The dog is currently whining outside my bedroom door because i don’t want him to come in here and get in the bed.

The children are currently whining in their bedroom because they “need something.”

I am currently whining here on this blog. I’m tired and my feet hurt and I feel like shoveling candy into my face with an actual literal shovel but I don’t even have any.



Pie Season

I love fall baking, especially pies. I mean, one can bake pies any time during the year, of course, but fall is when I tend to bake the most pies. Apple and pumpkin are my favorites for Thanksgiving — I love doing decorative crusts on the apple, especially. Here are a few inspiration images I’ve saved over the years:

Mine are never quite this elaborate, but it’s so much fun to try!

This weekend, I get the chance to bake a couple of early Thanksgiving pies for a neighbor-friend get-together, so I think I’m going to do a double-crust apple and a savory vegetable galette. Lots of folks on Twitter recommended the butternut squash and caramelized onion from Smitten Kitchen, which looks right up my alley. I love butternut squash for fall dishes (a fun gourd that sometimes gets forgotten due to all the pumpkin), but do you know what I really love? Caramelized onions. Cooked in butter, in particular. That smell is one of the most heavenly cooking smells I CAN’T EVEN STAND IT. So this recipe seems perfect. I think I’ll make the crust doughs tomorrow night, bake the apple Friday night, and then do the galette Saturday morning.

In other pie news, tonight I made the dough for Friday night’s pizza (this recipe is pretty much flawless every time) which will be resting and slowly rising in the fridge for the next couple of days. Pizza, apple pie, squash galette– pie season truly is upon us and I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT.

Magic Bullet

It’s that time again! Time to organize my new bullet journaling supplies, that is. I have recently received delivery of some of my favorite pens and a new notebook, so once I straighten out my tab situation I should be in good order for 2020.

I thought I might share some of my favorite supplies in case anyone is interested:

Leuchtturm 1917 A5 dotted grid notebook. This is such a great notebook, y’all. It’s no wonder why this is so popular. The pages are numbered and there’s a built-in index, for one thing, which means it’s already set up for bullet journaling. There’s the usual pocket folder and elastic band to keep it closed, and of course the subtle dot grid that helps me keep my pages neat while allowing freedom to doodle and hand letter as I like. Comes in a rainbow of colors, too. I went with navy this year, which is emerging as my favorite color of late.

Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens. I bought this three pack that came with two black pens of different hardnesses and a dual-tip black and gray pen that has become a fast favorite already. I am so into the gray for lettering.

Sakura Pigma Micron felt tip pens. These are my favorite, favorite everyday pen. I buy the “01” size, which is (I believe) the finest point they make. Please alert me immediately if you come across a double zero or similar. They are super neat seem to dry instantly — they don’t smudge or smear, even if you brush colored ink over them immediately after writing.

One item I haven’t found to my satisfaction yet: In the past I have bought these K&Company Smash Tabs in the fabric version, which are basically my holy grail tabs. However, this year I’m only seeing a listing for 12 tabs for $5.99, which seems ridiculous. I feel certain that I’ve ordered 36 for that same price previously, so. Hmm.

And one for the wish list: Stabilo Fineliner pens come in a million colors and have that fine felt tip that I love.

Got a favorite pen? Let me know about it. I mean it.


Apparently it’s the last week of classes before Thanksgiving break and I have no idea how that happened. October and now November are flying by.

Today has been a busy day full of only the most boring nonsense: tasks like open enrollment for my benefits at work and updating my holiday card spreadsheet. (Obviously, I have a holiday card spreadsheet.) I also spent many hours grading papers and doing laundry and cooking and then the garbage disposal started leaking.

ANYWAY, I don’t have an idea for a post today, so please allow me to refer you to a few good things I’ve read recently — please enjoy:

  • Lauren Fleshman’s op-ed in the NYT “It is grown women, not girls, who top the most prestigious podiums. It is grown women in their late 20s and 30s breaking American records. It is American women in their mid-30s winning the Boston and New York Marathons. Imagine if we gave more girls a chance to get there.”
  • This Tom Hanks Story Will Help You Feel Less Bad “So Tom Hanks is as nice as you think he is and exactly what you hope him to be, which is great unless you are someone trying to tell a good story about him, with elements like an arc and narrative tension. ‘Saintly Actor Playing Saintly Public Television Children’s Host Mister Rogers Is Saintly’ is not a great story. But what am I supposed to do? He sat facing me, cheerful and focused and willing. Maybe this could just be a story that makes you feel better.”

Meal Plan Sunday

Here we are again getting ready to begin another week! But there is pizza to look forward to on Friday, so we’ve got that going for us, which is good.

Here are a couple of highlights from last week’s kitchen efforts:

Crockpot Thai curry and brown rice. Garbanzos, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers. They all hold up pretty well in the crock all day, especially if you cut the peppers a bit bigger. Cannot recommend strongly enough going to an Asian grocery for imported Thai curry pastes. The flavor is noticeably better.
Antipasto-ish salad. The protein was roasted garbanzo beans and I just went to town with artichokes, slow-roasted tomatoes, olives, peppers, and so on.

Sunday: Caesar salads (CW)

Monday: Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps à là PF Chang’s. These are super tasty but require a good amount of chopping. I like to make a double batch of the filling and repurpose some of it for another meal — see Wednesday.

Tuesday: chicken salad, maybe in sandwiches? CW is in charge of this one.

Wednesday: Rice bowl featuring sushi rice, leftover lettuce wrap filling as the protein, some other veggies, and yum yum sauce.

Thursday: BLTs (CW)

Friday: Pizza, New York Style. Will do one pepperoni and one veggie + Field Roast.

There you have it! Let me know if you’re making anything great this week, especially if it’s vegetarian or can be easily made to be.


Where is the best place to shop for twin size duvet covers in cute patterns that aren’t a million dollars? As an example, I like the Pillowfort stuff at Target, but they seem to operate more on a comforter model. As another example, Pottery Barn is cute but pricier than I’d prefer.

If you’ve read The Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter (the first 2-3, anyway) to your kids, at what age did you start? I remember reading Narnia with my dad, chapter by chapter, and I think I must’ve been around five, but I’m not sure.

Is there anything good on the new Apple streaming network? I apparently have a year of it for free thanks to a recent phone upgrade, but the app isn’t compatible with my old-ass original FireTV Stick. Is it worth trying to watch it elsewhere?

Related sub-question: the old-ass original FireTV Stick is a little slow and unreliable. Worth upgrading to a newer version?

Why do I always, always eat chips and salsa/guacamole/bean dip past the point of fullness? I feel so bloated and uncomfortable right now. Why do I do this to myself?

If you’ve got answers for me, feel free to comment or just @ me.

Friday Wrap

It’s here! It’s here! I wrapped up my longest run of the week — and the training cycle! — at about 8 miles. It has been raining for about the last 24 hours here, but I just got dressed and made it happen this morning. Running in the rain, and the cold rain — a real downpour — is one of those things I always forget is actually completely tolerable. I wake up and hear the rain and decide to postpone, or I look at the forecast and rearrange my schedule. But why? For no good reason, that’s why! Today was a lovely chance to be outdoors and connect.

And if you saw my menu plan from Sunday, you may remember (I mean OF COURSE you remember; why wouldn’t you remember my menu plan?!) that I scheduled grilled cheese and tomato soup for tonight and it could not have been a more perfect night for it. The recipe from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen is super simple (canned whole tomatoes, leeks sautéed in butter, veg broth, nutmeg, tomato paste), but I think the secret lies in the prep: you roast the canned tomatoes with a sprinkle of brown sugar before making the soup. Y’all, it’s so good.

I tied up some loose ends administratively at work and, as per usual, left several boxes unchecked on my to-do list. But I have come to be satisfied with that at the end of the week. Having a few un-done tasks leaves me hungry for more on Monday. (Side note: am I the only academic who doesn’t work weekends? Highly possible, if one believes what people say publicly about their workloads.)

I’m sitting in bed with my laptop and my husband and my dog and a glass of wine and I think in a minute we’re going to try to watch a movie or something, by which of course I mean flip through all our streaming services for an hour before we decide to just go back to puttering around on the internet. It’s! Friday! NIIIIIGHT!

A Thursday in the Life

Were you curious about how I spend my days? I am, actually. I’m mainly curious about how I’ve been going nonstop all day and feel like I’ve accomplished basically nothing. What did I do? Read on for the excruciating detail.

NB: Here’s a day in the life from back in 2014 — pre kids. I reread it and was astonished by the fact that we ate dinner at 7:50 pm back then. Wow. Otherwise, well, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, n’est-ce pas?

5:25 My alarm goes off but I snooze it twice before getting up to take a shower, get dressed, and do my makeup.

6:05 Oddly, it seems that the kids are still sleeping, so I start coffee. L hears me and gets up so we hang out and talk a little bit in the kitchen. He asks me how to spell words so he can try to write them down.

6:20 CW, Egon, and E are all up. I take Eegs to bathroom then help E&L pick out clothes while CW makes their breakfast, then I make my own breakfast (whole grain toast with avocado, a fried egg, and everything bagel seasoning.

6:45 I finally sit down to eat.

6:55 I do E’s hair (one ballet bun with a big black bow clipped below it).

7:45 I arrive in my office to find a new-to-me computer! My old Mac desktop (ca 2011) was due for replacement, but I wasn’t expecting the new one to appear until Friday, so this is a surprise. Kind of a nice surprise, but also Friday is a lower-pressure day and I would’ve had more time to get it set up. Today I have grading to do (on the computer) and students coming to see me. This adds an unexpected element of mostly benign chaos to my morning. Side note: I am non-tenure-track faculty and therefore receive hand-me-down computers at work. This one is circa 2013, so.

8:00 I get started setting up computer while waiting to see if students come by for help on their papers. Most of them opt to come by later in the morning, so things are pretty quiet for a while.

8:30 I’m still trying to get Chrome to install correctly and it will not. It simply will not. WTF, Google.

8:40 I give up and decide to use Safari for my tasks today and attempt to start grading.

8:40-8:55 I get distracted by an email, then reattempt to start working.

8:55-9:12 Students drop in.

9:29 I eat half a Clif bar (pumpkin spice) and drink a generic Aldi seltzer while grading. Aldi seltzer is just as good, FYI. Save yourself some dollars.

9:35-10:15 Students drop in.

10:15 Grading papers.

10:45 It’s the end of drop-in hours. I go downstairs to get a Diet Coke and head back to my office to eat a Sad Desk Salad while I start this post.

11:13 I’m still eating this stupid salad. So much kale and cabbage. SO MUCH CHEWING, SWEET LORD.

11:30 After lunch, I switch focus to providing some feedback on an ongoing group project for another class. Groups are working on the next phase this week, so they need feedback on the last phase. I’m able to work with my office door closed during this time, so I can get things done a little more efficiently.

11:56 Finish writing and sending feedback but Safari is about to drive me BANANAS, so I try again with Chrome and knock wood but I think I get it working this time. (See how this new desktop situation is filtering through my day? Sigh.)

12:04 Mess around on the internet while eating a mini-bag of Skittles leftover from Halloween.

12:15 Out the door for class.

1:57 Back from class and I’m equipped with a hot coffee to fuel the next couple of hours. I had planned on grading more essays during this time, but I realized a more urgent priority is creating some online content for one of my classes that needs to be ready for next week, so I’ll turn my attention there.

3:20 Wrap up work on this content, eat the other half of the Clif bar, handle a few neglected emails, and shut down my office for the day.

3:22 Head to the gym for a cross training workout.

3:43 Arrive in the locker room, unpack my gym bag, and realize I’ve forgotten a sports bra. Well then. I’m glad it’s not a running day, at the very least. I get changed and hop on the elliptical. I’m listening to the latest episode of the Road to the Olympic Trials podcast with guest Carrie Tollefson. Love her.

4:02 I’m finished with the RTTOT episode, so I tune in to Ali on the Run’s episode with awesome pro runner couple Nikki Hiltz & Therese Haiss. The elliptical is the worst, seriously. I manage thirty minutes and then switch to the erg, but it’s kind of bothering one of my right quads and I have a long run tomorrow, so I bail.

4:35 On my way to pick up the kids at daycare.

4:50 The evening chaos begins the moment I step into their classroom: both kids are climbing up me and shouting at me about various bits of Exciting Preschool News, and I’ve got to respond to them and speak to their teachers and get their coats on and empty their cubbies and get out the door without forgetting to sign them out. So! Much! Stuff! Then, in the hallway, they both insist on putting on their gloves, so I help L first and then E and then L turns to me and hands me his gloves back because he’s decided he doesn’t want them after all.

5:02 We’ve made it to the car.

5:25 Everyone is home and I’ve changed into a cozy sweatshirt. Soup is on.

5:45 Dinner.

6:04 Post-prandial chaos including a kitchen dance party. I am too tired to participate so I decide to chill on the couch for a few minutes. Eventually the children are just literally running up and down the hall screaming and kicking/throwing some cheap plastic firefighter hats they got at school last month.

6:30 Pajamas and teeth-brushing while CW and I chat on the couch for a precious couple of minutes. Then we all snuggle on the couch and read a few books.

7:05 We start getting kids to bed, which involves a lot of “discussion” about whether it’s bedtime or not. I need Alexa to handle this shit. The curtain calls begin literally four seconds after we walk out of their room and close the door. They run back out of the bedroom several times in 15 minutes, culminating in a stubbed toe and many tears.

7:15 I remember I need to wheel the recycling bin down to the curb and while I’m there I check the mail. The mail carrier has crammed a package in there that precisely fits the mailbox’s dimensions so I can’t fit a finger alongside it to pry it out. It’s cold and raining and I’m standing out here trying to remove a package from my mailbox like some kind of ding-dong. I wind up bending a fingernail backwards trying to bend it, squash it, and/or poke a hole in the side for purchase. Eventually I pry it loose, cursing the mail carrier and all of his descendants. It’s my Picky Club subscription box and yes that is a referral link.

7:25 I’m finally in my jammies and settling into bed for some reading time. I’ve got flannel sheets and cozy socks and the gentle sound of rain outside.

7:30 But hark! What is that other sound? Aha, the sound of my daily phone reminder to set up the coffee pot for tomorrow.

7:35 I’m back in bed again but guess who is not?!

7:52 I can hear them singing over the monitor. “Happy Birthday,” the alphabet song, etc. How the hell are they still awake? I’m signing off. I love you and good night.

Working from Home Can Be a Challenge

Things I Did Today

  • One hour powerlifting session (deadlift day)
  • Shopped at TJ Maxx without buying anything
  • Shopped at Target and bought a bunch of things but forgot one of the two key items I was looking for
  • Ordered the forgotten item on Amazon instead
  • Four loads of laundry, including new set of flannel sheets from Target
  • Re-made bed with new sheets
  • Read a few chapters of a novel for class
  • Tidied and organized the kids’ playroom, which was an absolute disaster zone I’m sorry why are there wadded up tissues on the floor?!
  • Sneakily put away a few annoying toys in my Monica Geller closet
  • Prepped/Cooked dinner (crockpot) (vegan red Thai curry)
  • Almost listened to one entire episode of the Rich Roll podcast, the Dean Karnazes interview (if you know, you know these episodes are long)
  • Composed and emailed birthday/Christmas wish list to my husband, including info about how to get discounts at specific retailers (I can be bossy about gifts at times)
  • Handled several work emails
  • Read and considered editing a (collaborative) work document but decided not to make any edits yet as no one else has and I don’t like to be the first one to take a pass
  • Opened the file of papers I need to grade in a separate tab
  • Browsed around online for some Christmas gifts for family
  • Updated my 10K training log
  • Started this blog post

Things I Did Not Do Today

  • Grade any papers