Monthly Archives: November 2014

Single Thanksgiving

This is the year of doing things on my lonesome, and as it turns out, holidays are included on that list of things. Sure, I could have finished up my Wednesday shift at 4:00pm, packed up the dog and driven 200 miles to rural Pennsylvania, spent the holiday in a flurry of turkey gravy and visiting relative after relative after friend while fighting off a food coma, then rushed around Friday morning to drive 200 miles back, plop the dog at the house, and go to work at noon trying to look halfway decent. I could have done that, but I didn’t. And I don’t regret it one bit.

Instead, I came home Wednesday, happily ignored the dishes piled in the sink, threw on sweatpants, and leisurely debated what I wanted to smother in bacon the following day.

But first, some exercise.

I woke early on Thanksgiving to drive to Madison for the 36th annual Turkey Trot, one of many Connecticut-area Thanksgiving Day races that I’d never been able to participate in before. The 5 mile race around Hammonasset Beach State Park was pretty cold, but I felt great and even managed to pick up the pace for the last mile and a half I finished in 54:54 (that’s a lightning fast pace of 11:22 per mile – terrible for most people, but not bad for me).

After scarfing down some post-race apples, I ventured home and took Little to the dog park. Which she liked as much as she likes anything, I suppose.

Then it was bacon turkey time.

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I stuffed a couple pieces of bacon under the breast of half a turkey and roasted it in a glass casserole dish for almost 90 minutes at 375 degrees F. It slept on a nice soft bed of sliced onions and a fennel bulb cut into wedges. (If you’ve never had fennel before, it has a very mild licorice taste, and it was like a divinely soft, sweet onion when roasted here.)

There were honey-orange glazed carrots with ginger and Chinese five spice, bacon braised Brussels sprouts, garlic mashed cauliflower, and gravy made with turkey drippings and a touch of vermouth.

Not pictured: Haagen-Dazs Caramel Cone.

Yep, Single Thanksgiving was a success.

Where does the time go when it’s not around here?

(Yes, that’s a Barenaked Ladies reference circa 1994.)

Here’s what I did today, in an attempt to figure out where my day went.

  • 7:00 am – Suddenly woke up to rain pounding on the windows outside, and somebody pounding on the roof of the building hard enough that my apartment shook.
  • 7:12 am – Somehow back to sleep despite the noise.
  • 8:00 – I wish I know what I was doing here, because I certainly wasn’t waking up to the alarm I set.
  • 8:23-9:28 – “Oh shit” moment when I woke up and realized I should get this party started, seeing as it would take forever to get to work with the rain apocalypse outside. When I took the dog out I was puzzled to find no more rain.
  • 10-2:04 pm – Work, fighting into my rain boots, then peeling them off because it was sunny out there.
  • 2:30-3:47 – Changed, ate yogurt, walked the dog for an hour, messaged Hubs, made miso soup, got ready for other work.
  • 5-9 – Other work.
  • 9:30-10:20 – Making and eating supper (was going to be tuna-meatball noodle spinach soup, but I was too lazy to add egg to the tuna balls and make them properly, so I just let it flake apart in the water and made like a tuna and Japanese noodle casserole-soup-thing that hit the spot when I added some cheese and half-and-half)
  • 10:21-11:58 – Washing dishes, assembling lunches, throwing out a bunch of sauces (including two I was gonna use for lunches), then cleaning up dishes from assembling lunches / fridge cleanup.
  • 11:59 – Well, fuck. Where did my day go?

It’s not like I spent that much time messing around on Wikipedia or the internet (until the last half hour or so). What bothers me is the amount of other quotidian stuff I’m putting on my schedule that just isn’t getting done, like squeezing in 30 minutes of exercise DVDs or taking the chipped paint off my nails. Or the slightly bigger stuff – getting a gym membership, taking shoes to the cobbler, running errands for my husband. Or the really big stuff, like applying to full-time jobs and improving my skills to make myself a viable candidate for those jobs.

Maybe the solution is not sleeping.

I think one solution is not listening to Mac Maron podcasts, because he’s inevitably going to touch on something really depressing. I listened to his recent podcast with Allie Brosh, who I adore, but it was some heavy shit, man. And now that it’s midnight and I’m feeling a little down, there isn’t anyone to help balance me out. The dog is here and she does help with companionship, but right now she’s sitting around and looking at me sadly as if I’m intentionally hiding Hubs from her. Dear dog, how do I explain that you’re not going to see your buddy for months and months and you should pretend to be always happy so it’s easier for me to pretend I’m always happy?

See, I sometimes have this ability to just bury negative feelings. It’s something I honed when I started running and embracing swagger rap as a way to cope with the soul-crushing job search when I first moved to Connecticut. The rumor that Yale helped out their grad students’ significant others with employment turned out to be total bullshit, and I found out the hard way when a stream of auto-generated rejection letters from Yale domains kept landing in my inbox. I had no connections whatsoever, and no car to even get me to places to make those connections. There are only so many evenings you can spend feeling sorry for yourself, you know? Once I started running, I found that streaking past Beinecke while blasting Wayne and flipping the bird was a more therapeutic option. It also was a fun way to pump up for interviews when they started to trickle in.

But inevitably, that front cracks. I get a rejection from a place where I’d interviewed well and I really thought I had the job, and I’m catapulted into a bout of self-loathing and worthlessness. On a day when I’m feeling fat and useless, I channel Jay-Z and wear patent heels and a gold chain, then spill my entire mug of coffee in my purse and drench its contents, and as I try to rinse my planner out in a basement break room, I’m back to being fat and useless.

What gets me back to feeling good about myself is Hubs. He balances me in a way that I can’t balance myself. For the most part, I can hold up at work okay, when it’s day and I’m around other people. But left to my own devices late at night, like tonight, that’s when I start wavering. When I wonder where the fuck my night went and how I’m ever going to prepare for this job I really want. I don’t know how I’m going to calm down if I don’t get the job and I’m launched into another cycle of self-loathing. If I do get it, who do I celebrate with? Would it be celebratory for me to go out to dinner alone, or drink alone?

It’s not like I haven’t had to deal on my own though – when he was gone over the summer I had a minor car accident and there was the fire next door, and I had to navigate both of those without being able to come home and have somebody hug me while I talk to them. (Hubs totally didn’t understand the severity of the fire at first, and as I tried explaining the eerie quiet what with 12 neighbors displaced, he sent me photos of churros and chocolate he was enjoying on vacation in Spain.) So it’s not that I’m not resilient, because I know I am. But I’d rather be sharing more of my life with him than can be conveyed in Skype and Facebook Messenger, and I’d rather be more involved in his. It’s not like I can do anything about it, though, aside from just survive it.

For now, though, no more sad podcasts, and now that I’ve at least done some writing, it’s time to collapse for the night and hope I can make some headway on the job front tomorrow. If not, hopefully I can just keep things together until my day off on Thanksgiving.

13 things I don’t like at the moment

In no particular order, but with upsides because I’m not an especially negative person and don’t want to come across as one.

  1. Cold, cold weather before it’s even winter. This is a recurring problem in Connecticut, my home for the last 3+ years. Upside: er… appreciating spring and fall more?
  2. When the tire store doesn’t inflate my tires as high as I want. Upside: I get to feel like a complete badass when I adjust my tire pressure at the gas station when I’m wearing heels.
  3. Eye strain from staring at a computer screen all day. Upside: hopefully I’ll have some changes soon at work that allow me to move around more, plus I’m writing right now and that’s probably worth the eye strain!
  4. Bathrooms get dirty with use and I have to clean them. Upside: Lysol wipes and baking soda don’t smell too bad.
  5. There is not world enough and time to read all the books I put on my To-Read list. It’s especially bad for me because I read a lot of book reviews as part of my job, so I put new titles on my list all the time. Upside: I get to borrow books for freeeee!
  6. Did I mention the cold already? It means that I’m constantly dirtying my warm socks and have to do laundry. Upside: laundry is nowhere near as bad as cleaning the bathroom.
  7. There’s a bunch of construction going on at my building due to a fire over the summer, and poor Lola goes nuts when she hears people out back or in the hall. Upside: living next to a backhoe is more interesting than living next to a burned-out building.
  8. My laptop is 5 years old, and that means it’s slow as molasses in a Connecticut winter. Upside: I have a smartphone (Galaxy, not iPhone) and can delay an upgrade!
  9. Hubs is doing research in Russia for several months, leaving me and Lola alone. It’s going to suck. Upside: no matter how cold it gets here, it’s not going to be as bad as Moscow. Plus, after years of him teasing me for singing the praises of convertible mittens, an R.E.I. employee sold him a pair for the cold. Who has the last laugh now?
  10. Fried chicken is so tasty, and yet so bad for one’s health. Upside: non-fried chicken is tasty too, and now that I don’t live within walking distance of Golden Fish and Chicken on Cottage Grove in Chicago, I also don’t have much access to awesome fried chicken. But is that an upside, really?
  11. I’m struggling to come up with more other things that I don’t like that don’t involve my aversion to housework and cold weather. Upside: I like turtles.
  12. Working in a public library is stressful at times. Upside: sometimes I get a patron who is so unbelievably grateful for me help, that knowing I’ve made their day makes my day as well. Also, pretty much everyone in the profession is really open and generous and encouraging, and I’m pretty sure I picked the right career.
  13. I can’t find my copy of Spyro the Dragon anywhere in the house. I have no idea where it is, and I want to play it. (Yes, I’m talking about the 1998 original PlayStation game.) Upside: there is none. Dealing with the obnoxious side characters and mini-quests of Spyro 2 and 3 is not an upside.

26 things I like

In no particular order, here are things I like at the moment. Some things will undoubtedly pop up again and again as I kick off my new blog.

  • Appalachian Trail
  • Breweries
  • Cooking as much as possible from scratch
  • Dogs, especially my Corgi-Malinois mix Lola, a 33 lb affectionate psycho who wants to lay on comfy things and be left alone
  • Express clothing stores
  • Feeding birds
  • Gyms that have equipment for Olympic lifts
  • Homemade pizza
  • Imperial stouts like Southern Tier’s Blackwater series, and Weyerbacher’s Old Heathen (one of my first craft beer loves)
  • Jonagold apples picked right off the tree
  • Kevin, a.k.a. Hubs, who has been my favorite playmate for over 10 years now
  • Libraries, since I’m a librarian and all
  • Miyazaki films
  • Nonfiction books
  • Outdoor apparel stores
  • “Prii,” the official plural of “Prius”
  • Quetzals (I saw a bunch of them in Costa Rica!)
  • Running outdoors
  • Smitten Kitchen
  • Tidying up, or rather, how I mentally feel 400% better after I tidy up
  • Umbrella trees, one of the most tolerant houseplants ever
  • Vampire slayers named Buffy
  • Writing
  • Xocolatl (okay, that’s my second Nahuatl word so maybe I’m cheating, but I love me some chocolate)
  • Yogurt
  • Zubrowka