Saturday, July 16, 2011

the board of directors

Some time last fall, Allie and I went to an alumnae networking event that featured a panel of women who spoke on the keys to their successful careers.  One of the women talked about her personal "board of directors."  Her board of directors was the diverse, intelligent group of people who could be consulted for their blunt opinion in the face of major life decisions, moments of crises, and the like. 

I had never thought about it in those terms, but I definitely have my own board of directors.  Decision-making has never been my strongest suit, so the board gets pressed into service fairly often.  It's never a formal thing, and I don't always poll the entire group, but each of them are indispensable.  

So after an especially punishing week at work, I found myself subconsciously trolling Kayak for one-way fare to someplace Italian.  Nine times out of ten, the practical part of me is able to quell the impulsive side.  But my stress level was threatening to win this battle, and the thought of popping in to Bar da Gino and ordering a macchiatone was becoming more tangible.

Since quitting my day job and jetting back to Venice isn't exactly a sustainable plan, I decided to make pizza for Friday dinner and call in one of the board members, thereby taking out two nostalgic birds with one sad stone. (Board member Allie was my roommate in Venice, and pizza is, well, duh, Italian).

Rarely do I have enough energy on a Friday night to make much of anything from scratch, so the pizza dough came out of the freezer, and was made by my good friend Trader Joe.  While I let the oven and faux pizza stone (read: cookie sheet) heat up to a balmy 425 degrees, I tried to get the dough as thin as possible with my palms, not a rolling pin (per a tip from a cooking magazine). 

After about 5 minutes of pre-baking the crust, we pulled them out and started piling on the toppings.  Although the dough was store bought, I made the sauce from scratch.  Which sounds fancy and respectable, but it wasn't any more complicated than heating garlic and red pepper in olive oil and throwing in a can of tomatoes and some fresh basil.  In fact, I think cracking the can open was the most taxing bit of all. But homemade is homemade, right?    

Then the little pizzas went back in to the piping hot oven for a few more minutes.  I can't be more precise than that, because we were too hungry to even set a timer.  Instead, we stood in front of the oven waiting impatiently for the cheese to melt and bubble.  You could say the board was a little hungry.  

When they were finally ready, we relocated to the patio, because DC is in the middle of a relative "cold" snap.  As in, it's not 98 degrees and humid. And fortunately when I insisted we take advantage and sit outside, Allie did not argue.   

Allie doesn't know this, but she's only on the board because she has a patio.  

(totally kidding)

So we sat and ate and chatted a little bit about my career mini-crisis.  But before we got too deep in the throes of problem-solving, we decided to take a side trip to CVS so I could get dessert.  In case you didn't pick up on the trend, some form of chocolate makes an appearance in my life every single day.  

By the time we got back, I wasn't at all hungry anymore.  Suddenly exhausted, I settled in on Allie's couch for our semi-consistent Friday night tradition of watching and critiquing "Say Yes to the Dress."  (Don't knock it til you've tried it, it's highly entertaining). For two women who don't have weddings on the horizon, we have some strong thoughts on the hypothetical dress.  Nothing else at this point.  Just the dress. 

Shortly thereafter, I quickly packed up all my things and asked Allie if she could drive me home "kind of right now."  I was overwhelmingly nauseated, and wanted nothing more than to be at home if my stomach got worse. Exactly how I wanted my Friday night to go, really. 

I was horrified, worrying that it was the pizza and that Allie would also not feel well.  Luckily (?) it was just me.  I think all the stress (and not so healthy eating) this week caught up with me.  Whatever the cause, I got straight in bed and slept about ten hours.  

I'm pretty sure I dreamt about eating pizza Italy...

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