So what's happening now? Well, I work about 30 hours a week at J Street still as the Office Manager. I love my job and the people I work with. I'm very happy there.
I still have the 2 kitties and Ira in our very small condo in Renton. It's easy to keep clean and in a great location. I love living in Renton. We've been there since 2009 and it's been one of my favorite places to live. I got a newish car a few years back and it will be paid off in a year and a half. I love my little Nissan Versa.
The band is still going. We had a member leave last fall but regrouped and are back out gigging and having fun, still practicing every Thursday. Tim and I are also practicing as a blues duo occasionally for his brother's CD release party.
The other thing that is now consuming a huge portion of my time is The Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound. I was elected President and am serving a two year term on the board and doing my best to make the meetings exciting, entice new members to join and make next Showcase fabulous.
I was cast in Rocky Horror last fall and we had a great run at the Renton Civic Theater but between UC7 and REPS I haven't had any time left to try and start a new theater project.
Mom is coming up for another visit soon. She got me tickets to see Bette Midler at Key Arena for my birthday. The concert is June 1st. So excited about that. Also going to see Alabama Shakes in August.
Oh and Ira and I are having a small party on our 10th anniversary where we will have a toast and sign official marriage documents. Then we will go spend 10 days in our happy place; Poipu, Kauai.
These are the major updates for now. Maybe as I get more into the habit I can dig deeper on specific thoughts or issues I'm dealing with. For right now it's just time management. I keep myself very, very busy and I'm happy doing it. Life is pretty good right now.
When I got home from work I was already a bit tired and hungry. Lots of different stresses on my mind. The kitchen was a mess and I knew I needed to go to Walmart and pick up a sleeping bag. I have an overnight gig with my band this weekend out in the middle of a town called "Concrete" and I just want to make sure I have a comfortable place to sleep without having to rely on someone else. We've got a lot of new equipment we'll be using and Ira won't be able to come to this gig. We had a rehearsal on Monday and there's another one Thursday. We're out of coffee and bread but there's no time for shopping. Maybe on Friday. I get paid on Friday.
Ira helped me out with the dishes even though his knee has been hurting him terribly. I decided to pull out the tent from our closet and see what kind of shape it was in since we haven't opened it in a few years. I went to the closet and pulled it out, along with a little canvas camp stool and could smell that the cat had pissed all over it. Paul is the culprit as Moses has never gone outside of the box. Now I'm upset and I put the stool in the tub and sprayed this "Urine Destroyer" enzyme over it and hot water to let it soak. I started pulling contents out of the tent bag, sniffing each one in turn. Yep. Pee.
I started chucking the whole mess into the tub and using the hand sprayer to hose it all down. I forgot how big this 4 person tent was. I will just have to let it soak for a bit. When I first opened the tent in the living room, 2 year old dried flowers scattered all over the place so I went back and began to vacuum all of that stuff up. I'm getting more and more frustrated and when I'm hungry and frustrated I just get really pissy. I started yelling at the cats, cursing them under my breath and whining about the camping gear being so nasty and ruining my weekend. Good thing I checked now. Stupid pissing cats. I stepped in a puddle in my socks. I'm going to kill them all.
Ira was in the office on the computer electronically sending his mom some money for physical therapy. He's such a helpful son. My blouse is damp, my hair is a mess and I'm getting more and more hungry and antsy. Ira and I discuss dinner. I'm beyond wanting to cook anything at this point. He needs to go to Walmart too to pick up some more nicotine patches since he's trying again to quit smoking. He suggests the Chinese place and I tell him I've had salmon and cold noodle salad from Uwajimaya for lunch and I'm not in the mood for Asian again. Indian sounds kind of good but there aren't any convenient in our neighborhood. He suggests our favorite Mexican place and I just kind of shrug. I do like their veggie fajitas.
The evening before we had talked about how when a man asks his woman "Where do you want to eat?" and she says "I don't know" or "I don't care" and then proceeds to shoot down all of his ideas. He said he was grateful I didn't do that since all of his previous relationships had that problem and I said "well, I just know what I want!" I tried pondering why a woman would do that and what the purpose would be. We discussed it and Ira said to him it seemed like a test. For the man to know her so well that he could read her mind and figure it out. I said maybe sometimes it's just hard to decide and you'd rather let someone else do it for once. We just laughed about it because it didn't really matter to us. People can be so funny some times.
Well here we are now. Me in an awful mood and needing some food and I just don't know what I want. I go put my shoes on and stand in the office doorway looking at Ira. He asks "Yes, bebe?" and I just stick out my lower lip, furrow my brow and say "Make me not grumpy anymore." He nods slightly, still looking at the screen and says "OK. Put your shoes on."
"My shoes are on." I pout. He stands up and walks towards me. "My shirt is damp and smells like cat pee." I mutter.
"Go change your shirt." he says in an uncharacteristically firm but gentle voice. I trudge off to the closet and peel off my stinky blouse, put a black tee shirt on and throw my green sweater on over it. I go back to the front door to get my purse. He tells me to grab my purple sweater in case it gets chilly outside. I tell him softly that I'm already wearing a sweater. He grabs the keys off of the hook and takes me by the hand to lead me out and to the car. He walks me out the passenger side of my car and opens the door for me. I slide in and make sure my long skirt is pulled in all of the way and he closes the door. I don't say a word or ask where we are going. He's in charge now.
As we pull out I'm surprised that he turns left instead of right towards our favorite Mexican place. He's decided on something else then. Burgers? I hope it's not burgers since that's what we had the night before but at this point I really don't care. Food of any kind is fine. He pulls into the Taco Time just a few blocks from our house. OK. I can do Taco Time.
We get out of the car and he takes me by the hand. I can't think what I want. I'm just hungry. I'm sweaty. I'm frustrated and even though I washed my hands I swear I still smell cat pee. We stand gaping in front of the front counter, a young kid watching us patiently from behind the register. I study the menu fiercely but can't puzzle out what exactly looks good. Ira pulls me forward. I don't know what I want yet!! A pinto bean burrito sounds right. I usually get the pinto salad but I had salad for lunch. Yes. A burrito. And maybe a taco? Chicken or fish? Crunchy or soft? Corn or flour? Does it have sour cream, cuz I like sour cream but the calories... and I just don't know. My eyes glaze over. I'm staring slack jawed up at the menu board when I hear Ira start to order. "Chicken enchilada platter, pinto bean burrito and a chicken baja taco." The kid looks at me. I stutter "uh, yes. I'll have ummm.. a pinto burrito... what's in the baja taco? ummm..." and Ira interrupts me "Honey, I ordered for you."
"Oh. You did?" I'm confused but pleasantly surprised. I don't have to think now!
"Yes. And two small drinks please." He smiles at the kid and hands him his debit card. Tears start to prick my eyes. I blink rapidly as the cashier hands me my cup with a smile. I shuffle over to the drink dispenser machine. This thing is cool. It's got a dozen different sodas in it and each one you can customize with a few different syrups but I know what I want. They have Cherry Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper and I am so happy. I fill up my drink and turn to look at Ira. He sees I'm about to start crying and points to a nearby table. "Go sit over there." he tells me. I nod and obey without even getting a lid or a straw for my cup. I'm ready to do whatever he says at this point without hesitation.
As I sit down the tears start to spill out of my eyes. Ira sits down across from me. "I'm so happy!!" I sputter. He giggles at me and ducks his head in that cute way he does. "You knew exactly what I wanted before I did!" I bawled. I look ridiculous. Ira sees I don't have a straw or lid and jumps up to get me what I need. As he sits back down I have tears running down to my chin now. I'm still babbling something about knowing me so well and how I wanted a burrito but maybe a taco but I wasn't sure what kind but maybe not and now I need a tissue. He jumps up again to grab me a couple of napkins. He's back in sweet soft Ira mode instead of Mr. Command and in Charge mode and says "I know how much you love pinto beans and you didn't want a salad or Chinese food. You take such good care of me all of the time so now it's my turn and I can do that for you." I start dabbing at my face but really once I get into that state, the crying doesn't usually fully stop until I've had a few bites of food. A server came out and brought our tray to our table (I seriously love Taco Time) and the burrito was delicious. I could feel my mood change and brighten almost immediately. What a sweetheart. I felt fully loved and taken care of. We've been together getting close to 9 years now and it feels so good that I can trust him enough to make decisions for me when I just can't make them myself.
Maybe that's why sometimes when you ask a woman where she wants to eat and she says "I don't care". She's saying "I've had it up to here with decisions and dealing with crap today. Please, I trust you. Just make up my mind for me before I kill someone. I want someone else to take charge for once and just let me go along for the ride. I'm sure you'll make a good choice, I just want the hungry and the bitchiness to go away."
After reading a post on Reddit about how skilled typists don't actually know the keyboard and type unconsciously I got a bit annoyed. Not only do I sit in front of a keyboard day in and day out, I made a concerted effort in my younger years to type quickly and well by really getting to know the QWERTY layout. I did a little test and typed out the alphabet into notepad while keeping eye contact with the screen. I made a couple of mistakes here and there but not too bad. So I did it again. Then I started quizzing myself on the random location of several letters. Then I closed my eyes and typed out the alphabet. It was a lot harder to do than while looking at the screen for some reason but I was able to more or less effectively visualize the keyboard and this was the result.
I love butternut squash. I love making soup with it most of all but even if you buy the biggest squash you can find it doesn't make quite enough soup on its own. Here's what I do so there's enough leftovers to go in the freezer.
First take off any labels and quarter your butternut lengthwise. Rub it with some oil and a little salt and stick it flesh side up in a 375° oven for an hour. It'll get nice and soft and just a little brown around the edges. The next part will be easier if you then let it cool down but I don't usually have time for that.
Grab 4 or 5 potatoes and 3 or 4 large carrots. Peel and quarter them and stick them in a pot. Just barely cover them with chicken (or veggie) stock and boil until its all nice and soft. If you have an immersion blender the next part is SO EASY. Don't drain the stock. Just cream it all in the pot. If you don't have an immersion blender (I highly recommend you get one), do what I used to do and pour it in your blender or food processor, trying not to scald yourself or get orange crap everywhere. Blend until smooth and return to the pot.
Heat up about 2 cups of milk in the microwave. Again, if you've got a stick blender this is simple. If not, well its a mess but worth it. Immersion blender folks will scoop their butternut flesh out of the peels and right into the pot of potato carrot goo. Slowly add milk while blending until you get the texture you like. You may not end up using all 2 cups. Food processor folks will blend in that with hot milk until creamy and then pour into pot of creamed potato carrot and stir until it is all incorporated.
Now you have lots of soup! Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and even a few pinches of curry powder until it tastes like heaven. While the pot is warming on low, keep stirring now and then so the milk doesn't scald.
These rolls are pretty easy and only take about 30 minutes.
To make crunchy kale topping take some washed and chopped kale and rub it in a little bit of vegetable oil. Add some salt. Spread out on a cookie sheet and stick in a 375° oven for maybe 10-15 minutes. It was quicker than I was expecting and I didn't actually time it. Some of the smaller pieces were brown but not burnt and it was all nice and crunchy and salty. I would eat it on its own as a snack but it was especially good as a soup garnish.
I'll do the best I can with guestimating measurements. I didn't use a recipe. I just threw this together and it was so wonderful, in that way that a hearty soup only can be.
1 big leek
2 ribs of celery
2-3 cloves of garlic
3 TBL of butter
2.5 Lbs of Russet potatoes
2 Cups of milk
Lots of salt and fresh cracked pepper
Cut up and carefully wash 1 big leek. Sautee it in a few tablespoons of butter (add a little olive oil if it doesn't look like enough) with a couple ribs of celery and a few cloves of garlic. Add salt and generous portion of cracked pepper.
Peel and boil 2.5 lbs (I used about half of a 5 lbs bag) of russet potatoes. I left some just halved since Ira likes big manly chunks in his soup. They won't cook all the way through and that's kind of the point.
When the smaller chunks are soft enough to poke through with a fork, drain off of the water and set the larger chunks aside to cool slightly.
Having an immersion blender helps this part immensely. Take 2 cups of milk and heat it up in the microwave. Then add it to your soup and blend till creamy. Cut your larger chunks into bite sized pieces and add them to the soup. If they seem a little too underdone, pop them in the microwave for a minute or so to get them al dente. You want the bits to finish cooking in the soup and stay hearty but not crunchy.
Add your sauteed leek and celery. Add salt. Taste it. Add more pepper and salt and blend some more and wait. See if it needs more salt. I found this pot needed what seemed like an immense amount of salt. Always wait a little for it to incorporate before adding more so you don't end up over salting.
This soup was really delicious. Firm chunks of potatoes and super flavorful bite from the leeks. Also baked a boule of bread to tear and dunk in the soup. It was perfect on a chilly, damp night!
I took in Paul and it wasn't love at first sight. He made me a little nervous. He was also nervous. Twitchy. Scared. Hyper aware. I've had cats before but never one so high strung. I was worried it might not work out. A coworker convinced me to give it a week to get to know him. After that I was in love. He doesn't always like to cuddle and usually prefers his independence. That's why it feels all the more endearing when he brings his little purring face close to mine and snuggles in.
Paul LOVES plastic grocery sacks. They're his weakness. He'll even pull them out of trash cans and start licking away at them. I'm not sure why... Target bags are his favorite. He also will get into every box, every bag, every cabinet you open. If I'm carrying around a laundry basket, he wants to jump in and get rides. Ira and I stumbled upon a curious game that he loves accidentally. We were folding a blanket in the living room when Paul got really excited and jumped into the middle of the blanket. We bounced it around a little and let him down. He wanted MORE! We swung him around a bit and he just started purring. Now if we're making the bed or folding blankets, he'll usually rush over for a quick couple tosses in the air. For a cat that's so uptight for the most part it blew our minds that he would enjoy that.
He doesn't care for people food except yeasty bread. Especially Subway sandwich bread. He's not big on wet food either. Just likes his kibble. It's really hard to get him to drink water out of a bowl but he'll do it in desperation. Otherwise he'll chirp and chatter at us until we go turn the sink on for him in the bathroom.
He certainly seems to have a big vocabulary with all of his little mews and shrill cheeps. He also seems to understand us pretty well. He'll follow basic commands the first time you ask and responds to his name and a fair number of compliments. His other favorite thing in the world is having his butt pat. Right at the base of the tail he likes to be spanked.
Some of his weird quirks or slight downsides are he only likes to be held and cuddled on the right shoulder. He loves climbing about in clean laundry but if you leave any on the floor or dirty laundry where he can get to it, he's gonna pee in it. Almost inevitably. It helps us to keep clothes off of the floor and laundry washed but it is a serious pain in the ass sometimes. When we had a house with a backyard, he used to go outside when we were home to supervise. He'd scratch frantically at the sliding door and if it wasn't dark outside we'd usually let him out. We've been in a condo where he can't go outside and he still scratches at the big window in the living room if he sees a bird. He used to bring live birds and voles into the living room in our old house and let them go. That was always an exciting treat.
He probably did better in some aspects as an only cat but since we've brought him home a brother to play with he's gotten even more excitable and nervous. When Moses was small they would sleep together but now that Moses is twice his size and loves to tackle and bite him, Paul keeps his distance. Paul doesn't usually sleep with us. He prefers to sleep on top of a leather attache case on top of a bookshelf in the office. I usually try to remember to say "good morning" and "good night" to him. Oh, that's the other thing. His affection for leather and clawing things he shouldn't. Now that we got the new cathouse he's been a little better but he has destroyed a nice cream leather lounge chair that came with our condo (since the previous tenant didn't want it) and my office chair. Also the edge of our bed on both end corners has deep claw marks.
But all in all he's a sweet kitten. He's definitely more my cat and when Ira's gone he's quick to jump on my lap or stick his chilly paws under my neck while I keep hitting the snooze alarm. I love my dear little Paul and am so happy he's in our family.