Thursday, October 13, 2011

Narcissism and Jello Salad

Why, hello there. I took a bit of an unscheduled hiatus over the last couple of weeks. After a full month of trying to blog everyday and mostly succeeding, I needed a break. The chance to shut down that observational writer part of my head for a little bit and just do stuff without the delightful pressure of thinking about what to share today was much needed. Somehow I both love and loathe this blog. I love writing and sharing and making people laugh or feel connected or grossed out, whatever, and the chance to record some of the fantastic, mundane or just mildly amusing daily experiences that I get to have in my sweet little life.

And then I loathe it too. Or maybe loathe is too strong a word. No, it's loathe. But it's more that I loathe how sometimes, ok, often, I do something or go somewhere or spend time with friends or family or work and I think, "that's a perfect blog post," or "I could never write about that though I really really want to," or "No, readers would find that too boring." I don't want to see my life as a series of blog posts. I don't like feeling so narcissistic that I've turned this lens on my life for other people's enjoyment. This isn't a reality show. I don't want to rate the value of each of my experiences by how many comments or page views each post receives. So I needed a break.

And it's been a pretty great two weeks. Good stuff happened. I lived it and talked about it and felt it first hand and second hand. But I didn't write much, not even offline. Work has been busy too and that always makes me come home a little tired and a little disinterested in packaging up the day to share here with glossy photos and a sense of humor. It makes me want to sit on the couch and eat homemade soup and watch the Real World. So I did that too. But I missed you. So I'm back.

What 's been going on over here in the last couple of weeks? We took another fantastic trip to Madison. An unusual occurrence since we were just there over Labor Day and we usually space trips out a bit more, but with the birth of our baby niece in August and then the first Nebraska football game against Wisconsin, we had to go back, had to! And I also had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite bloggers/online friends and now real life "I've shopped with you and mocked our husbands together" friends, Emily of And Her Glow Has Warmed the World.  I've got a whole post on that one coming.

One of my best friends gave birth to her second daughter, Miss Katelyn. We are thrilled for Tara and Mike. We got to spend a lovely evening just hanging out at the hospital, bringing dinner for the new parents, passing around Kate and oogling her chubby edible baby cheeks, those perfect little toes and her rosebud mouth. Yes, she might have farted in my hand about 8 times, but who cares? Look at that yawn. Kate looks like a tiny doppelganger of her big sister, Madeline. Kate and Maddie are going to be adorable double trouble for their parents, but Tara and Mike are such a strong team that they've got it all under control.


I got a title change and raise at work too. Not so much a promotion as recognition about how much my job has changed since I started here four years ago. That's always a nice feeling. That sense that someone notices you've been learning, focused and stretching your skills to meet new goals. Plus my new business cards look pretty spiffy. Business cards always make me think of that scene in American Psycho where all the suave, smarmy 1980's yuppies whip out their cards and start dissecting the attributes of each, constantly topping and trouncing each other over these tiny pieces of paper. While my business cards are the standard nonprofit light cardstock, I dream of creamy linens and the perfect font. Someday. And I promise I have no intention of chasing anyone with a chainsaw, I just appreciate that flawless sleek font that helps communicate exactly who you are when you hand it over. And I like Huey Lewis.

I joined Weight Watchers too. Today actually. Nothing more to say here. I just want a solid plan and some support. I've had success with that program in the past. And I've heard they've changed their point system and mixed things up a bit, so I look forward to attending my first meeting next week. (I hate meetings though I have promised to attend at least for three months. I always remember going with my mom when I was a kid and it just seemed like unhappy middle aged women complaining about their husbands and sharing recipes for jello salad and taco soup. I think they've made some changes since then, I hope.)  Either way I might have some killer jello salad recipes to share here, all under 100 calories and filled with shredded carrots and the retro flavors of the 1970's.

I cooked a bit this week too. I made a butternut squash soup that I kind of cobbled together from 3 different recipes. As Joe said "It tastes like fall." And I'm having some for lunch today with some other yummy leftovers. I made some banana bread for a work potluck which tasted just fine, but nothing spectacular. Anyone have a recommendation to share on this one? I tried Paula Deen's recipe this time and as usual it was too greasy. Paula tends to equate flavor with butter or oil and sometimes that's just not right. I also tried the first recipe out of our new Ruhlman's 20 cookbook, a roasted chicken, which I am determined to perfect since it is simple, delicious and makes at least two or more meals in our house. This recipe was slightly too salty (my fault,) but extremely juicy so I may just dial back the salt a bit. The skin was perfectly crispy and brown if not raising my sodium intake for the day to high blood pressure levels. This cookbook is kind of amazing. It's like taking a cooking class with a very articulate, imperious chef and I can't wait to read it cover to cover.

I read two books, one fiction and one nonfiction, which I will detail later, both were set in WWII and yet couldn't have been more different. Though they both had ridiculously violent murders in them. It seems like everything I've been reading lately is a little on the gruesome side. Probably time for my annual reading of The Little Prince to lighten the mood.

I think that catches us up! Tomorrow we head to Omaha for a family weekend to remember and honor Joe's stepfather's dad, Fred, who passed away a few weeks ago. The entire extended family is coming together from as far away as St. Martin, to gather, spend a few days together at a hotel, share memories and stories and ice cream (Fred's favorite) and remember what an amazing man, father and husband Fred was. This is an eclectic, fascinating and loving clan and I'm happy to be an extended part of it.

So what have you been up to lately?

All photos by Joe Sands, my all time favorite photographer/person.


Katrina said...

Hey Lady! Congrats on the new job title and raise! That is awesome! :)

Let me know how WW goes. I have been toying with going back myself. I need to do something and what I have been doing hasnt been working well for me. grrrr!

Sorry to hear about Fred! :( Have a safe trip this weekend!!

Emily said...

Awww...we DID mock our husbands together. It was lovely. :)

Thanks for the shout out...I'm still working on my "smack-talk" post...but sort of feeling the same way. Sometimes it's nice to just live stuff and not have to over-think and over-process and over-write it all.

Here's to more in-real-life adventures some day!

Caroline said...

Congrats on the job development! Yay! for job developments! :) Miss you - we need a real catch up coffee soon, maybe over a cute new born? :)

bcarroll41 said...

I've made a great banana bread from the recipe at this link. It says bundt cake, but I bake it in loaf pans and it seems like bread to me.

Barbara Carroll