Category Archives: weekends

It’s summer, maybe I’ll blog?

The students are gone. June has begun. Work hours are shorter. I have more time in my life. I need to develop discipline and new habits. Maybe getting back into blogging will help with this. I don’t know.  I did this quiz on Linked In that Gretchin Rubin, Happiness Project author, created about habits. And, it told me that I have a hard time developing habits for myself because I give so much of myself to others. It was accurate. I have a very hard time with maintaining new routines or habits. I live alone, there’s nobody here to hold me accountable. And, it doesn’t seem as worthwhile as putting something new in place at work.

I spent this year intentionally working on developing more space for myself in my life. My work had consumed me. This year was much better. But, I’m still missing out on big components of a full life–a life that would make me happy. In the meantime, I still do things I enjoy, and in the summer, I get to do them more!

Today I went hiking at Lake Kegonsa State Park (can we talk about Walker’s new cuts to the DNR, grrrr). It was gorgeous and because it was free this weekend, busy. I bought my State Park pass though, and I hope that others also purchased one. Even if you don’t use it again, it helps the parks. Anyway, it was so nice to be out in the woods, on a familiar trail. I’m looking forward to more. And to swimming.


These Days

These  days, I am not as busy as I was during Limmud planning but

  • We’ve started planning for 2013, so I have been to some meetings and we’re launching the volunteer process next Sunday
  • I’m writing little blog posts on for Team JCFS, the crazy (I say this with a great deal of respect) runners raising money for JCFS. There are 18 of them.
  • Enjoying prepping the garden for summer. I put up a fence and planted rhubarb. The garden has been tilled. I’m prepared to conquer the creeping charlie again this year. And I have a new garden hat, so my nose won’t burn so much (hopefully)
  • I’m pretty excited about my trip to Israel that work is sending me on. I’m going to I had a travel anxiety dream last night though.
  • Reading more, watching more TV, enjoying the slower pace
  • sad that my days off this summer aren’t going to equal a week at home. Thank goodness for Sukkot in the fall, though.
  • Coming off a three-day weekend and a very short week. I was burned out, and happy to have the break.
  • enjoying the first big thunderstorm weekend of the spring (I think). Thankful for the rain bringing down all that pollen.
  • Finally finished the Wire. Started watching an Australian teen show, Dance Academy. It’s pretty light, which is good after The Wire.

Slow Cooker Brisket: Childhood memories

I decided to cut corners in my Saturday morning project. Literally. I took the frozen 1.5 lb brisket (ie. it was just a little slab of meat), put it on the cutting board, and made the mistake of choosing a big serrated knife to cut off the fat. I’ve never made brisket before but I like trying new things, and the slow cooker makes life easy. Of course, the knife (too large) slipped and sliced my finger. And there was blood, lots of blood. It was deep cut (but I didn’t need stitches according to my friend the nurse). So I tightly wrapped two band aids around it and held it up high above my heart.

I held it up and remembered doing this as a child. When I decided that I should try the project my girl scout day camp counselors discussed: making earrings out of acorns. My sister and Lizzy, our friend,and I gathered in the kitchen. And I got out the grown up scissors. Of course, I slipped and cut my finger badly. Allison had to go down to the basement to get my dad twice before he came up. He didn’t understand my sister when she told him I was “dripping”. I fainted and came to in the bathroom, on the floor, with a pillow under my head. I tend to faint. We had a planned excursion to the train museum later that day. And I remember walking around holding the same left pointer finger up above my heart, wrapped in gauze, wondering at the throbbing feeling.

So here I am, by myself in my apartment, because I live alone. Talking myself through not fainting. I did pretty well the first time. I even tweeted about it. Saying how I didn’t faint. And then, I noticed that the tip of my finger was blue. Whoops, I had the band aids too tight. After I re-did my band aids, the fainting symptoms came back with a vengeance. I grabbed an ice pack and sat in my chair.

Sitting there, I remembered sitting in the wheel chair after getting hit in the head with a baseball bat (I was in the way) being coached by the nurse on how not to faint. She told me that you have to remember to keep breathing. The ice pack kept me in touch with reality, but it was pretty shaky there for a while. I don’t know why, but blood just does me in. I cannot handle it. It’s my little panic button. I spent a long time sitting in the chair with the ice pack. When I calmed down, I drank my coffee. Eventually I took a shower. But before that, I used a steak knife and cut the fat off the brisket and got it into the slow cooker. When it came out five hours later, it was delicious.

the problem with a four day weekend

Usually, when I’m presented with extra time off, I head home. I’m a sucker for Wisconsin. I love being in the woods, in my parent’s house, with the puppy. I love the hiking, the lakes, the ease of life that Madison just is. So, that’s where I go. This last 2 holidays though, I went to Houston and then I stayed home. I was really lucky that Sukkot provided us with 2 four-day weekends.

I don’t know the last time I was home for 4 days. In my house, not in my parent’s. And I had tons of to-do lists (my desk is littered with post-its). And I didn’t get everything done, at all. And I still feel guilty. Some things just took more time. I went to the eye doctor, the dentist, and the regular doctor. Each of those appointments took up between 1 and 3 hours. (The regular doctor was deep in Glenview, so travel time took up an hour total, and there was the waiting, etc.). So, excuses, excuses.

I took the air conditioner out of the window and washed the screen. The duct tape that I had used to seal things up was a bit of a disaster. The pine needles from the tree outside the window get everywhere. And then, I put all the cleaned filters back into the vacuum. But, it still was making this atrocious sound and not sucking anything up. So, I looked up how to take it apart and figure out what was wrong. And I did, and the belt was broken. So then I frantically searched the internet for vacuum stores, very worried because it was Sunday (but it was Saturday, something I forgot again when I went looking for the Sunday Paper). I found the belt at Home Depot. So, I did my errands and picked that up. And put it back together. It’s still sounds kind of awful. And it’s not working so well on the wood or kitchen floor (which is most of my apartment). But, it does legitimately work on the rug. I’m still perplexed.

That sucked up lots of time that I was intending to use to clean or to do other things on the list. I also had to, of course, prepare for Sunday School. And I baked cookies for my friends and then went over there for Saturday night.

Today, I got one of my stupid sinus headaches and watched tv for 2 hours and then took a nap in order to get rid of it. I got to take a walk, though. And then, best of all, I talked to some Smithies on a conference call. It was quality friend time.

The thing is, is that I still have things on my to-do list and I’m staring down a week where I’ll be home after 9 on three days. ugh. And then there’ll be Shabbat dinner. So, I think the problem with the 4 day weekends is that they feed into my ambitiously high standards. I forget that I want to watch 3 hours of Pan Am on hulu to see if I like it or catch up on the other shows I like. I forget that I might get a headache or get immersed in recipes for roast chicken. (I roasted a chicken for the first time on Friday night, just because).

Tonight the crock pot is going with some stew for the week. The roast chicken remains are in the fridge. I baked the cookies that I used on Saturday night AND the rest will be used on Shabbat. The laundry is done, the sheets are changed. If it was a regular weekend, I’d feel quite accomplished.

P.S. I baked pumpkin cookies that passed the non-gluten free eaters taste test! hooray!


The last two weekends seemed to merge into one, which is kind of funny because there was a busy work week in between. Last weekend (the one before this one) I had a friend come visit me. Just me! (people seemed surprised that she’d come just to see little ole me). She was on a break between med school rotations. Her to-do list suited me just fine: take walks, go to the farmer’s market, work in my garden,  eat Ethiopian food, eat some other fun ethnic food, walk in fun neighborhoods, watch movies, play games (um all my games were for more than 2 people), listen to Dar Williams, go to the Field Museum. And so we did. On Saturday we walked to Lucky Platter for breakfast, and then walked over to the lake and then back to my apartment. We got my library books and the farmer’s market bag and went downtown Evanston. Then, we did a grocery store run and made lunch. We bummed a bit and then headed over to the garden for over an hour of major weed pulling and digging. It was amazing what 2 people could do! I showered. We went to Metropolis for some late afternoon coffee. And then ate Ethiopian food with the Smithies. Yum! We came home and watched 30 Rock.

On Sunday, we went to Sunday School (I have a good class this year! so exciting!). Then we at Vietnamese food on Argyle and went shopping. I bought bamboo and I think I’m going to go back for a money plant. I didn’t know that they did not need sunlight. Score for the windowless office! I was tired because I slept poorly. And it was gloomy. So I took a nap and Liz drank coffee. Then I drank coffee. And then, we drove over to Andersonville for a visit to Women and Children’s First (a great bookstore and also on her list) and a stroll. We picked up a Redbox on the way home, and made yummy salmon and mushrooms and green beans for dinner.I worked on Monday, so off to the Field Museum with Liz. She had a lovely time. And then I grumbled at home about a lack of protein in the freezer, so we went to Pita Inn. We had more 30 Rock for dessert. It was a lovely, low-key weekend.

This past weekend, wasn’t remarkable, except that I had quantities of people over to my apartment for Shabbat Dinner, for my minyan. I was nervous. I didn’t know if they would all fit or if they would feel comfortable. But, they loved my apartment. I heard so many nice compliments! And they want to come back, amazingly. I spent Saturday bumming around because Sunday was busy with Sunday School and then a volunteer work thing.

And now I can tell that I didn’t have my Sunday because I don’t feel ready to go to Madison for Rosh Hashanah Wednesday afternoon. Guess I’ll be rushing around on Wednesday…