Archives for posts with tag: growing up

No, really, STUFF! We have SO MUCH STUFF! And this whole wedding thing, with it’s showers, and registries etc, means MORE STUFF! If I seem a little “ack!” about all of this, consider that our apartment is currently full. I’ve posted pictures of how full our pantry is, how full our bookshelves are, and the general level of clutter. We have roughly 900 sq feet in our apartment. We have roughly 2000 sq feet of stuff.

Jarak and I have been pretty good about trying to simplify, getting rid of duplicate kitchen implements was one of the things that we did when we first moved in and unpacked. I suppose this is what happens when there are two grownups who have lived in their own apartments combining households. But then there are the books, and the art supplies and the beer making materials and all the things that you can just get rid of, what if you need to use it someday?

Added to the challenge, is that both of my parents have moved out of the big house that we all grew up in, and into houses where they have much less room. So they keep offering me things. And I keep having to turn them down. As much as I’d love the dining room table, or a big overstuffed chair, we have no room for it in the apartment, or in storage. I’m also the keeper of some of my brothers’ bigger things that haven’t been shipped out to them on the west coast, like the djembe and the heavy bag.  We still have books that haven’t been unpacked and are sitting waiting for space.

Yet I keep adding books… I brought home a tomato box full of books from my mother’s house last weekend. There are a bunch of puzzle and game books for Jarak, herbal medicine, organic gardening and knitting/knot-work books that I cherry-picked from about 7 boxes that my mother is getting rid of. I decided I didn’t really need any art history or art theory books at this stage in my life.

Jarak and I spent part of today before he went to work rearranging the kitchen so that we could put away all of the wonderful things that we have received as wedding gifts so far.  We found a home for the new Kitchenaid Mixer (seriously huge thank you to Biscuit and Rick for that!) which involved moving a shelf on our wire rack to make it fit. One of our challenges was figuring out what to do with all of the new containers we now have, and whether to keep or get rid of the ones we had. We decided that 20 year old Tupperware can be recycled, and that the newer stuff we use all the time stays.

That’s when it hit me: a wedding is really a huge marker of adulthood. You get “nice” things because you’re somehow more of an adult when you get married than you were just out of college, or puttering along through your twenties with the mismatched set of dishes that you inherited from an aunt. Wedding gifts mean upgrading from the hand-me-d0wns and having new/better/ your own things for the first time. We have a relatively small registry because we have a lot of the basics, and we really don’t see a need for a matched set of towels, or more teaspoons or spatulas.

One of the things that we’ve struggled a bit with is how to ask for what we really want: help buying a house. Etiquette around that is a pain.  How do you phrase it so that it doesn’t come across as “gimme money!” We settled on “One of our biggest goals in the next few years is to buy a house” and then having a section in the registry where people can contribute to a down payment. That way, it’s directed towards something, not just nebulous money being thrown at us.

There are probably more thoughts out there about this whole process, but that’s all that I’ve got right now. My brain is seriously all-wedding-all-the-time now. We’re 3 weeks out. I suppose it’s not surprising.

There’s another post about being the center of attention, asking people to do things, and accepting that people really do want to help us make this thing happen, but it hasn’t come together yet.

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I totally missed my 1 year blogging mark. I haven’t blogged since before Thanksgiving. December was a whirlwind of 80 client caseloads, 3 day a week workouts, cooking, baking, travel to York, PA for Christmas, creating our wedding website and making our registry list and finally mailing out our save-the-dates. It was all very boring, and also very tiring. I have tended to want to plop on the couch, watch Netflix and knit after work instead of blogging. So here we are on February 10th, the last day of my 20s and I have 2.5 months of blogging to catch up on. Except I won’t.

Today I want to talk about milestones, specifically birthdays. I turn 30 tomorrow. Whoa… 30. Except that I’m not freaked out about it at all. It helps that almost all of my friends are 1-10 years older than me. 30 doesn’t feel old compared to my friends who are in their early 40s. In fact I’m happy and excited and feeling very proud of myself for all that I have accomplished in the past 30 years. I’m approaching it in a “Woo! I rock!” kind of way. I went to a Goth Night on February 1st and if it was your birthday month you got a tiara. So I now own a plastic silver tiara with pink stones. I normally hate pink, but it’s a tiara and it’s awesome. I wore it at my birthday potluck this past Friday. It was fun.

In terms of accomplishments, there are some things that I wish I’d been able to get around to already, but life conspired against me, and I just have to make them happen when I can. Namely, studying abroad never happened, and when I was 18 I was convinced that I would be married and finished having kids by the time I was 30. Instead I’m engaged and will not end up starting a family until I’m 31 at least. (Although things may change.)

What have I accomplished in the past 30 years?

-I completed both my BA and MA by the time I was 24

– I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and am working towards my Registered Art Therapist and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist certifications.

– I have dated enough people to know what I needed and what was toxic for me so that when I found Jarak I knew that he was perfect for me.

– I have made many good friends who will still be my friends in 10 years (I hope)

– I made two major moves, one from college to grad school in Boston, living on my own for the first time, and then the second one from Boston to Schenectady to live with Jarak.

– I financed a good (used) car that will last me for at least 10 years.

– I learned how to bake bread, from my parents’ recipe.

– I weathered a horrible relationship, graduate school, being perpetually broke/underemployed, dealing with demons of my past and my parents’ divorce, with the help of my absolutely fantastic therapist in Jamaica Plain. 6 years of work means that I now know how to ask for help when I need it.

–  I Grew The Fuck UP. (seriously, I want to smack my 15, 18, 22 and 25 year old selves…)

I think that’s a pretty good list. The last one really kind of sums everything up. I’m much more calm, settled and patient than I was even 5 years ago.

So what does this year bring?

-Jarak and I are getting married!

-My cousin and our good friends are also getting married.

– I get to welcome my niece into the world in April.

-I get to meet my cousin’s awesome baby.

– Travel to Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Portland, ME and Halifax Nova Scotia (our honeymoon!)

Maybe I will start a garden, start a compost pile/bin at our friend’s newly purchased house. We will also begin saving for a house and hopefully will have a house before we start our family. In addition, I hope to move into private practice for more flexibility and more money with less pressure to work 45 hour weeks with no breaks.

Wedding planning is kicking into high gear. We’re starting to design our invitations, and have brewed our first batch of Wedding Beer, a Robust Porter. We went suit shopping for Jarak yesterday, and I’m trying to find some sort of bodice/bustier thing to wear under my dress to smooth out any (perceived) lumps under the satin. We’re doing cake-tasting with my college roommate in Philadelphia at the beginning of March. We’re starting to shop for things like dessert plates, cocktail glasses and napkins. I joked to Jarak that now I’m actually allowed to bug him about wedding plans every weekend, now that we’re less than 5 months away from the wedding date. He agreed. The crazy thing is that I’m not super-stressed about anything right now. A little worried about how we’re going to pay for it all, but other than that? Meh… All that really matters is that the people who we love show up, we declare that we are madly in love with each other and want to stay that way, and then we eat and drink. I refuse to worry about tiny details like whether all the shades of purple and blue match, or that we “should” do thing x, y, or z.

And now I’m off to continue reading Game of Thrones, which I started last week and am thoroughly engrossed in. Tomorrow after work I will go have a beer or 3 at Bier Abbey to celebrate actually being 30, and hopefully will remember to blog more.

Tomorrow will be my last Thanksgiving as a “single” woman. Next year at this time I will have been married for almost 6 months. It boggles my mind a bit. Our save-the-dates came in, correctly done this time. Hooray! And I picked up my cousin’s bridesmaid’s dress for her brother’s (my cousin’s) wedding. The dress is in NY, she’s living back in PA, but we’re going to Thanksgiving at my grandfathers/father’s place in CT. So it’ll all work out. Remember the “3 weddings in 6 months, one of them mine” thing from a few weeks back. One of the weddings is my cousin’s in March.
I’m making apple and pumpkin pie to bring for tomorrow, and oatmeal-raisin-chocolate-chip cookies for Friday’s fest.  I made pie crust on Monday night, and did my annual search through all of the recipe books to find the one that doesn’t use shortening/lard. ( The only time I’d ever use shortening is pie crusts, but once a year. It’s not worth if to keep in the house.) I always look through at least two before remembering it’s in Moosewood. My pumpkin pie recipe is from Horn of the Moon, and the photocopy that I have has “The Best” written on it. When I was younger, my mother and I would look through cookbooks trying to remember what recipe we liked the best. We finally remembered to just write it on the recipe. I unfortunately slightly scorched the top, but it’ll be yummy anyway.

I accidentally bought too many apples. I’m used to needing at least 10, but the apples I got are GINORMOUS. I have no idea what the farm adds to its soil, but both their apples and their sweet potatoes are huge. I’m guessing it’s just floodplain.

I’ve been hanging out in my house alone this evening. No siblings, no fiance, and hardest of all: no Mom. After my parents split up, making pies with my mother for Thanksgiving stopped. (We did thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family, and then immediate family only for Christmas. It’s a big family thing on my dad’s side, and it’s important to see them, so Jarak and I go to that, and then do Christmas with his family.) One of my favorite memories from growing up was having the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off from school and spending the day in the kitchen with my mother making pie. My share of responsibility has grown from simply peeling apples and mixing pumpkin pie filling to completing whole pies on my own, with minimal assistance from her, to now making them entirely on my own, including making my own pie crust. And it’s a social thing, hanging out in the kitchen working.  When my brothers were both on this coast, they’d come to my house on Wednesday and we’d make pies together.  So it just feels strange and wrong to be doing it all by myself today.

I appear to have taken the collective baked yumminess of my parents, and what they have traditionally brought to big family/community functions and adopted it. I bring pie on Thanksgiving now that my mother no longer comes to Thanksgiving, and I bring bread to Easter, now that my father no longer comes to Easter. It’s my mother’s pie, and my father’s bread, and in some ways doing it this way means that I maintain my family connections even when they’re not there.
Tomorrow we pack up the car and drive the 2.5 hours to just outside Hartford with pies, cookies, homebrew, local beer and local whiskey (Yay Coalyard!) This year the cousins seem to have scattered to the four corners of the earth. My two brothers in Colorado and LA, with girlfriend’s family and son, and girlfriend’s family respectively,  a cousin in Maryland with his fiance, and a cousin in Geneva Switzerland with her boyfriend. We will have one child from each family with the parents this year. Yup… we’re grownups.

It’s been a hell of a week. No, literally, hell. I’m on call at work, which means that I can’t ever relax completely on my “off” hours. I always have to have my damn work phone with me. Add that to the fact that I’m seriously overworked and underpaid, and my bosses don’t appear to care, and it’s been a very rough week. Like coming home, throwing my keys on the table and pronouncing “I hate everything” and then throwing myself on the bed. Apparently I turn into a four year old when I’m tired and stressed out. Fortunately, my on-call week ends at 8am tomorrow morning.

Jarak, fortunately, has been wonderful. I’ve been careful to let him know that I’m not mad a him, I’m mad about work. And he’s been taking care of me. I’m super lucky to have him, and he has made things better. He took yesterday off of work, and we spent the whole day together. It wasn’t some grand trip or event, it was just puttering around the house, running errands, lunch at the Indian grocery, and then making dinner and bottling the stout we brewed at the end of August. (It fermented for something like 73 days. It’s nuts) Having a full day with him was wonderful.

On a different note, we’ve been doing lots of wedding-y stuff. It’s going slowly…We’re working on our website (by we, I mean Jarak built the thing, and comes to me for design approval on things. He’s awesome and creative like that.) We ordered our save-the-date magnets from a local printer who neglected to proof them beforehand, and our 3.5×4″ magnets were rotated 90*, so our photos were squished. Jarak grumped at them mightily about that, and they’re reprinting them for free, but still… argh! It took UPS 3 tries to deliver our box of envelopes because the driver rings the doorbell and then leaves… We have purple envelopes! And they’re local and recycled paper! Yay!

I’m trying not to compare our wedding to anyone else’s. What I know is right for us, and fits our budget/style/personalities is in some ways totally different than what is expected by people for a wedding. My cousin is getting married in March, and our good friends have invited us to be in their wedding next September. There will be huge differences in style, budget and aesthetic among all 3 weddings.

Other than the fact that we’re doing this on a (relative) shoestring, the main difference is how much we are doing ourselves, or are asking for help from friends and family. We have made our mead, will be brewing 2-3 batches of beer, and I will likely make some sort of yummy for the reception. Both of our families are full of amazing cooks who we are asking to help provide food. My college roommate who is a fantastic pastry chef is making the cake.  My mother is altering my dress. Our friend who used to be in a band is providing our PA system. We are focusing a lot on local businesses for things that we can’t make or do ourselves.  Our rings will likely be made locally (I have yet to find a pre-made ring that’s exactly to my liking.), our flowers will be from a local farm, the wine will be from a local winery, and perhaps best of all, Nick and Britin Foster of All Good Bakers have agreed to provide sticky buns for the morning of the wedding. These are all things that we believe strongly are important. And we are so blessed to have so many amazing people who are willing to help us out and make our day an awesome success.

Neither of us are particularly religious, and as such we are getting married outside with a friend doing the ceremony. Our siblings and my Bestest Friend Ever are standing up for us, and are standing up by family, instead of by gender. We will likely have an uneven number of attendants. Jarak and the boys will not be wearing suits. (Seriously, outdoors in late June? Shirts and ties are fine.)We will not be having champagne. All of these are things that we’ve been questioned/challenged on already. Fortunately, the questioners have graciously accepted our explanations.

Still, it’s hard to not slip into the mode of “oh, she’s getting/doing that? why can’t I do that?” Or “I wish I could afford that.” Even if it’s not something I want or need! Stupid wedding industrial complex and the cultural expectations that are wrapped up around weddings. Defending our choices is easy now, but I worry that I’m going to be sick of defending and explaining them come June when someone decides that I “have” to do something or we “must” buy this thing.

On a related note: in light of the “something old something new” rhyme, I’ve gotten it into my head that I’d like to borrow a sapphire/lapis necklace from someone. It feels rather silly and minor, but I think it would be a neat way to roll the last two parts of the poem into one. My engagement ring is my something old something new. The amethyst was in a necklace that my father gave me when I was 12.

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.

First, the good things! My spent-grain bread came out well, although it could have used slightly less water, and maybe 10 more minutes in the oven. Next time we buzz the grains in a blender before baking. Barley husks are pointy and have a nasty tendency to get caught in soft places in your mouth. (Which is most of it.) Also, today Jarak and I made spent grain cookies. Oh my goodness so tasty! Chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Yum.

Hard things. My cat Mystique has been acting up. She keeps pooing on my bed. I wash my top blanket, she does it again 3 days later. Clean litter box almost every time. I’m very frustrated. Hopefully it will stop when we move into our own place.

Other hard things, and ones that are way more important: learning to live with the love of my life. I knew that the transition from seeing each other for 6 days a month, (3 at my place, 3 at his) to living together would be hard. I just didn’t realize how it would manifest itself.  We’re having to learn to communicate and negotiate in ways that we haven’t previously. I like to make decisions quickly, looking at the facts I have and saying “ok, let’s go for it” (or not.) Jarak deliberates. He looks at all the options and then mulls them for a while. He gets grumpy when rushed or when he feels pushed into something. I got a glimpse of it this summer when we were planning to go to Seattle for my friend’s wedding, but it really crystallized for me during our apartment search.  I see something and go “yes, let’s do this” and he says “wait a minute, what about these things that need to get fixed.” It’s a nice check for my gung-ho self, but sometimes creates hurt feelings when the whys of decisions or opinions aren’t spelled out, from either of our directions. We keep reminding ourselves to work on communicating better, and that we still love each other. We may have an apartment though. Details when things are solid and signed.

Sometimes though, it’s less Big Relationship Things like communication and more the “we planned poorly and now we’re in a mess.” Last week we got 4″ of snow, and I had an 9am meeting. I pulled Jarak’s big rear wheel drive  Crown Vic out of the driveway so that I could get my car out, and realized that A)rear wheel drive cars don’t handle the same as front wheel drive and B) he had postponed snow tires. Our residential street had yet to be plowed, and I couldn’t get enough traction to get up the slight incline. After fussing and sliding and getting frustrated, and his mom not having any luck either, I finally went and woke him up and said “I can’t do it, the car is stuck, and I have a meeting to get to, can you get up and move your car? Thanks, love you, bye!” And because he is wonderful and helps me out of messes, he did. First gear and patience, (which I didn’t have) got the car unstuck, while I raced off to my meeting (which had been cancelled!) And then he went back to bed. He works nights and 8am is not a time that he often sees. For the record, my AWD Subaru managed just fine thanks.

To end with a Good Thing. Which is a very good thing. I get to see my boyfriend, my partner, Every. Single. Day. That is SO COOL! Even if it’s for 3 minutes when he’s half asleep and I’m headed to work, I can still wake him up and give him a kiss. Every Single Day! And sometimes when he gets home from work after I go to bed he’ll wake me up to say hi, and then let me go back to sleep. I get him all evening on two nights a week, and most of the day on the weekends. (Our days off don’t match unfortunately.) Getting to see him and connect with him every day is totally worth any amount of frustration I have.

Before I launch into my thoughts on traditions new and old, I’ve finally figured out a replacement nickname for “The Boy” (rejected because it made me sound kind of creepy apparently) He is henceforth “Jarak” after a character from the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Stephen Erikson. If he’s any character ever, he’s Jarak. In the same vein, I’ve found a suitable pseudonym: “Seren“, another character in the series.

One of the things that I’ve noticed a lot while reading A Practical Wedding is the importance of creating new traditions while holding on to the ones that are important to you.

In my family I’m kind of the tradition-keeper, the one who gets grumpy if we don’t do certain things for special occasions. The biggest traditions are around Christmas: the angel in the tree, the silver and gold wire garlands, marking off the days on the felt advent calendar that my aunt made for us, etc.  Between the ages of 3 and 25, we did Christmas at home, just the 5 of us. There are traditions and orders of events around stockings, and food and all sorts of things, that even after my parents split up, I tried to keep going. I hosted Christmas two years running at my apartment in Boston. It was central to everyone, with my middle brother in NYC and my youngest brother home for break at my dad’s house in NH, and my mom in a constant state of flux and moving every 6 months.

The first year was the hardest. I was trying to make everyone happy and trying to accommodate everyone that I ended up snapping at my brothers and being awful. I also had a major breakdown and spent the next 2 weeks recovering emotionally from it.  The second year was slightly less hard, but I vowed never to do it again. My mom said at one point during dinner “maybe this is the last time we do this” and she was right. Too much emotional baggage. I had to accept that my Christmases and by extension my family were never going to be the same and move on. It was after that second Christmas at my apartment that Jarak invited me to come to his family’s Christmas the next year. We had been together for all of 6 months at that point, but I said yes.

So last year I had Christmas without any of my immediate family, only my “adopted” family. (I think I’ve said that I’ve been part of this family for 10 years, because anyone who spends enough time around Collegiate Best Friend or any of the other siblings in this family, and you get adopted by Mom. So she’s been my second mom for 10 years, I’m practically family anyway.) They do family Christmas the day before driving down to York,PA to spend time with her family of origin. It was interesting to watch what another family has in terms of traditions. Theirs are calendars and ornaments for everyone, at least one toy, and at least one gag gift. I got a matchbox car Crown Vic taxi that said “Jarak’s Taxi Service” on it, because I didn’t have my car at that point.  I felt so welcomed and so loved it was amazing. And then we piled into the cars the next morning and drove 6 hours down to York to do Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas there with their big family. It was lovely. Overwhelming, but lovely. I discovered the joy of Red Beet Eggs.  We went to midnight service at the Lutheran Church that much of the family attends for Christmas Eve service with candles and carols. I was not prepared for Big Lutheran Service, coming from a combination New England Congregational and godless heathen background. Much more pomp and glitter than I’m used to in a Christmas eve service, but I got to hear Jarak sing for the first time and couldn’t stop giggling because his voice is so low it vibrates the church pews. The next morning,  I called my brothers and my parents and talked to them, which was a bit surreal, to not see them on Christmas. There was only one thing missing from my Christmas last year: Stockings.

Stockings are a big deal in my family. I don’t know if it’s the New England in us, or the British heritage, or what, but they’re a Big Deal. There are things that are always in stockings in my family: an orange or clementine, a chocolate orange (Whack and unwrap!) pens/pencils/art supplies, smoked fish or oysters in a can, some sort of toy and fantastically useful socks. A mix of useful and goofy usually. I realized last year that I really missed having a stocking. So I decided that this year I would make sure I got my stocking. I procured chocolate oranges before I moved because I didn’t know if I could get them out here. Three days before Christmas I spent far too much money on stocking stuffers for myself and Jarak, but I had so much fun getting them. The notable, very “us” addition to this year’s stockings? Punching pens. The pens with the little character that has two levers on the back to make the arms work. He got Santa, I got a Snowman. (Me bopping Jarak in the nose with a Gorilla punching pen after getting it with Skee-Ball tickets was the first big flirty thing I did that let him know I liked him.) I even bought him a stocking. It’s black. 😀 My hope is that we can continue this and have our own little Christmas tradition before going and re-joining the craziness that is his grandmother’s house on Christmas.

The other family tradition that I’ve pulled him into is going to Sheepdog Hill for Easter and then jumping in the ocean. When you can convince someone to jump into the North Atlantic in April, you know it’s love.

I got to be part of his family’s New Year’s day dinner of pork roast and sauerkraut. His dad does Big Meals and is an excellent cook. I certainly can’t complain.

We’ve also created our own traditions around gifts and birthdays. For Christmas we seem to have gotten into a pattern of giving each other something that the other really wants, but won’t spend the money on themselves. He got me a car adapter for my iPod, and I gave  him a book on Sacred and Healing Beers, which he has been tearing through since he got it.  We’d rather go somewhere together and eat a fantastic meal or have delicious beer or have an adventure for our birthdays and anniversary than give a gift that we then have to store. Two years ago we went to Burlington VT for a brewery tour for my birthday/valentine’s day. We’re talking Lake Placid this year.

What new traditions have you adopted/created?

So in reading all of your awesome comments on my last post, I realized that there are some things that are unclear. The following that may help shed some light as to why I’m such a spaz about this whole moving thing.

It takes me a very long time to make strong connections. I’ve finally made strong connections in Boston, and the idea of leaving them is really hard, and makes me sad.

I’m really bad at uncertainty. I’m moving into uncertainty. I’m living with The Boy’s parents for 2-3 weeks until we can get our own apartment. Where that apartment will be or how much it will cost is not at all certain right now. I also don’t know exactly what my paychecks will look like, so my financial situation is precarious at best.

I need to have my own space. I hate feeling like I’m intruding. These are linked. Yes, I have been invited into this house, and I’m there fairly often, but it’s not “mine.” I do poorly when I don’t have a place that is my own. This will be akin to living out of a suitcase for 3 weeks. (Yes, I know I was a camp counselor for 9 weeks one summer and had a bed and 2 sets of shelves, but that was different, and I was 21. And my parents’ house was still “home” then. )

The house I grew up in no longer feels like home. I moved out officially when I came down here to grad school. Having my own bed and my own dresser in an apartment is a far cry from dorm living. I’ve lived in the same apartment for 4 years. This is my home. Moving out of this into The Boy’s family’s house renders me homeless for a time. When we have our own apartment it will be our home, and it will be awesome.

I have a hard time with change. I cried at my high school boyfriend’s graduation, I cried at my graduation, I was a sobby mess the evening of my college graduation because everyone was gone from campus and I was all alone. (I had to stay for an extra 2 weeks for track.) It took me forever to come to terms with my parents’ divorce. And while all of those things were natural endings, or endings that I had no control over, this is an ending that is my own doing. I made the decision to leave Boston for a new life. To me this is like having to bite down on the tool that forced the bands over my back teeth when I got braces. I know the outcome will eventually be good, but the process hurts like crazy.  I know that I can always come back to visit, but I’ll be here as a visitor, not as a resident. I’ll be coming in in the middle of my friends’ lives, instead of being a part of them on a daily or weekly basis. I can best sum it up as the little kid whining that something just is ” not the saaaaaame!”  This whole adventure gets to my small-child, change-hating inner self.

On the other hand, this feels a lot like a breakup. Not the kind of breakup where you hate the other person and know that your life is better off without them, or where you get dumped, but the “we’re moving in different directions and this isn’t working anymore” kind of breakup. The kind where you still love each other, and have fond memories of each other and you cry for weeks because the relationship was really good and you’re sad it’s over.  Where it’s really kind of awkward when you see them in 6 months and everything is the same, but it’s different at the same time.

I always knew I wanted to spend my 20s in Boston. I also knew there was no way I was going to be able to raise a family here, and that I really want to live in the woods.  It was always kind of time-limited. I did a lot of growing up here. I really became my own person here, on my own terms (mostly). I know the city, I know how it works and all the idiosyncrasies. Hell I can drive in Boston and get myself un-lost fairly quickly, if I manage to get myself lost. I  will never be “from” here, and I never wanted to be, but Boston is a huge part of my life, and I’m mourning the loss of the city, and more importantly my grown-up friends I’ve made while I’ve been here.  Thinking about this as ending a relationship actually helps me give myself permission to cry about it. I’m not only changing my relationships with my friends here, but my relationship to the area itself, and my relationship to myself as a resident of Greater Boston.

And oh goodness have there been tears. I finally let myself cry last night, I mean really cry. I felt a little better when  woke up this morning, but then I had to go to therapy and have my last session with my awesome therapist that I’ve been working with for 6 years. Other than my family, I haven’t been that close to someone for that long ever. It’s kind of a Big Deal. I cried so much today that I managed to coat my contact lenses with salt and they were foggy all day.

This process is like sslloooooooooowwwwlly pulling off a bandaid, where the scab has become part of the bandage. If there were a way to just rip the bandaid off , to cut and run without saying any solid goodbyes, I would, but I’m afraid that that would hurt me more in the long run.

Some of you who read this have taken off to other countries for extended periods of time, not once but multiple times. Some of you make cross-country moves and think it’s awesome. Some of you are perfectly happy living out of a suitcase for weeks at a time. I can’t do that. For all that I’m calling this a Blog of Adventure, I’m feeling very unadventurous right now. I know it will get better when I get there and settle in, but  right now this is the long goodbye and it hurts.