Sunday, November 30, 2008

month end wrap-up

November was a typically busy month. 
I spent a good chunk of it feeling overwhelmed and freaked out. 

SH is still wonderful and one of the best nonprofits in the city, but I had a frustrating month. Nothing to worry about, but for the first time in three years it feels a more like a job than anything else. And I know that I bring on a lot of the pressure on myself. Despite my almost 30 years in the workforce this is my first "office" job. I'm still working my way around the minefield of office politics. I also know that I cannot expect everyone to have the same amount of energy and stamina that I do. 

Some switch flipped in my head and I relaxed, let go a little big and had a blast the last week. 

There were lots of highlights: 

*I'm still all giggly and blushy when I look at the cartoon

*The Tonic Ball and Tonic Gallery were amazing - and helped renew my commitment to my job.

*I was quoted in an embarrassing number of publications.  

* My truck was hit by a potato chip truck. On first glance this is not very funny. But I was not in the truck at the time the potato chip truck backed in to me. The impact pushed my truck back a few feet, to with in inches of a beer truck. I had visions of potato chips and beer for life. I can't believe that I forgot to take a photograph. 

*Thanksgiving was great. I loved going to Logansport with Dad, but it made me a little sad also. Back when I had a more flexible schedule Dad and I would travel to visit cousins at least twice a month. Before Thanksgiving I can't remember the last trip that did not involve a funeral or wedding. 

*I got to hang out with the twins. I don't know if I'm much help when I'm there, but those kids sure are precious. 

*I got to go to Dean's Post-Thanksgiving Jam. There were several circles of musicians playing old-time and bluegrass music. It was good for my soul. There were more banjos in one place than I've ever seen, several fiddles, a few stand up basses and one musical saw (thanks to my friend Kipp). 

*Even though I had to work both part-time jobs Thanksgiving weekend, they were filled with friends and laughter. And I'm thrilled to have them. 

Click here for photos of Thanksgiving, Fight Night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the Post-Thanksgiving Jam

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Just when you thought it was safe, and I couldn't possibly be quoted on one more here to read what I'm thankful for business-wise. And I'm honored to be in the company of these real Indianapolis movers and shakers. 

I couldn't begin to list the all of things I'm thankful for. 
I am blessed with a wonderful life. 
And, you dear bloggers are part of that. 
The blog has made me a better writer, introduced me to new friends and strengthened old friendships.

I've spend the last several Thanksgiving weeks in Sanibel with brother J.R. and his family. This year I'm here, but Mom is in Phoenix with sister Ann and Tim. So it's just Dad and sister Beth and Ron and I.

clockwise: Ron, Beth, Nora, Dad on the front porch of the Propylaeum Club

We had a lovely dinner at the Propylaeum Club - turkey and all the goodies. We got to tour the house after lunch. Some of the furnishing are from the old Claypool Hotel, including the things from the room where Carole Lombard spent her last night (January 15, 1942) before her death in a plane crash the next day. 

Dad in Carole Lombard's "room" 

Ron had to go to work and Beth went home to care for their sick dog (poor Santo). Dad and I travelled a whole block to cousin Diane and Tony's home. We had a nice visit with Aunt Muriel, and cousins Jim, Carmen and their families. 

Dad and I met at the farm and headed north to Cass County. I love going to visit all of the cousins. We didn't have any real plans. I was hoping to run in to some of the Grememspacher side of the family, but we didn't drive by the right house. 

We found a whole nest of cousins at Chuck's beautiful house. I played a game of Euchre and sampled some more food. It was fun to laugh, drink a beer and look at photographs from Aaron and Jennifer's wedding. 

Rosemary, Nora and great-aunt Mamie's coat

I wanted to be sure and see Rosemary. She is one of Dad's cousins and is a font of information and fun. I was wearing great-aunt Mamie's coat that she'd given me and I wanted to show her that I love and wear it. 

Dad and I made one more stop on the way home. The lights were on at Cousin George's. We had a nice chat with his wife Monica and son Andrew. 

And over the river and down the highway, dad and I drove south...

I had one more Thanksgiving stop to make- a sleepover with the Lieber twins. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

tonic ball 2008

Once again, the Tonic Ball lived up to my expectations.  It truly is my favorite night of the year. 

I was feeling bad that Tammy wasn't going to be able to attend, but she realized that the all-ages venue, meant just that --all-ages. Here is little Evan Lieber (five weeks old) at his first concert. 

Here are some of the women (past and present) of Second Helpings. I'd like to point out that I'm the only one not holding a drink -

Back in my college, punk-rock days these guys (Dale, Evan, Gary) were all around. The forty-something me can't believe that the coolest guys of twenty-five years ago are hanging out with me now. And they're still the cool guys!

Speaking of the cool kids -- sound man Jonee Quest. Jonee has the daunting task of running sound for the fifteen bands that played Queen in Radio Radio - with only ten minute changeovers. And we ran on time. And he's still smiling. 

I can't describe how great this night is for me. It combines my job - Second Helpings, my passion- music, friends and community. I truly walked around all night with goose bumps and a full heart. 

For more photos and videos click here. Click here and then click on the Tonic Ball marquee to see a great video of the event [and a not so great view of me explaining what Second Helpings does]. 

To answer the question on the top of all of your minds -- no dumpster making-out, not even tempted. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

okay, just one more...

The Tonic Ball is the cover story for NUVO this week - with a great illustration by the very talented Wayne "Barfly" Bertsch. Wayne also drew at strip that describes Second Helpings very well. See it here.
You can read the cover story here, complete with some slightly dorky Nora quotes. Not that I didn't say them....
I'm looking forward to tonight. I've been battling a wicked cold and I'm full of fizzy medicine. I might have to have a medicinal whiskey tonight....

Monday, November 17, 2008

more media

Any one tired of reading about me yet?

The interviewer becomes the interviewee. For the Indianapolis Business Journal no less:
Doing Good Tonic Ball VII

I was lucky enough to get involved with the Tonic Ball in the second year. The experience really has changed my life. It connected me with Second Helpings and loads of great people. It is by far my favorite day of the year.

The founder, Ken Honeywell connected with Becky Hopewell over the event- and now they're married. Woo Hoo. The committee is amazing. We all trust and respect each other- novel, I know.

The committee members are all friends in real-life too. Each year we make a bet about who will go home in a taxi. It's never me- I'm always too conscious of my responsibilities through out the evening. And typically I'm hauling a drum kit or an amp or a drunk musician home - or sometimes all three. In my little truck.

I joked that this year my goal is to make-out with someone by the dumpster behind the club. I hope it's not raining....

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I joined Weight Watchers in August and have lost 17 pounds. Over 10% of my starting weight. I'm at the weight I was when I started working at at Second Helpings three years ago. I'd love to lose another 10 pounds, but I'm thrilled with the progress so far.

I'm having fun opening boxes of clothes that I haven't been able to wear for a few years. It's like having a 24 hour boutique in my (clean and dry!) basement.

I'm doing the Weight Watchers program online, which is perfect for me. I can enter what I've eaten in to the points tracker and it figures out the points for me.

I've learned some interesting things. A fist full of my beloved red vine-y goodness is equal to eating a cup of chicken and dumplings. My Waterford Twizzler jar is sitting empty and I've learned to write without eating at at the same time.

Work is the hardest part. We're surrounded by food. The students are always creating dishes and looking for tasters. When a proud student comes to you with the first cheesecake they've ever baked or chicken Parmesan they made from scratch it would be rude not to taste it, really. Even if it is 9:30 in the morning.

Last week two pallets of candy were donated. Not cases, pallets. Of candy. Three Musketeers, Butterfinger, Snickers, Dove dark chocolate covered caramels and yes, Twizzlers. The helpful drivers brought bags of the sinful decadence to the table right outside of my office door. And the other thousand pounds are just a thirty second walk away. Damn it.

One thing I like about Weight Watchers that you can exchange activity points for food...or maybe beer. The State Fair helped me kick start the program. When you walk a 1.5 miles each way to eat a sandwich it sure helps. A brisk one mile walk equals a Jameson and water. Now that's math I can wrap my head around!

Many of my activities don't show up on the WW activity point scale. Sitting on my hands, jiggling my legs and holding in comments during a two hour committee meeting is not on the list. I think it should be worth at least one point.

Moving the humango oak bookcase, that took Dad and two other people to haul onto my porch --in the house by myself-- and standing it up with a complicated system of pillows and increasing taller chairs to lean it on should be worth at least five points. Getting the bookcase stuck in the hallway should be worth at least two points in frustration.

Squeezing around the bookcase to get to my bedroom for a month should be worth something. Having to hold anything that I wanted in or out of the bedroom over my head -- laundry, books, the cat, glass of get the picture-- should be worth at least a point a pop. [thanks to Miss Adventure for helping me get it into the bedroom- where its going to stay- forever.]

Frenzied cleaning and organizing and recycling Saturday knowing that there would be company in the house. Worth at least four points. Cleaning out the truck, putting air in the tires, gas in the tank and wrestling with the hood that wouldn't open to add windshield wiper fluid should be a two point value.

Getting ready for the Gala and discovering that the two pairs of sheer black stockings that I own both had runs - at least a point. Deciding between tights and fishnet stockings to wear with the dress, one point (I went with the tights). 

Pulling out of the driveway for the Gala with Kipp in the truck and the hood popping open. Worth at least two points in embarrassment. Getting lost on the way to the Gala- in my own town, mind you. One point. Getting called out by the social reporter for the paper for not being "the Guild type," two points. 

Sweating over deadlines, two points. Feeling guilty over a messy house, one point. Constantly running late, three points. 

You get the idea- I'm losing weight, even if it is in a very neurotic way. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


[I can't figure out the sizing thing. Click on the comix to see the whole thing, including the groovy flower background]

Thanks to Wayne and Kim!

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I had two days off - in a row. How fancy is that?

It was a fun weekend. The Tonic Gallery opened on Friday. Hundreds of people visited the show and my friend Scott played beautiful guitar music.

The art will be up for a silent auction November 21. Only one piece sold at the special $500 "buy it now" price - the bench that Dad made!

Saturday night was the Christamore House Guild Gala. I love the Christamore House and the Guild does wonderful work. I'm a bit of a Guild anomaly. I'm the only single woman out of 75 active members. And I'm guessing that I'm the only one that had to get her waitressing shift covered!

[I just looked at this photo a little closer - to make sure there was nothing embarrassing in the shot, and noticed my demonic cat peering through the window!]

I had fun and my friend Kipp was a champ. Only about a dozen people asked if he was my husband. My favorite moment: The social reporter of the Indianapolis Star looked at us and said: Nora, you're not a Guild person - at all. Kipp, what are you doing here? I guess I should be flattered that she knows my name...
Today was a real treat. I slept in- I do feel bad about missing church. I didn't drive at all. I walked to the newsstand for soup and puttered around the house.

Is this how people spend their weekends?

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I'm catching up on reading blogs, watching The Office and listening to my cat snore. 

A fine way to spend the evening. 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

october experiment wrap-up

The October Experiment sucked. I really hated it. As Ralph pointed out, I posted in batches. All written in a panic in an effort to cross something off my list.

Some were easy to write, some emotional and others just plain goofy. I felt committed to finishing the project and not skipping a day, but I feel like I missed some good stuff along the way. And wrote some crap to fulfil the obligation.

I am glad that I finally wrote about the CPR incident. Of course writing about the twins was fun and I love the picture of my feet in the booties and the severed finger cookies. Still, I'm glad its over.

I put a lot of pressure on myself in October. Work has been nuts, which I typically thrive on. I worked on finding entertainment for a marathon and beat myself up way too much when bands weren't falling out of the trees to volunteer. I took it very personally when bands didn't want to play at 8:00 on a potentially cold morning - as it turned out it was sunny and warm. Thanks for your offer to help, Teresa.

I started a home organizing project that emptied the stuff out of my two closets. And the planned yard sale never happened. So I've added other people's crap to my crap. I've been dodging junk on my porch, living room, dining room and bedroom for a month. I literally have a path open to get to the other side of the house. I'm slowly chipping away at it. I might even be able to invite company in to the house soon.

All of this caused me to turn down paying writing gigs [*gasp], miss exploring a career opportunity that I wanted to pursue and burst in to tears at extremely inappropriate times.

Here's to a new month and back to our regularly scheduled program.