The Good Life

One of the problems – many problems – with social media is that people can tend to highlight only the good and never the bad, leading to the incorrect assumption that everyone else is leading lives of perfect glamour, while lowly you is just trying to keep your head above water. I hope that I do not give this impression overly much on this blog.

That said, some moments in life really are that good.

These last few weeks have been a bit tough. I have been in job search mode, which is a process that manages to be incredibly time consuming, tedious, and nerve-racking all at once. Between running around trying to “network” and apply for jobs and take care of my day-to-day, I have been stretched at the seams. I saw the numbers on the scale go up due to mindless stress munching, and lord knows that my bathroom has not been thoroughly cleaned in a month. Ew.

But as of this week things are finally turning around. The weather has switched from endless chilly spring to 80 degrees with sunshine. I have a few inquires from employers regarding job applications that I sent out ages ago, I am remembering to eat my vegetables – not just ice cream – and today is the day that I finally deep-clean my bathroom.

And then last night I stayed out too late tango dancing, I woke up early to have a lovely morning walk in the warm spring air to Pilates, and stopped by a favorite restaurant of Mark’s and mine on the way back to get a selection of miniature pastries and iced coffee, with which I was able to surprise and delight my sweet and handsome boyfriend who awaited me at home. These last few hours I know that life couldn’t possibly get better and felt like the luckiest woman alive.

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Margaritas

My goals for this year have shifted. I’m getting a new job! No idea what it will be yet, but it will happen! I’ve been with my current employer for ages, and I am simply ready for a new challenge of some sort. I’m also not sure when this new job will come about, but rest assured I realize that it’s going to take a lot of time.

In the meantime, I am busy achieving other aims. Such as using up the bag of citrus fruit that I bought on impulse for a good price at the grocery store. I goaded Mark into deploying his latent cocktail making skills and languishing tools to make some delicious lime-blood orange margaritas yesterday. I made enchiladas and flan to go with them, and the enchiladas tasted like my childhood, and the flan was dangerously good. We feasted like kings and queens and ate the leftovers today.

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My mother arrives next weekend for the DC march regarding gun control. I so excited for her visit, although I’m not sure when I’ll find time for the frantic cleaning spree that I really ought to squeeze in. Hmm. If only house cleaning were as tasty as Margaritas.

It was a long week.

It was a long week. Or rather, make that a long two weeks. New York totally drained me, my hazy career prospects have me feeling low, last weekend I was busy from dawn ’till dusk, and then this weekend I was busy putting away all the things that I took out last week so that my walls and ceiling could be repaired and painted. Today I did four loads of laundry, including washing both sets of sheets and the duvet cover on my down comforter. I am behind studying for the GRE and basic math still drives me to tears. I am on my last roll of toilet paper and need go buy mouse traps, because yes, I did see a mouse run under my oven late last Sunday. This morning I woke up stressed that I was late to work, and despite waking up on time, managed to be late to yoga and they didn’t let me in. No, I have not done my taxes yet.

However.

A) Mark took me out on my Christmas present last Friday- dinner and a Yo-Yo Ma concert. Such an incredible treat! Shout out to Mark for helping me move furniture, tackle boxes, and replace light bulbs yesterday as well. He also took me in last week while I was homeless due to the repair work. My hero!

2) My walls look awesome. I would take pictures except some slightly damp laundry is scattered about my rooms to dry. Also, I am pretty much DONE moving back in! (I gave up on organizing my closets properly and just ended up shoving things back in this afternoon – that is a challenge that will have to wait for another day.)

3) Thank goodness for tango dancing. It’s so nice to have a hobby that makes me feel competent, allows me to always be learning, and gets me out of my DC bubble. I almost always walk away from it feeling calmed and rejuvenated.

I am hanging in there.

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Blarg.

Between work and some social engagements I was going, going, going, this week until I dropped last night at 6pm. Since my drywall/plaster repair/painting folks arrive tomorrow morning, I had to get up bright and early today, too, to start boxing and bagging up my things. As a result, my external surroundings now mirror my internal chaos. Either physically or metaphorically,  everywhere I look lately I see something like this:

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Blarg! Back to work on all fronts…

Cozy

It is a dreary day. The weather is 34 degrees and it is raining. Yesterday it was equally cold (but no rain) and I made Carbonade Flamande, a beef stew made with dark Belgian beer. It takes ages to cook and the final result is ugly but incredibly delicious, and goes perfectly with the weather. I was looking forward to the Carbonade so much – and having Mark over for dinner to partake with me – that this morning when it was all over, stew eaten and Mark gone home, I felt quite bereft.

So I filled the void by making bread. A ridiculously rich bread that for me used up the leftover cream from last night’s chocolate mousse topping. I’ve made it before, and baker beware that this bread is way too delicious, but otherwise I recommend it. I just popped one loaf in the oven, while the other half of the dough has been shaped and frozen for future consumption.

Otherwise, all is well in my little world. Last weekend’s adventure to Ann Arbor for tango festival was restorative and soothed my soul, and rekindled my love of dancing over a bit of winter hiatus. This weekend all I’ve wanted to do is hibernate, which I have done with great success. I’ve been feeling lazy and day-dreamy and cozy, watching murder mysteries, finishing a book, thinking of Italy and wishing for home while I putter and bake. I feel unmotivated but utterly content. Some weekends are like that.

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Busy Bee

For those of you curious what I’m doing with my day off, I’m knocking items off my to-do list, including: finally taking my warm weather clothes out of my drawers so that they aren’t bursting at the seams, calling someone about fixing the holes in my ceiling leftover from my AC debacle, and sorting through my pile of mail to deal with “later.”

It hasn’t been all chores – I did make myself buckwheat pancakes for breakfast, and finished reading My Antonia by Willa Cather. I’ve also spent slightly longer than I should have googling around about Italy, for an increasingly real trip that will take place in October with Mark!

That’s all I’ve got for you right now, I’m afraid. I need to run and buy a floor lamp, before moving onto the next five million things.

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Bread

I read somewhere lately that people are most likely to run marathons when their age ends in a 9, such as 29, 39, 49 or so on, the idea being that major round numbered years are markers in people’s lives that they use like landmarks. Now that I’m in year 29, I too have been feeling the urge to DO something before I hit 30. For me that thing is applying for grad school.

I suppose I bring this up because, although my birthday was over four months ago, it is also now a new year. I am filled with determination. Plus, now that the hubbub of fall is out of the way, I have no more excuses – I am officially really truly, going to take the GRE this summer before I turn 30, and I will apply for grad school before the year is out.

Whether or not I actually go is another question, but I’ve been talking about taking the GRE and mayyybe going to grad school for so long that I myself am sick of it. Sick. of. it. Apologies for those who have had to listen to me dither about it for the last decade. So this is the year that I will just buckle down and take the blasted test, and fill out those silly applications. If I get in, I get in, and if I don’t, I don’t, I can move on in life.

To be honest I’m not really scared of the application or graduate school – what has always terrified me from the very beginning is the math portion of the GRE. I wish I could chop it up to testing anxiety, but the reality is that I have math anxiety. Math has always made me feel dumb. This means that while I haven’t thought about math for over a decade, merely brushing up my skills won’t do it. I actually need to sit down and re-learn a boatload of information.

But I’m tired of my math-phobia keeping me back. It’s just simple math, nothing fancy – others have learned it, so I can too.

To make the process a little more bearable, today I made bread while studying. Everything about making bread is relaxing. Kneading the bread, the leisurely rising process, the soothing aroma as it bakes…Even my algebra anxiety doesn’t stand a chance. But if this bread baking becomes a habit, maybe next year I won’t have a choice – I’ll have to tackle that marathon to compensate.

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