Four days a week, twice a day for 20-30 minutes at a time, I am hooked up to a machine expressing breast milk for Violet's next day's meals. My work had established a supply room for me to use for pumping purposes but the frequency that staff needs to get things out of there made it difficult for me to feel comfortable getting topless in that room. Twice I heard someone outside the door, keys jingling, about to walk in on me looking like a working Holstein dairy cow at milking time. I have moved my operation and am much more comfortable in the bathroom even though people think being forced to pump in the restroom is a hardship. This is a really nice restroom--a onesie, no stalls--with tile floors and a frosted glass window. It is big enough that I sit in a chair by the window, not on the pot. It is also adjacent to the office kitchenette which means I don't have to tote test tubes full of milk through the office letting all of my co-workers see whether I am having a high or low producing day.
I have a pumping schedule I try to stick to--10:30 & 2:30--but I have to be flexible. Some days I have a 10am meeting so I have to pump early or late, and there are days when the phone rings and I run behind. I think there has only been one day that I didn't get my two pumpings in so I think I'm doing pretty well. I always try to take something work-related to read with me into the pumping station but, with so much of my work being via phone or computer, there simply isn't always a paper document that needs my attention. In addition, mine is a double pump so I don't really have a free hand which further limits my options for double tasking. Most books require 2 hands and proofreading is out cause I couldn't hold a pen.
So my standby reading material for my pumps is the Redbook magazine that has been sent to our office by mistake for well over a year. I think that the subscription has finally run out, however, because I have read the August and September issues cover to cover but haven't seen anything more recent. Redbook, competing with titles like Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens, is the Grandmother of all the "Mom" magazines with headlines ranging from "16 Savory Soups" to "Real Women, Real Weight Loss" and "How to Get Your Husband to Do Almost Anything Without Nagging." It is that magazine that has a glossy photo on the cover of a slice of fruit pie, filthy with shortening and sugar, with the article byline "Walk Off The Weight!" superimposed right over the lattice crust. It is a momazine. I could bring in one of my magazines from home--Vanity Fair or Real Simple--something more my taste. But something about pre-meditating my reading material makes it seem a bit more like slacking at work.
One of the Redbook issues I read has the chubby country star, Trisha Yearwood, on the cover. The article about her was pretty ho-hum. I read only half of it before moving on to a nice spread about how to get a handle on my family's debt. But, since I spend so much time pumping and have so few periodicals available to me, I went back to the article about Trisha later in the week and finished it. Included in the layout were a few of her favorite Southern style recipes with photos included. One, a Chicken Spinach Lasagna Casserole, seemed exceedingly grody to me when I first read it. It contained the great triumvirate of casserole ingredients: cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Nothing wrong with those three, aside from the fat content, especially when you know it will be topped with shredded cheese. What got me was the casserole topping--not your usual breadcrumbs or french fried onions, but pecans. Pecans on casserole--ugh! I like most nuts now but remember being thoroughly grossed out as a kid when chocolate chip cookies had walnuts or waffles had pecans. Who would ruin a perfectly good cookie or waffle with nuts?? My mom said nuts were "Yummy." I thought they were unnecessary. I don't know when I finally warmed up to nuts, but it was definitely an acquired taste.
It was probably my 5th or 6th reading of the Redbook, likely during one of my pumping sessions right before lunch, when the recipe started to intrigue me. I mean, I do like spinach and chicken. Casseroles are an easy meal for a weeknight. It is fall and something hot is always comforting and good. I do like pecans in other settings; pies, cookies, bars...could Trisha be on to something? So I tore it out. And, sitting in my pumping closet milking myself, tearing out Trisha Yearwood's Chicken Spinach Lasagna Casserole recipe, I realized I was the target reader for Redbook.
When I went to the grocery I bought all the ingredients I needed to make the casserole, including the pecans. I think it was a Wednesday night when I made it, nuts and all. I think Shawn liked it--he eats almost anything I cook without a complaint. It was very casserole-y and the pecans were an interesting touch. I don't know that it will find itself into our regular dinner rotation but I kept the recipe. That meal, more than even Violet's birth itself, confirmed my identity as a mom. A mom with nuts on top.