Tag Archives: Technology-hates-Laura

Zucchini overload = awesome easy lunch

We need to grocery shop, bad… I’m running out of easy stuff to bring for lunch. But while looking over the garden last night I noticed a lone zucchini. Lunch for today was easy peasy… Zucchini pizza!

I brought my small stoneware bar pan from pampered chef, which I use all the time for everything… In fact I may as well buy another. I also brought a snack sized Baggie of shredded cheese, a small cup of spaghetti sauce, and of course a small-medium sized zuke.

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First I preheated the oven at work to 400 degrees. While it heated up I sliced the zucchini in half long-ways. Then, I spread the pizza sauce on and sprinkled on the cheese. Sometimes I add oregano, garlic, sliced tomato, basil, mushrooms, or pepperoni, but I was in a hurry and feeling kinda plain when I got my lunch ready last night.

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I let the zucchini pizzas bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and somewhat burnt on the pan.

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Then my website went down, I received a text from my husband that my child is puking, and our credit card machine stopped working. This is my job and my life. Technology hates me.

Luckily I have awesome coworkers and while I was tethered to my computer my pal Kate brought me my half on a plate, complete with plastic ware and a napkin. So nice. While I would have loved taking an actual lunch break, at least I got to enjoy the deliciousness.

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Just when you think you’ve had enough

Everyone has times when you think things are bad, and then they just get worse. It’s been like that for me lately. I hate to be a downer, but my job is hard. Being a full-time working mom is hard. Getting housework done is hard. Personal issues I’ve recently had are hard. Stuff’s just hard, man. But just when I thought I’d had enough things start to get better: stuff at work that wasn’t working for so long is… better. Just when I was feeling crappy, a coworker took the time to tell me I’m appreciated.

I know a woman named Jennifer. Jennifer is calm, hilarious, peaceful, sarcastic, smart, sympathetic, and thoughtful. I love working with her because she is always ready to listen, share empathetic stories, give her honest opinion, and take action in whatever way you need her to. Jennifer always has a funny story or humorous idea; some of my favorite work moments involve Jennifer’s humor. She purchased some bump-it’s once and tried them in my hair. Now, if you know my hair, you know why that’s funny. I probably had the highest, tangliest, bumpiest bump ever. Another time I brought in one of my wraps (my Dolcino, my first real woven) and she photographed me posing with some library babies. She’s such a great photographer… I can remember helping her get pictures off her digital camera a few times, so of course I got to check out her pictures. She’s amazing at taking pictures of anything! I’m lucky to be her Facebook friend, because I constantly get to read stories and see photos she’s taken while on nature walks.

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Before my 30th birthday last fall I started thinking a lot about what happens to us when we die. Morbid, I know, and yeah… I’ll save the details for another post. Jennifer is a co-pastor for a Quaker church with a lot of theology knowledge, an open mind, and a peaceful demeanor. I talked to her briefly about my concerns, and I’ll never forget how she responded when I told her my fears, and asked her, “what happens to us when we die?” Her response: “I don’t know.” She told me her thoughts and hopes, but she never made me feel stupid, or like I should be fearful, or like I was bad or wrong for not already having a firm belief. I still don’t know what I think, and I wonder about it a lot. But I’m not as lost anymore, and I know I can depend on her to talk it out any time.

Jennifer knows how hard work has been for me lately, and today as I headed back to my office to get my things ready to leave I was surprised to find her in there. “Hey, I was just writing you a note,” she said. “It says ‘I bought you some cookies. Of course I had to try one. Then I had another but I couldn’t finish it, so I only had half.'” Totally Jennifer. So giving, but so honest and funny at the same time. I told her she didn’t have to so that, and she said, “it’s just some cookies.”

Jennifer lied. It was more than cookies. First of all, the gift came with a hug. I’m not one to ask or offer hugs often, but each time I share one with someone I remember how great they are. Once I got to my car I opened the gift bag and shared some cookies with Atticus and Trent. I told Trent that Jennifer had given them to us. He knows Jennifer because he likes to share his crazy jokes with her and play shy with her. We went back in to thank her, then left. It wasn’t until later that I saw what else was in the bag: a delicious looking tea drink I can’t wait to enjoy. I love tea! And the best part… a Jennifer original photograph.

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I first saw this picture when Jennifer shared it on Facebook. I showed this to Trent and asked what he saw and he said “some trees.” Then his face lot up. “A heart, mommy!” He said that it was nice of Jennifer to give it to me.

Jennifer also included a note, which made me cry. She said something really important, something I want to remember and something I hope others take away from this.

I think people don’t realize that they are making an impact on others unless the ‘others’ tell them. So, I am telling you!

She’s right. And I bet she didn’t know how much her thoughtfulness meant to me, how hard things have been and how wonderful her words felt to read, and just how perfectly timed she was. Actually, I’m sure she knew. Jennifer’s too smart not to. She always notices the little things.

She is a good woman. I’m so glad to know her. Thanks, Jennifer.

A lot of nothing

I feel bad that I’m not writing as much lately. When I started this blog I feared it would be yet another thing that I get all gung-ho about and then abandon after awhile. I really don’t want that to happen.

Work has been kicking my butt lately. There are technology issues that even our IT support company are having problems solving. It feels like I’m failing in this position. When I don’t know how to fix something and the help can’t help… it comes back to me and my inability to get it done. It’s a real downer.

My house is pretty much a mess lately as well. Actually, it just is a mess. I don’t care to work on cleaning it. We did get lots of yard work done this weekend and that felt really good. We finally got the rest of our garden planted, and boy is it a doozy! I have 13 heirloom tomato plants, 16 pepper plants, a few varying cucumber plants, zucchini, cabbage, celery, dill, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, Greek oregano, 7 basil plants, corn, and I think a few other things. It was satisfying getting everything in the ground, finally. Hopefully things produce before the frost starts killing it all off.

The boys and I hit my parents strawberry patch last week for some of the first crop. I’ve offered Atticus strawberries before and he hadn’t cared to eat them, but he loved eating he ones he picked himself! Yesterday when I went to my parents’ to pick up some tomato starts my mom gave me some strawberries and both boys have been all over them.

Trent was sick last week, feverish, sore throat and and upset stomach and headache. Also a rash. He says he’s been feeling better but he is just being whiny and kind of a jerk. He’s currently in his room because he can’t stand to be around Atticus. It breaks my heart to see him acting this way. He gets so upset but also so happy. He’s such a feeler. I am too… I’m crying right now as a matter of fact. I just want him to be a happy child. I don’t want him to deal with the difficulties of anxiety or depression.

Lately I’ve just been in a funk. I’ve talked about my anxiety and depression before here. I feel like I’m not succeeding in anything I’m doing, and I’m incredibly disappointed in myself. I can’t say why, other than how terrible I am at my job and how I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing as a parent. Oh, and I’m out of shape and I am an awful housekeeper. I just want to feel okay with things and not worry or be sad about it all. I promise I’ve been taking my prescription the right way lately but it just feels like it isn’t helping anymore. I don’t know. Maybe I just need to stop thinking about it. I just have so many feelings and I can’t sort them out. And I don’t want to. I’m too tired to deal with it lately; I just want to sleep all the time.

So, there’s my bloggity blog for today. Sorry it sucks, dear world. I promise I’ll find something positive and fun to read to blog about soon. Maybe I’ll sort out all the things I plan to do with my garden harvest.

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Technology & Beauty. No, I’m Not Calling Technology Beautiful.

Technology still hates me today. What gives, comprooders? I finished setting up a brand new sparkly Asus Transformer Book for the library director today that we’ve been waiting to receive for over 3 months. I love checking things off my to-do list. However, I had a computer begin showing signs of petering out yesterday. I need to replace it with a ‘recycled’ machine (one that’s recently been replaced with something newer and better) pronto, but I’m stuck. I have both a Dell Vostro and an HP Compaq dc5750 that I can’t seem to restore to factory settings. I’ve tried F8, F9, F10, and F11 and I keep not getting them to do what I need. I’ve done this on other computers a handful of times at this point so I don’t understand what the issue is. I feel like these boxes are just laughing at me. 

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Thank goodness my thoughtful predecessor left me this handy kit. 

I recently had an interesting discussion about beauty with a few friends who are beauties themselves. We talked about people we knew in high school that everyone seemed to consider beautiful and we marveled at how our standards have changed and continue to change. There are people I know from my past who seem to have passed their prime, so to speak. Sometimes I see myself as past that prime time, too. But really it seems like I can see more beauty in everyone now. I don’t care for just one particular type of features or look. I’m fascinated by how different everyone can appear and by what others see as physically attractive. 

For example, the older my mother gets the more beautiful she becomes to me in so many ways. She rarely wears makeup, or at least not much and doesn’t seem to go to tons of trouble in terms of her appearance. Her hair is a nice soft blonde-ish grey mix and her skin is always a summery brown. My mom has a natural and gentle beauty that is hard to come by. 

Anyway. As for the success of the croutons: I took a snack baggie to work today and my coworkers really liked them. I promised to bring more tomorrow but I’m going to have to break that promise. 

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:-/ suspected culprit: Lucy. 

The dogs expressed interest in last night’s expired leftovers endeavor. They had a few slices before the croutons began and they liked it. When the croutons came out of the oven they were again extremely interested. I couldn’t find the leftover croutons this evening after Nate and I said hello and goodbye. But I did find the above pictures shredded bag in someone’s crate. 

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Innocent little creature, huh?

The sealed bag was set far back in the counter when I left them last night. Hmm. Trixie trickster.

Stale Bread & Soap Nuts

Well, today turned out to be a technology-hates-Laura kind of day. My predecessor, who thankfully walked me through some troubleshooting for approximately 53 minutes today, warned me that some days are like that. By the time I got home to switch off parenting/working duties with Nate, I was ready for bed. But alas, my boys needed cuddles and hell, I did too.

Atticus, my 12 month old, is toddling around everywhere all smiles, all the time. While I scarfed down a delicious snack of pizza rolls and Frank’s he pulled some beer off the drink shelf from the pantry. I thought about adding a picture here but feel it may be too soon to show what a bad humorous parent I am. Anyway, he also grabbed an unused pack of cocktail rye bread that “expired” 4 days ago. I don’t do expired here. I may not do that whole cooking dinner thing, but I hate throwing things away, so I make expired bread work. I had a stick of butter and spices, so… Everyone loves croutons!

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I lay the bread slices out on the counter and got out a stick of butter and the seasonings I planned to use. Giving the boys a bath and nursing Atty to sleep was the perfect amount of time to let the bread stiffen up and the butter soften. Didn’t plan on Trent getting out of bed twice and Atty waking up once during my little baking sesh, but hey…

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Once the boys were in bed I preheated the oven to 325 degrees, lined a baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with canola oil, then sliced the bread into bite-sized chunks. I use a super-sharp Rada knife I got from Lehman’s (um, possibly my favorite store) so that I could stack the slices up and cut them 4 or 5 at a time.

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I melted the butter in the microwave while I piled the bread squares into a bowl and sprinkled them with some of the herbs and spices. I used garlic, thyme, and parsley this time but have also used oregano, Italian seasoning, rosemary, and others. Before adding the butter I shook the bowl and added more seasonings a few times.

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Next I added the butter little by little, tossing the bread gently with my hand. I’ve made the mistake of pouring too much butter in at once and it ends up leaving some of the croutons dry and others soaked. Yuck. After the butter is added I shake more seasonings in. It’s hard to have too much flavor on croutons, I feel.

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I spread the croutons on the baking sheet and sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper, then bake for 15 minutes. I took them out, tossed them around and tasted tested their crunch factor, then baked for 10 more minutes. Once they’re sufficiently crunchy I let them cool.

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Then I eat a handful. So yummy. So glad my mom taught me that little trick. These make an awesome snack.

~~~

While the boys’ bath was running I decided to wash some clothes and wouldn’t ya know it… I’m out of detergent. Thankfully I have a bag of soap nuts (also from Lehman’s!) that I keeps around mostly for washing my woven wraps. I grabbed a few, threw them in a cloth bag, and dropped them into the washer. Done! I love these things. 3-4 nuts can be used about 5 times before they’re no good anymore.

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Ehh, soap nuts? Yes, soap nuts. They’re not really nuts, they’re actually the dried and de-seeded fruit of the sapindus mukorossi tree. They’re natural and biodegradable, which is awesome, and they’re unscented. And they work, believe it or not. Plus, they’re one of the preferred washing methods for woven wraps, so they’re a must in this house 🙂

Here is the packaging information for the soap nuts I purchased from Lehman’s in August. The bag was just under $10.

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