August 20, 2014

Saucy


The hubs has many talents in the kitchen, and while I am not a terrible cook, I tend to be pretty basic-- I don't think I would participate or observe as many fun kitchen projects without him. I just wouldn't think to brandy fruits or make pickles on my own, but with the hubs, these kinds of activities have become more common in my life.

When we started growing tomatoes last year in our beloved vegetable garden, we had to incorporate them into our meals fairly regularly. Our plants thrived that summer, as they are doing this summer, and we had more tomatoes than we knew what to do with. Salads, bruschetta, and gazpacho made frequent appearances in our kitchen, but we were ready to expand to something new yet simple. Then the answer came: tomato sauce!

Our tomato sauces were delicious, but we did not freeze any to have later in the year-- a silly oversight on our end. This year, though, just as our backyard tomatoes are starting to become plentiful, and our market-bought tomatoes are in need of some eating, we decided to make things right with tomato sauce. While we will go through the first batch of sauce pretty quickly, we will do so with the intention of preserving a few jars of homemade tomato sauce, made with our own backyard tomatoes. 

I'm looking forward to visiting on a cold wintery weekend, making dinner with the hubs, and being reminded of these warm summer nights. As I am finding with each project we undertake with our backyard veggies and farmers market favorites, there is such a simple joy in creating treats that we can enjoy months later or pass on to friends and family. It is as though we are capturing tiny moments from our lives and our home and preserving them for a while longer, just enough for them to change and shift as the weeks and months pass yet still retain that first sliver in time. 

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August 18, 2014

From DC to Michigan

There are easy moves, like the one I did from New York to DC back in 2008. There are the eventful-but-not-so-bad-in-the-end moves, like the one the hubs and I did during Snowpocalypse to the building next door to my old studio apartment  And there are the miserable moves, like the one we did on Tuesday, from DC to Michigan. 

My cold started the Thursday before, one of those annoying little things that at first you think is just the result of being in overly-air-conditioned rooms all day and then later realize is actually the start of not being able to move without sneezing everywhere. By Tuesday, my nose was red from my dependence on Puffs Plus, and my DayQuil had become useless.... and we had an 8-hour drive ahead of us. My nerves were on edge due to the cat's horrible yowling, so that didn't help matters much. I didn't even have time to feel sad or give one last farewell glance at my house--I was too distracted by my guilt at making my cat move halfway across the country with me. I burst into tears a few blocks from the house and debated turning around and leaving my cat behind, considered facing a year in Michigan on my own, just so that furry little mess wouldn't have to be so scared in her little cat carrier. 

But then, after we pulled over to administer some kitty sedatives (to the cat, though truthfully, I could have used something, too), we were okay. Lots of rest stops, lots of precarious driving in our gigantic moving truck (naturally, Budget was all out of the normal-sized vans), lots of prayers said as we drove through the rain-soaked highways of the Midwest.

However.

Then we hit Detroit, where we planned to spend the night with my in-laws before driving out to Ann Arbor to officially move me in to the new apartment. Detroit, we learned, was submerged in water from the torrential downpours, and the highways were flooded. I didn't think that city highways could actually flood, not when I needed to drive on them, but alas, nature is indifferent to moving plans. So, the next hour was spent driving around the outskirts of the city, past the newly-abandoned cars stuck in water, past the long-abandoned burned-out shells of businesses long gone, and tried to find an open road.

In the end, the 8-hour drive took 11 hours. 

But you know what? It could have been worse. We weren't in an accident. My cat survived. I survived. The entire time, the hubs showed the patience of a saint--do I even deserve such a wonderful man? And the feeling of slipping in to dry clothes and burrowing under a familiar, worn blanket--it made everything alright in the end. 

So here I am. Without a mattress or a bed frame, without an internet connection, and without a clue of what this next year will bring. But I am here. And I am ready. 

So let's go. 

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August 17, 2014

Sunday Currently : 63

You know that feeling when you've been spinning around and around in circles, and you get that sensation of still moving afterwards, even though your feet are planted firmly on the ground? That's what I'm feeling right now. The past few weeks-- really the past few months-- have been filled with so many things, going from one transition to the next, each ending overlapping with another task that must be started, that I have not had a moment to truly catch my breath. It would have been so nice to have just one more week in DC, just one week to rest, to say goodbye, to slow down before packing up and moving. But that week wasn't possible to have, and so here I am, tired, bewildered, and in Michigan. 

It's real now. I have an apartment, my boxes are unpacked, and soon these little corners and nooks will become familiar to me. But right now, it's all new, and there is so much that will continue to be new, most of which has not even happened yet, like the new job that begins tomorrow and the new colleagues I have not yet met. It's strange, a bit sad, to think of embarking on this adventure without the hubs here with me. It's a little lonely, though I know it won't always be. The hubs just left this morning, after all, and he'll be back in a month. But I suppose that's the way it will have to feel for now--bittersweet, thrilling, and lonely. 



currently

reading : The Secret Circle: The Divide, up until just a moment ago, when I finished it. I have requested the final two books in this arc (not written by the original author, which is a bummer) from the Michigan library system, but I have no idea when they will be delivered...hopefully soon!

writing : A couple of posts, as well as lots of lists for groceries and little tasks that must be done. Moving seems to involve never-ending errands. 

listening :  To the new sounds of Sunday quiet at my new apartment. There are highway sounds in the distance, but also more pleasant hummings of chirping birds and soft rain. It's still around these parts, and with one less cat and one less husband, I'll have to get used to my new lifestyle. 

thinking :  About what this next year will be like. I feel as though my life in DC ended so quickly and in such a whirlwind that I didn't have any time to process that it was actually happening. Now I'm here in Ann Arbor, and I'm hitting the ground running, with no time at all to sink in and laze about. I hope it will be good. I think it will.

smelling :  Dampness from this morning's rain. Alas, I can finally start to breathe again!

wishing :  For a good first week at work. For goodness. For certainty that this is the right place to be. 

hoping :  That this madness with Comcast will finally end tomorrow and that my internet will be properly connected. My interactions with them this past week have all been horrendous, and I cannot wait to hopefully be done with them soon!! Also hoping that my mattress is delivered  soon today...

wearing :   Gym shorts and a t-shirt, as I tend to do on Sundays. 

loving :  The hubs for being so supportive, kind, and patient. I feel so lucky to have him in my life.

wanting :  To settle in and get to know my new home. I'm looking forward to the day when bus routes become second-nature and when street signs are actually recognizable. 

needing :  To just be and accept that everything will work out in its own time. 

feeling :   Nervous, sad, and excited. 

clicking :   On various books that I want to read and request from my local library. I've been having lots of fun getting connected to the library system now that I actually have time to read for pleasure!


siddathornton

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Previously on The Quixotic Chica:

August 6, 2014

Travel Size


While this will never be a DIY-oriented blog, as I will realistically never have the time to devote my days to creating quaint and quirky crafts, I do enjoy a good organizational project. There is something liberating about tossing out old products and reassembling the remaining items in such a way that suggests that the owner is actually not a hoarder and/or recluse. Expired in 2009? Gone! Used to be liquid and is now solid? Gone! Bought it in college and have never used it? Gone! 

Our bathroom has long posed a challenge for me in terms of how to keep our products organized. When we moved into our house last year, we lost a ton of bathroom storage space, though installing a second bathroom cabinet helped a bit. I don't own a ton of make-up or hair products, yet somehow bottles, tubs, and jars kept accumulating. When I couldn't fit a shopping bag filled with travel-sized items under the sink cabinet, I stored it in the hubs' closet, along with a bag filled with random hair accessories, and promptly forgot about both of them for about a year.

Oops.

My move to Michigan has been a source of great motivation to finally clear things out. A week or so ago, the hubs and I pulled everything out of the cabinets, gathered the now-tattered bags of make-up and first aid supplies that I had tucked away in random closets, and finally went through it all. In total, I think we threw away about 50% of the items we had been holding on to, and it was amazing to actually have clear space in the cabinets again!

One of the biggest sources of clutter, it turned out, was all of those little travel-sized toiletries that we had collected from hotels (they're free!!), received as samples, or been gifted from forgotten sources. Though we could have thrown those out, too, I decided to hold on to them because I do use them when traveling, and since the hubs and I will be flying back and forth between DC/Baltimore and Detroit for the next year, I figured we would need them in the coming months. 

I'm sure that there are fancier ways to organize items like these, but all I needed was a  couple of small plastic tubs (I got mine at the Container Store), sandwich bags, tape, and a Sharpie. I organized my little travel-sized products into categories (e.g. shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc.), made a label using tape and the Sharpie, and then put everything in the appropriate bag.



The bags fit perfectly into the plastic tubs, and I was able to snugly fit four bags into each tub. I like that I am able to easily pluck out the bag I need, and I can quickly see what the inventory is--though I doubt I will be running low on items anytime soon! I briefly entertained the idea of making several ready-to-go bags, each with a shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, face wash, etc., but I figured that since I don't always use these things at the same rate, I would end up needing a way to keep the extras organized, anyway. In the end, the current system won, and I'll replenish a nicer toiletries bag with these items as needed. 


I am not quite sure yet where I will store these in my new bathroom, but I think that the sink cabinet or a roomy shelf would be good options. There are still some remaining bathroom items that need to be organized, and I think that I will return to the Container Store to get additional tubs for things like nail polish and first aid items. Larger items like hair tools are more of a challenge for me, but I figure that organizing even just one set of items will be a big help towards avoiding the clutter from building again.

Do you have other effective ways of organizing your bathroom items? Any must-have items that help you prevent chaos? I would love to get more ideas!