Sunday, January 8, 2012

Filling my tummy in the post-holiday binge: Why I've stayed inside and adapted to my kitchen.

I know in my last post I didn't reveal any of the particularities of this year's holiday activities, so therefore, I am going to attempt to amend this. In short, for the once rare chance in my life, I didn't  go any where, do anything, see anyone at all. Given my now lose proximity to my hometown across the border, I did make the short, albeit brief, two day trip to Montreal to see my childhood friend Gin, as this is the one time we meet up annually, no exceptions, bar death.

However, unlike in previous years, I did not voyage to Chicago to visit my mother's grave, nor did John and I travel to St. Louis for the holiday reunion with the entire Hagebak extended immigrant family. Of course, I did receive a overly-sweet-not-too-friendly phone call from Mrs. Hagebak regarding the reason her [almost]-daughter-in-law wouldn't come see them. As with every phone call from Mrs. Hagebak, her sweet persuasions in broken English eventually turn into lectures, and surprisingly, no matter the beginning topic, always end with the topic of childbirth (or some derivative thereof). As you can imagine, these conversations are always a fabulous experience, ha. 

That aside, what was the reason for this change, you ask? The intrepid adventurer homebound for once; surely such a thing must be some form of heresy or treason, you think? Well yes, I will agree for me, it was quite odd. However, it all begin the beginning days of December, when John came a wonderful conclusion that we should stay home for the holidays, he wanted to have a, as he put it, "No-travel-winter" where we would for once enjoy the calm solace of our winter along the sea and revel in tea by the fireside. I naturally agreed in exchange for lutefisk, because yes, I can be easily be bribed with food. 

So begins my holiday season of food. As a means of breaking in my quaint country kitchen and fighting my non-travel sickness, I baked up a storm. Which resulted in my eating up a storm. Which is now resulting in me running in the freezing Atlantic chill. 

My kitchen here is not as spectacular as the one in our previous house, in short I would probably describe it as underwhelming. It is by no means grand, and given my busyness trying to revamp other, seemingly more pertinent areas of the house, the kitchen was kind of pushed to the wayside. However, despite my reservations and its lack of grandiose gadgetry and appliances, my kitchen has proved itself to me during these past weeks. It started with pies and moved onto cookies. Then it was breakfast eggs, scones, pancakes. After casseroles and pot pies. In short, I whipped a food frenzy. 

As you can assume, John and I were not with hunger. Most days, without the need to go anywhere we slept in, ate late breakfasts and early lunches. We'd take walks around our expansive property line and bundle in for movie night and Scrabble games. We began and finished many of the things we'd been wanting to do since moving here. John finally unpacked and setup his studio in the unattached shed and barn next to the house. We cleaned up the attic and converted the space. I got around to picking up the jumble of paperwork that has become my life in research. It was nice, unexpected. Perhaps we'll try doing things at this pace again, because I kind of enjoyed it. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

I can feel the sea salt in my hair: Why I've been gone for such a long long time.

It's been a while, nearly seven months to be exact. Since my last few and informationally sparse posts, the summer has passed and along with it the fall. I don't really know what happened. Somewhere between flying off to France and the later in the ensuing madness, I somehow lost myself in the jumble of work, travel, adventure, some more work and work related travel.

Well, perhaps "work-related travel" isn't the best way to describe it. So, when the spring semester ended and with it my completion of the my higher education career in the Midwest, planned to move onto my future opportunities without looking back. In fact, I have. Since my arrival back into the States and my acceptance into a post-doc position along the upper northeastern coast, John and I have uprooted ourselves from our lovely home and moved, for what I am going to say will be the final time.

I must say, John was quite a sport about it. While I was all torn and semi-upset about leaving the house I had come to love and cherish in the past years, to live in a remote and sea-ridden land, in a house that at the time was only mildly quaint and sorely in need of repairs. However, after a complete overhaul, some very stern, intense discussion, and several bouts of emotional baking (on my part). I've come to enjoy the move. I've realized, among other things, that 1) living near the sea seems to have been what I has lacking in the Midwest, 2) becoming a pro at home repair was more natural and fulfilling than I thought it would have been, 3) moving 3 cats cross country is never easy, and 4) John and I are pretty much stuck with each other for life now (not that that's a bad thing).

John found a job at a nearby firm and I've begun the long, arduous haul of a persons stuck in perpetual research mode. I suppose things could be worse. I could be wandering aimlessly without a purpose or plan. Instead, I'm anticipating the cold weather and snuggling in by the fire with a warm cup of tea to pass winter days by.