Thursday, May 31, 2012

Things are Quiet Here and I'm Asking Your Opinion

If the story of my life reads like a book, this chapter begins thusly:
Once she realized that they really weren't coming back, she set about organizing the refrigerator.

I know that we'd been talking about it for months, now. Years even but it happened over the weekend: my brother and sister-in-law and their three beautiful kids moved away from me. I speak of this personally because, for crying out loud, this is my life and everyone in it is a supporting character, right? Okay, false. But if you don't watch yourself it can feel like that really easily.
Uncle Andrew with Amos and Penny on moving day

I'm just saying that a big chunk of my everyday life has been altered. No big deal, really. It happens a thousand times a day all over the world.

But when they were moving, I got 98% of the contents of their refrigerator (Andrew got the full jar of Claussen pickles--damn him!) and I just took everything up to my fridge and shoved it in. There are a LOT of condiments in my apartment, is what I'm saying. Three. Bottles. Of ketchup. I think we need to have friends over for a chicken nugget/ french fry bar to get rid of some of this stuff.

So when it was all said and done and I was sitting in a very quiet apartment, I just went into the kitchen and pulled everything out and then put it all back in. I took a "before" picture so that I could take an "after" photo but they looked so similar that it was kind of dumb to do that. Or mention... Derp.

My apartment is lacking in background noise for two reasons, one being that the apartment that once held five (not quiet) people is now completely void of human life (don't worry, it will be filled up again before the end of the month--today). The second being that the internet connection was in their name. So, since Saturday, my house has been a Facebook/ Spotify/ Pinterest/ Gmail free zone.

Let me tell you--I love it. I am loving it.

My time has become very intentional. Granted, I still have a kitchen full of dishes (though I did manage to take out the garbage and clean the litter box yesterday) but not doing the dishes was a choice that I made. I chose to watch movies rather than dishes instead of saying, "I really need to do the dishes but let me just check my email first" and then getting caught up in mindlessly clicking through a friend of a friend of a friend's wedding photos for 30 minutes before realizing that I'm still running water in the sink. I do that--all of the time. I am a terrible steward of our natural resources.

So, Ryan went ahead and set up internet in our house and is willing to give me the password but so far I haven't asked for it because I like this new little routine. I've been in the habit of waking up at 6:30 (sincere thanks to my noisy nieces and nephew for this) for about a year, now, so I spend my mornings reading, journaling, writing letters, mailing them (!), and listening to music that I own. I have listened to my Over The Rhine albums on repeat for hours and hours. I can't get enough of Willoughby or She or Suitcase. Every time those songs end, I just play them again. Now that I think of it, once you listen to those songs, it probably sounds like I'm going through a horrible break-up but I assure you that's not the case. I just think Karen's voice is so pretty and I have unreasonable fantasies that I can sing like her.

I've liked not sharing every single thought that comes into my brain via Facebook. I've liked having the time and energy and thought to write in my journal and keep my personal life kind of personal. It's a habit that I want to keep up, I think. I know it sounds ironic--writing a blog about not sharing so much on the internet, but I can be selective here. This is an exercise in self-control.

So, I brought my laptop to the coffee shop this morning at 6:45, ordered a large skim, coconut latte and started writing to you. I have a lot of ideas for my blog and I'm putting pen to physical paper about those.

I love to cook--we all know that. And I want to bring this blog around to that direction more. But I'm also a real cheapskate and so I tend to buy the same ingredients over and over again because I know what's inexpensive and I know what works but I need to branch out. I want to experiment with new ingredients and I want to take great photos. There are a few food blogs that I follow simply because the photographs are astounding. So, in the interest of branching out, I got a subscription to some new magazines, including Bon Appetit (ignore the fact that the only reason that I remember how to spell that because it basically says "ape-tit"--I am such an American) and I have a goal to make at least three recipes from each issue that comes out and I'll write about them. And I'll take pictures. And we'll all get better and better at what we like to do.

And my friends are just gonna have to be guinea pigs. Who wants to volunteer?

In fact--let me let you into the driver's seat: Here's the table of contents from the June issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

I'll make whatever you want. Go to that link, find something that sounds delicious and I'll make it for you (provided it's reasonable and I can get the ingredients in my very small, Midwestern town). The first person to respond with a reasonable request ("reasonable" will be determined by myself), gets dinner. Even better if you live locally--but if not, you at least get a shout out.



Jamie Light said...

I'm quite interested in the Spiced Cucumbers and Coconut milk. I like those ingredients separately a lot...maybe it's one of those things that just SOUND weird, but then you have it, and you're like, I'm never eating anything else ever again.

So how bout that one?

Libby Marie said...

That one sounded SO GOOD to me, too! If I can get all the ingredients, I'm totally making it, Jamie.

Others are still encouraged to submit suggestions!

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