living room
The auction for my house is tomorrow. Please send waves of positive energy and many many prayers that it will sell for a reasonable amount, and that the spectre of debt will be at least somewhat lifted.

Shane and I went by the house this last weekend to clear out the last few things we’d left behind – a dazzling array of cleaning products, a few odd pieces of furniture, and beer and water left in the fridge from summer cleaning. Our work there was interrupted by Richard’s call about Basil, so we dropped everything and left town without finishing.

The circumstances surrounding that house are among my biggest regrets. It was a beautiful house, and it represented our shared hopes for happiness and a future together. I stood on the back porch with Shane this weekend and cried as I thought about what my life might be like now had I stayed – and then how happy I am with my life, despite all the frustrations and challenges. Part of me will always wish I would’ve had the opportunity to be happy and enjoy many years in that house, but that wasn’t meant to be. Now I just hope it sells, because then I can close the door on that chapter of my life for good.

good things

Thanksgiving has come and gone, though it has been much celebrated around these parts. My family’s most unique tradition is Turkey Notes, which are small rhyming poems written on each guest’s placecard. The poems are almost always eye-rollingly silly, but my family loves them, so we continue to do them, year after year. This year mine was about Sid, and Shane’s was about Herky. With my friends, however, we usually go around the table and list the things for which we’re thankful. I haven’t had a chance to share that list yet this year, so here, in no particular order, are a handful of things for which I’m thankful:

  • ShaneB and all the joy and good things he’s brought into my life this year
  • a great job that I love, even if some days are very hard
  • my family and an awesome crew of friends
  • the impending end of the semester
  • Project Runway and Tim Gunn
  • veggie breakfast sausage
  • Basil’s safe return, and the advent of Sid
  • We love Katamari
  • yellowbike (and maybe RAGBRAI in the new year??)
  • my healing arm
  • Bonnaroo

What are you thankful for?

TSWA

Herky!
A couple of months ago, SB lamented the fact that we rarely get to go do awesome spontaneous fun things because we’re so busy with school, work, and other obligations. We did a lot of fun, awesome things this summer, but once school started, we got back into a rut of staying in on the weekends, doing homework, and watching Law & Order (not that there’s anything wrong with that. We ❤ Lennie.). I asked Shane if he trusted me enough to commit to going away for a weekend with me without any knowledge of where we were going or what we’d be doing. He said yes, and the Top Secret Weekend Adventure was marked down on our calendars.

For weeks, I dropped hints (mostly false) about our destination, some more obvious than others. I told him a number of times that we were going to trapeze camp, though my broken arm made that less believable. Shane was pretty convinced that we were going to Madison – or at least Wisconsin. He was wrong!

On Friday, I took a half day off work, and we left mid-afternoon, en route to Iowa City, though Shane was still in the dark on our destination. After about 15 minutes, I couldn’t stand it any longer and handed over a map of the Herkys on Parade. I think he was initially disappointed, but when I told him about all the Herkys, as well as the other things we could do, he perked up a bit.

We spent three nights at the Mission House Bed and Breakfast – a Mission-style house with original Arts and Crafts interiors relatively undamaged after a long history of use as grad student rental property. The owners were courteous, thoughtful, and polite – and made killer breakfasts. We were within walking distance of the downtown area, so we spent most of the weekend walking around, shopping, eating, taking pictures, and visiting family. We had really amazing tapas, tried on $800 glasses, sampled beer in the Amanas, shopped at a fantastic co-op, and fell in love with a kittem, who caused our return home to be delayed by half a day as we waited for the adoption paperwork to be approved.

Shane didn’t see as many Herkys as he would’ve liked, but we had a wonderful weekend, and completely fell in love with the town. It’s a lot more cosmopolitan – and hilly – than I’d remembered – all of which are good things. My family has been trying to get me (and my siblings) to move there for years, and after this weekend, I can definitely say I’d consider it. Most of all, though, it was wonderful to just get away together without having to worry about school, work, or responsibility – to simply be able to enjoy each other’s company, whether it was during a drawn-out meal, a chilly walk, or a late afternoon nap.

secret!

ShaneB and I are leaving town in a few minutes for a Top Secret Weekend Adventure. I can’t say where we’re going, but I’m hoping we have a lot of fun, a lot of good food, and a lot of down time. We’re not taking work with us. I’m really excited.

In other good news, I got my cast off! I can type with two hands! Now THAT is something to celebrate. 🙂

Domesticity

We’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately – a lot, relative to the weeks where we are only home together one weeknight, and where the weekends are spent eating out with friends or because we’re too tired to think about cooking. Last night SB made chicken curry from scratch. Monday night I made pasta with mushrooms, artichokes, fresh basil, and a from scratch cream sauce. We picked up The Working Stiff Cookbook a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been a big hit. We’ve made soup, pasta, and an amazingly moist meatloaf. We’ve been spending more on groceries, but less on going out, and that’s pretty great in my book. This weekend we’re making a Thanksgiving dinner for friends – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes – the works. I’m really looking forward to it – and really enjoying having a partner who likes to cook as much as I do.

This photograph is my proof.

This weekend, I fell off my dad’s mountain bike and broke my arm. We spent most of Friday night at immediate care and in the ER, getting my arm x-rayed and set in a temporary cast. I was scared and hungry (we were getting ready to go to dinner when this happened) and in pain, and Shane took care of me the whole time, making me laugh and letting me cry on his shoulder.

You know what is hard to do with a broken arm? Just about everything. Over the weekend, Shane cut my food, put product in my hair, buttoned my pants, adjusted my sling, and put a garbage bag on my arm so that I could shower. He bought me these shoes last night so that I wouldn’t have to ask for help every time I needed to go somewhere, even though he swears he likes helping me with my shoelaces.

Yesterday he was helping me with my socks and shoes and my mom told me that he was a keeper, and told him that he couldn’t go away and had to love me forever. I’ve been telling him all of these things, but somehow it means something more when it comes from my mom.

Shane’s ex-girlfriend has a new(ish) boyfriend who does lots of sweet things for her, and she posts pictures of the exceptionally sweet ones to her Flickr. In comparison I feel bad sometimes that I can’t share with everyone photographic proof of how wonderful Shane is to me every day, and how much I love and appreciate him in return. This photograph is my proof.

Last night I had a dream about a digital library of advertising jingles – except in my dream, I conceived of it as Flickr for advertising jingles. Anyone know of such a thing?

Also, tonight SB and I made dinner: roast chicken with organic fingerling potatoes and sweet onions, pan gravy with white wine, and a simple salad. The newly operational ice maker is chugging away, and on the stove I have a pot of this and that reducing into chicken stock for tomorrow’s soup.

Tomorrow I start my job, but for tonight, it’s lovely to be simple and domestic.

cause for celebration

Yesterday evening Shane and I had a fabulous dinner at Bacaro to celebrate two things: six months together, and signing a lease on the above place, nicknamed “Basil Estates”. We had shrimp bruschetta with red chiles and limoncello, a bottle of Italian something-something that resembled a Pinot Noir and complemented my lamb and Shane’s hake, a cheese plate with little bites of wonderful, and an amazing pot of French press coffee ($3! a steal).Am I nervous about the future? Of course. Grad school is such a transitional period, and there are no guarantees that either of us are going to be here (or able to leave) in a year. Am I nervous about this commitment? Of course. I’ve only lived with one other person, and that was my ex. Things are very different (in so many ways) than they were when I was 18, and in some ways this is a bigger decision because it’s one of the most serious commitments I can ever imagine making with/to another person.

Am I sure I want to do this? Yes, for a variety of reasons – personal and financial. Am I sure I want to do this with him? Yes, for a variety of reasons – personal and terribly romantic. Mainly I’m just terribly thankful for a beautiful apartment that I can share with a wonderful partner and a very funny cat.

a happy crazy person

Oh man, I wish nothing was happening. The last couple of weeks have been INCREDIBLY busy, so I’ll just give you the highlights:

Work: rolled out Moodle for the LEEP kids on or around 9 June after a long week of really intense work. Two training workshops (led by me), a number of forum discussions, and a couple of live sessions later, things seem to be going smoothly, and we’re “cautiously optimistic” for fall.

Work: turned in my notice at Aroma – my last normally scheduled week will be the week of 31 July. Feels like the end of an era. I said I’m fine with being on-call, but with my fall schedule (whatever it will be – 40/2 or 20/4), I just can’t do it anymore. Oh, and we changed the menu, which has made things needlessly complicated.

House: keys have been delivered, and I’m headed to Rockford this weekend to meet with a realtor, do a ton of yardwork, and generally figure out what needs to be done to the house to get it on the market. The ex has been cooperative, which I really appreciate. This is hard, but it could be a lot harder.

Adventures: spent last weekend in Chicago at Intonation and visiting Amanda. Good times all around, even though the festival was so-so, and it rained part of the weekend. Bloc Party was awesome, so was Jose Gonzalez, and I enjoyed seeing/hearing a bunch of new bands, including a lot of fun hiphop. Shane and I did some shopping downtown and at IKEA, both of which were fun. I got a gorgeous dress for Sarah’s wedding on consignment, and we looked at things for an imaginary shared apartment (code name: Basil Land). Pictures here.

Adventures: spent the weekend before in central Tennessee at Bonnaroo, which is/was an experience that can’t be summarized in a short paragraph. More on this later, but in brief, it was four days of dirt and sun and music and food and friends. I was relaxed and happy and very dirty, and coming back to the “real world” was difficult. I saw Andrew Bird, Radiohead, Beck, Rusted Root, The Magic Numbers, Buddy Guy, Cat Power, Matisyahu, and a bunch of people I’ve already forgotten. Pictures here.

General: things are good – exhausting, but good. I’m running around like a crazy person, but a happy crazy person, and that makes a world of difference.

I am just exhausted – physically, mentally, and emotionally. It has been an incredibly draining week, and I have so much on my mind. This week I am incredibly thankful for a wonderful boy (with two weeks’ worth of beard), an amazing family, great friends, and a team of coworkers that can’t be beat. I am very lucky.