I’ve had this post kicking around in my head for weeks, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to best get it all down in pixels.

A few months back, Jarak and I were having tasty beers with our friends Logan and Mariana. (They are our closest friends here in Schenectady, and Logan is going to be our officiant. We are in their wedding 3 months after ours.) Somehow the topic of divorce came up, and we realized that 100% of our parents, for all 4 of us, are divorced. Two of the dads have remarried, Jarak’s being one of them, but at the core, none of our biological parents are married to each other anymore.

My parents were married for almost 30 years. They were my role models for marriage. When they separated when I was 25, I felt like my world was ending. (That was also the summer of my car dying, and the very real possibility of shoulder surgery. Summer of 2008 sucked.)Growing up, I felt really proud that they were still together when the parents of my friends and my parents’ friends were getting divorced. I never thought it would happen to me.

It’s a very different thing to experience parental divorce as an adult than I expect it is to experience it as a child. While all of my friends who have divorced parents have had 10 or 15 or even more years to get used to it and for it to become the new normal, I’ve had about 4 years. The wound is still very fresh for me. And as such, the idea of getting married feels very scary, and very brave right now. And I’m absolutely terrified at this point.

I know multiple people my age, and maybe a bit older, who have been married and are already divorced. Someone recently posted to Facebook about how 50% of marriages end in divorce and that everyone should “save themselves the money that they would spend on  a sham wedding.”I read that and felt like I’d been hit. It wasn’t intended to hurt, but it did, because it brought out all of my insecurities and fears about making this huge commitment to this man who I am madly in love with.

I can write about this now, because I’ve talked to Jarak, and my dad, and other friends about my fears. I’m afraid I’m going to say or do hurtful, awful things. I’m afraid that when things get hard, I’ll want to run away and I’ll act on it. I’m afraid of forever. Because forever is HUGE. Like mind-bogglingly huge. Looking at wedding rings and realizing that we need to make good choices now, because these will be the rings that we wear for the rest of our lives. I’m not yet 30, my family lives well into their 90s. I can’t even wrap my brain around 60+ years with the same ring on my hand, let alone in a relationship with the same person. Don’t get me wrong, Jarak is absolutely who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but “forever” in the romantic abstract is very different than forever in the “I will be with this person from now until one of us dies.” It’s a big promise, and I worry if I can keep up my end of the deal.

We are writing our own ceremony, and our own vows. I’m beginning to understand why the traditional vows have “In sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer.” among other things. It’s going to be important that we have something in our vows about sticking through the hard times, and that even if we don’t like each other sometimes, that we will still stick together. We’re a good team, and we’re really good for each other, but there may be a time when one or both of us feels like that’s not the case. My dad gave me some good advice today. He told me that we will hurt each other badly at times, and that we will have to learn to forgive, both Jarak and myself. I know that while I can forgive others fairly easily, it’s much harder to forgive myself.

Our wedding is the beginning of our marriage. And we’ve talked more about how we want our marriage to be, than how we want our wedding to be. I would do just about anything to make Jarak happy, and to take care of him. I’m reasonably certain he would do the same for me. I hope that going into this big huge commitment at 30, after being together for 4 years at that point, and being clear eyed about the idea that there are going to be parts that are really hard, will somehow fortify our marriage against the boogeyman of divorce. What is a wedding, but one of the biggest expressions of hope for the future any two people can do?

I hate wedding planning. Or rather, I’d like it a whole lot more if I had more money. Weddings involve lots of Things and Things cost money. We’re broke. Not poor, but broke, as in “If we didn’t pay 1/3 of our incomes to student loans we’d be great.” I’d also like it a lot better if stupid Facebook didn’t bombard me with stupid ads down the side of the page about getting married and “the white dress diet” and shoes and ack!

I keep picking up wedding magazines, hoping that they’ll tell me something interesting or new or doable, and then I put them back. I don’t need to spend $5.99 on a magazine that is trying to sell me a vision of my wedding that is totally different from the one that I already have. This is what happens when you have two artist types designing a wedding. We already know what we like, and just because this season’s hottest color is pink, doesn’t mean we’re going to have anything to do with it. I bought one, a Martha Stewart one with neat hair ideas and some cool favor ideas. All of the others stay on the rack.

That being said, I’m a girl, and I’ve been envisioning my wedding since I was about 10. I clearly remember having a conversation with one of my 5th grade friends about what we wanted our weddings to look like and I said I wanted a purple dress. She informed me that I couldn’t have a purple dress unless it was an evening wedding. May I remind you, we were 10?

My parents got married outdoors at my grandparents’ house in rural coastal Maine. It was simple and beautiful. I’ve always kind of wanted to recreate that. However, my father has sold his house, and Jarak’s parents’ back yard is half swamp when it rains, so backyard wedding was right out. And this is where we ran headlong into the Wedding Industrial Complex. Searching for reception venues kept bringing up big banquet halls, plated dinners, and lots of fancy, expensive stuff. We didn’t want any of that.

My dreams for the wedding:

outside
lots of flowers
purple things (dresses, flowers, etc.)
good food and drink, maybe potluck
dance party!

Jarak’s requirements:

not too hot
open bar
as little money as possible

These did not connect very well at first. We agreed on open bar and outside, but otherwise? We were on two separate planets. I’ve been to a lot of weddings. Jarak has been to three or four, and two of them were with me. We had to be on the same page before we could even begin planning. We had a number of very grumpy conversations about money and not spending it frivolously, and whatnot. We started the budgeting process with the question of “What is reasonable/ what are we comfortable spending on this.”Getting on the same page in terms of the language that we were using was really important.

We finally realized that we needed to ask for help. We suck at asking for help. We don’t like to impose on anyone. But once we started to ask, it became clear that people would love to be part of our wedding and to help us out. One of my aunts was overjoyed when I asked her to help with the flowers. We’re bartering for things, we’re making things, and we’re learning to ask for help.

A big issue of contention was my dress. It seems like madness, when you have very little money, to spend upwards of $200 on a dress that you will wear once, for 10 hours at most. We had our biggest fight over the damn dress. At first my mother was going to make it, and it was going to be silk, and all handmade and beautiful. I wanted a princess dress, with a corset bodice, full skirt, sweetheart neckline and straps. All white, mostly plain, not a whole lot of sparkle and certainly no ruching. My mother and I went out to go try on dresses so that she could see what looks good on me, and what I like. We went to a big boutique and I was feeling fat and yucky and grumpy about shopping. I tried on about 20 dresses, and decided none of them were good enough,(bling! ruching! pickups! Lace! Ivory! ugh!) which annoyed the heck out of the consultant. After an hour, we gave up and went home. We stopped to get coffee for me, tea for mom, and to split a really good raspberry chocolate cheesecake. It was the perfect palate cleanser.

And then we found my dress. We went to a little secondhand store in Milford NH called I Do, Again. It’s this tiny boutique with used, bought-and-never-worn, and store samples of wedding, prom and other formal dresses. The woman who ran the store was in the middle of packing it up to move into a bigger space. I tried on a few dresses, which headed in the right direction, and then pulled on an Ivory (!) strapless (!) dress with a lace(!) and beaded(!) overlay on the bodice. It laces up the back corset style, and it fits absolutely beautifully. It’s polyester, not silk, and has a hideous pink waistband. I almost said no. However, when the shop owner found a purple scarf from one of the other dresses in the shop, tied it around my waist and stepped back, I started to cry. Seriously, me, the “I hate shopping, and most girly stuff annoys me” girl, cried when the purple sash went around my waist. It was perfect. And it was under $120. I totally had one of those “Say yes to the dress” moments, and I wanted to smack myself, because I don’t do stuff like this! So my mom and I are going to alter the dress to make it perfect. We’re removing the pink waistband and will add a purple one, we’re taking in the top of the bodice and making the straight neckline a sweetheart and adding a halter strap because I hate strapless dresses, but it will be beautiful. And now I can worry about other things, like finding compostable wine glasses, designing our save the dates and invites, sewing Jarak’s vest, and… and.. and…

I’m realizing that the reason I don’t like any of the wedding magazines is because they’re for people who don’t have their dresses, who don’t know what they want their flowers to look like, who don’t know what the invites and save the dates should be etc. Wedding magazines are not designed for artists. I’m marrying and artist, I am an artist, and it is awesome. And we’re going to look spiffy!

Sundays are my “get things done” days. I am simultaneously making yogurt, making bread, cooking rice and lentils for dinner tonight and lunches during the week. Fortunately, most of these projects involve paying attention to things for short periods of time, and then walking away.

Friday Jarak and I headed to my dad’s house in Southern NH to pick up the remaining items that I had stored at that house. Unfortunately, my parents have had to sell their gorgeous 4 bedroom colonial that we built the summer before my freshman year of high school. It’s on 20 acres of former dairy farm, mostly fields, with a stream, pond and an orchard my parents started when we moved in. Closing is on Thursday, and everything needs to be out by then. The house has felt less and less like “my house” and more like somewhere I visit. I haven’t lived there since I was 22, and after my mother moved out, it felt even more foreign. When I arrive at that house, my dad says “welcome home” and it’s really not home anymore. The apartment I live in with Jarak is home now.

Even though I have complicated feelings about the house, the fact that I won’t be able to visit the property anymore hit me really hard Saturday morning. I had a good cry, and felt sad about it for a while, and then moved on to the hugely frustrating and exhausting task of moving my bedroom furniture down a flight of stairs and into the trailer. We also helped my father move some of the larger things that he couldn’t do by himself into the trailer that he’s using to move.

Packing up my childhood room was strange, and interesting. It’s remained relatively unchanged since the last time I lived in that house. Which means that there was a lot of high school still on the walls. Posters of panthers, artwork I did in middle and high school, the shelf that held the porcelain doll and other delicate girly things that were given to me, the collage of Airwalk ads I tore out of Wired magazine when I was in 8th grade. Very, very high school still. It was interesting making decisions about what things should be moved, and what could be trashed. I found myself saying “I won’t use this, but I’d like to put it in my little girl’s room some day.” Noticing the shift from nostalgia to dreaming about my future girl who I could share my girly things with was interesting. The bed I grew up sleeping in is a family heirloom, and even though there’s no space for it in our apartment, we had to take it, because our first child will sleep in that bed. This whole move was an exercise in planning for the future while acknowledging the current sadness and closing of a chapter.

Over at A Practical Wedding, there’s often a lot of talk about being a team, and doing the hard things together. This weekend I really understood why I’m getting married. Beyond the fact that I love him more than anything, Jarak and I are a great team. We help each other, even when it’s annoying and we don’t really want to do it. Having a partner means that the really hard things are doable, and not so painful and daunting. We each are made better by the other. I could not have done this weekend without him, which I’ve made sure to tell him and thank him for multiple times. Watching Jarak help my dad was really special, because they’re two of the most important people in my life, and seeing them work together really brought home the idea that he’s family now, even if we’re not officially married yet.

Jarak and I have gotten really good at moving recently. We’re also really tired of moving at this point. I woke up this morning and realized that my abs hurt. Our hands hurt yesterday. Jarak was a rockstar and did all of the driving, mostly because we borrowed his step-mom’s car, but also because driving with a trailer scares me, and I had a humiliating experience trying to back up a trailer when I was in college, and have been avoiding it ever since. I really hope that the next time we move, it’s into our first house. For the first time in 7 years, all of my belongings are in the same state. I have moved one particular dresser 3 separate times. (I replaced the dresser I’ve been using with one from my room in NH, so we had to put my old one in storage.)

We’re looking forward to a few weeks (months?) that don’t involve being on the road. In the past month, we’ve gone to a wedding in Burlington, VT, driven to Midcoast ME to visit my grandmother and aunt, and been to my dad’s in NH twice. It’s been a lot of driving, and a lot of not being home. My cat has not been happy with us.

On the up side, now that we have my other bookcase, we finally have space for all of our books. We’re at 5 book cases and counting. I emptied two banker’s boxes of books today.

Now to put lentils and rice away, clean up the kitchen, and wait for the dough to rise so that I can form loaves and bake it. Then either reading or netflix.

We’ve been buying cream from Battenkill Creamery for a while. They’re local, and we can get them at the Greenmarket. We’re there regularly enough that they know us and have our pint of half and half waiting when we walk up. I love being a regular. It’s also some of the best milk I’ve ever had.
I grew up hating milk and not liking to drink it plain. And then I had local milk and that changed. There’s a dairy about 3 miles from my dad’s house, and having fresh, local, glass bottled milk changed how I think about milk. I still won’t drink a glass of it, but it’s much nicer. Battenkill has some of the best milk around.
Anyway, I got annoyed with how expensive yogurt is, and realized that I talk myself out of buying it far too often. So I’ve started making it myself. We got a yogurt we liked from the coop, and then used a couple tablespoons to start the next batch of homemade yogurt.
The first shot came out more like Kefir, I had let the milk get too cool after scalding it. ( I used a meat thermometer by accident. Now I use Jarak’s brewing thermometer.) The second batch set up nicely and I used the last of it to start the batch that’s setting in the kitchen. I snagged my family’s yogurt maker one of the times I was home recently becuase my dad isn’t using it anymore, and I love yogurt.
Steps:
Scald a quart of milk
let it cool to about 100-110 F
Pour it into a clean glass jar
Stir in 2 Tablespoons of your favorite plain yogurt
Put into a yogurt maker, igloo cooler filled with hot water, or warm oven and let set for 6 hours. The longer it sits, the tangier it gets. Mine started around 6. so I’ll ask Jarak to put it in the fridge right before he goes to bed so it’s not still fermenting in the morning.

I always kind of knew that this blog would become a wedding blog, it was just a question of when.

Jarak and I had decided a while ago, when we had first realized that This Is It, that we’d get engaged after living together for a year. It then took me a year and a half to find a job and move out here. We had talked about shortening the amount of time that we live together before we got engaged, but never really settled on a number of months.

At Easter this year everyone kept asking when we were going to get married and I kept saying “Sometime after he asks me, I dunno.” I realized that that put an unfair amount of pressure on Jarak, and started saying basically “When we’re ready” in response to the wedding question.

“But Seren” you might say “you’re such a forward-thinking feminist, if you wanted to get married so much, why didn’t you ask him?” It was really important to me that he ask for a number of reasons. The first being that if I had my way we probably would have been engaged a year into being together, and that was too fast for him. Second, Jarak has never had a serious girlfriend before me, I wanted to give him time and not pressure him to get married before he was ready. And third, part of me is the little girl who dreams of fairy tales and romance and down-on-one-knee traditional proposals.

I got my proposal, but not down-on-one-knee, and it was so perfectly Jarak that I have to giggle every time I tell the story. We went to Rochester for our 3 year anniversary. We both went to college there, and they’ve got a great craft beer scene. We went because the Rochester Craft Beer Festival was that weekend. After making the 4 hour drive, we had dinner and drinks with one of my old friends from college and then went back to our hotel. We were snuggling and kissing and he kept looking at me in the strangest way. It’s his “I’m thinking about something important” face. And he finally looks at me very intently and says “Let’s be engaged for real. Let’s quit fucking around.” And I threw my arms around him and kissed him and said “Absolutely.” I fully expected to cry, but I didn’t then.

I cried when I got my ring. We designed my ring, and used a stone that came from a necklace my father had given me when I was 12. It was set in yellow gold, and I never wear yellow gold, so I never wore the necklace. It’s a big amethyst and it’s beautiful. It’s my birthstone, and I love purple. We went to a local jeweler the week after we got back from Rochester and designed it ourselves. It was then that it really started to sink in: We’re getting married! It took a few weeks for my ring to be finished; apparently everyone in the jewelry business takes 2 weeks off at the beginning of July. I wasn’t expecting it until the end of July/early August. But about a week before I thought I’d get it, Jarak surprised me with it after we’d made dinner and were just plopped on the couch. I cried then. I can’t stop looking at it. It’s sparkly!

Jarak and I at a friend’s wedding September 2011

My ring!

 

 

Our silverware drawer reminds me of my grandmother’s house, both for the old wood inset into the counter, but also for the mishmosh of silverware.

This is what happens when you live with a homebrewer. All of those bags on the right are full of malted grain.

More beer-making supplies. It takes up all of the floor space of our pantry.

 

 

So much glassware! This is also our liquor cabinet.

More glassware- this is all the pint glasses

 

Dining room

 

How do you make a small galley kitchen workable? Move the fridge to the wall away from the stove and add counterspace.

 

I’ve been meaning to post this for months now, but getting photos to work has been tricky at best. I’ll also post images of the living room and the office at some point.

We took two, one bedroom apartments worth of stuff and mushed it into a small 2 bedroom flat with limited storage. We have space-hogging hobbies. Everything looks cluttered because of it. Oh well.

 

 

 

There was a request for my bread recipe, and here it is. This is an adaptation of the bread that I grew up eating, which is my father’s adaptation of my grandfather’s recipe. It’s seriously noms. I form it into sandwich loaves, but you can also bake it on a sheet as a boule. You can also add whatever else you want. We’ve added eggs and flax, which slightly changed the consistency, but was still good. You need to set aside about 4 hours for this, but only about 30 minutes are actually doing work. The rest is waiting for the bread to rise/bake. I usually watch Dr. Who or get all my ironing done while I’m waiting for it to rise.

The basic recipe for 2 loaves:

2C spent grain buzzed in a blender or food processor to chop the husks finely

2C whole wheat flour

2C very warm water

1T dry bread yeast.

2T oil (I use safflower, or cooled melted butter)

3T sweetener (honey, maple syrup, or sugar)

1T salt

Enough White flour to form a solid dough, about 2.5 cups

Spent grain sitting in the bowl

Mix the first 4 ingredients together. It should look like soupy oatmeal. Add more water or flour until you get to the right consistency.

Beginning of the sponge. Soupy oatmeal consistency.

Cover and let it sit in a warm place for an hour. If your house is above  70*F on the counter is fine. In the winter, I turn on my oven light and put the bread in the oven, or turn the oven on low when I’m mixing and then turn it off and let it rise in a pre-warmed oven. The sponge should about double in size.

First rise is done. Sponge is about 2 times bigger than it started.

Now add the sweetener, oil and salt. I add a handful of flour to the top before I pour the salt on, because I don’t want the salt hitting the yeast first and killing it.

Sponge with a little white flour, salt, honey and oil added.

Then mix in the white flour. Stir until you can’t stir it easily anymore with the spoon, and then knead it in the bowl to get it to start to form a ball. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter and knead it, adding flour a little at a time until it’s not sticky. Keep kneading it until its springy.

Mixing the white flour into the sponge.

Kneaded dough.

Return the dough to the bowl, cover and let rise again for an hour.  During this time you want to prepare your baking pans or sheet. Make sure they are very well greased or the loaves will stick.

Second rise, ready to be punched down.

After it’s risen, again about doubled in size, punch it down. Literally, stick your fist into the middle of the bowl and make it deflate. Then scoop the dough out onto the counter, divide in two and shape into loaves. I roll mine out into oblong sheets and then roll it up jelly-roll style into loaves. Place your shaped loaves into greased baking pans and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350* while the bread is rising one last time.

Formed loaves waiting to rise.

Bake at 350* for 40-45min. If you used an extra-flour-y spent grain, like rye or oats, your bread will hold more water and will need to bake for longer. Your house will start to smell lovely after about 30 minutes.

Fresh loaves!

Let it cool on a wire rack with a clean dish-towel draped over it so it doesn’t dry out too much. You’ll want to cut into it right away, but wait at least 15 minutes for it to cool a bit and for the center to finish cooking. Also, it’ll be cool enough to eat by then.

Empty bread pans. Note the bit of stuck crust on the right. Grease your pans well!

I often keep one loaf out and put one in the freezer. There are no preservatives in this bread, and it’ll mold faster than commercial bread. In the summer I keep it in the fridge to avoid spoilage. Enjoy!

Today was a day where I was very, VERY glad I have a partner like Jarak. He made me go to the emergency room this morning. Not only that, but he got up 3 hours before he usually does on his day off to drive me to the ER, sat with me while I was there and drove me to  the drug store to get my prescriptions and then drove me home and put me back to bed.

Why did I have to go to the ER at 8:30 on a Friday morning when I’m usually so healthy? I will tell you internets. I have had a sensitive tooth for about a year now. Cold makes it all stabby. I clench my jaw when I sleep and had worn the tooth pretty badly creating the sensitivity. I also have a filling in that tooth that’s been redone once already. About 10 days ago that tooth started hurting. At first it was occasional, and it got progressively worse. I was in so much pain yesterday at work that I was nauseous. I was getting nerve transfer from my tooth into my scalp. This is the worst toothache of my life! And I’ve had braces. I called Jarak’s dentist who couldn’t get me in until Tuesday. Great…Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and the topical oral anesthetic stuff were barely touching it. I fell asleep on the couch at 7pm last night and went to bed proper at around 10.

I woke up this morning, got ready for work and minutes before I walked out the door was hit with excruciating pain. I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to get through today, even though it’s a relatively short day. I called out of work, called the school I work with to let them know I wasn’t going to be in, and then sat down on the bed and cried I was in so much pain. It takes a lot for me to call out of work. I need to be either throwing up, running a fever, or in tears. Today was the in-tears kind of day. Jarak suggested that we go to the ER. I felt kind of silly going to the ER with tooth pain, but then again, people go to the ER for much less pain than this. We’re talking spikes up to 10 on the 1-10 scale.

So we head over to Ellis ER. It’s pretty quiet this time of day, thank goodness. I told him he didn’t have to come, but he gave me the look that said “are you nuts? of course I have to be there.” What he said was “if they give you the good drugs, you need someone to drive you home.”  My blood pressure was the highest it’s ever been, but the nurse said that with dental pain it’s pretty understandable. Initial doses of penicillin and  Motrin were given,  and we were in and out of the ER in under an hour with a script for penicillin, script for oxycodone and a recommendation to take 800mg of ibuprofen or 1g acetaminophen pretty regularly and to avoid the narcotics if I can. I took one of the oxys when I got home because I needed it to stop hurting. Then we went back to bed. I’m relatively pain-free right now, which is nice, because it’s hurt continuously since Sunday night. I feel super-guilty about calling out of work though, because, technically, I could be at work. Except that no one wants a therapist who’s in pain or doped up on oxy.

We realized something while we were sitting in the ER.  He is the person I want to be notified first if anything happens. The nurse asked for an emergency contact, and I gave them Jarak’s name, not my parents, for the first time ever. We live together, and if anything were to happen, I want him to be there more than I’d want anyone else. Which led me to realize that he needs my parents’ contact information. I have his family’s contact info because I’ve come to visit so many times and I was living there, but he doesn’t have any way to get ahold of my family. It’s one more way that we’re cementing our relationship as a partnership.

The other, totally unrelated way that we’ve done that recently is that I am now on his AAA account. It’s not just facebook official, it’s AAA official.

So in short, pain sucks, but my boyfriend is amazing. Also, I’m shite at allowing myself a sick day.

Sometimes that just hits me. Part of me is surprised when I’m not mistaken for a teenager in the school, and then I realize that some of the teachers are younger than me,  like I graduated college when they were 10th graders, younger than me. Yeep? I get called “Miss” by my kids occasionally, which is generic “respectful term for female older than you.”  So strange.

Nevermind the fact that I’m looking at 30, have been living on my own for almost 8 years, have a master’s degree, a cat and a really good (financed and used) car. I still forget that I’m a grownup. Maybe it’s the fact that many of my friends are married and/or having kids and I’m not there yet, although we talk about it all the time. Maybe it’s the fact that in our culture there is an extended adolescence that seems to stall everyone at 18 in some ways.

And then there are the times when I am reminded resoundingly that I am a grownup. Like when I went to Boston last weekend to hang out with my Best Friend Ever who came up from Nashville. A mutual friend of ours was going with some other friends of hers to see an Irish punk band at a bar near North Station. Red Flag! For those of you who don’t know Boston,  North Station is where the TD Garden is. Bruins and Celtics play there. Also, within easy walking distance of the strip of stupid that is the bars in Fanieul Hall. In short, a whole lot of young, drunk and stupid. And this was St. Patrick’s day. We got there 40 min before the mutual friend, and stood across the street watching the epic levels of stupid. Yelling, screaming, chanting “we’re going to part-ay” etc. Stuff that I didn’t like in college, and have less tolerance for now. We finally got inside, and it was insanely crowded. People were slamming into me left and right, I had to literally shove people to get to the bar. I was greatly displeased. Lesson learned: avoid bars in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day, and especially avoid college bars.  I’ve had quite enough of that thank you.

Boston was fantastic otherwise. Best Friend Ever and I laid on the beach in Revere in 80* weather. We each got sunburns, in March, on the beach. It was amazing. Exactly what I needed. And so much shopping! Scored a corset and a pair of super-cute heels at Buffalo Exchange, which, other than Mr. Crepe is our must-stop whenever we’re in the area.

___________

Adventures in unpacking continue. Things keep getting consolidated and moved around. I brought back most of my art stuff from my dad’s house on the way back from Boston. So now all of my paints and papers and beading supplies are here instead of in NH, so I can actually use them. However, it’s been fun trying to shoehorn them in. We took a box of books to Goodwill, all the duplicates, old, uninteresting comic books and things that we’ll never read again. We still have 3 boxes of books waiting for good homes.

In trying to shoehorn 3 space-hogging hobbies into a 2 bedroom flat, I find myself wishing for a house. A real house, with a yard, and space for a garden, and a basement and attic that I could put stuff in. My last apartment was the top half of a 2 family house, and I got the attic and basement storage. It was awesome. I don’t have that here, and I miss it. I’m also wishing I could do some landscaping. I see the forsythia and the magnolias blooming and go “I want that.”  So it’s probably time to go talk to a financial advisor and figure out how we’re going to pay for all the things we want to pay for in the next few years. When I first moved here I was balking at the idea of buying a house, but now that I’m a little more settled, I’m much more open to the idea.

We’re both artists, you’d think that we would have no issues finding artwork to put on our walls. We have tons of old art from high school, college, and for me, grad school.   The problem is, we don’t really like most of it. We’ve either seen it too much, or outgrown it.  Our walls are generally bare. I went through a bunch of stuff  this afternoon trying to find things to hang on our very bare, very white walls. I managed to find some nature photos that Jarak had mounted to foam board for a show, and an ink and conte drawing of a lamp that I did for a drawing class in college. Most of my work is very emotional, and from a different emotional space than I’m in now. It’s memories from my past that I really don’t want on my walls in my new life. I need to do an art swap with friends so that I get more artwork that doesn’t have huge emotional stories attached to them.

I have posters that need frames before they can be put up. I’ll get on that next weekend.

 

This apparently is the weekend of accomplishing things. I am now officially a New York State resident. I got up super-early (by 30 min) to get to the DMV as soon as it opened on Friday. In and out in under an hour, with new (fugly!) New York plates and registration for the Subaru, and a new temporary New York license. Plates and registration sticker went on this afternoon. I get to get my car inspected some time this week. This is the third inspection for this car in 6 months. I had to get inspected when I got it registered in Mass in October, and it was inspected about 2 months before that when the previous owners had to do it.

I realized driving around today, that my temporary NY license doesn’t have my photo on it. In Mass your paper, temp. license has your photo on it. Mine does not. I’m planning on heading back to Boston next weekend to spend time with my Best Friend Ever who’s flying up from TN for a much needed Boston visit. We expect to do a whole bunch of drinking, and probably some dancing. This may prove to be problematic because I no longer possess valid photo ID. I have my expired Mass license, which I’ll bring as a backup. Poor planning was poor… oh well. I don’t look like a kid trying to sneak into a bar, so hopefully it won’t be an issue.

It’s spring. I’m feeling antsy and in need of plants. I re-potted my spider plant that had become ridiculously root bound into a bigger pot, and trimmed and re-potted my african violet. The poor african violet is still suffering the effects of too much cold during the drive to NY and the subsequent forgetting that the plants were in the car in December. Hopefully trimming the stem and giving it some food will help.

I dumped all the soil out of my strawberry pot, mixed in new dark potting soil, inserted a PVC pipe with holes drilled in it to help with distributing moisture more efficiently throughout the pot, and re-filled it with soil. Then I planted sage, chives, parsley and dill. Hopefully they come up, and hopefully the pipe helps keep the plant dry.

I also planted the bulb I received at my friend L’s memorial service. It’s in a pot, and I may eventually plant it in the ground, but I’ve been so transient that I haven’t wanted to plant it in a place and then move away from it. When I buy a house I’ll plant it in the yard. In the mean time, let’s hope it sprouts. It hasn’t been kept cold but it also hasn’t been planted since I received it.

Last week I got 4″ cut off my hair. It was midway down my upper arm, and needed to be braided when I went to the gym, which was super-annoying. I have stupid-thick, wavy hair. It’s not brushing my shoulders. WAY nicer and way easier to deal with. I spent last Sunday dying it with henna and red-zinger tea. Now it’s on the redder side of auburn. Hooray $2 for 100g packs of henna from the Indian food store. And it makes my hair SO SOFT! The guy who cut my hair couldn’t believe that my hair was dyed and not damaged. (I dyed it back in September for my friend’s wedding.) I extolled the virtues of henna. No harsh chemicals, no crispy hair, just lots and lots of rinsing and potential clumps of green/brown henna on your bathroom floor/walls.

Spring always makes me want to change things and be productive. I’d like to think that I’m getting there. Tomorrow I make more spent-grain bread, and I promise I’ll post an actual recipe  for those who have requested it.