Love Letters

What if…

The first hundred days ended in love letters instead of data?

Dear Potato,

We woke up on the twin bed, warm in the cold front room. The night before ended in last minute arrangements and exhaustion, but most importantly – it ended in family time.

Our slow morning was so much like the night before. You decided to join me on my “trip to Coventry”, and I love those moments because it’s so much like getting to take home with me. You insisted on driving despite my feeble offers. Let the debate rage on

Thank you for encouraging my professional life forward, even if you had to stimulate my competitive side.

Being home with Mom and Mitch comforted me. I feel, with hopes stacked tidy, that you and I have so much to look forward to in the years ahead.

Thinking of late night cuddles,

S

L.L. Bean

Saturday began nice and slow: cuddles, coffee, radiant heat, improv breakfast.

The day picked up speed around 1pm with a brunch outing and a two-car excursion to Freeport, Maine.

We got lost in the L.L. Bean stores. L.L. Bean and other Freeport brands created a complex retail maze. Soft sweaters and sales galore. When it was time to leave, David grew frustrated in his failed effort to promptly reunite the group.

We returned to Portland and some bickering ensued. David performed poorly on the husbometer.

As a group, we grabbed pizza at Flatbread Company and attended a community theater performance of Mother Butterfly. Scenes that stuck out: Sophie’s mom singing opera, the family fighting, the cancer doctor.

Sleep-in

For me, Friday required sleeping in.

Hannah (a fellow Syracuse University grad student who took my room in the old apartment) shared an AirBnb bedroom with me Thursday-Friday during the conference. Kenneth took the other room.

Hannah left in the early morning, but Kenneth and I drove in later. I was due to volunteer at the Syracuse University iSchool booth from 10am-1230pm. This was my opportunity to reunite with Molly and to hang out with Jay, who both work where I used to — the iSchool’s enrollment and recruitment office.

Tom, my brother in-law, called me as I was leaving the AirBnb for the Riverside Convention Center. He proposed a weekend trip to Maine with David and I.

I spent the morning debating the proposed trip to Maine. David and I chatted over logistics and preferences via Google Hangouts.

Thanks to the conference’s New Members roundtable, I had a luncheon to attend at no-cost. I ate a sad meal of apple-squash soup and a “vegan selection” that had the likeness of hot spinach-cannellini bean salad. Fine as long as you like side dishes for main dishes and your lunch is free.

Meanwhile, David agreed to join the trip to Maine and let everyone know that it was “not because he wanted to go to Maine but because he wanted to spend time with the sibs”.  I, having also decided to attempt the family trip to Maine, embarked on a snow-sleet-rain plagued 6.5 hour drive home from Rochester. I rerouted to Chapel Lane mid-trip after consulting with Tom mid-trip.

That night, David, his siblings (Tom, Caroline, Kristin) and I all departed around 9pm for Maine from Chapel Lane. Our destination was the family home of Tom’s partner, Sophie in Portland, Maine.

It is a great honor to travel with all of you. – Me to the Dougherty Sibs

Turn Around

Had a hard time leaving Mom. Tried to start my drive back to NYC too early in the day. Mom looked sad to see me leave. She watched me from the doorway. She withheld tears. I started driving and felt pulled to stay. So I pulled over, called a few people, and then turned around to be with her again.

Dad worked through his birthday (today). I called him on the phone and he told be about this Dilbert comic:

dilbert.png

I hung out with mom by the fireplace until around 6pm, when my restlessness became too much.

Returning to David was bliss. He met me on the sidewalk.

Dog Food & Finances

Chloe is a 14-year-old bichon poodle mix. Mom has taken to homemaking Chloe’s food in order to help her skin irritations. Mom’s friend recommended the recipe.

My day started with chicken liver retrieval duty. I also picked up peanut butter and honeycrisp apples.

The Recipe:

Ingredients: chicken livers, oil, frozen veggies (peas, carrots, e.g.), instant (brown) rice, water.

Mom heats the oil and dumps in two containers of chicken livers. (Some grocery stores carry them, some do not.) Once in the pot, she cuts the chicken liver into smaller pieces.

At this point, Chloe begins to dance around her in the kitchen.

When the meat is cooked, Mom adds 1 cup of instant rice and 2 cups of water.

When that is cooked (it doesn’t take long), she adds a pleasant ratio of frozen veggies.

Scoop a serving, let it cool, sprinkle with angle eyes medicine, promptly serve to pooch.

Mom stored half of the remaining batch in the fridge, half in the freezer.


Husbometer looks good. David and I continue to touch base by phone.

Husbometer_Oct24

Other highlights of the day included a run, reuniting with our friend Kris and neighbor Ellie, catching up on my budgeting (finally!), and visiting with my brother Zack and his foster dog. Doing minor tasks to keep tabs on EveryLibrary work-life.

Mom did the stairs for the first time today post-surgery!

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I spy a loyal companion who hasn’t left her mama’s side.

Oww-y!

Today, I journeyed home to be with my mom. She is recovering from surgery.

The drive went quickly. I listened to video lectures for my online coursework. Near the end of the drive, I ran an errand in Ellington for mom. After getting medicine from the vet, I stopped off to explore the local library.

Hall Memorial Library

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Impressive board game and cake pan circulating collections!

Mom and I caught up. To convey her pain, she told a story. She was passed out post-surgery. Mitch said she sleep-talked through her deep sleep, saying,

oww-y, oww-y, owww 

After lunch with mom, I settled into computerland. Zack visited with Duke, and I completed my first GoodReads book review! (Something I hope to continue doing to better develop my librarian powers of reading-recommendation).

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. Edition borrowed from my husband’s family.

It felt good to catch up with the husbometer and dig into the blog today. In my reports of daily life, I’ve lost sight of my earlier intention to have a somewhat strategic first 100 days of marriage. A brainstorm:

  • Draft post-nuptial agreement
  • Finish the book given to us by the attorney friend of David’s Aunt Joss
  • Continue tracking husbometer data
  • Review husbometer data with David
  • Create strategies for the lower performing categories
  • Articulate career and finance goals

Emotionally? We’re doing okay. A lot of love, excitement, and little moments. We’re still learning to communicate effectively with each other, and that may be a lifelong project. The commitment part of things is the steel frame in my vision for the future. David uses the word “coalescing”, and I like that.

Related image

Frisbae

In the morning, David and I returned the master bedroom to a sleep-deprived Mad.

Then David and I couch-cuddled, readied coffee, nommed on leftovers and chocolate-banana bread. Tom brought us to see Sophie and her team play in the national ultimate frisbee tournament.

 

After the Brutes’ frisbee victory, we found a nearby Mexican restaurant and placed a big order. We satisfied our appetites then dropped things at the frisbee team’s Airbnb before heading to Moonlight Beach for a swim in the Pacific.

 

We left Sophie with her team and traveled to Newport Beach to meet up with Caroline, Kristin and the rest of the Dougherty clan.


My laptop stays put away. Husbometer data tracking again postponed.

Leave No Trace

The flight consisted of:

  • reading
  • writing thank you notes
  • watching Leave No Trace
Movie poster for Leave No Trace.
Leave No Trace tells the story of a father and daughter who live off the grid in a Oregon state park. They are discovered and displaced. The father is struggling with PTSD, though succeeding at raising a strong, capable kid.

There was an empty middle seat in my row. I appreciated that the flight was direct from Newark to San Diego. I spiked my seltzer with orange juice, and chased it with tea. Pretzels were complimentary.

Mad picked me up. Our reunions are seldom now, and its been years since I’ve seen Paul.

The drive from the airport gave me a calming sense of coming home. It was good to see the San Diego city skyline again. I admired the speedometer in the mini cooper. We talked about homelessness. We pursued frozen yogurt, but the store closed on our arrival. Instead we ordered late night Chinese food and brought it home to eat. I decided to try eggplant in plum sauce.  Excitement held off my jet lag exhaustion. We slipped into our easy way of talking and being together. When I was ready to sleep, they insisted on my taking their king size bed.

In the morning, Paul was gone to work and Mad was restless on the couch. We traded places and she retreated to the dark bedroom. I napped on and off. I read For Whom the Bell Tolls, wrote a thank you note, and nibbled leftovers while sitting on the sidewalk in the California sun.

The evening brought many good things:

  • outdoor mall shopping excursion with Mad
  • ramen noodle dinner with Mad and Paul
  • airport pick-up with Paul
  • David!
  • car tour of San Diego and the navy base with Paul and David
  • hanging out, talking, eating leftovers
  • sleep!

I postponed logging husbometer data and the blog. I had to estimate and backdate content. The benchmarking period has come to a close. We found that the true average is nearer to 0.6 —

Help from Dad

California

I’m surrounded by anxious travelers. The flight to San Diego is delayed. Time to squeak out a post.

In other news:

  • Mom is out of surgery. Everything seems to have gone as expected. Hopefully, the same will be said for recovery.
  • Grumpy morning for David, after a night of poor sleep. He has an important client meeting today. While I prepped for my departure to California, I cleaned up the apartment bedroom and took care of some stressors (laundry) – so hopefully David will have a restful night. I’m excited to meet him in California tomorrow.

The United Airlines terminal at Newark is fancy. There are many chic restaurants and well-equipped workstations. My flight gate moved 3 times, but it was cool seeing different parts of the terminal (C).

Pumped out some work. Excited to settle on my flight. I’m near chapter 31 of Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. I’m eager to finish it and start my next read. There’s a lot of build-up for the end of this novel. The main character is settling into bed before the day of the bridge-blowing.

Good night and good luck, blog readers. See you on the other coast.


PS. Tomorrow is the last day of the 100 days “benchmarking period”.