Bagels and Pita Chips

Bad dreams wiped away by husband cuddles. Another day to sleep in and enjoy family time. Breakfast was leftover bagels topped with everything, and coffee. David and I watched a video about the 1950s French involvement in Vietnam.

A morning excursion to Portland City Center featured a charming bakery, a well-balanced thrift shop with a little bit of everything, and novelty shop equipped with thank you cards and cute oven mits.

After that, we said goodbye to Sophie and packed up Tom’s car. The drive is a blur of conversation, music, media consumption, naps.

Lunch was also dinner? A rest stop was involved. Think: skimpy overpriced salad, pita chips (unexpectedly covered with cinnamon sugar), guacamole extras and large fries from McDonald’s.

We dropped Caroline and Kristin at their dad’s place, and had the opportunity to visit there for a little while.

Then we returned to Chapel. I retrieved my jacket from the basement, and the boys unloaded love on Rocky (the family companion).

The rest of the night was spent driving back to the city, hunting for parking in our neighborhood, hauling things back to the apartment, chugging seltzer and settling in…

We bickered over David’s recent line of complaint: I am oppositional and he doesn’t feel his opinions are valued. He presented the complaint in the form of comparing me to one of his relatives.

Please take a moment to imagine my data project, the “Husbometer“, making squeaky, break-down noises.

What other strategic objectives do we have for our coupledom in these last of the 100 days?

My thoughts return to a post-nup, and a yearning to mitigate some relationship stressors (my gainful employment).

 

At the Circulation Desk

Ithaca

I left for my conference in Ithaca. My blogging habit suffered.

It rained heavily during my drive north. I avoided tolls and enjoyed the autumn colors.

I registered for the conference and awaited 3pm tours to begin. I decided to explore Cornell campus and took a tour of the libraries.

When we returned to Hotel Ithaca (the conference basecamp), I returned to my car and retrieved my bag. I checked into my nearby airbnb and dropped off the bag before returning to the conference for dinner and the keynote speaker. I really enjoyed the dinner and the speech. A lawyer for the NY division of the ACLU gave a speech that I would describe as thorough and compelling. He gave the speech in the style of the “naked speaker” I learned. He had few props besides his notes and he gave the speech like a story. He told the audience to be activists in their own lives.

I was so tired when I returned to the airbnb. My back ached during the walk home. I needed to prep for my own conference presentations the next day, but instead I slept. My mind worked on the problem of how best to present. I slept interrupted by thought. I woke with the 5:30am alarm in order to go on the conference hike to the falls.

David and I communicated little. I fell behind on the husbometer and blogging.

VoteLibraries

Inside look at my political action work with EveryLibrary:

At EveryLibrary, we know that over 90% of public library funding comes from the will of local voters and politicians. That’s why EveryLibrary is launching Vote Libraries 2018 – a national marketing campaign designed to reach more Americans who believe in the power of libraries and encourage them to pledge to vote for libraries and politicians who support libraries. That’s why, prior to the November elections, we’re asking you to take the Pledge to Vote for Libraries:

Sign the pledge to vote YES in support of U.S. libraries!

In dozens of communities, library funding is on the ballot. Across the country, election day choices will set the direction for local, state, and national library funding. Your vote this November matters to the future of library funding. So please join us to celebrate Vote Libraries month this October. Take a stand and help reach other supporters by adding a banner to your profile pictures on social media. Then let people know why you’re supporting libraries this election season using the #votelibraries hashtag. You can download any of 100+ free #votelibraries images from our Flickr account to help encourage people to sign the pledge for libraries.

Vote Libraries 2018 is needed because we have to defend one of our nation’s last strongholds for democracy and learning. As the first and only national organization that fights for libraries at the local level EveryLibrary has a long track record of success. As a national PAC for libraries, we have supported dozens of libraries on Election Days. We fight against campaigns to close or defund school and public libraries. Over the last 6 years we’ve helped 84 libraries on their election days and we have 14 more on the ballot this November. We’ve helped libraries secure over $1.6 billion dollars in stable tax funding so they can continue to provide services to their communities.

This year, we know that libraries will be a crucial part of Election Day in November. We estimate that there will be over 75 libraries in small towns and big cities across the country who are asking voters for support. There are also thousands of local elections for town boards, county commissioners, and city councils who make local decisions about library funding. And, of course, there are hundreds of state and federal elections for political leaders that will be responsible for making decisions about library funding.

You can help us fund this national campaign by making a one time donation of $25-$50 or help us continue this work year round by starting a $1, $3, or $5 monthly donation. Everyone who makes a contribution to this campaign will receive an “I Love My Library” bumper sticker!

A donation of $25-$50 supports national Vote Libraries Month!

Your Friends in the Fight to Support Libraries,

Samantha Mairson, Political Action Intern
Patrick “PC” Sweeney, Political Director
John Chrastka, Executive Director


Meanwhile in the land of marriage, David pulls decent husbometer numbers. He coaches me through drafting an important email. I think back on my day and one moment really sticks out. I reconnected with a friend that I met at Middlebury-Monterrey Language Academy (Spanish camp), in the summer after tenth grade. We got big salads, fancy drinks (mint lemonade!) and chocolate cake at a cafe in Chelsea.

Other quick notes:

  • Wedding photos posted to Facebook
  • Social media scheduling for VoteLibraries (via Hootsuite)
  • Facebook’s ability to reconnect people that would have lost touch
  • Homeless man / philosopher king selling cold water bottles on the uptown 1 train
  • Current read: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemmingway (…I’m at the part where El Sordo is trapped on the hill by cavalry and the planes are flying overhead).

Late

This is my first late daily post, which will be backdated.

I got swept away in my work. I stayed late at the Brooklyn office designing a poster for volunteer recruitment. We need volunteers to help with our fundraising day at EveryLibrary. Charidy is working with us to plan the event and my poster is modeled after a design in their best practices presentation. Charidy calls volunteers “influencers” in their training materials.

The design is inspired by a poster in the volunteer management best practices presentation by Charidy.
The design is inspired by a poster in the volunteer management best practices presentation by Charidy.

From work, I went straight to open scrimmage volleyball from 7:00 – 10:30. The practice started late and ended early, but we were all very tired by the end of it. I made a new friend named Peter. We warmed up together. I doubt I will ever see him again. Regarding volleyball, he said he is “going back into retirement”. I may do the same, except for the occasional scrimmage.

It was nice to get home, and I arrived around 11. David was deep in League of Legends. Anya arrived home shortly after me. We ate together and had conversation about life change. She told me about rehearsals and her fall schedule at Julliard. She is starring in A Doll’s House. David joined us when his game ended. We rang in the new day together at 12:00.

The husbometer data was logged, though late.

We are fast approaching the end of the “benchmarking period” for the first 100 days of marriage. I still don’t really know the significance of the benchmarking period, but I think our early intention was to establish a baseline for the husbometer.

Summer Squash n' Scalloped Potato Casserole

Summer Squash n’ Scalloped Potato Casserole

The summer squash n’ scalloped potato casserole is the love child of Robin’s Summer Squash Casserole and the Scalloped Potato recipe from Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe.

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Vegan cookbook.
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Scalloped potato recipe from Forks Over Knives.
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Summer squash casserole recipe ingredients according to family friend, Robin.
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Robin’s summer squash casserole recipe process.

Ingredients

  • butter (I used salted)
  • whatever kind of milk you have (in this case, coconut/almond)
  • approx. 6 (yukon) potatoes that need to get eaten (peeled and sliced thin)
  • 2 medium onions (cut into rings)
  • paprika
  • salt
  • peppercorns = freshly ground pepper, cause that’s how we roll
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 sleeve ritz crackers
  • cheese (I went for aged cheddar) (sliced)
  • 1-2 summer squash

Supplies

  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • mortar and pestle (had to look that up for spelling; if you don’t have one, a bowl and some determination will do just fine)
  • colander
  • nice, big, clean baking dish

Hints

  • Don’t heat up your oven too soon, you dummy. Or you’ll be in unnecessary sweltering heat. Eventually you will set it to 350 degrees. That’s step number 7… lucky.

Instructions

Accessed your recipe and gathered most of your ingredients? Woo-wee. First step is done. Here are the rest:

  1. Peel those potatoes. Cut out any of the unsavory bits. Think about watching a YouTube video on how to cut potatoes real speedy.
  2. Cut yer onions. Make ’em into rings. Stick them in a large skillet, turn on the heat to medium or so, and add a tablespoon or two of water to keep them from sticking to the pan. Keep ’em cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and again. Add a dash of water as needed.
  3. Parboil your potato slices. That is, boil up some water. Add salt to the water. Add potatoes to that boiling water. Keep them in there for about 3 minutes and then drain into a bowl. You’re going to reuse your boiled water for steaming squash!
  4. Set down a nice, hot layer of parboiled potato slices in your cooking dish.
  5. Quick! Cut your cheese if it’s not already shredded. Already shredded? Skip to the next step. Cheese not shredded? Too lazy to shred? Slices are fine. I went with cheddar, but you can do whatever kind of cheese you want. You can even substitute a vegan cheese concoction (from Forks Over Knives: blend 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1 cup nutritional yeast, salt to taste, optional 1 tbs tahini / 3 tbsp cashews).
  6. Cheese ready to go? Layer it on top of those potatoes.
  7. Time to crank up the oven. Set it to 350 degrees.
  8. How’re your onions doing? 10 minutes up? Layer some of those onions on top of the potato layer in your baking dish.
  9. Add a layer of paprika, salt. Crush peppercorns with mortar and pestle, or whatever. Add that.
  10. Repeat the layering process: potatoes, cheese, onions, spices.
  11. Ope. Shoulda cut your squash already. That’s okay. The cutting board was busy. Nice thin slices. Set your collander over the boiling water that you saved from parboiling. Put the squash in there and let them steam until they’re cooked, like, “halfway through”.
  12. Crush ritz crackers with mortar and pestle. Melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Mix that into the cracker topping. Set aside.
  13. Ok, now we need: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 cup milk, 3 eggs. Mix it all together. You can do this in a liquid measuring cup. We’ll call this the magic mixture.
  14. Are your squash slices done? Layer ’em in the main baking dish. More cheese! Pour over the magic mixture.
  15. Add the ritz cracker topping in a nice layer.
  16. Now in the oven she goes! Bake 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven (…I always burn myself here). Serve, let cool somewhat, enjoy.

Estimated total time: 2 hours

Number of people it can probably feed: 8 souls / servings

Hubby review, takeaways:

  • Also incorporate third recipe partner, The Joy of Cooking.
  • More butter? Something about a rue? Cream?
  • Ate all that I gave him.

Other thoughts:

  • Try sprinkling skillet-cooked veggie bacon on top.
  • Play some classical music while you cook.

Unwell

Actual footage of me today? Where has my energy gone?

I choose a wedding photo for this post. As I settle on a photo from the circle dance at our reception, I wonder how all our people are doing.

David plays League of Legends beside me. “Really laid my body on the line that game,” he says, coming out of a defeat.

No big events today. Nice cuddle moments, some small accomplishments, nursing my health. Energy levels are way below average. I’m growing excited for an upcoming yet unplanned trip to California. I’m worried about pest problems in the apartment.

Husbometer is making a rebound today. Some observations:

  • overall data clustering around an average of .6
  • only 2 data points falling below .5

Thinking about data… I would like to take advantage of my Lynda.com access while I’m still a graduate student at Syracuse. There are so many skills still to gain…

Time to do my (100) pre-bed squats. Will this stay a ritual? Here’s the squatting soundtrack (also on theme for today):

 

Congratulations, Brother!

I’m so excited for you guys!

I don’t know where I’d be without my bro. Zack, you absolutely understand the best and worst of me. I cherish my time with you and your capacity for living life fully. It is a great comfort to have another human being in the world who is cut from the same cloth. You’ve had my back from day 1 to day-now. We experienced together what marriage meant for our parents, and now we chart our own paths – with whole histories still to unfold. I love you so much and I’m so happy for you and Curtis.

I have to confess that I knew it was coming. At my wedding Curtis was talking about how best to stealthily size a ring for you. It is fun for me to look back on the photos from that weekend and pick out you two.

I am so proud of the man you have become, and I do not tell you that enough. You are thoughtful and smart, passionate and compassionate, talented and whimsical. You are honest and dependable, creative and wise.

To dispel bouquet toss mythology once and for all:

Meanwhile, in married-person-land…

David plays with the back-lighting on his new $80 keyboard. His performance on the husbometer tanked in the friendship category today because he solo-visited a venue that I wanted to check out together. Hello? Your curiosity got the best of you? What?

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I think Curtis may be a positive role model for my handsome wildebeest.
Wildebeest_full
Action shot of David.

I love you guys. I’m excited to celebrate your love, and to share in it through family life.

In conclusion, a quick debrief on my wedding experience:

  • If you’re anything like me (and Zack, I know you are), you may never be more emotionally spent than on your wedding day. And not emotionally spent in a bad way! Just wall-hitting overwhelmed by the day’s end. It is the result of being surrounded by loved ones and in constant, profound-feeling moments. At the end of the reception, I felt it most intensely. There were things I simply hadn’t planned or prepared for – namely the breakdown and clean up of the reception, and the right amount of checks and cash to pay everyone. I slept maybe 4 hours the night before. Exhaustion set in. If you find yourself in this state, it’s O-K. Because, remember – you are literally surrounded by people who love you.

David is writing thank you notes at the bedroom desk while I draft this post. I would like to take a moment to write a quick cyber thanks to Corri and Mama Kim, who shuttled me away to the post-wedding moment of peace and quiet that I desperately needed; and to Allison and team, who picked up everything I left behind at the reception. To Altan – who gave us wedding night shelter when plans changed.

I am reminded of my brother once again, who also came to my rescue.

We were playing the shoe game during the reception. Right before the game started, someone was notified that a car needed to be moved and the caller read the license plate aloud. It was my car. I was mortified, though I think the broader audience was amused. My brother volunteered as tribute and I handed him my car keys.

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I raise my shoe in toast to a guy who can move cars, and mountains.

I love you, brother.

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I am so excited for your life together with Curtis.

 

 

 

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Big Gray Bridge

The Little Red Lighthouse

GUYS! Did you know you can have a children’s book read to you on YouTube? Does life get any better? Does it‽

I can’t remember how I first heard about this lighthouse, but I wanted to visit it. I also meant to check out this book from the library.

Today was gorgeous weather. Summer is turning into autumn. The days are crisp.

David moved my car from a Monday to Tuesday parking spot while I waited with our bikes. I was angry to learn that I got a $65 ticket for having an outdated insurance sticker. We had to decode the ticket because it got strangely plastered to my windshield by rain. David led the way to Inwood Park, where we hoped to play lacrosse. I believe we took “the greenway along the Hudson”. We passed a lot of tennis, volleyball and basketball courts.

I’ve been living in the city since the beginning of July so, around 3 months. I’m still learning to find my way around. There’s a lot of little treasures.

En route to the bike path, we cut through a parade that was singing about Christ in Spanish.

Unfortunately, we never made it to our destination. We got turned around at the GW bridge, where the bike-way was closed.

The turnaround, however, caused us to encounter the little red lighthouse!

It was fat and red and jolly And VERY, VERY proud.

I was delighted. It turns out there is an annual festival to celebrate the lighthouse and it was yesterday. Next year, I would like to go.

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That’s me!

David attempted to find another route to Inwood when we found ourselves in the middle of a Medieval Faire at Fort Tyron Park! It was also my first time at that park. It was beautiful, if crowded. It was fun to see all the costumed people. David hates crowds. He patiently waited along a shaded walkway near the New Leaf restaurant while I fetched food from vendors. For $19, I got two big risotto balls (one mushroom, one pesto), a mexican-greek salad mezcla, and a Gatorade.

The bike ride featured an ideal mix of wind, sunshine, and physicality. City riding requires great attentiveness. We had a dangerous highway moment. I was following David when we ended up on what felt like a freeway on and off ramp. It was crowded with cars.

We came home to our roommate’s mom. I enjoyed her company while making tortilla chips.

David and I watched the Giants play the Saints. We rounded out the night writing thank you cards, nomming pasta with homemade sauce, gaming and blogging.

The day was sprinkled with playtime, for which you’ll note the husbometer is once again climbing.

Atta boy, David.

Husbometer_sexpeak

Gravity and apples.
Gotta be able to have fun together.
Thiago, Sam, Kristen, Altan and Caroline in the backyard of the Emerson guest house.

Long Day

Today was a long day. Most weekend days start or move towards a sense of feeling refreshed. Not this weekend. Tom is still here. The boys spent the day working on the new computer and we made a group voyage to Greenwich so they could help their mom while she’s recovering from surgery. I think we’re all tired.

The new computer?

She’s fast and has all kinds of sexy lighting.

We’ve been living on takeout Indian food since my Wednesday night class. Groceries are sparse. The fullness of the cabinets and fridge (roomie food included) has been intimidating me. But now we’re starting to run out of the staples: bread, eggs, milk, fresh veggies, grains, seltzer, fruit, chocolate.

It was nice to see Thiago again today during the Greenwich voyage. He has the best stories and an infectiously fun-loving vibe. See if you can spot him in the featured photo for this post.


It’s been so long since I really used Excel! Playing with graph-generating functions really gets my nostalgia going. Are my math and logic skills getting rusty?

Husbometer_2weeks
I wish y’all could play with the Excel functionality here. Pivot tables and interactive data for life. 

Making line charts is fun. It looks like mountains!

Happy two weeks matrimony, hubby. On the 33rd day, we’ll do a check-in on our intention to do some data benchmarking.

Bro support

Tom Time

“Work from home”. Work from home. Trying to figure out where I stand on the ~~work from home~~ phenomenon.

Tom is having TGIF time with David and I tonight at the apartment. D talks about still waiting for the data team to get back to him. He compliments me aloud on being a hard worker. I reflect again on my work-from-home day and I think: hmmph. Could have performed better.

But it was nice to have David home as early distraction, to sleep in and avoid my 1-1.5 hour subway commute each way, to clean up my living space, to get whatever food whenever I wanted it. It was nice to think about doing local errands, to think about going to the gym whenever I felt ready. It was nice to play my music loudly, to be lazy about getting dressed, to be in solitude.

I think “working from home” is an amazing accommodation. However, without a powerful deadline as driving force, working from home accommodates distractions.

Wifi drops off and the boys jump to my aid. They pounce on the troubleshooting feature in a moment that is part demo – part rescue. A browser debate begins about using Chrome versus Edge. We open the Task Manager to check Chrome’s CPU performance, etc.

I extend my hand to David. He cracks one of my knuckles. It sounds off in a loud POP! and I quickly withdraw my hand. A new debate emerges.

“I’ve only cracked you like ten times.”

My knuckles strongly disagree.

The boys begin building David’s wedding present from Tom. It’s a fancy computer. What do you call this computer? I ask.

“I haven’t named it yet. Her, I should say.”

Her identity unfolds. The boys throw around “fastest computer on the market” “looking at the benchmarks” and “the first i9”.

I love the language of the project. Words like processor, motherboard, cooling system, ram, power, random connectors.

And my favorite: whosie-whatsit.

David and Tom read the instruction manuals. David says,

“This is good copy. No big words in there. No big words at all.”

You can tell David is happy. The bro time is good for him.

David's favorite photo moment. Tom gets emotional during best man speech.
David’s favorite wedding photo moment. Tom gets emotional during best man speech.

Husbometer doing just fine:

Weeks Average of Score
1 0.62
2 0.59
Grand Total 0.61

I’m excited to start making line graphs.