furry friday helper

Furry Friday is typically a work from home day for me (which also translates into work in pajamas!) and today was no different. For some reason, though, Abby was being a ridiculous cuddle bug. Now, I’m used to her being my “couch buddy”, with her squishing her butt into whatever small space she can to be next to me. Today, though, it didn’t matter what I did to try to annoy her and get her to move to her chair: she was not moving.

Toe tickling, playing with her ears, playing with her whiskers and her lips, and generally being a nudge, no reaction. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but she insisted on being so close to me I had nowhere to really rest my one arm so I could write emails. Therefore, her head became a resting spot for my elbow.

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I guess sometimes being cuddled up just trumps everything else. Hope everyone had a fabulous Furry Friday!!!

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furry friday shares :)

It was a blustery, freezing furry Friday here in the Philly suburbs and while I usually work at home on Fridays, I was out at an Open House in the city talking to potential applicants to the graduate Physician Assistant program I work at. It was one of the most rewarding days I’ve had in a long time.

Explaining to one of the students how many applicants we get and all the paperwork I go through, I joked, “I have no life.” The student said to me, “Oh yes you do. You change our lives just by giving us a chance for us to save lives being PAs.”  I swear I almost teared up. That statement absolutely made it worth it for me to have trekked around in the city in 15 degree weather.

Back home tonight, I greeted the Man at the door with a cooked dinner, and Abby and Luna waiting patiently for their own meals. We had a fabulous meal and are hunkered down now with the heater on, just relaxing.

I couldn’t let a furry Friday go without sharing this super sweet video from Cole and Marmalade: How Cats Say “I Love You”. Just a little nod to the impending Valentine’s day. Hope you’re all bundled up and warm, and enjoy!

 

workin’ 9-5

For the first time in three years, The Man and I are on the schedule. He received a promotion at work (yay!!) and so now we’re both working 9 – 5. While this is amazing, I all of the sudden realized that instead of cooking something small and simple for myself, two of us were going to be home for dinner each night. Prior to going to the grocery store on Sunday morning, I made a game plan. I was going to cook. Every. Night.

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I had placed this cling dry erase board on our kitchen cabinet a long time ago. We use it for notes we need to remember, messages, and sometimes grocery lists.  I decided to use it for our menu for the week which has kept me on track. The nice thing about all the meals is that we had most of the ingredients already – just needed some meat – so grocery shopping was easy and pretty cheap. One of my friends thought I was crazy to cook every night, but it has worked out really well. All of the meals take 30 min or less to prep, and with the exception of the meatloaf only about 20 – 30 minutes to cook.

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Tonight was Tuna Mornay with a spinach salad including croutons, chopped eggs, some shredded cheddar, and sliced almonds. The dressing we used was a yogurt dill. I didn’t realize until I assembled it all on the table that our meal was all the same colors. Very spring like, though, so I’ll take it!

The best part is so far we’ve had leftovers from everything, including making an entire extra meatloaf to freeze as individual slices. The perk is that The Man and I had a very yummy lunch of meatloaf and tater tots today which was perfect with the impending snow.

I’m so excited we’re now finally on the same schedule, and The Man is super excited that I’ve been cooking. I just hope he knows that next week is his turn! 🙂

feline friday “helps” work

As it is National Poetry Month, I figured I might as well share one of my favorite poems about cats, which describes Luna perfectly.

The cat’s song

BY MARGE PIERCY

Mine, says the cat, putting out his paw of darkness.
My lover, my friend, my slave, my toy, says
the cat making on your chest his gesture of drawing
milk from his mother’s forgotten breasts.

Let us walk in the woods, says the cat.
I’ll teach you to read the tabloid of scents,
to fade into shadow, wait like a trap, to hunt.
Now I lay this plump warm mouse on your mat.

You feed me, I try to feed you, we are friends,
says the cat, although I am more equal than you.
Can you leap twenty times the height of your body?
Can you run up and down trees? Jump between roofs?

Let us rub our bodies together and talk of touch.
My emotions are pure as salt crystals and as hard.
My lusts glow like my eyes. I sing to you in the mornings
walking round and round your bed and into your face.

Come I will teach you to dance as naturally
as falling asleep and waking and stretching long, long.
I speak greed with my paws and fear with my whiskers.
Envy lashes my tail. Love speaks me entire, a word

of fur. I will teach you to be still as an egg
and to slip like the ghost of wind through the grass.

Marge Piercy, “The cat’s song” from Mars & Her Children (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992)

A week ago when I was doing some work from home, we had friends over. One of our friends brought their baby. Loki hid like normal, but Luna was very confused, and even looked panicked when I held him. Even though she was wary, though, she didn’t hiss or hunch of back or ruffle her fur. She just sat across the room, transfixed as I “cheated” on her.

A little while later, when I went down to my office to finish a transcription project, she followed me. Apparently, she was a little bit jealous that I was paying attention to someone other than her, so she got my attention the best way she knows how. By plopping herself right where I was working.

She spent the better part of the next hour rotating between sitting on my desk, crawling on my lap (on my wireless keyboard, and trying to throw various things OFF the desk and onto the floor. Including my computer mouse. Twice. But I love her. Just like any crazy cat lady, I love her.

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by definition

During a meeting at work today I was told that a work relationship that I had considered more of a friendship was not. Flat out. We were not, nor had we been friends.

Since that meeting at 10 a.m., I have struggled to come to terms with that. Like most people, I work a 40 hour work week. My husband does too, but as he’s on a different shift, I feel like I see the people I work with more in a given week than I do my husband. The good thing, at least, is that I like most of the people I work with and would in fact consider them friends. We share lunch, we talk about our weekends, we recommend books and movies and TV shows to one another, we share what is going on in our home lives, we talk about our home improvement projects. Yes, there is always a risk of oversharing with coworkers, but at this point everyone I work with knows I’m quirky and they accept that. And some of my coworkers even delight in my quirkiness. And my supervisor puts up with a lot of my bitching and complaining and hasn’t once told me to shut up. She knows, as well as I do, that our job is stressful. And I’m lucky to have that. And I consider them friends.  But I guess not everyone views things the same way.

When I got home, I looked up the term friendship on the trusty internet, and the definitions certainly vary, but they all have a common thread of being a relationship that is more than just an acquaintance. Friendship includes trust, the ability to be honest without fear of reprimand or judgement,  mutual understanding… all the things that we value in working relationships. Add in having common interests and sharing details of your personal life, and you have what I would consider a friendship.

Being told you’re not friends with someone is hard to swallow, and I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever get over it. In the back of my mind, that comment will always be playing whenever the person asks me about my weekend or my cat or my house. In some ways, though, I wonder who got hurt more: me by being told that I was not considered a friend, or the other person who didn’t realize they had one all along, and they just threw it away.

etymology of your dining room

I had the most interesting challenge come up today. Well, okay it was a conversation, but I took the outcome as a personal challenge. Most people I work with know that I am a font and the guardian extraordinaire of a plethora of useless factoids and information.   In fact, I get teased for it a lot, to the point where I sometimes just throw a tidbit out there to see the reaction I get. I guarantee one day someone I work with will be watching Jeopardy and will know the answer because of something I’ve said. Like knowing what arachibutryophobia is…

ANYWAY…. A co-worker just helped her parents move and was describing the new furniture that was purchased for the dining room.  My co-worker was explaining how the buffet had to be positioned off center because of a vent, to which I replied that my sideboard was off center in my dining room. My co-worker gave me a quizzical look and said, “Aren’t they the same thing? A buffet and a sideboard?”  And thus, my challenge was born!

So, dear readers, if you ever wanted a brief, internet research based* explanation of the etymology of your dining room furniture, search no further! Because I have nothing better to do on a rainy afternoon than provide you with this useless fascinating information.

Apparently a “sideboard” is the family of furniture which includes any piece used as storage and display. By that definition, most media centers that have storage are probably also considered a sideboard.

my sideboard which holds more liquor than wealth or silver

my sideboard which holds more liquor than wealth or silver

So a buffet is actually defined as a small sideboard to store dishes, linens, and serve food. As you know, buffet also refers to a way to serve food en masse, also known as a Smörgåsbord (which is a Swedish meal made up of a bunch of cold dishes all served on the same table buffet-style, but the word is now used in English to portray a variety of options). The use of the word buffet apparently comes from 16th century France, referring to a display of wealth (like silver and crystal) as well as the furniture it is displayed on.

a buffet sideboard, from overstock.com

Then there is also a credenza! Typically made of wood with a center section flanked by glass doored sections on either side, credenza comes from the 16th century Italian where it was used as a verb, meaning the sampling/tasting of drink and food by a servant to make sure it wasn’t poisoned before serving to noblemen. Basically, it’s a buffet but you can see in. And don’t forget it’s also a sideboard!

Oh and don’t leave out the breakfront! I’ve always wondered why it was called that, and assumed it was because the front is usually glass and easily broken.  But nope! It’s a piece of furniture with a curve, typically tall, and the curve of the center section is “broken” by extending forward from the sections on the side.

a gorgeous example of a breakfront! from uantique.com

Similar to your breakfront is a hutch (also known as a Welsh dresser, kitchen dresser, pewter dresser, or china cabinet, AND very similar to a hoosier cabinet). A hutch is a cabinet that has drawers and a cabinet below, topped by a counter/surface/sideboard, along with a shelving unit above.  Originally, a piece of furniture like this was really just for utility, and commonly found in the kitchen. This is the place where you would prep your food, and then prepared food was put on your sideboard/buffet/credenza in your dining room. Sometimes there would be a long drawer just under the cabinet that was lined with tin so you could put cooked items to cool and sit before served. As time went on, the shelves went from storing food to and your every day plates to displaying the best-of-the-best crockery that you owned.

my dining room hutch

my dining room hutch

And do you have a drop leaf table in your dining room? It’s also known as an Irish Wake table or coffin table.  There is a fabulous article about it here, and I wouldn’t want to do it injustice by paraphrasing. Let’s just say that when it’s used as designed, you would NOT be eating off of it.

So, my dear friends, there is some additional knowledge that you probably didn’t need. I personally love knowing the back story to expressions and etymology of words.  Just ask me about soffits some day.

* Thank you to Wikipedia, Ask.com, This Old House, and a variety of other websites where I gleaned all this information.  It’s actually nice knowing what to properly call the things I own.

small victories

Today was a big day for me at work.  Some people will probably consider me a bit silly after reading this, or stop reading altogether.  But today meant something to me: I finally received my 5-year service pin at the annual employee recognition ceremony.

The funny thing is that I’ve worked at the same university for 8 years, not 5. When the recognition ceremony took place last year, I was convinced I would finally get my pin, and when I didn’t I was devastated.  I started at the university about a year after graduating college, so the better part of my twenties were spent working at the same place. I mentioned that to someone recently and they laughed at me, thinking I was calling myself old. But that had nothing to do with it. It’s what I’ve done while I was there… if you count them all up, I’ve had nearly ten titles during my tenure.  But it’s more than the titles, even. It’s what happened in my life and the lives of those around me, too.

In the time that I’ve worked at the university, my uncle was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and, four years later, passed away. My supervisor lost his thirteen year old son to cancer. My mother went through at least four major surgeries. My husband served two tours in Iraq, and later moved home from Hawaii. My “mom away from home” left the university and we have never spoken since. I began working on my Master’s and had a thesis advisor who opened my eyes to the kind of writer and person that I wanted to be; I earned my Master of Arts and was given the department award for writing for my class. I had two roommates leave, one of which I had to ask to move out and then had to call his parents because he became a shut in. One of my closest friends from college lost his sister. I spent several years working with one former coworker on his dissertation; he defended and earned his PhD. I negotiated the sale of a new car by myself. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and learned that I have pre-cervical cancer cells. My husband lost both of his grandparents. My relationship with my father’s estranged brother was rekindled. My best friend from college got married, and a year later so did my best friend from high school.  I lost my job because my department was dissolved, and three days later got married. And two months later I was rehired. We bought our house.

And through it all I have had the chance to work with some of the most amazing researchers, doctors, pharmacists, and entrepreneurs I’ve ever known. I had a boss who, when he left the university, I finally told: “You were one of the most difficult people to work for because you expected so much. And I learned more from you than anyone else. Thank you.” And I have met people at work that I now call friends.

Anyone who knows me knows fully well that most days the place I work drives me absolutely insane. But I have always done my job with passion and with dedication. So while a 5-year pin doesn’t mean much to some people, to me it is a reminder that the better part of my twenties weren’t wasted there. Sure, I lost my job. But someone there knew me enough, and knew how much I had done, that they wanted me back. That counts for something. But some of my most life defining moments happened while I was working there. And somewhere along the way, I grew up, grew wiser, and learned some things along the way. I became the person I am today.