Thankful

I was away from the computer all day yesterday, so I missed out on posting my list of the things for which I’m thankful. In no particular order:

  • coffee (as nurturing as mother’s milk for the over-tired adult)
  • a pretty freakin’ good life with a great partner, cool cats, and a new city that we’re really enjoying
  • relative financial stability, thanks to savings, a good job for SB, and part time jobs that keep me hoppin’
  • continued good health for my family, including my grandparents who are still navigating the stairs in their split level house at 91 and 89
  • finding friends and community through SELMA
  • eligibility for insurance as SB’s “Other Qualifying Adult”
  • losing enough weight in the last couple of years to fit perfectly into my aunt’s wool skirts from high school and my grandma’s party dresses from the 60s = major vintage clothing haul from the Bon Ton Fesenmeyer
  • connecting with friends over this long weekend – Jason and Sonya in Iowa (4th Thanksgiving in a row!), then (almost) the rest of the GSLIS crew in Chicago tomorrow night
  • a new brother in law and our first niece or nephew on the way for a spring delivery!
  • lots of options for local between the farmers’ market, the co-op, and Plum Market
  • a puffy fluffy green jacket to get me through the winter, especially as I hear it snowed this morning in A2
  • the safe arrival of Milo!
  • rediscovering knitting, improving the x-stitch, and figuring out my sewing machine
  • so many ways to stay connected to all the people we love in all corners of the country and the planet

Good Eats

Whew, where did the fall go?  I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is a week from today, and Christmas not far behind.  After a blur of visitors last month, things have quieted down a bit, except that now I’m working 2 part time jobs that eat into my days, nights, and weekends.  We haven’t managed to do much of anything except work, eat good food, knit (me), work out in the basement (Shane), take naps (me), brew beer (Shane), and watch a lot of Fringe for the last two weeks.

But hoo-boy, we have been eating well.  I love fall food as it transitions from the wonderful fresh stuff from the summer into the heartier meals for long, cold winter nights.  I’ve been making our friendly butcher at Plum Market work for his money, asking lots of questions about the provenance of the meats (Niman Ranch and Bell and Evans farms – not local but quite reputable) and having things prepped for me to save time at home.  Hey, it’s what they’re there for, right?  We’d like to transition to buying more local meats, but in the interim, it’s really great to have knowledgeable and helpful butchers about .5 miles from our house!

A sample menu from this week:
Sunday: Balsamic Pork with Shallots, served with Al Dente mushroom fettuccine ($2 at work!)
Monday: Pollo alla Cacciatora
Tuesday: leftovers of the above, served with polenta and Zingerman’s parmesan pepper bread
Wednesday: Pasta e Fagioli soup, served with Zingerman’s parmesan pepper bread
Thursday: family-style dinner at SELMA – we’re bringing an apple cake and Shane’s hard cider
Friday: By the end of the week, I usually want to fall over, and we’ve usually run down the fridge and need to go grocery shopping, so we tend to go out and/or get food from the Plum Market salad/hot bar
Saturday: Braised Chicken Legs with Cider, Apples and Mustard

And in case you’re wondering, we’re sticking to a grocery budget of $100 or less per week, including alcohol.  I’d like for it to be even less, but since we’re spending next to nothing on going out and/or entertainment expenses, this budget seems just fine.

Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter

November 18, 2009

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “There is a saying that when the student is ready, the teacher appears,” writes Clarissa Pinkola Estes in her book *Women Who Run with the Wolves.* But the magic of that formula may not unfold with smooth simplicity, she says: “The teacher comes when the soul, not the ego, is ready. The teacher comes when the soul calls, and thank goodness — for the ego is never fully ready.” I’d love it if the information I just provided encouraged you to feel right at home with the jarring yet nurturing lessons that are on the way.

A message from Mina

I left my computer open when I went to take a shower just now, and when I came back, I found that Mina had typed the following into my chat window with Shane.  The first part should be no surprise, but it is beyond me how she managed to type “H-bomb”.

Without further ado, a message from Mina (carriage returns are my only update)

4444444444yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucv
12222222222222222222222222222222222222dsz56bv7 c H-bomb

A brief list of things I miss about VA/DC

  • The Metro – not taking it to work every day, but having it as a transportation option
  • Galaxy Hut
  • Jackie + Tina + Stacey + Mark + Mike
  • Buzz (ham and cheese scone, pls, and while you’re at it, I’m out of granola)
  • Feeling like we were in the middle of things
  • Listening to WAMU (Your NPR news source in the nation’s capitol)
  • Running by the river
  • A close enough proximity to the ocean to not feel guilt-ridden when I crave seafood
  • 9:30 Club + the Black Cat
  • Baked & Wired
  • the GW Parkway

What have I been up to?

In progress

Empty book trucks

After

When I got my job at Cooley, I said that I thought it would be neat to be on the ground floor of a new library – something that just doesn’t happen all that often these days. I didn’t realize that meant that I would be literally putting the books on the shelves. The books arrived on Tuesday, and I spent 14 hours between Thursday and Friday shelving. My hands are formed in leetle claws the shape of the ALR, though I’m sure my pain is nothing compared to my coworkers who were there all week.

On the bright side, I haven’t felt bad about not exercising because omg it hurts to move.  On the not-so-bright side, that means I’ve been too sore to run during the rare November weekend in the 60s.  Maybe today – if the Decennial Digests don’t beat me down.

FM@SELMA

This past weekend, I did something I’ve never done before.  I made breakfast for over 100 people!

I’ve been volunteering at SELMA – a sort of neighborhood association/community breakfast salon/local food organization – since we moved here.  On Thursday nights, a group of fun people get together to prep breakfast for the following morning, breaking for a family style dinner midway through the work.  For me, it’s been a really nice way to meet like-minded people, hone my prep skills, and make connections to our new city.  On Friday morning, the house is transformed into an informal cafe, with friends and neighbors stopping by for breakfast and conversation.  The food is prepared by volunteers and orchestrated by a guest chef, and the proceeds (a suggested donation of $10-15 per person) go to help local farmers build hoophouses.

A few weeks ago, a call went out to anyone who might be interested in chefing – after 9 months of Fridays, they’re starting to run low on talent (though not on enthusiasm) – so I volunteered!  Shane helped prep Thursday night with a terrifically efficient crew, and Friday, while exhausting, was a lot of fun.  I was very, very, very nervous leading up to it, but once 6am rolled around, it was on.  We had apple-onion-leek quiche with Pioneer Woman dinner rolls and herbed butter, pumpkin pancakes with apple compote and maple whipped cream, an abundance of bacon, and the standard waffles or bread pudding.  So much good food, and so many nice people!  I credit my Galaxy Hut playlist and a good amount of Roos Roast for the dance parties, and my super fantastic helpers for making it an excellent breakfast!

SELMA mosaic

1. Special #2, 2. Special #1, 3. Serene Bacon Man, 4. Breakfast dance party, 5. Mama and Papa SELMA, 6. Susie and Mary

(Thanks to Shane for taking pictures so that I could focus on making good food!)