Laurie Gould: Don


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Notes from the Iberian Peninsula

My Spanish is OK, not great; one of the anticipated benefits of a vacation in Spain is the chance to practice.   But my first day in Bilbao, sleepless and jetlagged, all I can really access is Language B, which includes a little bit of everything other than English that I've picked up over the years. 

すみません, je voudrais un café con leche пожалуйста.  Asante sana.

Look it up.


Bread of Atonement

We are in the middle of the High Holy Days, a time when the Jewish community comes together for celebration and reflection.  At Rosh Hashanah services last Wednesday evening I looked around the full sanctuary and thought, how remarkable it is to be in this room with others with whom I share so much!   Mostly this:

Hundreds of people who have the same hair as me!   Imagine the fellowship.

Of course, we share other things, too. 

Basic black and brown

A few months back, I downloaded a recipe for Black Bean Brownies from a blog called "Chocolate Covered Katie."    You make them by blitzing rolled oats and black beans in a food processor, with a little maple syrup or agave nectar, enriched with a healthy dose of cocoa powder; then you fold in some chocolate chips and bake.   I thought:   wow, that could be really good! Beans are creamy and toothsome, and they could be a fine vehicle for chocolate.  I would love to try that!

You know that sound you just made?   The guttural “BLECH!” emerging of its own accord from the back of the throat?   That’s the sound that everyone in my family would make if I told them I was going to make brownies out of black beans.   And that’s why I never got around to trying this recipe.

AHA!  But none of them are home at the moment!   A few days ago I found myself at the cusp of the weekend, with a batch of black beans fresh from the slow cooker, and all the other ingredients ready to go in the pantry.   What was to stop me?  I whipped a batch right up!


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:


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