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I'm gonna write about whatever I feel like. GOSH!
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Date:2011-11-29 10:37
Subject:farwell, nemisis!
Mood: conflicted

So.  I'm having some guilt about an announcement made at work today.  Quick backstory, MRN was in deep dark financial sauce.  It was bad.  So we went looking for an acquire-er, who could handle the very real debt.  And we found one, LRRI.  So now we're being acquired.  They told us there would be some "condensing," because both organizations have full admin staffs.  And today I found out that the accountant, my nemesis, is one of those made redundant by the acquisition.  I want to leap for joy!  I feel so glad that one irritating part of my job will change!  But now I feel like a jerk, because. Jeez.  Who gets happy when someone loses their job?  Wow.  But my work life will be so much easier! 

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Date:2011-11-27 19:43
Subject:Happy Thanksgiving: Sweet Potato BANE

This Thanksgiving was epic.  All four brothers of Nate's house, their four SO's, my family (brother, parents), other brother's SO's mom, Nate's parents, some other people who then canceled.  A party of 15.  We decided to bring cranberries and a vegetable.  Then on Tuesday, after the ingredients were purchased, our farm box comes: 3 pounds of potatoes, 3 pounds of sweet potatoes, celery, green beans, herb bunches, onions, and all of the grapefruits.  We had about a pound of sweet potatoes left over from the previous box.  Someone ELSE is bringing sweet potatoes to Thanksgiving, and they already have 10 pounds.  So.  What do two people do with >4 pounds of sweet potatoes?

Roast some, eat them with butter and brown sugar.  Then, curried sweet potatoes (good).  Next, sweet potato biscuits!  YUUUUUUUUUM.  It's just like buttermilk biscuits, but replace buttermilk with purreed sweet potato!  So. Tasty!  Then with the rest, make sweet potato gnocchi!   YUUUUUUM.  I made a nut sauce with walnuts that came out more like a stuffing, and it was amazing.

I <3 Mark Bittman's How to Make Everything cookbook.  I would never have come up with more than one thing to do with sweet potatoes, and now I've had them four ways and have some ideas to spare if we (god forbid) get more in the next farm box.

On a non-food related note, I have really been crocheting up a storm lately.  A work friend started crocheting, and she came over for a crochet together afternoon a while ago.  She ended up teaching me how to read patterns, basically.  We both made cute little whales, and thus started my recent kick.  Since then, I've completed an adult hat, two pairs of baby booties, two infant hats, one child hat, and I've started the same cardigan twice, and started a second one.  It's pretty exciting to do this, since I'd been slogging along with stuff I was making up as I went.  Which was fun, but not always very satisfying.

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Date:2011-10-27 23:00
Subject:Some things I liked recently.

I don't remember how I found this blog, but it's interesting.  It's along the lines of nerd self-help, with an eye towards fitness.  Writing style isn't exactly my thing, but I've come across a couple gem ideas that keep me coming back to it every once in a while.

I like this!
5 Life lessons learned from Indiana Jones
1. Believe the unbelievable - I'm tired of being tired and feeling unfit, I believe I can make life changes that reduce this. (not very concrete now).
2. Research like a mofo - I've had an interest in food for a while (thanks, Michael Pollan!) that's been driving me to eat less processed / more home cooked / more vegetarian.  I've been mostly avoiding industrial meats and trending towards farmer's market veggies, and we subscribe to LPO.  I've been recently coming across information focused on carbs/sugars and their particular badness.  I've read enough Pollan to believe that no food is "bad," or "good," but this carb business is interesting.  One of the references I found interesting: NY times "What if it's all been a bit fat lie?" .  So I'm not "paleo" yet... you could say I'm paleo-curious.  It would take me a a WHOLE lot of determination to give up bread (LOVE), pasta (LOVE!), and baked sweets of all kinds (LOVE).  I've also been more interested in running, and now starting to think about learning more about exercising.  Still a lot to learn.
3. Plan? um... not very concrete now.  Try to run twice a week, hike on the weekend.  Any other activity could replace any of those.
4. Get out of the Classroom -Yeah, we've been getting to the gym.  We went on a few backpacking trips and hikes this year (record: 30 mile backpacking trip!  We did a 9 mile day, will about 1000 feet of elevation gain.  I didn't know that was possible).
5. Deviate when necessary.  This one is giving me lots to think about. "Everything that happens is necessary to get you where you're going." 

Related to 5, it's a good thing to keep in mind...
I read an article recently comparing "positive actions" to traditional treatments for depression.  It was very interesting, and suggestive.  The research was driven by wondering what makes happy people happy, and what actions can depressed people take to be more like happy people.
These are pretty much the action categories they used in the study...
and a FB friend posted this recently, which had it in my mind.

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Date:2011-10-18 16:26
Subject:barefoot hiking
Mood: peaceful

We've been really lucky with some absolutely gorgeous fall weather lately.  The air has just a touch of crispness in it.  The sun is shining.  The sky is a special color of blue from these conditions. 

So we went out in a hike, on the east side of the mountains.  This hike sounded nice, and IT WAS.  The way we were hiking up the mountains, all the aspens and oaks were backlit by the sun against the cold blue of the sky.  The smell of the falling leaves was everywhere.  GORGEOUS.  We had the dogs with us and they were clearly enjoying the day. 

However, I hadn't been out hiking or running in a bit too long.  I was wearing my vibrams, and after a bit I started stubbing my toes.  It's amazing how lazy my feet get if they aren't asked to work for a while.  When I'm wearing the vibrams a lot and running in them sometimes, I have the energy to be incredibly responsive in my stepping (around rocks and over logs and shifting weight - I don't even notice it).  But not so this day.  I think we did about 4 miles up and back, and probably a good thousand feet of elevation change each way.  When I got home, I found my middle toenail was exploded by some stub.  I have a coworker who broke his toe on a rocky hike while wearing vibrams, so I guess I'm lucky.  Time to do more hiking!!

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Date:2011-10-12 23:44
Subject:farewell first year garden!
Mood: pleased

Coming to terms with fall has been a bit hard, since the tomato plant decided the middle of September was a reeeeally great time to start making a ton of tomatoes.  We've also been holding on out picking the green chiles (wow! they're HOT).  I've been using basil as much I can and dreaming of the pesto finale to come as soon as an evening near freezing is predicted. I've grown used to always having fresh carrots (I'm not really sure how long they're supposed to stay in the ground... I feel like we've been eating them since July, and there's still two out there) and tomatoes.  MMM.  Nothing beats from the garden bruschetta or caprese salad.  The beets didn't last long enough to get big enough!  (favorites were avacado beet salad with vinaigrette, orange walnut garlic beet salad, roasted german beets with horseraddish & caraway... wait. I loved everything we made with those beets!!)

The cucumbers befell a sad fate - they dried up one week we weren't paying attention.  We probably had about 2 pounds (they got a little on the large side) and they were enjoyed before it happened.  There's a mystery vine growing among the herbs... not sure if it's some melon... or ... something weirder.  It has a pod that's oblong and green and kind of fuzzy.  Hmm.

I've been having a lot of fun with the herbs.  We've been making yummy mojitos and mint sun tea, I made sage lasagne noodles, sage zucchini fritters, basil in everything, fresh oregano marinades for chicken, pork, and veggies.  I played around with the basil & made some savory zucchini basil Parmesan muffins, and today I made sweet(ish) lemon basil summer squash bread (also, the CSA box has consistently had some kind of summer squash, so I've been getting creative with that too!).

The lavender is stumping me, though.  I saw a recipe for lavender sugar cookies which I want to make but haven't yet.  What does one do with lavender??  I was also a bit sad that the dill and cilantro didn't make it  We had planted some mustard green that grew and grew and suddenly was escaping the garden!  Now it's so big and old, it's probably really bitter and I'm a bit afraid of trying to use it.  The sweet red chiles have been interested and tasty.  We've maybe harvested 6 or 8 over the whole summer, one or two or at most THREE (that was an EXCITING salad!!) at a time.  Not sure why out of four plants we didn't get more of them (crowding?).

All in all, I'd definitely do it again.  I'll have to reflect a bit more to decide what next year's crop might have (tomatoes and basil and beets are 100% in!), but it was a good experience!

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Date:2011-09-26 12:14
Subject:stress and coping
Mood: worried

stress week...Collapse )

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Date:2011-09-06 12:24
Subject:here comes fall
Mood: blank

Beating the Post Labor Day Letdown.

So apparently it's a thing to be depressed/demotivated after summer ends (thanks Labor Day).  Huh.
Reminder to myself to recount those fun summer memories.  Also to check in whether malaise is linked to anything changable in my job.

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Date:2011-09-03 11:38
Subject:bathing suit scowl. (first world problems)
Mood: contemplative

Oh! First world problems! At least it's a long weekend!Collapse )

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Date:2011-08-25 14:18
Subject:BWAAAAAAAAAR! (In which I strangle the accounant with my mouse cord)
Mood: pissed off

After I made painstaking efforts to submit a billing report of ultimate correctness, a monthly report is sent out to the all the directors showing less than half of the scan hours that I reported.

I send an email full of alarm.  My nemis accountant is not included.  The monthly report sender replies that "Nemisis can forward you the final billing report so you can review.  Please let her know if you find any problems."   BWAR!  FIND ANY??? I'VE FOUND ONE AND I EXPLICITLY EXCLUDED HER FROM THIS EMAIL!!!  Nemisis does not reply to me.

SO I send Nemisis an update on this month's report (quite similar to the email I sent her at the end of last month)

Me:  *politely, this is not verbatim* August's report is not ready, I want to error check it before it's submitted.  I'll let you know when it's ready.
Nemisis: *indicating her tone of arrogance* Reconcilling the numbers from the year will not be done right away.  By the way, YOU can mess up all the billing numbers if you change the report AFTER I do my billing report. *verbatim* "I pull the  report on the 26th of the month that runs thru the 25th.  You should not make any changes to the database after this date. "

So I had emailed her on the 26th, and she responded that day saying fine, while I was making my painstaking effort to make sure everything was correct.  Once I was finished, I let her know and I didn't change anything. 
This woman is completely incapable of considering that she might have made a mistake.  She always is looking how to blame it on someone else.  She has no response to the fully less than half of the numbers that she apparently gave to the monthly report sender. 


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Date:2011-08-15 11:20
Subject:a bit about work, a bit about vacation
Mood: hungry

Thanks for the advice and empathy!  I will be taking my vitamins and I thought this was also great :
"be prepared mentally and financially for what might happen and then put it out of your mind"  Thankfully, we are prepared financially.  It's a huge help to not have to worry about that.  Mentally is a bit trickier, but I'll be looking out for alternate job postings and dusting off my resume.  It guess that's all I can do.

After I wrote the last post, I found out ANOTHER person was leaving.  He had been in Canada, taking more than a week off to help his wife settle her recently deceased mom's estate.  While he was gone, big boss told his boss to terminate him when he stepped in the door back from time off.  His boss negotiated 2 week's notice.  Then, everyone who depended on this guy's time found out and freaked out.  Now he has to come back for a week in September to cover his boss' vacation time, and another week after that, and some evenings.  It's like the decision was based on nothing other than money.  So. Infuriating.

In other news, we went backpacking for 5 days in Colorado.  It was an intense experience.  

I finally have some photos up from our end-May trip to Alaska.  Looking them over makes me want to go back!  What an amazing place.
I absolutely loved Vancouver (I have more pictures of the town somewhere that I need to find...).  It was hard for me to cruise because I like wandering, and it's hard to wander when you have less than 8 hours in a place.  Crusing with my family was just about right, though.  When my mom had a sick tummy day, she stayed in the room and could watch scenery from the window or balcony.  It wasn't too much trouble to get to dinner on the boat, and 3/7 days of venturing on shore was about what they wanted.  Juneau was neat, the wilderness near Skagway was stunning, and we had a great time kayaking in Ketchikan.  Glacier Bay is one of the most amazing National Parks I've ever been to.  Alaska is definitely a place I would not want to live, though.  People there have hard lives. 

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Date:2011-08-03 11:47
Subject:the suckage
Mood: cold

My officemate of 3 years got "terminated" yesterday.  There is so much going on in this situation that is beyond me to report at this moment, it is a very complicated one.  But right now, I feel for my friend.  I feel terrible.  Sadness, confusion, anger, fear for the future, more sadness.

This survivor's guilt is getting worse and worse.  I really feel like I'm losing people I care about.  and the nagging question "why didn't they take me?  do I deserve this job?" is a painful one.  Half of me feels like "GOD I better be the best possible employee I can so they don't fire me!!!  Maybe I shouldn't take that vacation I was planning" Half of me feels like "god. I don't even WANT to work here. I'm going to do as little as possible and ride the tide because why should I put myself out for a company that's just going to fire me?  there's nothing I *could* do to make them keep me."    Another coworker is having his last day today.

Bad to worse. 

I had our new CEO candidate tell me in a "team leader meeting" that the outlook was good and no one should be worrying.  Really? pretty convincing to just say it like that *eye roll*  They told us in that meeting that the people who were leaving were off to bigger & better things; great opportunities.  Well, my officemate isn't, and I know the other coworker started looking for other work weeks ago because he saw the writing on the wall.

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Date:2011-07-29 11:07
Subject:coworker rant
Mood: aggravated

the job title "accountant" does in fact contain the word "count" That doesn't mean your accountant will be capable of "counting"Collapse )

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Date:2011-07-23 12:17
Subject:stress makes me sick
Mood: contemplative

Ponderings about my state of repetitive illness latelyCollapse )

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Date:2011-07-15 16:28
Subject:We're so awesome we're OUT
Mood: anxious

Our whole executive staff is leaving.  They keep making these announcements through email, without giving anyone a chance to ask any questions (except through email).  It's kind of making me mad.  PS We're in such an outstanding position that actually everyone is just leaving.  Like rats from a sinking ship?  WHAT!

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Date:2011-07-11 19:10
Mood: stressed

My two alternates at work both were out for vacation last week.  AND we had a service rep from our MEG company out this weekend.  AND the finance people came to my boss with an 11th hour demand of our accounting of expenses and revenues (after a few hours, the told us we had 5 days to come up with the numbers, but it was TENSE for a while, then scary).

So I've been working since last Tuesday (did I even have a holiday for the 4th? somehow it doesn't feel like it) and today the bad news hits us: costs are too high.  I get really frustrated by finance people because they tend to talk in their own language.  I hate feeling stupid.  Then at one point, the CFO tells me that there's no built in checks or balances on the accounting side.  Nobody double checks things.  So it's my job to do their job to make sure they're doing their job right.  UGH.

I am pooped.  I was on vacation a month ago and already I'm fed up and burnt out and stressed and unhappy.  You can only pour so much of yourself into something you start to feel failing.

They're supposed to be doing some magiks on their side of our costs, I'm supposed to review the incomes ($ grants pay to use our scanner), and my boss is going to review people's hours that we pay for.  damn.  These are good, hardworking people.  But there's not enough to go around, so what do we do?

I hate being a worrier.  I'll try to put this aside, but I fear it will be lurking until decisions are made.  

O. did I mention our CEO resigned? His announcement was supposed to sound like a triumph, but I don't know who he thinks he's fooling.

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Date:2011-07-06 20:50
Subject:excercise revival
Mood: content

We had a fairly active trip (o yah.... been meaning to write about that!), but Nate had mono and I was busy then under the weather myself... FINALLY made it to the gym today.  whew.  I found this delightful and inspiring webcomic: she talks about her love/hate body relationship, food, etc.  It's inspiring me to be a bit more critical of the narrative that runs in my head sometimes.  When it starts, do something! When you do something you're proud of, allow yourself to feel proud! So, HUZZAH!  I went to the gym!  I was really worried about my knee, and it was complaining a bit during my warm up.  But then I ran about 1.5 miles and it was good.  

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Date:2011-06-30 20:39
Subject:officially June and I aren't on speaking terms
Mood: intimidated

So.  After the hospital visit for my mom and suffering through Nate being sick (turns out it's mono), me being sick myself, June goes out with a big old F YOU: we got robbed.  Fortunately, dogs were ok.  Weirdly, dogs were outside and the culprit had opened both backyard gates.  All they did was ransack the bedrooms, looking in underwear/clothes drawers and under the mattress... except they took my grandma's jewelery and the roommate's laptop.  Luckily, my engagement ring (which was in a box right next to the jewelery taken) wasn't taken, and the one drawer of socks they didn't go through in roommate's room had gift jewelery.  Still, it's a huge blow to be invaded like that, and that they stuff they took is irreplaceable (roommate's laptop had non-backed up content, plus the stuff from my gma).

The other worst thing is what's been keeping me feeling safe when i'm home alone is that I thought no one would bother the house with the two large-ish dogs.  I can't IMAGINE what possibly could have happened (Genbu does NOT like strangers of any flavor in the house, he's even lunged & threatened people over for parties when they're too "friendly").


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Date:2011-06-20 12:31
Subject:short rant: aging parents
Mood: aggravated

My mom just got out of the hospital Friday.  Pneumonia helped along by the smoke in the air from the fire in Arizona.  Then they gave her steroids which sent her blood sugar skyrocketing.
She's home, but still very weak and tired. 

It was an exhausting week, shutting my dad and myself to the hospital to see her, trying to get answers from nurses, pulmonary techs, whoever about what was going on with her.  My dad did not handle it well - grumpy because he has to rely on other people; angry because I couldn't always do everything he wanted; sad because he was worried about my mom; frustrated because he didn't know what was going on.  He spent 1 day after she got home doting over her.  Day two was anger or frustration or something that she didn't want to "do" anything; that she was sleeping a lot.


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Date:2011-06-13 13:10
Subject:the garden saga continues
Mood: determined

Well, seedlings were ultimately a fail.  I emergency planted them the night before we left on the cruise and though I tested the drips then, the system wasn't stable over two weeks and the cucumbers (which I hear are fickle anyway), the eggplants, the chiles, the cilantro & parsley... they didn't make it.  They weren't properly hardened anyway, so I guess I'm not surprised or that disappointed.

Some things I started from seed have lived!  I wouldn't say they're thriving, but alive!  Some flowers and about 12 each of beets and carrots.  Exciting!  Also I left my basil, thyme, and another potted chile plant with my friend (haven't seen them yet, but I assume they lived).

Yesterday we made a trip to the nursery to replace the cucumbers anyway.  We came home with cucumbers, tomatoes, two kinds of chiles, dill, cilantro, mint, mustard greens, oregano.  Then found an entire packet of drip heads we'd bought were defective after we'd set up everything for them.  UGH. 

So for today, the garden looks full and happy!  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

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Date:2011-06-12 15:10
Subject:Terribly excited about cooking
Mood: optimistic

I'm not sure whether a beast was awoken by the cherry-extravaganza or I was just fed up of being overfed and not being able to cook (on the cruise), but when our LPO box arrived Friday HOLY CRAP I am excited about what's it in!

A bit of my dietary past...
Both my parents I would consider good cooks.  Back in their days pre-children, I've heard of crazy grastome parties where they cooked Indian or Italian or whatever feasts with friends.  My dad used to make insanely good lasagne: homemade sauce, homemade noodles, homemade sausage, whole nine yards.  Growing up, though, we mostly ate ... betty crocker.  You know, meat, potatoes, or pasta or casserole.  Not complaining, but pretty standard.  I was asking my family what veggies they remembered eating while growing up: salad, broccoli, green beans, peas, corn, potatoes (does that one count?).  My mom loved beets and brussel sprouts and other things, but apparently since my dad didn't like them and we were kids (EWWW what's that!?!?) she rarely cooked them.  I don't think I had ever eaten a cooked green until a few years ago when Nate's family made some. 

So this LPO thing has been an amazing food adventure.  Chard! Broccoli greens! Tat Soi! Beets! Kohlrabi! and all kinds of regulars that have extra-amazing taste because they're so fresh.  I felt like I had never eaten a proper carrot, once I bit into one from LPO.  And it's a challenge, too.  You get a box of stuff and a certain time to use it before it goes bad.  It's a puzzle: how can I use carrots and beets together?  I've done a lot of learning!  Plus branching out.  I love eating out for Indian, Mexican, Thai, Middle Eastern, all kinds of "ethnic" foods.  But I've started dabbling in cooking in those styles at home.  Mostly because of this amazing vegetarian cookbook I got for Christmas.  I spent a few hours just reading the first few chapters.  It has SO many styles of cooking, wonderfully explained and listed with tons of variations and substitutions on each recipe.  I get so excited whenever I open it - it's like I look up one thing, and end up reading and dreaming and drooling over various things for an hour.

So now I'm looking at beets, carrots, celery, green beans, cooking greens, GORGEOUS summer squash yellow & zucchini, arugula (which I'd never knowingly eaten before maybe a year ago), and a few red onions.  MMMMM. The possibilities!  (plus, omg. we got strawberries and blueberries!! I may be unable to cook with them because I think I'm just going to eat them all.)

I also found a pretty awesome middle eastern grocery right near my house, which has supplied new and exciting pantry items like sumac, cardamom, dried chickpeas, and the inspiration to try to make pitas and falafel.

PS. the cupcakes were a hit!  I definitely will make them again.

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