tomorrow night. Don't hold your breath or anything, though.

- I picked out new flooring for one of my oldest buildings today, which was very fun (even though I didn't entirely get exactly what I wanted, I'm really happy with it ... ) 

- yay, sunshine!

- new Netflix movies in the mail -- yay!

- baking cake for a birthday celebration at work tomorrow: Creme de Menthe Cake. Recipe to follow later ...

- funny email exchange with E. during which I was told that I should probably cut my hair, get some tattoos and consider ditching the sweater sets and pearls ... at least, if I don't want to have to marry for money (though I'm not ruling that out just yet). 

Monday, April 6, 2009


Things (and people) that (who) are fabulous, in no particular order:

- My hips and shins are only *slightly* agitated after yesterday's apparently super-fast 6.5 mile hike. Go me.

- Artichoke-Olive Crostini. Will someone please make these and bring them over? I've got wine ... or beer ... or cocktails. Also, Deb's notion of packing is generally quite similar to mine ... until I get tired of the "oh, what a sweet cheese knife set ... remember when ..." and then it's put-it-in-the-box city.

- Dogfish Head Aprihop beer. Available for a limited time only.

- Cynthia, despite her crappy life.

- When I clicked on the Storypeople page today, and chose "pick one for me" (as I do often), it said "I don't believe in love, she said & I nodded and said I'd heard that argument before & it always ends badly & she couldn't think of another thing to say." That seemed about right.

- This T-Mobile commercial. I want more dancing in my life. And more artichoke-olive crostini.

- The fact that when the police come to my office tomorrow, they won't be interviewing *me*

- Not having to fire anyone today.

- My co-director's sexy new glasses.

- Jodi Picoult

- and last, but certainly not least, Rachel Maddow. Seriously -- have her call me. I'm totally available.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday morning gratitude

I realized this morning (yet again) that I am thankful for the opportunity to live by myself.  I wasn't so high on the idea when it was initially presented to me (granted, I was still trying to cope with the whole "but you said you loved me, and I already bought the wedding dress" issue), but now I'm loving it. Below are some of the reasons for my gratitude, at least this morning:

- when I ruined the first pot of coffee this morning, I just tipped it out and started over. Didn't have to explain why I didn't put enough coffee in the basket in the first place, or make anyone else wait for the next pot to brew. And the second pot was perfect. And not stressful.

- no one judges me for watching Dawson's Creek DVDs multiple times before sending them back to Netflix. (Okay, *I* judge me a little ... )

- I am going to spend the afternoon cleaning out my closet. And I'm looking forward to it. This would've been like pulling teeth with any of the people with whom I have shared living quarters.

- things are always exactly where I put them. This is both good and bad. It's good in the "I always know where everything is" sense, but it's bad in the "why must I continue to leave all my shoes where I will obviously trip over them" sense. 

- I did not have to share the perfect omelet that I made this morning, or ask if chevre, tomatoes & olives sounded good to anyone else. They probably wouldn't have -- but they were spectacular.

- there are always enough socks. 

And on that profound note, my dears, I am off to check on the pork shoulder in the crock pot, and clean out the closet.

I'm going to walk this afternoon (it's beautiful here) -- I have a 6.5 mile jaunt planned at the park near my house. It has a dog park, which I've been looking forward to checking out, so maybe Hadley and I will try it out next weekend if it looks promising. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hard to separate

I'm experiencing some cognitive dissonance. 

Recently, my mom and several extremely close friends have been treated quite badly by an organization in which I've always had tremendous faith. Granted, I've had ups and downs over the years in terms of my particular approval rating of said organization, but on the whole, I think it's a good one. It's an organization to which I've given countless hours and dollars, and to which I have sacrificed the at-least-temporary health of two more-than-significant personal relationships. I get the value to the individuals served, and I get the importance of the mission -- even the former Great Rivers version of the mission: helping girls grow up to be caring, competent, confident women.

However -- I'm having a really hard time separating the local morons and their gross mismanagement from the organization and its value as a whole, and that's causing no small amount of stress and frustration.

This self-same organization is the one where I learned that you can't go too far wrong in life if you try every day to do your best to do the following:

- be honest
- be fair
- help where I am needed
- be cheerful
- be friendly and considerate 
- be a sister to every Girl Scout
- respect authority
- use resources wisely
- protect and improve the world around me
- show respect for myself and others through my words and actions.

This particular credo has been updated over the years, but this is the one I grew up with (and still remember). Interestingly, if you check the website of the national organization, it says specifically "The Girl Scout Promise and Law are shared by every member of Girl Scouting. The Girl Scout Promise ("On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law") is the way Girl Scouts agree to act every day toward one another and other people, and the Law outlines a way to act toward one another and the world."

The actions that the volunteer board of directors of the local southern Indiana organization have taken in the past 90 days have been anything but in keeping with the Promise and Law that are supposed to drive the decisions and behavior of the organization as a whole as well as its individual members.  I'm completely disappointed in them and their hypocrisy, and in their lack of regard for the way in which we're supposed to treat each other as members of this organization.

Climbing off the soap box now ... 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Go 'Yoke!

I spent the evening at a college fair, which was good on multiple fronts. 

First, I saw my very favorite Wilmington high school senior, who walks Hadley a few afternoons a week, and we were able to catch back up now that I'm back in town, and get our dog-walking days back on track. Yay for that.

Second, I L-O-V-E love to talk about Mount Holyoke, so any opportunity for that is a good one. I met quite a few terrific girls who were both interesting and interested in the College, and it was fun to talk to them about the amazing, wonderful place that is Mount Holyoke. 

Lastly, upon leaving the fair, when my feet were killing me (didn't get to change into flats after work to be better prepared for the three hours of standing), I realized that I had running shoes in my car, which felt like the best thing ever.

Hopefully, it'll be nice tomorrow, and I'll be able to walk outside after work -- yay for spring weather and daylight savings. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Small pleasures

Today was truly awful. 

I finally fell asleep sometime after 0345, and was rudely awakened by a pouncing cat (on my head) at 0630. 

I burned my hand on the teakettle.

I spent hours and hours in frustrating, often-pointless meetings, in which the only things I really learned were that a) I have very little patience for talking-for-talking's-sake, b) three hours of sleep is *not* enough, c) I have very little patience for most things, and d) I have a craptastic amount of work to do before the end of the month.

Just when it seemed like I might get to my office and actually start on the craptastic amount of work, I was pulled into yet another meeting, in which very little was decided, but more work was assigned.

When I finally did get to my office, the lunch that I was so looking forward to was disappointing.

My office felt like a hotel lobby -- the door was revolving, and people seemed to have very few other places they needed to go once they got there. (I can tell you though, the "open door" policy is fully taken advantage of ... don't have to worry about that.)

Three people said to me, "Are you okay? You look really tired." (Yes, I'm tired, but please don't point out that I look like crap. I did try to look nice today.)

It's raining.

But ... (were you waiting for the small pleasures part?) when I got home, I found new DVDs from Netflix in my mailbox -- including not one, but *two* discs of Dawson's Creek, Season 4 (where Pacey & Joey finally hook up ... I'm a geek, don't judge me). 

I am so irrationally happy about that, I could spit.

I am making some cinnamon toast & chamomile tea, and I am going to sit mindlessly in my chair, with my favorite quilt and watch Dawson's until about 9 p.m., when I am going to go to bed.

I guess today wasn't so bad after all.