Laurie Gould: Don


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It's quiet...too quiet...

Yesterday morning I dropped my younger child off at the airport so she could head back to college for the beginning of her sophomore year.   A few days earlier, my husband left for his sabbatical, a round-the-world adventure.   Except for a brief cameo appearance around Thanksgiving, he'll be gone for the better part of six months.  

All of a sudden, it's very quiet around here.

I'll be fine; I'm an introvert, and spending stretches of time on my own doesn't phase me.   My older daughter lives close by, and she is excellent company, and I have wonderful friends.   Of course, this is not my first choice; living with people you love is a gift.  One of the best.  

But there are advantages!   I've spent the last several decades shaping my lifestyle and my schedule around my husband and kids.  But with nobody else here, I can do exactly what I want, the way I want to do it, pretty much all the time.  

I can stock the freezer with the flavors of ice cream that I like!   Forget these absurd fruity flavors.   Black raspberry and lemon:  YOU'RE FIRED!

Public and private

It’s 4-ish in the afternoon, and I’ve spent most of the day concentrating intensely on a work project that I’ve finally finished and sent off to my client.    I run a quick errand, taking my laptop along for the ride; and rather than returning immediately to my desk in my too-quiet home office, I decide to finish my last work task of the day in a coffee shop.

What I really want – what I always really want – is serious coffee; but since it’s late in the day I settle for an iced herbal tea.   I get something with rooibos and berries and hibiscus…and some lingering taste that takes me back to my childhood… what is it, exactly? 

Robitussin.   Just like Proust’s madeleines!   Only gross.  

Pillow Talk

I have a thing about pillows.

Like many (most?) of my fellow humans, I have chronic back problems.  It's s a species design flaw.   I have found ways to deal with it, like everyone else.   One of my strategies involves sleeping with a lot of pillows.

I do have a favorite!   It's this thing:

Route 128: a new music video!

Just in time for summer road trips:  a road song for Massachusetts' most song-worthy highway:


Market Garden

In a move that is sure to send shock waves through the home gardening world, Amazon has just announced plans to buy my vegetable patch.

In Brief

I am supposed to be spending a romantic evening with my husband in Minneapolis.   But he is pulling an all-nighter, his second in a row, working against a deadline to file a legal brief for a case in which he is serving as an expert witness.  Tomorrow he leaves on a six-day camping trip with his brothers.   So tonight, instead of walking hand-in-hand with my true love across the Stone Arch Bridge that spans the mighty Mississippi, I am instead strolling through the aisles of Target, attempting, for the first time in my life, to buy underwear for my husband.  My kids are girls; so in fact, this is the first time in my life I am buying men's underwear at all. 

Chamber of Horrors

This afternoon I took time out from my workday to practice piano.  Because tonight I met with a quartet of like-minded amateur musicians for what was to be the second week of a two-week stint as a guest pianist with their string quartet.   We were sight-reading Mozart’s piano quartet in Eb major; and I needed to prepare.

 Yes, you’re correct:  “sight-reading” means that you pick up the music on the spot and play as you go.    And that is just what the others did.  But I wouldn’t have gotten very far with that approach.  I had to practice to have even a prayer of keeping up. Because the piano part has a LOT of notes!   Just look at them:


Rituals of the Road

The rituals are the same the world over.   You and your fellow practitioners have a common language – not the local patois, but an ancient language, a language of ritual.   You recognize the melodies.   You are welcomed as one of the tribe, and you feel at home.


No, I’m not talking religion – I’m talking yoga.

On my travels of late (all domestic, and mostly for work), I have made it my mission to find and attend local yoga classes.   (My other travel obsessions include farmer’s markets, public transit, coffee shops, botanical gardens, and local breweries.   A girl on a business trip barely has time to work.)   

The yoga ritual is familiar, the arc of the class, the sun salutations, the relaxation at the end.   And then, of course, there is the common language:   the Sanskrit words, sure; but also the platitudes, which are the same, down to the punctuation, the country over.


God, I hate going to rallies.

Don't get me wrong;  I am all for political participation.  I make phone calls, I write letters, I write checks; I put in plenty of volunteer hours on issues that I care about.   While I'm sure I could be doing much more to make the world a better place, I'm not really a sit-on-the-sidelines kind of gal.

But rallies.  For the past quarter century I have avoided them like the plague.  To start with, I’m an introvert, and there are few things I enjoy less than big crowds.   And then there are the slogans and the speeches.  I dislike the simple-mindedness of political rhetoric, the jargon, the demonizing of opposing opinions.   And the chanting!   Don’t get me started. 

And yet I have found myself at rallies for the past two weekends.   Last weekend, of course, I had to go to the Women’s March (I went in Boston), if only to show off my fabulous new hat, made for me by my daughter Rebecca:

Feeling hot, hot, hot!

I have a brand new oven!   It is a very exciting development for me, because I am a somewhat obsessive bread-baker. 

This is how the bread is supposed to look when it comes out of the oven.   This is not how the bread looked when I pulled it out on December 23, when our old oven gave up the ghost mid-bake.   Those loaves were pale and sad.   I did my best to finish the off in the toaster oven (which is not a culinary technique I am likely to repeat).

Other things being equal, it would be better for major appliances to choose expiration dates other than the ones immediately preceding major holidays.   We couldn't get anyone out to look at the oven until December 27, when we paid $129 to learn that the motherboard (more commonly known as the mother!$&#*!) was busted, and that They Don't Make That Part Anymore.

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