Friday, September 28, 2007

What, another week has sped by already?

Update: Don's mom is doing really, really well. She's home from the hospital, up walking around the house, itching to get back in the car and go to bingo. His dad is doing well too. They are both the kind of people that are stronger than what we credit them, you know? Don's been there for a full week now and he'll stay through until Sunday... it's been a quiet week here (in Lake Wobegon) without him.

But I've got a ton done here. The house is clean. C-L-E-A-N. Stuff that hasn't been done since we moved to Virginia is done now. It's amazing what you can get done when you have your evenings totally free, hours to kill between getting off work and going to bed and no partner to lure you into couch-sitting, TV-watching oblivion. Man I've got a lot of books. Almost, dare I say it... too many. Some are going to go away to new homes.

My sister's dog is starting to drive me nuts. I mentioned back in May that I had a new favorite non-fiction book? I was re-reading part of it in bed the other night, and she chewed the book when I was at work. The spine and dust jacket are pretty much destroyed. Also, one of the quilts that my mom made for me has a hole chewed in the border. This dog is almost three years old; she's no teething puppy. Too damn old to be destroying my stuff, essentially. But my sister gets back next week, hallelujah.

Well, must go figure out what to do with this week's box'o'veggie...

ETA: And time to mess with the blog.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Don's Mom's Heart

Don's mom had a major heart surgery yesterday-- a valve replacement. We didn't even know that she was having heart issues until last week, or that she was going to have the surgery until Wednesday evening. Then we find out that they moved the operation up a day. She'll be in the hospital for another week most likely. Don is driving out there as I write this to be with his parents, to return sometime next week.

I hate not knowing what's going on. Not hearing anything for hours and hours at a time. With the exception of one over-taxed neighbor, there's nobody there to keep us informed. Don's dad suffers from early-stage Alzheimer's, which makes him vague and confused at times--especially when he's upset. This trauma has kept him from sleeping and he's not in a place to be taking care of himself right now. The way they each worry about the other is touching but makes things worse, really.

I wish I could go with Don, although my presence would probably just complicate matters. I know logically that she should be fine but it'd be nice to hear it from Don himself.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Netflix lurve

Over the course of 4 days we've watched Love, Actually; Bend it Like Beckham; and all six episodes of Coupling: Season 1.

Don decided to start actively participating in our Netflix account on account of British overload.

But it's too late for him to prevent what's already in the mail: Pride and Prejudice.


Public Service Announcement

Your banking institution will not, repeat WILL NOT, e-mail you asking for all of your personal information. We, the bank, already have your info. We did not suddenly forget it. We do not need to "update our records". Some information, like the PIN for your debit card or those magic numbers on the back of the card (that let you shop online) or the pass code for your online banking, we don't have and don't need, or want-- those are for your knowledge alone. If there is potential fraud on your account, we don't send you an e-mail to "alert" you (and for some reason request all of your information to "fix" the problem.)

The same thing goes for online shopping channels like Yahoo and Amazon and Pay-pal. Repeat: if you've already set accounts up with a bank or whomever, then that institution HAS your data. They will not come around requesting it.

For the love of GOD don't answer the e-mail. I don't care how how realistic it looks. I know that the emblems are all there and when you follow the link, it sure looks like your banking institution's website, doesn't it? Here's a hint, check the address bar. YOUR bank's website will generally read Images are easy to copy, it doesn't take much ingenuity to create a skin that mirrors any other website, really. But that address bar is usually a give-away.

Never never never enter your social security number online, especially if "someone" is requesting it unprompted by you. Because you know what? I can cancel your debit card, close your checking account, change your Online Banking ID and pass code and open entirely new accounts for you, but there's not much I can do about a compromised social-- that's going to haunt you for awhile. THINK before ever giving away sensitive information. Ask yourself-- does this really make sense? Who needs these numbers and why?

Sincerely, your beleaguered banker.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I tired!

The summer squash has been sliced, frozen, and bagged. Ditto the green beans. The peppers have been flame-roasted, skinned, chopped, frozen and bagged. Leftover veggies and the carcass of a leftover roasted chicken have been simmered down to broth; chilled, skimmed, portioned, and frozen. The enormous bunch of basil became even more pesto (with walnuts because where are my pine nuts? Where? They are the most expensive ingredient that I buy and they are missing. It's like losing a bottle of olive oil-- the really good stuff.) which in turn became pasta salad for dinner which used up the cherry tomatoes. And a cup of pesto for the freezer, of course. And it's all neatly dated and labeled.

The pumpkin became pumpkin bread. The apples became apple pie. The overripe peaches are hiding in both the bread and the pie, disguising themselves as extra pumpkin and apple. They are the Scarlet Pimpernel of fruit, really. The bounty from the CSA and the farmer's market is stacked neatly in my freezer, and cooling on my table. Only two more weeks of CSA deliveries and I'm running out of freezer space.

Wondering yet how I spent my weekend? If my fridge goes out and ruins all of that food and two solid weekends of labor, I will throw a temper tantrum the likes of which have never been seen in these parts.

Being a member of a CSA farm has been really interesting, and fun. But I think we'll probably not do it next year. It was just too many veggies every week for two people-- produce was always going bad before I had a chance to deal with it-- and then it's Friday again, time to pick up this week's box. And while the variety was awesome, there's always going to be stuff we don't like, like eggplant, okra, and beets. Or maybe I just don't know how to cook them right or something. There's such an excellent farmers' market here that just going there every week would suit our needs better and essentially serve the same purpose: getting (amazingly good) local, organic produce and supporting local farmers. But we can just buy what we need for each week and not worry about how we're going to use two heads of cabbage before the next week.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Autumn at last

I feel a bit ecstatic, lately. It's the changing seasons, probably. My favorite month: October. Second: November. Third: September. Guess my favoritest season, go on-- guess! haha. I love having to grab a sweater to walk the dogs in the morning. You know what was at the farmer's market this morning? Pumpkins. (Yes, I bought one... but just a small one, I swear.) It's probably from growing up in a place where summer is something to be endured and autumn is a welcome respite from the relentless heat. Or maybe, being Jewish, I intuitively understand that right now, this week, starts the New Year-- not the arbitrary, dead-of-winter Jan. 1st, but the harvest season; the end and the beginning of the agricultural year. Or maybe, it's having started a new school semester every fall for 16 years. Who knows? But it's a fresh start, and I love it.

What to do with the pumpkin, though?

Failed at Segue, return to Go

Yes, I got the promotion. I have graduated from level-8 peon to level-7 peon-- sound the trumpets, let the wild rumpus begin. Benefits of movin' on up (cue the Jeffersons soundtrack here) include: a decent pay raise, an additional week of paid vacation, and most importantly, getting recognition for doing the work. Because I'd already been taught how to open accounts and etc, I know that even if I stayed in my position my managers would have me doing accounts, doing desk work, all the time.; even if I was only being paid for being a teller with only a teller's responsibilities. I figured that if I'm going to have the extra work and more responsibilies, I might as well have the title and the money, right? Right.

I have had a realization, lately. Not an epiphany, but- a slowly dawning recognition that in the past year or so, I haven't been doing any of the things I like to do. The things that make me happy. Baking. Cooking. I still do maintenance-level cooking, fixing dinner and all that. But cooking for fun? Trying new recipes? Bringing homemade baked goods to work? Haven't done that hardly at all since moving here. My quilting stuff--fabric, patterns, half-finished quilt-top-- is still in its box. I haven't used any of it, haven't taken a single stich. This time last year, I was working on my quilt every day. I used to sketch blueprints, house plans, all the time. I would read architecture books, get inspired, and then draw and draw. I'm no artist, but it is something that I love to do; I can visualize exactly how what I'm drawing in plan would look-- window seats, fireplaces, staircases, dormer bedrooms. I haven't even had to buy a new enormous-graph-paper-pad since coming here. My piano gets dusted more often than played, and it's hardly ever dusted. Even just listening to music, as though picking out a CD is too much trouble or something. The funny thing is that I don't know why, and I don't know what it means. Am I depressed? Bored? I don't know. I don't know if it has anything to do with the move, or if the move just makes it more noticable because it's such a concrete way to measure time: since coming to Virginia, XYZ has/ hasn't happened. I'm confused because these little things are what defines us, to an extent; so who have I been this past year? But I have decided to do something highly unusual for me: to take action instead of just thinking and thinking.

I've decided that the best thing to do is just to start doing everything again and worry later about why I unthinkingly stopped in the first place. So in the last two weeks, I've been baking bread; I've been making huge batches of broth and freezing meals'-worths of soup from the end-of-summer CSA bounty. Going to the farmer's market. Playing the piano, sketching houses. This weekend, I will clear off the table that I set up for quilting, and unpack my quilting box. It's like getting re-aquainted with an old friend: why hello, self. You enjoy this, remember? See how good it is?

Thursday, September 06, 2007


My job has changed substantially in the last few weeks. On the one hand, it's great to be doing something different, learning new things, having more responsibility. I might even get a little promotion and raise out of the deal. On the other, though, my time spent on the Internet is greatly decreased. I am lucky this week if I get a lunch break and a chance to pee, much less check my email or update the blog. Does it show? So this is what online-life is like for those folks who can't do it from their work-place...

Weekend in Texas = absolutely wonderful; it was exactly what I needed. A great big THANK YOU to everyone who made time for me, took me out, had me over, introduced me to new people, made me scrambled eggs every morning... ya'll know who you are. OK, the last was my dad who doesn't read this, so he doesn't. Still. My batteries, they are recharged.