Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nov. 20

I'm thankful for delicious food. Is the end of the Thanksgiving portion of this post.

The other (still food-related) portions:

Something magic I just found: (white) balsamic+olive oil+garlic+cabbage might be the most delicious thing I've eaten this week. I'm roasting it which I'm sure will also be delicious, but I can't imagine it significantly improving the flavor. Also one of the most stinky foods I can imagine.

Speaking of which, I'm reading The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon who I love. The premise is fantastic: apparently (in real life) after WWII there was a short-lived proposal to allow misplaced Jews to relocated to the Alaska territory. The novel is set in a world where this happened. Anyway, there's this scene in a shady bar in the morning (outside of operating hours) where the two main guys are talking over a  table of "pickled tomatoes and cucumbers, a basket of poppy-seed rolls, and a bowl of sour cream." Why do I love this so much? There's this line: "Berko reaches for one of the pickled cucumbers, shaking off the peppercorns and cloves that stud its freckled green skin. He crunches it between his teeth and frowns happily.
'It takes a sour woman to make a good pickle.'"
Moral of the story? #1 Michael Chabon, I love you. #2 I need to find my way back to the motherland. My mouth is watering.

And food thing #2. Food blogs. I generally don't love as much as I'd like. Because they're either too simple and I'm insulted or they're too complicated and I'm incredulous--"Yes, of course you had leftover exotic grain that you roasted with organic farmer's market vegetable into something impossibly beautiful and lowfat in your gorgeous seaside kitchen." Blah blah I'm jealous of your life. But I've found one that is just perfect: complicated enough to be interesting, with an engaging voice, good but not ostentatious photography. And the writer lives in Chicago which means we're practically neighbors.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nov. 18

Sort of a spotty thing. But.

I am thankful that it is not last year any more. The further I get from it, the wilder it seems that I survived. This time last year I was still wearing black every day as tribute to my dad. I was getting ready for a trip to Texas to spend the holidays w/James' family. And they were delightful, and everything turned out wonderfully, but it was a pretty high pressure weekend. And graduate school was awful. I'm getting all tense just thinking about it.

This Thanksgiving, also prepping for the drive to Texas (luckily for all Ballards involved, we shaved 5 hours off the drive moving across the country, woot!), but I'm going as the wife (and not girlfriend who can't get her act together) of a really wonderful fellow and we have our cozy little place (and not the snowpocalypse--do you guys remember that?) to come home to.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nov. 13

I am thankful for United Lutheran Women's annual pasty sale. Yummers.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nov. 6

I am thankful for my bed. Did I post this story? James and I were trying to be wise, so we didn't buy a bed for the first two or three weeks we were in our place. We piled some blankets and camping pads on the floor and it was fine.
Then I got sick and we got a very very generous belated wedding present (thank you notes are in process, btw) and we found a great deal on a memory foam-topped number. Which I have spent more time in than out of this last day and a half.
Grateful. For my bed.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thanksgiving Month

Nov. 1st
I am grateful for my husband. James drove me to the airport Monday. He made me breakfast and let me sort of zone out snoozily (sleepiness+anxiety) while he concentrated on driving and I had clean laundry to pack and when he left the car at the airport parking lot Wednesday (he's in Texas shooting javelina this week w/his brothers) he emailed me a detailed map w/pictures. He is very thoughtful and very hilarious and very nice. And not back till Monday which is the only reason coming home this afternoon was awesome but not perfect.

Nov. 2nd
I am grateful for a good job. I traveled this week to Pasco (the tri-cities) Washington to help the hospital w/their transition to the new system. The area is known, I learned, for great moderate weather and amazing sunrises and sunsets.
I got to know a lot of cool people from Madison and also a lot of really great people from the organization. This week was awesome/blessed because it helped me see both that I'm going to be good at this job--both from the software side and the interpersonal side--and that I'm going to like it. There are elements both of teaching and managing that really appeal to me, I'm exited to earn expertise that is specific and concrete (after the flip-floppiness of English) and really useful, and the system is big enough and complex enough and variable enough that I don't anticipate getting complacent. It wasn't maybe a remarkable week, but it was challenging in good ways and affirming.

Nov. 3rd
I'm grateful for Mormons. I was driving aimlessly around the other night looking for dinner (I found a Greek place I went to two nights in a row. Most things I want from life can be found in a styrofoam box with a decent gyro and a good greek salad.) when I saw a golden angel Moroni in the distance. I had no idea there was a temple in central Washington, much less 5 minutes from my hotel. I got to visit last night and it felt in so many ways like coming home. Which I pretend a little to myself like I don't need, which is a crock--smiling faces and mormon haircuts and hand-holding couples and all of those cultural nuances I've become so attuned too, good at reading, and which I feel so impotent without.
And the session/aftermath was really really great too. Something I needed w/out even knowing it.

Nov. 4th
I'm grateful for my house. I didn't know how homesick I would be, but it was *marvelous* coming home. We live in a cozy little attic apartment. It was good to see our downstairs neighbors, good to see James' car, good to see my name on the mail waiting for me, good to see our piles of shoes and our unhung pictures and our funny temporary couch and the office that (see entry for Nov. 1st) James put hours into organizing while I was gone--it's a room again! I do love my house.

Nov. 5th
I'm grateful for my family. I got to talk to Anne this week and Connie and I really love and miss my family. It's like the Mormon homesickness, but moreso: belonging and understanding and shared heritage. I had this vision (and I'm trying to remember what sparked this...) of Rachel with short grey hair (I think I was wondering what shade of grey I'd go and if at some point I'd stop dyeing it and just let it be grey)--Rachel older but still herself which reminded me of a post she wrote once about spending waning years in close proximity to theoretically widowed sisters which filled me with a sense of belonging and continuity and comfort about the way our/my life(lives) are changing.