Laurie Gould: Don


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I am self-employed and I work out of a home office.   I’ve been working this way, full-time, for more than 18 years.     This arrangement has facilitated a good deal of control over what I do and how and when I do it.

The biggest benefit is time. I make my own. Of course, I only get paid for the work I do; and I do have meetings and deadlines and work trips and all that.  But there is nobody counting the hours when I’m at my desk, or monitoring my lunch breaks.   I love that.

I can start my workdays at 6:30 or 10:00; I can end them at 3:30 or 9:00.  I can use my study breaks to pop a loaf of bread in the oven, or to pick a few grapes or pull a few weeds in the garden.   If I’m having a slow day I can sneak out to a noon yoga class (assuming I’m not recovering from rotator cuff surgery).  Actually: I don’t even need to sneak!   It's nobody's business but my own.  That's the whole point of self-employment.

Many days, I don’t even need to dress like an adult.   I can work at home in my fuzzy bunny slippers.   If one pair of jeans is feeling particularly cozy I can wear them every single day.   And if I’m visiting multiple clients in the course of a week, I can wear the same outfit multiple times.  I don’t even have to change my accessories!  Because who’s to know?

Note to any clients who happen to be reading this:   I don’t behave this way when I come to your office, of course.  When I come to your office I only wear freshly-laundered outfits that I have selected just for you, most likely to match the colors of your latest corporate identity package. 

Urban Terroir

Over the past five or ten years, food magazines (and I read far too many of them) have lingered long and lovingly over the concept of terroir.   Here’s how the word is defined in the Lexicon of Food:

Terroir is the idea that food has specific qualities that are influenced by a sense of place. From the people who tend to it, to the minerals in the soil in which it is grown, to the local microclimates of the area, how food is farmed influences everything about its taste, texture, smell, and overall quality.

The notion of terroir has long been familiar to people who are knowledgeable about wine.   I am not one of those people.  But I have had a couple of opportunities in recent years to go on vineyard tours; and let me tell you, terroir is the only thing they like talking about more than the makes and models of their fermentation tanks. 

My first such tour was in Priorat, a region of Catalonia, which may or may not be a region of Spain, depending on who you ask.  Oenophiles (a word I do not know how to pronounce) adore the wines of Priorat.   And the vintners of Priorat will tell you that their wine is so special entirely because of the landscape, which looks like this:

Mutiny of the Bounty

It is a fecund season.  I say that because I learned the word fecund 37 years ago for the SATs, and in all this time I have yet to use it in a sentence.

But fecund it is. 

What is the sound of one hand blogging?

Early in March I took a tumble on some black ice and definitively separated my supraspinatus tendon from the shoulder bone to which it had hitherto been attached.  By the end of March, when it became apparent that no, my shoulder was not going to heal on its own, I took the obvious next step.

I started tomato seeds for the spring garden. Because a girl has her priorities.

Replacement Parts

My food processor isn’t working quite right.    The plunger no longer moves smoothly in its sleeve, and so grating potatoes is a hit or miss proposition.

The problem might be with the lid, which has a design flaw such that when it was sitting in the dish drainer and I inadvertently dropped a heavy cast iron pot on top of it, a couple of pieces of plastic broke off.  The problem could also be with the plunger, which looks a bit bent from having been pushed repeatedly into a broken lid.

My Internet search for replacement parts for the Cuisinart DFP-14N yields valuable information:   it is not a Lid and a Plunger that I seek, but a Work Bowl Cover and a Large Pusher!  But the Internet does not yield an actual DFP-14N replacement Work Bowl Cover, nor does it yield a DFP-14N Large Pusher.  There is a Work Bowl Cover for the DFP-14BCNY, which sounds promising:   maybe my DFP-14N is a subset of the broader designation DFP-14BCNY, if one accepts the hypothesis that my food processor is compatible with any replacement parts labelled DFP-14*N*, where * can be filled by any string of alphanumeric characters (including the null set). 

Mindfulness and Gratitude

Mindfulness!   It’s everywhere.  

A couple of weeks ago, on a cold Friday morning, I was living mindfully in the moment as I stepped out my back door.   I was mindful of the bright sun, which has been rising a little earlier every morning as March replaces February.  I was mindful of some green shoots sticking through the snow, sure signs of spring in this late-lingering winter.   I was mindful of the cold, clear air as I inhaled.  And exhaled.  And inhaled again.   And I paid attention to inhaling, and exhaling, and inhaling again, because when you’re being mindful that’s what you do.

What I was not mindful of – not at all – was the super-thin sheen of ice that had formed overnight on my otherwise cleanly-shoveled back porch.   So the minute I stepped out the door my feet went flying out from under me and I tumbled down the steps, with unfortunate results for my left shoulder.

Social Me-dia

I am a bit sluggish getting up the social media learning curve.

I have the blog that you are reading now, and the website where it resides.   I have a personal Facebook page, plus another for my musical alter ago; I have a Twitter account (that I use infrequently) and a Pinterest account (on which I never post; but Pinterest turns out to be a good way to research potential hairstyles).  

And of course I have a YouTube channel for posting my music videos.    I posted a new music video this week, in fact!   So far, it has 197 views.  

197 is a pretty insignificant number in social media terms.   5,000 hits is considered to be barely making a dent.   100,000 is the absolute minimum to be considered "viral."   Real social media splashes number in the millions.

Although I want to point out that if I were counting in Base 3, 197 would be 21,022.  Which is way more, even though it’s the same.


Look!    A new music video!   Special thanks to Steve Ansolabehere for the aerial photography.

Netflix and Chill

Last weekend was a quiet one, and I found myself with some free evenings, nobody else in the house, and a lingering case of jetlag.  Perfect moment for Netflix and knitting.   

If it were less cold outside and I were less tired, I’d just go to the theatre, because there are at least half a dozen movies playing right now that I really want to see.   Isn’t that always the case?  And if I just turn to Browse Recent Releases, won’t I then run into all the movies from 2016 and 2017 that I was eager to see at the time, but didn’t quite catch while they were in active circulation?

For example: I remember that a year or so ago, before a Wim Wenders documentary about life in Siberia, there was a delightful trailer for a movie about a Welsh farm boy who makes it as a world-class operatic tenor.  Shouldn’t that opera movie be hitting the streaming services right around now?

I flip on Netflix, and I am greeted with a somewhat overwhelming array of choices:

Hell Outta Bat, revisited

On Wednesday evening I returned home from a work trip.   I had been teaching a course -- three full days in front of a classroom.    It's an activity I quite enjoy, but this time I was kind of sick, so by the end of it I was pretty fried.   Yeah, I know:  bitch, bitch, bitch.   But it sure felt great to climb into my very own bed and settle in for a good night's sleep.

That good night's sleep came to a an abrupt end at around 1:30 in the morning, when my younger daughter, home for the holidays from college, burst into the hall yelling, "There's a bat in my room!"  I believe there were also expletives involved.

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