I do intend to review Meghan Daum’s novel, The Quality of Life Report, but I do realize that the title is apt for this posting, especially since it’s been a bit since I’ve written anything on my blog.  Marc and I have been keeping super busy, blogging about food and meals, on our combined blog, Saucy & Bossy.  If you haven’t read it yet, please feel free.  We love comments.

It’s been a rough transitory week after furlough — I can’t say I loved not getting paid, but I surely did enjoy having time off.  I had a lot of time to just relax, cook, spend time with Marc and Job, and SLEEP (I slept til NOON on the 4th of July!  That never happens).

While on furlough, I did pick up Meghan Daum‘s novel, The Quality of Life Report, which I got on paperbackswap, and was VERY eager to read.  The Quality of Life Reportis loosely based Daum’s own experience, when she relocated from city life to the country.  The novel’s main character, Lucinda Trout, discovers Prairie City (in an undisclosed Midwestern state — I assumed Iowa, though other people’s reviews have guessed Kansas or Nebraska) on a segment shoot for her local New York morning show.  In meeting some of the more educated and bohemian members of Prairie City’s community, Lucinda decides that she can easily and happily make a life for herself, especially since rent is lower and life is slower.  She even finds a way for her television show to fund the cost of her move, by promising heartland musings for New York audiences.

Almost immediately after moving, Lucinda is barraged with Prairie City-zens who have her best interests in mind.  She is asked out by various men — married and not, and all generally too old for her.  Her connections in Prairie City invite her to every party, every benefit, every club, and generally are ready to have her wow and amuse them with her tales of city life.  This adoration wears thin for Lucinda, who quickly eschews her new friends’ advice and starts to make her own choices.  She moves into a somewhat-sketchy neighborhood (though much safer than some places she’s lived in in New York), purchases a flimsy American car without four-wheel drive, and starts dating Mason Clay, a local artist, equal parts sexy and eccentric. 

The Quality of Life Report by Meghan Daum

The Quality of Life Report by Meghan Daum

Since Prairie City is big enough for everyone to NOT know everyone, Mason is a relative stranger to most of her new connections and it seems that Lucinda likes it that way.  Mason, though handsome and charming, has a lot of baggage that Lucinda has to prepare herself for.  He has three children, from three different women (one ex-wife, one ex-girlfriend, and one one-night-stand), he has no career aspirations and works in a grain elevator, his house is an A-frame cabin in the woods, he is a habitual pot smoker and he bathes in a lake.  Lucinda becomes taken with his charm, and soon convinces herself that Mason’s rough edges are part of “country living”, and since she had very little luck finding and keeping a boyfriend in New York, where men are very high maintenance, she may as well try on a country boy for size and see where it takes her.

Lucinda and Mason’s relationship starts well — they enjoy each other’scompany, they have seemingly great sex (though the book never goes into explicit detail, it’s just an assumption that I’ve made) and Lucinda doesn’t mind acting as almost-step-mother to at least 2 of Mason’s children — the older boys.  Soon, the two decide to purchase a farm, which Mason fills with decrepit, disgusting animals, including a pig and a horny horse.  Unfortunately, after moving onto the farm, Mason also develops a nasty meth habit, which he hides from Lucinda until the night a film crew is set to tape a segment on rural barn dances in her house.

Lucinda, in utter denial about Mason’s behavior, tells him to stop and keeps the news of the addiction to herself.  She assumes he isn’t using, though the signs and symptoms are directly in front of her, and she retreats from any sort of social scene, to avoid confrontation.  The second half of the novel really delves into Lucinda’s denial and avoidance of the topic — which can, at times, definitely feel infuriating.  Daum builds up Lucinda enough that, as a reader, you start to like her, so that when Lucinda starts to make excuses for Mason, assuming that he’s not using, you do start to feel devastation when it’s clear that he is. 

I feel like I have given enough spoilers away in the plot, so I’ll stop here.  I do think that The Quality of Life Report tackles some really interesting subject matter — particularly reflecting that Midwestern cities often have as many quirks as their east-coast counterparts, and that sometimes “the simple life” isn’t quite that simple.  The writing definitely has some quirks — the pacing is often off, with strong details being spared in key scenes.  Lucinda’s voice, though, is funny, smart, quirky, and intelligent — she is very real and likable, even in extremely unlikable situations.  I think if you are looking for a book that is a little lighter than literary fiction, but a little heavier than chick lit, you should look no further.  By no means is this a “must read,” but it does fit the bill for a summer book.


I generally like the coziness that rain and snow provide.  I don’t mind gray skies and I always like cool temperatures.  But I’ve had enough!  This has been an exceptionally rainy June, and it’s already starting to be a July with HEAVY rain.  Marc got stuck in Virginia overnight unexpectedly, after chaos at Logan deterred his plane.  In that time, Job and I curled up for bed, and I found out that he is (probably not surprisingly) terrified of thunder and thunderstorms.  And we had several.  One at 4 a.m., one at 6 a.m., one and 8 a.m.  And he was trembling the whole time.

RAIN!

RAIN!

Miraculously, Marc got home just as the weather started to clear, but when he got out of his cab, the rain started up again, and seemed to be coming down even harder than before.  It sounded like a faucet had turned on — on our gutter.  I had to take pictures to send to my mom, because I’m pretty sure that she wouldn’t believe the severity of the rain.

Marc’s here though, and we took a 4 hour nap together (with Job, of course).  Tomorrow, we’re visiting Elise’s new baby girl, Celia Faye, and we’re going to visit Mazemakers for a little bit.  Hopefully the rain holds off for a little while, because I am seriously seriously just sick of it!


Purge!

14Jun09

I purged about 40% of my closet today, getting rid of all the stuff that feels icky and big on me.  I realize that this doesn’t leave me with a ton of clothes, but it gets the stuff that is too big actually OUT of my sight.  I know that sounds dumb, but with the big clothes around, I was more reminded of when I was heavier, and judged my growth solely on my clothes and not on my state of mind.

Marc also got rid of a TON of stuff, because he’s lost even more weight.  Thankfully, he got rid of a couple of shirts that I just do not like, but is sadly left with very few t-shirts.  I think that when we have a few extra bucks lying around, we’ll visit Old Navy and get some replacements.  I’m also planning on visiting Threadless, and getting him a few new shirts for his birthday.  According to Marc, he hasn’t been this size since he was in high school.  Whoa.  Amaaaazing!

Don’t forget to visit our food blog, Saucy and Bossy, to see what’s going on in the kitchen these days!


I am really easily amused.  I absolutely get excited about most things that people wouldn’t even think about, but because I am who I am, I get jazzed just thinking about certain things.  Right now, I’m pretty jazzed about the following:

1.  Marc and I are going to Ten Tables tonight in Cambridge.  We got a gift certificate for TT from our realtor OVER a year ago, but we’re finally using it now.  I’m SO pumped.  I have been looking at their website for about a week.  The menu changes pretty frequently, so I’ve been online menu stalking to see if anything has changed.  Eeeee!  I am so excited!

2.  I ran out of my old face moisturizer, which I REALLY REALLY loved.  But, even when I really really love something, there comes a time where I want to try something new.  I went to Walgreens this afternoon and I checked out a few different moisturizers, to see what I might like.  I am a pretty big fan of Burt’s Bees face care, so I decided to try the Burt’s Bees Radiance Day Creme.  I opened the container after I got home and I wasn’t wild about the fragrance, but I am really excited to give it a whirl.  If not, I might go back to ol’ Kiehls, but in the meantime, I’m very jazzed.

3.  While at Walgreens, I also picked up some new mascara.  It’s Maybelline’s XXL Curl Power Mascara, which is VERY exciting, because though I curl my eyelashes, I never feel like the curl stays. I’ll let you know when it’s all over with.

4.  We’re having a semi-relaxing weekend.  I do have to work but we actually talked about having a day together on Sunday, and maybe going for a little drive.  I have no idea where we’d actually go, but I keep coming up with fun destinations.  (Rockport, Salem, Newburyport, Duxbury, Nahant, etc.)  I love the idea of spontaneity — it rarely happens with the two of us because we always have something going on.


As of Saturday, I have officially lost 33 lbs.  Yay, go me!  It’s very VERY exciting and I feel really great.  That is, all except one part of me — the area between my waist and my ankles looks fine when I’m in a skirt, but when I’m in pants, I’m not looking so hot.

I’m in a very weird in-between stage in my size and in my pants.  In the past, I had a big ol’ booty and that usually filled my pants out just fine, without any sagging or bagging.  Presently, though everything south of my waistline is smaller, I’m having a hard time finding pants that look NICE.  In some pants, the waist fits fine, but the hips and crotch are SO saggy, making my lady parts look not-so-ladylike.  In other pants, everything looks ok in the hips/crotch/thigh region, but if I want to have it fit in the waist, I have to jack my pants up SO high that I look like I’m ready to pick up my children from soccer practice, in a minivan full of juice boxes and carrot sticks.  And if THAT weren’t bad enough, my jeans, my lone holdout in my clothing wardrobe, are now starting to turn against me, too.  Throughout the course of the day, the booty of my pants get saggier and saggier, thus dragging the waistbad down, then the crotch down (until I have that saggy vajay-jay thing going on), and finally making my jeans drag on the ground.  Yes, that’s a sexy look. I’ve tried my best to mask it by wearing long shirts, but hell, I’ve lost 33 lbs., I don’t want to cover up my new cute(r) figure!

I bought a couple of pairs of shorts when I was in Wisconsin, and they’re ok, but I really do not know my size and body-in-clothes as well as I used to.  I think that this summer is truly going to be the summer of the skirt.  In college, I used to wear skirts (at least during the workday) almost exclusively, because I never liked the way my butt looked in pants.  Now, I think I need to do skirts because, at the very least, there’s a nice line, no saggy crotch or dragging hemlines and I’ll always look dressed up for the occasion.

Thanks for the vent, my Internet readers — I know it seems fairly superficial, but I surely need to shake the feeling of always feeling a little dumpy and icky!  😦  If you have any tips (besides “get new clothes”), I’d be happy to hear!


New blog

03Jun09

Marc and I have collectively started a new food blog, to keep track of our recipes and collectively write about our restaurant experiences.  Please add it to your google reader or check back in often!  It is:

http://saucyandbossy.wordpress.com

We welcome your comments!!  🙂


I just got home from hanging out with my Little Sister (we painted some ceramics!), and I was greeted to the MOST DELICIOUS dinner, which Marc prepared.  It’s from the Cooking Light Weeknight cookbook, which is my new favorite thing.  I don’t have a picture, but if you’re a meat eater, TRUST me, this is quite a dish.  I strongly urge you to try it out (and get the Cooking Light Weeknight book).

Tangy Pork with Tomatillos, Tomatoes and Cilantro

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

1 lbs. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 tbsp. olive oil, divided

Cooking spray

1 cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion

1 tsp. bottled minced garlic (or just mince your own)

2 cups chopped tomatillos (about 8 oz.)

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (about 8 oz.)

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

4 cups hot cooked instant rice (Marc doctored it up with the previously listed spices)

1.  Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add pork, toss well.  Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray.  Add pork, saute 3 minutes.  Remove pork from pan, keep warm.

2.  Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium high heat.  Add onions and garlic; saute 30 seconds.  Add tomatillos; saute 1 minute.  Add pork, cover and cook 10 minutes or until pork is done.  Add tomatoes and cilantro, cover and cook 1 minute.  Serve with rice.

Yield:  4 servings (1 cup pork mixture and 1 cup rice)

Calories per serving:  375

Fat:  7.7 grams

Fiber:  4 grams