Archives for the month of: February, 2012

I may have mentioned once or twice that I like to cook. I’m trying to focus on mostly-local and organic ingredients. Sometimes it’s not possible, but we’ve been pretty successful recently. We’re very lucky to have an Indian and a pan-Asian grocery store within easy driving distance. This way I can get things like inexpensive fish, baby bok-choy, and 10lbs of brown rice for very reasonable prices. Sometimes local loses to inexpensive yummy things.
Dinners recently have been:
Mixed Shellfish stir-fry with brown rice, oyster mushrooms, mixed veggies and bean spouts
Beer glazed black beans with pan fried pollock, Israeli couscous and salad
Fish Chowder with fresh cod
Butternut squash and coconut curry over brown rice (that one got lots of comments when I had it at lunch the next day, everyone wanted the recipe)
Mixed Shellfish stir-fry with soba noodles, cabbage and other frozen veggies
Baked chicken seasoned with sage, with roasted parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes. (the parsnips, carrots and sage are all local, the chicken was naturally raised, sweet potatoes are organic)

Yes, I made baked chicken for my boyfriend. It was yummy. We learned that a 4.4lb chicken needs about 10 min longer in the oven than the recipe called for. But under an hour for roast chicken was seriously awesome. We used Mark Bittman’s Minimalist Cooks Dinner “Simplest Roast Chicken” recipe. Now the remains of it are bubbling on the stove making stock. I’m feeling seriously domestic right now.

I’m in the middle of making a new batch of spent-grain bread. We brewed a brown ale a few weeks ago that we meant to bottle this weekend, but ran out of time. So I’m using the spent grain from that. We learned the hard way a few weeks ago that spent grain has a shelf-life of about 2 weeks in the fridge before it starts to get really funky and fermented. I’m experimenting with adding more and more spent grain to the bread as I go. I’d like to get to the point where it’s about 1/2 grain, and the rest flour. I should post pictures at some point.

In the three weeks that we’ve been living together on our own, I’ve learned a number of things about Jarak, about myself, and about our relationship.

  • Being able to cook is super-important to both of us. We had a working kitchen the night we moved in. It was the first thing we set up, other than the bed. We had at least one frying pan, and our coffeemaker set up and ready to go for the next morning. We made our galley kitchen feel way more spacious simply by pushing the fridge to the short wall facing the galley, and putting my bread table/shelves where it used to be. Much more spacious now.
  • He won’t do my breakfast dishes after  I rush to work in the mornings, but he will do his dishes after he makes lunch for himself. I mistakenly assumed he would clean up after me. No way.
  • I generate about twice as much laundry as he does. He gets to wear the same thing every day. Uniforms are useful. I have to wear something different every day because A) I work with teens and they notice, and B) I work in an office and it just Won’t Do to wear the same thing.  Suffice to say I’m a bit jealous.
  • When one of us gets sick, the other gets sick, within a span of about 8 hours. I had a sore throat on Thursday night, and by Friday it had developed into a full-blown cold. He came down with a cold at the same time. When we were seeing each other 6 days a month, we rarely ran into this. Now that we see each other every day, there are a lot more germs flying around. But when the options are kissing each other and risking a cold or not kissing and potentially avoiding a cold? We’ll take kissing every time.
  • I don’t like to make house decisions without his input. There are some things, like putting plastic on the windows that I’ve done because it needs to get done and I know he won’t object. (Holy drafty old windows batman! I couldn’t open the thermal curtains without the wind driving cold air in last weekend.) And then there are things like deciding which floor lamp to buy, or which floor pillows. At first I felt like I was being silly deferring to him, but then I realized: it’s our house, not just mine or his, and it’s important to me that he is happy with what I pick out. Grocery shopping is one thing, house shopping is another.
  • The quality of your relationship before you move in together dictates the quality of living together. He makes me happy just by being around. Even when I’m exasperated, I now that I still love him, and that we’ll figure it out. (I’ve only ever lived with one other partner, and that relationship was in trouble from the word go. Moving in together did not fix it, it made it worse. This is so much better and so different and it’s amazing.)
  • I stink at letting anyone else cook. I always want to do it my way. And I need to back the hell off because otherwise it creates hurt feelings and tension. Even if it’s way spicier than I usually like, I need to at least try it, because it makes him happy, and it’s polite, and it’s probably good for me.
  • He is a brilliant spatial analyst. He made our tiny office feel cozy without feeling cramped, made excellent use of the space we have, and still found room for a set of shelves for all of his technical stuff. (We have more Cat-5 cable than any household really should. We also have shells for 3 computers kicking around, one will be the media machine, and one will eventually become my desktop and replace my aging MacBookPro.)
  • We have So Many Books! My two folding 2 bookshelves from my old place are full, and we have 4 banker’s boxes of books waiting for a home, and there are still more sitting in storage. Duplicates may get edited, and some of the stuff that never gets read may get given away, but still. So many books!
  • Waking up next to him never gets old. Getting to hug him every day never gets old. In fact, it’s awesome. And it makes me so happy. It still feels surreal, even 3 weeks later. I imagine that eventually it’ll be “normal” but after 2.5 years of long-distance, every snuggle feels special. I’m going to revel in this for a long, long time.

There are probably things that I’ve missed. We’re still working on communicating effectively about things, and making requests in ways that the other person can understand. It’s a process. We usually get it by the third try, and  before someone gets grumpy.

Have any of you gone through this process? What did you learn when you moved in with your partner?

I know, the title’s clumsy, but it’s Proper Grammar. There’s a real post coming, when I put my thoughts together. In the meantime, enjoy the fantastic-ness of these songs. I’ll only embed one, because the other two are rather eye-bleedy and possibly NSFW. At least the third one is.

Gotye is brilliant, and I’m so happy with my brother for linking this on FB so that I could see it. Very artsy, and very clever. And it gets stuck in my head like crazy. Not in a bad way though.

 

And then there’s the brainless pop of LMFAO. I feel like I shouldn’t like these guys as much as  I do, but they’re funny, and fun, and catchy. And really when a song lyric has “wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle yeah” in it and isn’t a kid’s song, it’s got to be good. Right? I giggle every time I hear it.

Party Rock Anthem

I’m Sexy and I Know It

I was informed yesterday that I have not posted anything since January 15. Whoops. This is what happens when Everything Changes in the span of about 2 weeks. 

My job is crazy. The learning curve for a new system is basically vertical. I’m starting to round the top of the hill now. I’m not only learning a new social-services structure and terminology but a new technology as well. My job has moved to electronic record keeping, which has had a number of bumps and glitches along the way.

I’ve gone from 2 clients the third week I was there to over 25 between my actual clients and the referrals and wait-list that I have going. Apparently that’s freakishly fast to get that many clients. I have a 6 month “probationary” period where I can get up to speed and build a caseload. I am expected to schedule 30 clients a week, and hope to meet with at least 25 of them. My case load will be between 30 and 45 kids/families. I thought it would overwhelm me and everyone would blur together, but instead each case is clear in my mind and I can remember where we left off the last session. It’s such a change from having almost my entire caseload turn over every 2 weeks at the detention center. Family therapy is weird and strange, but I’m realizing it’s mostly about communication and how everyone in the house talks to each other. 

I get to work with Boys! I forgot how much fun they are, and how much more different they are from the girls. I would do the occasional intake on the boys’ units at my last job, but now I get to build relationships with them and actually do some good work. I’m excited. 

We found an apartment! It’s in a not-so-amazing neighborhood, but it’s better than it could be. It’s a 2 bedroom flat, with lots of light and not enough storage. It’s pretty big, but storage space disappears fast when you move two people’s stuff from two apartments into one apartment. We’ve already had the “what is a duplicate in the kitchen and which one is better” conversation. Poor Jarak ended up jettisoning the majority of his badly scratched non-stick cookware in favor of my less-scratched non-stick or steel or cast iron pans. I scrapped the majority of the knives I’d inherited from some friend of my parents’ back in college. Goodwill got a big box of cooking stuff from us. 

Goodwill has been a lifesaver in terms of setting up the apartment.  We snagged a  brand new microwave, a 4 quart slow cooker,  an ironing board, and a hand soap dispenser among other things. We were very happy. Setting up an apartment is expensive! We had to get curtains for the bedroom and living room because of the drafts and the fact that we’re right next to the neighbors.  Both of us are ready to stop spending money.

And then there are the books… Good lord do we have a lot of books. We have two full bookshelves and still have 4 banker’s boxes full of books, plus the few boxes that I have yet to pull out of storage.  It’s kind of amazing how many books we have. I took all the paperback sci-fi/fantasy novels and stacked them on their sides on two of the shelves, because otherwise we’d only be able to fit a third that much. 

Now that we have a lease and I “officially” live here now, I’ve been doing things like getting an account at a local credit union and getting a card at one of the local grocery stores. 

The cat is seriously happy that she no longer has to live with dogs. She hid under the bed for about 5 hours when we first started moving in, and warmed up fairly quickly after that. 

I have other posts in my head about brewing beer and food and arranging our galley kitchen in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a galley kitchen, but I’ll save those for another day.