Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Sound of Settling

The sound of settling is the rustling of half empty moving boxes, sweeping of floors and heels dragging on hardwood. Its scribbling to-do lists, and unwrapping bubble wrap, and the tapping of hammers upon nails. It’s the rearranging of furniture, and hanging of curtains, and ringing doorbells. The sound of settling is often silence, asleep on the couch or tucked into bed. It’s soft kisses under a new roof, and feet shuffling underneath bedcovers, and slow dances in the living room. The sound of settling is breathing in and breathing out, and the passing cars. It’s the clanking of pans, and whistles of trains on the weekend, and sighs and yawns, and hats being hung.

Amber and I are pretty much all settled in; all but for finding a place for all the shit that you never need, but for some reason can never get rid of. I admittedly have more “shit” than Amber, so for now it’s all in boxes and tucked in the spare bedroom closet/wine cellar. Organized chaos is no way to settle in, so Amber and I labored every day after work, putting plates in cupboards and hanging jackets in linen closets and art from walls.

We’ve had a trial run at this living together thing. Only it was in Amber’s snug, one-bedroom living quarters. We lived just fine together; the only thing that was missing was me. There was her house, her bedroom, her kitchen, her things, and I was merely there as I was with an overnight bag. Now there is settling. There is us.

It’s time to learn the rhythms of each others days and explore our new town by foot and by bike, and drink wine after long days, and order take out, and watch a movie on Saturday night. It’s time for visitors, and happy hours, and lazy afternoons. It’s time for planting herbs and flowers and cooking dinner together. It’s time for the sound of settling to finally settle; and that silence is starting to sound quite nice upon our ears and our hearts.

Occasionally there are moments in the kitchen when you stumble upon something magical. Most recently, it was the world’s best chicken salad. Of course a good chicken salad has to start with a perfectly roasted chicken. Amber swears that this particular chicken salad benefited from the garlic that was in our rub for the chicken (which also included rosemary, Aleppo pepper, salt and pepper). I don’t recall doing anything different from I normally would do when making chicken salad; I chopped up thigh and breast meat; added mayo and Dijon; chopped celery and apple; added some more Aleppo and some dill and seasoned with salt and pepper. We stuffed pita with the chicken salad and topped it with baby arugula and crumbled blue cheese. And it was kind of awesome. We made another batch the next day.

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A series of firsts and lasts

Last Friday I drove past my favorite pasture on Adobe Road; a lush grassland with a water trough near the road, where everyday I would see one solitary sheep among a herd of cows. Amber first pointed this out to me months ago, and so every morning and afternoon on my drive, I would look out my window and smile.

My life has shifted about an hour southeast, and the sheep is just one of several things I’ll miss; but for every thing I miss, new things will replace the lost. I’ve probably had my last midnight bike ride with the roommates, and last spontaneous gathering at Sanns Lane, and last Saturday morning at the Flying Goat, but I’ve tried to not get overly upset about the lasts and think more about the firsts.

We as humans measure time by our lives, our moments, by our firsts and lasts. Monumental occurrences in our lives that can only happen once: the first day of school, first kiss, first car, first job. And then conversely, the lasts: last day of school, last love, last day at home, last day of work. Scientifically speaking, the sun, stars, clocks and calendars, measures time, but we are probably the only species to measure time by moments. “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons,” says T.S Eliot in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” There’s too much monotony measuring out life with a coffee spoon. What an enormous task when so little is held in a coffee spoon; why not heaping tablespoons, or cupfuls?

A few years ago, the plans that I had then are not the ones I’ve ended up doing. Every day we have moments that are worth seizing, worth remembering, worth measuring – some larger than others, but how boring would life be if we didn’t?

All of the firsts that are ahead of me are because I scooped bucketful’s of opportunities instead of getting stuck chipping away at prospects with a spoon.

I cannot recall what I wore on Tuesday or what I ate on Wednesday, but I can tell you what Amber was wearing when we first met; I can tell you where we shared our first kiss; and I can tell you how it felt to feel love again after years of feeling like I had already experienced my last. And that is memory. Love is memory. The ability to see yourself through the eyes of another, to make memories and know the details that no one else can or ever will know; to smile every time you drive past a pasture and see a single, solitary sheep among a herd of cows. And smile.

**The first meals in a new house are often take-out. Once we got the kitchen in order, it was mostly a put-it-together-with-what-you-got sort of meal. An acorn squash made the move, along with some tortillas, cilantro and a frozen Tupperware of red chile enchilada sauce. Around the corner to the market to get a can of black beans, cheese and an avocado and dinner is on the table in 45 minutes or less. Slice the acorn squash in half, remove seeds and roast at 425 until flesh can be scooped out with a spoon. Using the burner on your oven, lightly scorch each side of the tortillas. Pour a little bit of enchilada sauce into 8×8 pan and one by one, add tortilla and fill with beans, squash and cheese. Sprinkle a little bit of cumin and chili powder and roll. Once all are rolled, pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and top with cheese. Bake at 350 until warmed through. Garnish with cilantro, avocado, chopped green onions or any variety of toppings that made the move with you.**