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15 September 2010 @ 10:10 pm
resisting the temptation to make daily lists  
Because really, life is a little bit like a list but then again... no it's not.  I could talk about how every day now I have a series of check boxes that are getting checked - many of them have to do with the dog: feeding, walking, caring, petting, training.  And right now we're quite low maintenance - eventually when my ankle actually heals I'm hoping our long walk be longer than a half an hour every day, but that's about all I'm up to at this point, even with new tennis shoes.  I could list all the things I've bought for the new place, because no matter how much you prepare or you hope you have everything you need, you find that the toilet paper is running out and you want to buy spices to cook with and somehow you need a dish drainer and  then you've lost five hours at Ikea and come home with some light bulbs and an entirely new bed that you were able to pack into your own car (and then put together).  Or at least, that's what happened to me.

It went fast until it slowed waaaaay waaaaay down.  I did 20 boxes on Sunday day, 15 on Monday, and then ran out of books to unpack.  And ended up with the boxes that usually you shove in the closet and try and forget about until the next time you move ... only my closet already has boxes in it.  Boxes of knick knacks; boxes of old paperwork; boxes of old old old photos.  My plan now is to go through them one at a time and clear them out slowly, hopefully getting rid of half of the stuff as I unpack it.  I did four on Sunday, so I figure I'm only slightly behind this week.  But my bedroom now looks more like a room someone lives in with some boxes in the corner and less like a room full of boxes, so I think I'm still ahead of the curve.

  • I went to the LA County Fair with Amanda (new grad student friend) on Saturday.  Basically it was a day to walk and talk and eat really bad food.  Yes, I did specifically seek out the fried oreos (and ate them, and they made my stomach upset).  But it was kind of awesome anyway - we rode the double decker carousel, and the ferris wheel, and looked at technology gadgets and sat in massage chairs (which, quite frankly, are getting really really detailed with their massages - laser guided back massage was strangely like sitting in a chair with human hands - hello sci fi... or kink meme response).  I think we had a really good time, and there were plans to do all kinds of other things in the future and explore LA together
  • Went out to dinner with Maija as a kind of pre-birthday birthday present on Monday night (which was fabulous since we tried a restaurant in the neighborhood ... i had a blackened chicken spinach salad with goat cheese walnuts & grapes).  And we saw Resident Evil 3D, which was atrocious (and I mean atrocious - not in a fun way but just BAAAAAD) but still fun because we could complain about it afterwards.  Sadly not for too long since I had homework, but it was worth the sleep I missed out on to spend time with my girl.
  • Met Vettie for happy hour, who I hadn't seen in four years and yet it was like time hadn't passed at all.  I'm pretty sure we actually spent four hours at the little restaurant/bar, drinking mojitos and telling stories and just being reminded that women rock
  • Hung out with Charisse at her diversity mixer today - meeting men and women in a bunch of different departments who are all geeky and wonderful in their own right.  We did introductions like four different times just to reintroduce ourselves to the new people who showed up, which was good because I finally was able to remember some of the names of people I'd just met.  Now if only I can get people to do that on a regular basis, that would be awesome.  I wonder if people would think I was weird if I asked them to say their names four times?

I am rediscovering how to cook for my own tastes. 

It's weird.  I went shopping on Sunday and grabbed "staples" and then looked at what I had in the basket and had to put it all back because it wasn't filled with things I would want as staples, but things I had been compromising on and considering staples for the last 15 or so years.  I don't eat english muffins every couple of days.  I don't make myself sandwiches so I didn't need that loaf of cut bread.  I want to get out of the habit of buying soda.   So instead I bought myself some brie and raspberries and spinach dip and sourdough to celebrate my tastebud liberation and then sat down with my cookbooks to try and plan a week of meals.

Things I discovered?  It's very hard to cook for just one person.  That I really like cooking for myself, but I'm not as fond of leftovers three days in a row.  That I almost always cook too much food, no matter what I'm making.  That I make food I like the taste of.

For my first meal made at my new place I did cinnamon spiced pork loin chops with granny smith apple over the top and a wild rice with mushrooms and walnuts.  My new housmate asked me (since I was talking about how picky Neil is/was with his food) what part of my new meal he wouldn't have liked, and my answer?  All of it.  Next night was a veggie (and wild rice and sharp cheddar) stuffed pepper and a fresh tomato/basil salad.  Next night was pork burrito (gotta use the pork somehow!) with cabbage slaw.  I still have a lot of food in the fridge and I'm heading away from the weekend, but I'm kind of proud of myself for making things that actually tasted yummy, that looked beautiful, and that were fun to eat.

I pretty much tried to avoid the television last week, just to see if I could, and it pretty much worked.  Oh, not to say I didn't watch a movie on my computer, but I didn't turn it on as sound or as background, didn't make it the device I came home and switched on.  I'd been doing that for a while in the old life, probably to drown out the noise of things slowly going wrong.  Sadly, while that's good for my television consumption, my online consumption has been way up even if it hasn't seemed like it.  I've been here, lurking in the corners, rereading fic, for most of the week... when I wasn't walking the dog or making myself dinner, etc. 

I gave myself last week to get used to the new place, and the idea that I am making my own time tables and deciding my own pace and ... well, doing it all on my own.  The one thing I haven't thrown myself into is studying, but it will come.  I'm starting to get that itch in the back of my head that means I want to start thinking and doing and being interested in academic things - and some days I'm better at it than others.  

Case in point: I've restarted the east asian grad student organization (and this is what I call "being lazy about school work"), we've had our first meeting, set out the semester's agenda, and are getting together in a little over a week to do more.  I've applied to get a Japanese conversation partner.  I've taken a quiz in one class and done a presentation in another.  Course there's always more work - it's the nature of being a grad student - there is ALWAYS more work.

I'm not necessarily taking it day by day - there are moments when I've been sad but it isn't the crying sad it's just the ... empty kind of sad.  There are moments I've been angry and annoyed and those generally seem pretty healthy even if there is smoking involved.  There have been a LOT of moments where I've been smiling, because there's a lot in the world to smile about, even if it's just that my dog looks silly or I make it to school in 20 minutes and find decent parking or that I find out my newest housemate lived in Japan for a year and speaks Japanese too (which is true, and it's awesome, even if we haven't talked in Japanese yet), or that I get woken up by the sun every morning streaming through my open window, or that the bush outside our front door / my bedroom window has huge purple flowers that draw butterflies the size of my hand.

also posted to dreamwidth | you can reply here or there | um, but don't worry, i'm still an lj girl
literate and stylish: glomp!mishloran on September 16th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC)
Stick with it honey. I'm rooting for you.

Don't have time for a longer comment (first day of new job, shouldn't really be online but YANNOW. Habit of an adult lifetime and all that.)

my monkied brainkatekat1010 on September 16th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks darling.

AND OH MY GODS CONGRATULATIONS ON NEW JOB!!! will be wandering over to see how you're doing on it in a second.

Taraelementalv on September 16th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you're finding a better path for yourself. It sounds good.
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on September 16th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
thanks lady. i think so too. :)
disco_floozydisco_floozy on September 16th, 2010 09:13 am (UTC)
Well good on you - that sounds marvelously liberating and know I'm kinda feeling lazy!

On the cooking front - that sounds so yummy and I have to ask if you could send me the recipe for the cinnamon pork loin! Oh, there's this magazine called "Cooking for Two" I can't remember how much it is (i get it from my aunt) and - as advertised - has meals in 2 serving portions. Maybe that'll help with the too many leftovers thing. Or do what I do and get your buds together as often as you can (once a week, month, whatever) and each cook one thing. We call it 'Dinner Club' and take turns making the appetizers, side and main dishes as well as dessert. Good food, no leftovers, and good buds.

my monkied brain: AI_charming kris smilekatekat1010 on September 16th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
hahaha don't feel lazy!! it's just that now i'm not trying to spend time taking care of two emotionally stunted people i have all this energy to expend in other ways!

and regarding the cinnamon pork loin, here it is:

2 pork loins (no bone) about 1 inch think if you can get that cut
1 granny smith apple (peel, core, and cut into rounds)
salt & pepper
1 teasp butter
1 tablesp brown sugar

First you put a little olive oil into your frying pan; heat to medium; then salt & pepper the pork loin, then dust a little cinnamon on top of them. When the pan is hot, pop the loin in, do 3-4 min on each side (longer if you like yours a little less pink, but I'm more of a 'give me juice' kind of girl). When you turn them onto the other side, dust that top with a little cinnamon again.

Once they're done, remove from pan and wrap in foil so they keep cooking and stay warm.

Put the butter in the pan. Once melted, add the apples, and dust them with cinnamon too, then add the sugar. Turn frequently until they soften and the sugar carmelizes with the apple juices.

put it all together on a plate. The whole thing took me 15 min, tops.

And ooo, good idea for the dinner club!! that sounds brilliant!!
disco_floozydisco_floozy on September 25th, 2010 04:52 am (UTC)
jeebus, 5 years later!

Thank you for the recipe - gonna try it out soon. Probably for the next supper club!
disco_floozydisco_floozy on September 25th, 2010 04:53 am (UTC)
oh, that five years was a remark on my procrastinating in thanking you.
your royal pie-nessentrenous88 on September 16th, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love the cooking for yourself! How wonderful to reclaim that, the freedom and the adventure of it, and how emblematic for all of it -- making decisions for you, investing in your own strength, evaluating choices for yourself and your future and doing what you find pleasing and good. *hugs tight*
my monkied brain: _Mekatekat1010 on September 16th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
ok, you seriously make that sound awesome!! is that what i'm doin? i so want that to be what i'm doing!! *grin*
literate and stylish: smart is sexy! Indy!mishloran on September 16th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
Well, I was going to reply to say "back from work! *floomp* <3" and some more comments similar, but I cannot even at my best and most erudite of moments have put it better than entrenous88!

(PS: I can't wait to move out and be able to eat vegetarian meals. Sometimes there is no need for meat, sometimes there is. My family? Meat must be an integral part of the meal, every time!

Also how my Babcia copes with the cooking-for-one is she saves up her margarine containers and freezes herself singular size meals in those, so she'll cook for 2 weeks and have all these little boxes, which then just need heating up to have another 2 weeks' worth of meals. Or so. In actuality it means my Babcia has lots and lots of tiny boxes in her freezer, but might be worth a thinky to do similar?)
BJ: Canned Monsterdara_starscream on September 17th, 2010 01:44 am (UTC)
Now I'm hungry. And I just ate.

Disclaimer -- this might not be the most intelligent observation to make. Given a choice between TV time and compy time, I think compy time is slightly less wasteful. I mean, you're here talking to us, right? And you wouldn't be doing that if you were just watching the tube. I guess the question would be is spending more time on the Interwebs adding to your life, or just some paint'n'spackle hiding the holes? It sounds like that's a keystone of your TV habits until recently.

Does anybody know of a resource where one can get instructions on how to scale down ingredients so's one's dishes can be made for one? I run across the same problem -- eat way too much and let leftovers I've lost interest in spoil in the fridge. Not good.
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on September 19th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
lol - sorry about that (but in a good way)

and yeah, i agree with you when i'm actually interacting. i consider myself having a support system that consists of both on and offline friends and i wouldn't HAVE that if i wasn't online. but when i'm reading fic and not doing homework? probably still doing a little spackling, you know?

about the resource, sadly, all i know is the test and trial method. basically cut it in half, and if that doesn't work, cut it in half again.....
Elite Nerd Patrol, On Duty: shcoolmechassninja on September 19th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)
can you please be my live-in cook? ;)
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on September 19th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
i would if you decided you wanted to move to LA..... tempted???
Elite Nerd Patrol, On Dutymechassninja on September 21st, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
um YES ;)