All posts in: weekly

03 Dec 2012

2012: week forty-seven

November 28 – December 3

One of the reasons I decided to go into librarianship was the huge variety of tasks and skills most library positions require. I like to do different things every day. I like a good shake up, and this week, I got it.

You see, we are getting a new Integrated Library System. This is a huge, extended, heartbreaking process. Side effects include suspended filling of holds (ouch), various tasks for librarians to complete in order to prepare for the switchover, and oh yeah, we aren’t allowed to buy new books.

So while we wait out the “computer upgrades,” we’ve been dispatched to help other librarians complete their extra tasks, which means last week I spent four days out of the office doing what I truly enjoy – playing with piles of books. I also enjoyed different wake-up times, different commutes, getting to know my fellow branch librarian coworkers, and lunches out.

This week, I am back to the office to catch up on tasks and emails. Back to the routine. Hoping my I-Am-Freezing related depression will lift a little bit, now that I have made some progress in Project Cold Apartment: I found this puffy vest to wear over everything, we saran-wrapped a few of our windows, and The Boy taught me how to take a hot shower that lasts for more than 8 minutes. Positive developments! Life is not a meaningless misery!



  • Nonnnnfiction
  • A book to review that had the protagonist lose her virginity on page 3 and she got pregnant on page 10 and got on a bus to San Francisco on page 12 and what is going on here?
  • I decided one evening that I was too grumpy and cold to stay awake, but it was like, 9:15, so I took to my bed and cracked open Gone Girl. I made it through about 15 pages and then had an hour of half-awake, half-asleep, wordily-narrated literary dreams.

Listening To:

  • I am listening to a lot of music lately, which is nice. I am mostly getting my ideas from the Staff and Host best of 2012 lists from WXPN. I also listened to some Fleet Foxes, some First Aid Kit. Listening to a CD while reading on the couch is something that I truly like that I haven’t done in years, so now I am making up for lost time.


  • My Saturday afternoon was greatly improved when I discovered that Clueless was on Netflix Instant.
26 Nov 2012

2012: week forty-six

November 18 – November 24

In the ongoing saga that is Jessica’s Mood, I have identified the following areas as areas for mood improvement:

Procrastination Regarding Nagging, Annoying Tasks

See: making phone calls, submitting forms, sending emails. Of course, I attempted to take care of some of these tasks two weeks ago in the heights of my emotional unrest, and ended up crying over unhelpful customer service representatives. Not the best idea. However, the nagging tasks, they continue to nag.

Keeping Busy

A bored Jessica is an unhappy Jessica.

Taking Your Vitamins

Who CARES if the crazy bearded guy at Vitamin World was right and your Walgreens vitamins don’t actually do anything and are just a placebo. Take that placebo and RUN with it, child! Take your fish oil, your C, your B complex. Maybe add a Vitamin D to the mix to make 4 p.m. sunsets seem a little less tragic.

Moving Your Body

The season of 4 p.m. sunsets marks the end of after-work runs. But there are such things as weekend runs, you know, and also sit ups and push ups and Wii Fit and Netflix Pilates videos and it’s just cold out, you haven’t died, you know. You can get off the couch for four second.

Staying Warm

Except for the fact that it is still 2 degrees in your apartment, and it will likely remain 2 degrees in your apartment for the rest of the season. It is very hard to get off the couch. Heck, it is hard to stay on the couch and read a book because your hands get cold. Wear layers. Find your fingerless gloves. Hold hot cups of water. Buy long underwear, thick socks. Turn the heat up, you stingy fool.

Being Single-Minded

And finally it is okay not to want to tackle 50 tasks at once, to just Do One Thing pretty much all day long every day and letting other life things (eating, cleaning, working, sleeping) sift in as needed. Right now, that One Thing is ready a shit-ton of nonfiction books. Just go with it. Read and read a lot.

Light a Freaking Candle, Turn on the Twinkling Lights, and cue up some Sufjan

It’s the holiday season, dammit!

Play a computer game from 1988

I don’t know why. Just do it.


Listening To:

  • This Lullaby on audio… I’ve read it a million times, but never listened, which makes it kind of fun.


  • Had a mini-Shameless marathon on Saturday
12 Nov 2012

2012: week forty-four

November 4 – November 10

A sad week, a tired week, a grumpy week.

Out of curiosity, I browsed through my weekly posts past. I conjectured that I would find the following pattern – 3 weeks good, 1 week bad.

And that is exactly what I found.

Oh, hormones.

Also see: indoor allergies, rain upon rain upon rain, and daylight savings



  • An episode of Homeland, which everyone has said is amazing, and although it sounded like the opposite of a show I would like, well, I liked it.

Listening To:

  • Libba Bray read Beauty Queens, which is, so far, quite an enjoyable pursuit
05 Nov 2012

2012: week forty-three

October 28 – November 3

I have to say, in the absence of multiple jobs and assignments and school breaks, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to recall the activities on any given week.

If I was being entirely straightforward in these weekly posts, they would all be a cut-and-paste version of the following:

Wake up, make coffee in the dark, try to get warm, try to wake up, try to write.

Go to work, do work, listen to podcasts.

Come home, make dinner, watch some TV, call some people, read some books, clean some things.

In bed by 10:30.

That’s it.

And this is what I look like for most of it, because it is perpetually fah-reez-ing in my house. Brr.


  • Books about war, being a gay teenager, and Chuck Close.
  • Smashed by Lisa Luedeke
  • Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin


  • Breaking Bad
  • On Sunday night, we had a highly enjoyable viewing of Hunger Games on our couch. We’ve had this couch for over a year now, and I don’t think we’ve ever sat down to just watch a movie on it, since we are perpetually on laptops and sitting at computers and in our old apartment we had a futon and a couch in the living room. HOWEVER, I just wanted to say that despite our couch’s ugliness and free-from-the-curb-ness and leather-y-ness, it is ideal for two people to lay down together and watch a movie on a Sunday night.

Listening To:

  • All sorts of Genius playlists, musical soundtracks, random Spotify CDs, and basically I am out of control. Anyone reading, please tell me what CD I should listen to, I’m running out of ideas.
29 Oct 2012

2012: week forty-two

October 21 – October 27

I finally got a new computer and my sister was so kind as to mail me a special, special package.

Friends, after three years away, The Sims 3 is back in my life.

All I did this week was create a family, accidentally raise 6 children from birth to adult (I was aiming for 5 but had some surprise twins), rise through a business and culinary career, remodel the house, send two kids to boarding school, and take a vacation to Egypt.

Aka, all shirk every duty I had and sit at the computer and play.

What a good week.



  • Mad Men, Mad Men, Mad Men

Listening To:

  • I’m out of good CDs to listen to, so I’m turning to WXPN’s 2011 Top 50 list again. Listened to Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, and some Paul Simon.
  • Finally got around to listening to author Sara Zarr’s This Creative Life podcast, about writing. Quite enjoyable, although I wish the audio quality was better.
15 Oct 2012

2012: week forty-one

October 7 – October 13

Today is Day 29 of my Whole30 challenge. For those of you living under rocks, who don’t click links, or who otherwise prefer me to explain things, Whole30 is an paleo-like elimination eating plan, meant to be followed for 30-60 days.

Things you can eat:

  • Meat of all sorts
  • Vegetables of all sorts, except for white potatoes
  • Olive oil, coconut oil and milk, and animal fats
  • Some nuts and fruit

Things you can’t eat:

  • Rice, pasta, corn, quinoa, wheat, bread
  • Dairy
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol
  • Beans

I decided to try it out for a number of reasons. Although I try to eat healthy most of the time, working many jobs really wreaked havoc on my eating habits and choices. I was eating a lot of junk, sometimes out of choice, sometimes out of necessity, but more frequently, just plain stress eating, which I didn’t realize was a problem that I’d kicked until it came back. Anywho, I thought that a prescribed, short-term plan would be a good way to remind myself that food=fuel and get back to having good habits.

I decided to coerce The Boy into joining me because I enjoy receiving text messages¬† that read “Can I eat XXX” and then replying “No,” and then getting a reply that says “A:@#$fin I HATE YOU,” repeated multiple times daily. Just kidding. I asked him to join me because I knew if I didn’t, every day he would eat some bread or something and then ask, very sincerely, what exactly is so WRONG about bread, and I can probably just have a little bite, right?

Anyway, I would definitely recommend a Whole30 challenge to anyone who wants to feel more in control of his or her health and food choices. It’s not as hard as it looks, and although you think you can’t live without X, Y, or Z, just take a deep breath and remember that you have lived many months and will live many more and THIS IS ONLY ONE OF THEM. Slow your roll. It is a little more expensive than normal eating, because cheap calories are cheap and real food is pricy, so be warned and budget accordingly.

I wasn’t a perfect Whole30er – I relied a bit too heavily on nuts and fruits, didn’t eat enough veggies, and may have willfully ingested some corn starch while on the quest to find the elusive crispy sweet potato fry (this recipe is the best I’ve found so far!). I also didn’t see any life changing, world-altering results… probably for those reasons exactly. However, I have felt the same general benefits I’ve felt other times I’ve given up sugar – the steady energy levels, the ability to differentiate between physical and mental tiredness, the absence of food cravings (save for the occasional dessert-related fantasy). I had fewer headaches and no stomachaches.

I generally feel more well-rested and healthy, less worried about what I eat, and more in touch with what foods are nourishing.

Also, I learned to eat olives, embraced flavored seltzer water, and had a happy/sad moment when all of the 30 dollar pairs of pants on the sale rack at Banana Republic were too large.

I will probably do this again, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, to reset.

Aaaaaaand on Wednesday, I am going to a bar after work to eat nachos and drink a beer.



  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
  • Books about tuberculosis, Charles Dickens, and Frederick Douglass


  • Just realized that both seasons of Shameless are on demand. Heck yes.
  • Tried to watch The Wire, but had a little trouble paying attention enough to follow what characters were what, and then my DVD player stopped reading the disc.
  • Tried to watch Midnight in Paris, but it was really late at night and it was silly and I wanted to go to bed.
08 Oct 2012

2012: week forty

September 30 – October 6

Every day this week, I came home from work and became inexplicably grumpy. Didn’t want to cook, didn’t want to clean, didn’t want to do anything except play Skyrim or hide in my room and read a book.

It could be the diet. It’s been 22 days of Whole30 now, so we are on the home stretch, but I am getting a wee bit sick of chicken.¬† And also, everything else that I can’t eat sounds amazing. I am not sure what to make of this. It’s no fun to end a food experiment thinking “Man, glad THAT’s over! Now back to this bag of Fritos…”

It could also be the weather. It rained all week and was alternately very cold and kind of muggy. I left two umbrellas on the train. I didn’t run at all, and my hair was frizzy.

An off week. Not all weeks can be on.




  • So, I fell down the Girls well again. Good thing there are only a dozen episodes – they watch real quick.
  • I think I’ve solidified by Fall TV schedule: I’m watching The Mindy Project, How I Met Your Mother, and Call the Midwife. That’s it. I didn’t like any of the other new shows, and I never caught up with the old ones, so there we have it.
01 Oct 2012

2012: week thirty-nine

September 23 – September 29

The month has drawn to a close with this week, this week which I have taken to calling September – Week Four, as according to my latest and of course greatest daily-life-plan. Would you care to hear about my latest scheduling/life maintenance scheme? Of course you don’t. Maybe one day I will gather all of these plans, these systems, and publish them in a volume entitled The Rantings of a Mad Woman.

Anyway, part of this current daily-life-plan is intentional focus on 3 aspects of my life for 30 days and letting everything else kind of simmer. For the month of September, I attended to the following:

My Health, because I was drawing ever closer to that “I can’t wear any of my clothes anymore” moment, and also I need to get married in a year and would prefer not to resort to an all-cottage cheese diet to fit into my dress next summer. I also wanted to work towards my two-5k New Year’s Resolution, aka stop running so sporadically.

I also focused on my Happiness this month – a term I use broadly to encompass any sort of emotional/mood/behavior/spiritual issues that I might be having. There is usually something going on. Which is probably requires a stronger course of treatment than “happiness,” and is likely related to why I feel a need to craft elaborate schemes to live my life, but I digress.

And last but not least, Life Maintenance. I moved and started a new job. I thought it would be wise to devote some attention to stuff like “moving,” “unpacking,” “signing up for health insurance,” “buying stuff for my apartment,” and “figuring out what to spend my money/time on.”

So this month, I budgeted and signed papers and filled up notebooks and scheduled. This month I re-read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and while my original opinions still stand, oh, this book just makes me think differently. I learn a lot about learning a lot about myself, and I’ve been babbling about it to people for the entirety of September. I’m on an interminable hold list for Happier at Home.

And in this September – Week Four, I finished Day 14 of Whole30, ran a 5k in the rain without stopping to walk, and one room of my house is moderately decorated, mostly unpacked, and generally habitable.

A good month.

Next up, Career, Creativity, and (gag) Wedding.


Listening to:

  • New Avett Brothers
  • New-ish Fleet Foxes
  • Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic”
  • 7,435 podcasts


  • Checked out season one of Happy Endings from the library. Here is the problem with checking out season DVDs from the library – you have to watch them REALLY fast. I like this show, but I don’t really like any of the actors. Maybe one. Is that good enough to watch season two? Is this an Arrested Development situation where you are indifferent and confused during season one and then die of amazement and laugh at your past, ignorant self for hating season one? This is a lot of thinking about a television show – I should probably stop this now and use my time on something more productive.
24 Sep 2012

2012: week thirty-eight

September 16 – September 22

On Monday, I started Whole30 off right by eating 5 eggs in one day. Is this healthy? I don’t know, but I’ve been eating at least 3, sometimes 5 or 6, every day for two or three years. I am still standing. However, I have also not been to the doctor in just as long, so perhaps my cholesterol could use a check-up.

On Tuesday, it rained and we made an exciting after-work trip to the Chestnut Hill Mall. After being suckered in by free samples, The Boy was sugar-bombed at Teavana, setting back his Whole30 by a day. Who just makes tea with sugar without asking? Shame on you, Teavana!

On Wednesday, I had my first little departmental staff meeting and first on the agenda was a ritual-like sharing of What Everyone Is Reading. I like my job.

On Thursday, I ran 2.75 miles, my longest run in months. Only .3 miles (and 7 days…) away from that 5k!

On Friday, I think I just played Skyrim all night long. I can’t remember.

On Saturday, I attempted to make homemade mayo (don’t ask), made deviled eggs (with pseudo-mayo), and flooded my bathroom before noon! Yippee! Then I went to my friend’s new SWANKY apartment and was quite jealous. Like, I want to move in next door. East Boston, here I come?

And I forgot a picture, so here is a treat: Baby Peach. Collective awwww…



  • Stomached that second episode of Breaking Bad again… this time I’ll persevere on to the third episode.
  • Lots of Louie! I love this show, and I can’t believe it only has 3 stars on Netflix. What is America’s PROBLEM?
  • Watched Our Idiot Brother on On Demand… what a good movie! Just up my alley, and with all my favorite actors. And Rashida Jones and Zooey Deschanel making out.
10 Sep 2012

2012: week thirty-six

September 2 – September 8

I wish I could say I spent all week unpacking, rearranging furniture, making trips to IKEA, and otherwise settling in to this new home. However, my horrible paint job has yet to be taken care of, so my furniture must remain a few feet from the wall and my boxes full of pictures and other tchotckey-things must remain unpacked and in the way.

The good news? My subtle persuasion skills saved me from another year’s worth of printer-paper-white walls. Hello, “Navajo white.” The boy called it “vanilla ice cream,” which I think is a decent assessment. Not quite as subtle as I’d like, but definitely better than white-white-white.

The bad news? They are not done yet. I am in apartment purgatory. My picture frames remain unhung. My (free from the curb) dresser broke during the move and I am dressing myself out of cardboard boxes again.

The best news?

Peach has become brave enough to hang out in the living room, even with all the scary street noise outside the windows.

I cooked a handful of simple meals in my awkwardly arranged, full-of-boxes kitchen.

My walls are Vanilla Ice Cream.

I squirreled away a $100 giftcard to spend at IKEA next weekend.

On Friday, we sat together on the couch and had a conversation about ordering The Same Dish from The Same Restaurant for dinner, and the phrase, “Well, we can order it because we’ve never had it in THIS apartment.”

The cross-breeze can’t be beat.

I am almost ready to be Jessica again.


Listening To:

  • Podcast.podcast.PODCAST.PodCAST. I have a PROBLEM!
  • Tom Waits – The Mule Variations


  • HBO OnDemand = life is a Girls marathon. What a good little show.