I am the luckiest

It's 10am when I struggle with my copy of a copy of a copy of a key to roll up the metal gate and open the heavy door and walk into the dark and silent wine bar that makes up the front half of the restuarant.

What has proceeded this moment: 45 minutes of "snoozing", a bleary realization that I went to bed with my hair wet (again) and that it is sitting in a half-Jew fro on top of my head, hello flat iron, clothes somehow end up on my body, tinted moisturizer and out the door. Coffee at the bodega where they know my order (Am I a New Yorker yet?), 45 minutes on the train, half awake weaving through Chinatown and then digging through my purse.

I walk through to the pastry kitchen, flipping on lights and ovens,  setting down my phone and coffee. I snatch up a yellow legal pad and head downstairs. Into my cubby goes my purse, my real world clothes, my shoes and jewelry, out comes yoga pants and shiny blue clogs. My clipboard and I make our way around, counting and checking what was gone through the night before against what I had written for production. Two walkins, two kitchens, opening drawers, pulling out sheetpans.

And then, finally, thirty minutes later, I tie on an apron and head into the kitchen to start the real work.

Into the dock goes my iPod. Nobody is here yet, I can play whatever I want.

Stop... with you feet in the air and your head on the ground...

Mixing bowls out, yeast, water, flour and salt. Eggs for some. Olive oil for others. And suddenly the quiet kitchen is filled with the not so quiet whir of two 6 quart stand mixers and a 40 quart's clunk, clunk, clunk. I still have another hour before anybody else arrives. Another hour of just me, my music and the kitchen.

Even though I know that means I still have another 9 hours to my day, another 9 hours on my feet and running up and down the stairs and hoisting flour sacks and realizing the wholesale order should've been in the oven twenty minutes ago, I also realize that I chose right all those years ago when I chose culinary school over college because I am in the kitchen and so, I am happy.

This post was written as part of the Scintilla Project. Prompts can be found here.

It's a treacherous road with a desolated view

 Tumbalalaika is my grandmother singing me to sleep and Where Have all the Flowers Gone is her playing the piano in the sunlit living room of my great grandparents' house in the Berkeley hills.

A musical snowglobe with a basket of roses played the song played at my mother's (unsuccesful) rehab graduation and kept me company in the years she was gone.

"You're going to really like this," my father says as he puts the bright orange CD into the stereo and skips to I'm Just a Girl. Sunny summer Sunday mornings with the top down, driving me home on highway 1.

Mayonaise for the boy I spent three weeks kissing in Ireland when I was 14.

Years of late night singalongs in the Mendocino Woodlands and the smell of campfire lingering in my clothes for days are comprised of Obla Di Obla Da and Down by the Riverside.

Staying up all night next to the fire in the dining hall in the same Woodlands, with friends so close I still think of them as my family, is yelling along to Buddy Holly which is also: my first concert, Paris with Corina (another Weezer concert) endless car singalongs and dinner parties in my Berkeley apartment.

Lara and Corina are I Will Survive and the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack. Stuck in traffic before the Rainbow Tunnel headed towards a Unitarian Universalist youth conference on a rare warm sunny day in San Francisco. Late night cookie bakes. Planning Sunday service.

Golden Age is rain on the roof of Jacob's room junior year of high school. It's panic attacks and aching and loss and grief and comfort and safety all wrapped in one. It's my favorite song and I rarely listen to it because it hurts. It hurts like you couldn't even imagine. Sometimes I don't even know how I got through that first year after my father died.

India when I was eighteen is obviously Redemption Song. The Garden State soundtrack is my return and the next semester in Turkey.

Our tiny, damp and cold (but cheap) apartment in San Francisco was Not a Pretty Girl, while I rocked out to Twin Cinema in the culinary classroom and walked towards the streetcar in the fog humming To Be Young is to Be Sad.

The truth is, I could keep doing this all night, almost every post on this blog for the last three years has been titled with song lyrics, each one awakening a very specific feeling. I'm one of those people. You know the ones, the ones that can't possibly get by on only the 16 gigs their iPhone allows, the ones that listen to albums with the shades drawn and the lights off, whole albums always, songs are meant to be listenened to in album order or on a playlist but never an album on shuffle (shudder), the ones who sometimes replay a song if a conversation interrupted really listening to it, the ones who devour new albums like they've never heard music before... One memory and one song? Impossible. I could more easily give you the soundtrack to my entire life.

But if you really must know, Summertime will always make me cry.

This post was written as part of The Scintilla Project, prompts can be found here.

Just living on nerves and feelings (again)

Giant bundle of nerves.

I hope I feel better when I actually give notice, my boss is already unhappy that I'm not pleased to be working there. I just keep wanting to ask him why he would continue working for him if he were me.

Feeling the relationship over-analysis and freaking out setting in. I'd tell y'all about it but I'd like to avoid using this blog as a method of cheating open and honest communication. So we just discovered there are some things that I won't write about knowing Matt's going to read this.

I want this job to be over, this semester to be over, this month to be over. I just want to get on my crazy 4 days on, 3 days off schedule and be able to just work myself to the bone and has the snuggles.

I feel like too many things are in limbo.

My fourth quarter pipe dreams are seeming more and more worth fighting for

Yesterday I accepted a job in a completely new field, which is weird. It's weird to be twenty four and deciding on a career change. Most people I know haven't even really figured out what their first career is going to be. But I've never really had a shitty job I just have to make some money sort of job. I went straight from immersing myself in volunteer work to working in food service and I'm well trained and I'm good at it. Scratch that, I'm fucking great at it. However, the whole point of going to culinary school was so that I could support myself to major in hippy ass things like Arts & Social Change later in life or to allow me to have a solid practical skill that would allow me to support myself while doing volunteer service work. The problem is, food service is an exhausting, high stress job and I've never really had time or energy outside of it to really be able to do the things that really matter to me and that's where going back to school came into play. And this is the part where continuing to work in food service is supposed to support me but since moving home I've just become even more burnt out.

The chocolatiering job I have allows for a lot of creativity and flexibility of schedule. However, I am overqualified and severely underpaid. It's the least amount of money I've ever made. The man I work for has less experience working in a kitchen, working with chocolate and managing a small business then I do which means I'm not really moving forward in my professional development in any way. This is even the second struggling chocolatier/teahouse I've worked for so in a lot of ways I feel like I've just taken ten steps back. My hours are incredibly inconsistent and I'm constantly stressed about money which makes it hard to really focus on school. On top of that I'm just tired of being stressed about stupid ass shit like whether or not I'll have the ingredients I need for work (like right now we're almost out of chocolate and I had no cream, we're a fucking chocolatier, how is that even possible) or if some winery is going to get truffles on time. I just don't care enough about money to make it worthwhile to put this much energy into growing a luxury business, especially since the increased amount of business he's taken on because of hiring me has yet to show up in my paycheck.

Assuming I don't have any secrets I don't know about, once I pass a background check, I'll be an employee of R House. I'll be a mentor working graveyard shifts in a group home. I'll be making the same shitty amount of money. The hours will be brutal and the work will probably be incredibly stressful. On the plus side, my schedule will be regular, I can work full time over the Summer, the graveyard shift does a lot of the cooking prep including working with/teaching one of the residents to make breakfast and if I'm really stressed out I'll be stressed out about something I passionately care about. Getting a social welfare bachelor's and then becoming a LCSW is one of basically three plans I've switched between since going back to school and this will give me an opportunity to see if I could really handle it. It'll also, of course, give me a boost when I apply to transfer which is important because social welfare/social work are impacted majors at both Berkeley and San Francisco State. I imagine it will also set me up for better internship opportunities if I were to go all the way through with it and get my masters. I'm also hoping that since my schedule will be four days on and three days off I'll have time to find a way to volunteer for either Worth our Weight or the Ceres Project and be able to be a culinary instructor in programs that share my values.

I'm not saying that I'm totally abandoning my culinary career forever but I need to take a break from it. I'm also not saying that I'm giving up linguistics or linguistic anthropology, double majors and/or minors are always a possibility and always seemed like a likely choice for me. I just can't stress enough how important it is for me to live my values and until I can find a way to get back to doing that I know I will always be dissatisfied with the choices I make. I'm hoping this is a start of getting back on the path I thought I'd already be on.

P.S. I know you're totally thinking, "Umm, Alana, you swear all the fucking time and people find your blog searching for things like 'drunken floozy' and 'in bed i wear tmi' are you sure you should really be responsible for setting a good example for a bunch of teens in recovery?". To which I say, "I'm a writer, sometimes it's a fucking persona y'all (unless you're offering me free whiskey in which I case it's totally not)". Woooo!

Look on Down, revisited

I really do plan on writing a nice long post about how my mother set me up with an awesomely sweet guy who matches the super broad breakdown of what I want in a man pretty damn well, especially considering she was behind in her reading and I don't think had actually read that post yet. However, my internet is not working in my house and I would like to go cozy up in bed soon, so for now you're getting a totally different short check-in in which we review my New Year's resolutions.

1. Fill my life with people who love and support each other and don't go out of their way to create drama

Basically, cutting the douche out of my life made me realize that with him out of the equation, I had already done this. I also seem a lot less prone to create drama without him around. Double win.

2.Work my ass off at school and work. Help build a business that I believe in and gives me huge amounts of room for creativity and make sure that I have options to transfer to any school I want.

Confession: I have been a lazy bum when it comes to school but that's 'cause I was working ridiculously much at the beginning of the semester and changed my entire plan for the semester. I probably should be doing a little more anthropology book reading and actually writing something for creative writing.

I am working my ass off at work and mostly it's serving to frustrate me 'cause the harder I work the more responsibilities and expectations are placed on me and the more it seems like I don't get paid anywhere near enough. 'Cause I don't. It sucks. I'm keeping my eye out for better job options, but Sonoma County is just not the place for awesome pastry jobs right now.

3. Drink less often and less copiously when I do. (This should be pretty easy because of goal #4/not seeing the boy)

Total win. In both the "I'm totally pwning this resolution" and the "This makes me feel much better mentally and physically" ways.

4. Don't date an alcoholic

Well, fuck. I guess I need to rephrase that one. Pretend it says "don't date a guy who drinks every night instead of dealing with his shit" or "don't date a non-recovering alcoholic". I don't know. The point is, I should not spend my time in a relationship with somebody that drinks every night. 'Cause that's not good emotionally for anyone and it's probably especially not great for me. And I'm not. I think this resolution was more about thinking about my own psychological well being in regards to a relationship and not doing something that I obviously new was bad for it and not setting myself up to be an enabler.

5.  Put myself out there to meet new people.

Obviously I totally rocked this at the very beginning of the year by meeting blog friends IRL in New York and having an awesome time. Not really rocking this too much back on my home turf but I'm going to go ahead and say that taking the risk of having coffee with somebody my mom wanted to set me up with counts. I'm also going to count starting to go to the SF Iron Cupcake competition, that's kind of like meeting new people. Hopefully, I'll also get together with some SF bloggers like @nicoleisbetter and @jamievaron soon. (Have I mentioned that I'm one of Nicole's shout outs this month? How awesome is that?) Anyways, so far this resolution has gotten me nothing but awesome.

6. Learn how to get men to buy me drinks at bars (I think I have to not give them death glares when they try to hit on me).

Umm, this one only works if I'm not in a relationship. Let's think of new, equally ridiculous thing to replace it with. (Though I guess Charlie Trouble bought me drinks, so maybe I also mastered this one in the first week of the year) I've never had sex in a car (I know, right?!) so we'll replace 6 with "Have sex in a car" (hope you're ok with that honey).

7. Not hide how important moral/political values are to me.

Pretty sure I'm not smashing people over the head with these things, but I'm also pretty sure I'm not pushing them to the sideline. On track.

8. Have more dance parties.

I haven't really been having dance parties with other people, but I have been having them whenever I'm cleaning at 2 am at work and blasting the 90s station that plays Shaggy followed by Green Day followed by Dr. Dre followed by Fiona Apple. Yeah, it's basically awesome.

9. Take new relationships slowly. (don't just fall into what's easy/ take what I can get).

I'm gonna go ahead and say this resolution is more about the second half and I'm pretty sure I'm not doing that. I'm pretty sure I'm failing epicly at the first half. I'm also pretty sure I'm ok with that 'cause it equals mashed potatoes and watching "Planet Earth".

10. Make my cabin into somewhere I actually think of as home and throw dinner parties

Still working on this, but as established in this post I seem to be progressing. I really need curtains. Curtains would help. And a bigger house for the dinner party part. Still figuring that out.

11. Make healthy decisions.

This is pretty vague and broad but I'd say over all I am making the right decisions to make my life go where I want. W00t.

Let's hope the rest of the year continues in the same vein.

A Perfect Paragraph is Worth a Thousand Pictures

I love reading. I love writing. Not necessarily the act of writing, but writing itself. The beautifully balanced sentence, the carefully placed comma, the subtly perceived symbolism. Of course my creative writing class encourages me towards comparative lit, tempts me to throw my hands up and just give in to being an English major. I want to read it all. I want to find every single sentence that rings so true I can't help but read it again, turning it over and over again in my mind, wondering how it drives itself straight into my soul.

I love it.

I love it.

Some people read for the story; I read for the words. I read literature for the same reason I watch ballet. I read for the pure beauty, for the art, for the skill so many can train for, but so few will ever achieve.

There are days where I wonder if I've ever written one perfect sentence, if I've written anything so profoundly true it stops a reader in their tracks. I doubt I have. I don't know if I ever will. I've never wanted to be a writer. I'm compelled to type these words out but I've never wanted it. Not in the same I've wanted to be an actress or an activist or a chef. They just happen. My thoughts spill over.

I'm a reader, but I'm not a writer. Don't look to me for the next great American novel. I'm just creating writing's sloppy fan art.

They let you graduate high school without knowing this stuff?

For my Cultural Anthropology class:

The map quiz is on February 4.

You will be asked to locate these on the map -

Papua New Guinea, China, USA, India, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Russia


Asia, South America, Africa, Antarctica, Europe, North America, Central America

Seriously? I mean seriously?

Last semester I had to write a 5-7 page paper on whether or not propaganda is good for America using examples from three distinct time periods, analyzing cyclical historical trends and citing at least 4 sources. (Rosie to Riot: Propaganda and American feminism, such a fun paper)

This semester I have to locate my own country on a map.

I don't understand college.

(I am still in college, right? The JC campus didn't turn into a middle school while I was in NY?)

The kind of kid who goes down chutes too narrow

I'm not gonna lie, this semester is starting out a little rough for me. Right now I have a burning desire to drop all my classes and become a crazy workaholic and reclusive writer.

(Also to really thoroughly clean my house, which is weird, because cleaning really is my downfall as a potential housewife. I'm going to go ahead and blame this on growing  up with a housekeeper and my grandmother's belief that it's more worth it to pay people than do things you don't have a strong preference for doing. Not very long ago she showed my a pile of leaves she was really proud of herself for raking. I think I just looked at her strangely and walked away... anyways... I'm a compulsively organized person, but I'm not a compulsive cleaner, except apparently now I am and it's strange.)

( I'm not saying I want to be a housewife, just that I have the skill set required except I would hire a housecleaner because in the world where I'm married to somebody rich enough that I can stay at home, they're also rich enough to hire a housecleaner. I feel like I'm just digging myself into deeper and deeper holes here...)

I think they're a lot of factors contributing to this non-excitement about school.

1. Money.

Let's face it, you can only be broke for so long before you get tired of being broke. Since I didn't live the poor college student lifestyle in my early post high school years, it's a little rough trying to handle it now. You mean I can't put chevre in every meal or buy every pair of shoes that is both on sale and I want? Champagne is a sometimes beverage? Ludicrous. It's not like I was rolling in the dough before by any stretch of the imagination (except I was, literally rolling the dough... haha... oh god, somebody should shoot me for that) but I did make about 3 times as much as my current income of jackshit. If I become a crazy workaholic and reclusive writer I can make slightly more than jackshit (I really can't actually 'cause there's no way to make up for the pay cut without working about 60 hours a week) and I won't have time or desire to spend it. Because in my spare time I'll be wandering around my house, following one of my aunt's suggestions, in a bathrobe with a glass of whiskey. I'll probably have to take up smoking and buy a typewriter for this plan. This seems reasonable. Except I don't really want to write a book because I can't write fiction. But I guess neither can John Irving to a certain extent and I love him, so maybe I'll be the next John Irving. But in my books everyone will grow up to be pastry chefs after spending time in India or Turkey instead of Berlin/Vienna and have attended a public fine arts school instead of Exeter. There will still be bears though. Don't worry. Oh, and then I'll take that jackshit and my novel and move to New York. Where I will find a bakery that wants to pay me real money or an entrepreneur that thinks a whiskey and fancy caramel shop is the best idea ever and wants to give me lots of money. I don't really know what the deal with the novel is. Maybe I'll give up on the typewriter and keep writing rambling blog entries.

2. Work!

When I took this job I decided I wasn't going to put much effort into it because I didn't (don't) get paid enough to care. But it turns out I'm incapable of keeping myself from going above and beyond the call of duty in a struggling business. Part of this is that I just can't work in an inefficient environment in any circumstance, but especially in a kitchen. Kitchens should be models of efficiency, that's how you make a profit. So I started trying to organize, I made daily production lists, I got my boss to sit down and tell me what the orders coming in are on an almost daily basis (still working on just getting a god damn order book so I can see for myself) and since he's a reasonable man, that fully acknowledges I have far more professional kitchen training and experience than him he pretty much will implement any change/suggestion that I make. Which is pretty awesome.  Since I started caring about my job I've been pretty much able to turn it into exactly the job I want; my hours are fairly flexible, I have control over my production schedule and at the moment, the majority of my job is recipe development. Recipe development is really all I want to spend every day doing. I kind of turned my job into my dream job. But in my dream world I would also be able to take over ordering and inventory so I always had all my ingredients and I would get paid at least twice as much. And that's in a totally reasonable dream world. Really. Since I took over the baker's job and will now be doing recipe development for that as well, I've become the chef. Even the final versions of the chocolates my boss develops don't go out without me having a say. I'm part of his long term business plan. All this is great. But did I mention I get paid jackshit? Also this means I'm working full time. The whole point in moving home was to be able to afford working part time and going to school. Working five days a week and going to school two is already feeling brutal.

It's also somewhat of a de-motivator for the whole school thing. I went back to school at least in part, because I thought I wanted to change careers, but right now I'm actually doing what I want in the culinary world and don't really have a strong desire to do so. I still want to go to school for education's sake but I'm feeling more of the slow leisurely I'll get my bachelor's degree eventually pace right now.

I also do not want to get stuck in Sonoma County that long. Powering through two years at the JC so I could transfer and get the hell out seemed like a stretch. It's gorgeous here, there's no denying that. I just want to get a little farther (ok, a lot farther) from home before I settle. In that sense, I have no desire to be part of my boss's longterm business plan, because I don't want to feel obligated to be here longterm. I just want to work like crazy to give him a good solid base to expand on and then get the hell out of dodge.

3. School itself.

I swear to god, if my anthropology teacher emphasizes the importance of studying cultures within their own context one more time, I'm going to just get up and walk out of that class. I really think I would find cultural anthropology fascinating if it were not oversimplified to the point that I thought I was taking a "general intro to the overall concept of anthropology for third graders" class. I have no problem with lecture classes, my favorite class last semester was Race, Ethnicity and Gender in U.S. history and was basically just hours and hours of lecturing, but it was also expected that you had the basic intelligence and vocabulary of a college student. My anthro teacher asks if we recognize words all the time. You know, like "plethora". And then, even if nobody is confused, stops the lecture to spend ten minutes defining and giving examples of said word. It drives me insane.

And calculus, oh calculus. I stopped taking math in high school because I've always hated doing math homework and consequently, despite being fairly advanced, I got terrible grades. Mostly I understand things, I just hate showing work. It turns out most math teachers like you to break down your problems into the most ridiculous step by steps. It's like micromanaging a math problem. It's stupid. I still hate doing math homework. This is not going to go well. Also, I forgot what any of the buttons on my graphing calculator do. And my math teacher is crazy intense. Blech.

Having said all that, I think for the most part this year has started off in a much awesomer way/better place than last one. Even though I'm struggling with the whole going to school thing, I have goals and desires to work towards and I don't feel like I'm living my life getting through one week at a time. Goals make me happy. Plans make me happy. Stepping back and seeing where things went wrong and where I can make them right in the future makes my world.

Right now, I'm here, in California, in the boonies, monetarily challenged and maybe thinking a little too much about a boy across the country, but I'm more than willing to work my ass off, make changes and not settle for less than the things I want. 

I swear I will make twenty four my year if it kills me. 

Look on down from the bridge

So I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I'm a firm believer that if you want to change your life, there's no time like the present. But about a year ago I started making decisions to change my life entirely, so it only seems natural to step back and re-evaluate.

Part of this probably has to do with the fact that the last time the boy and I spoke there were words (I mean the kind that don't put either of us in a particularly good light) and I told him that I thought it was best if we just didn't talk at all for a while. I haven't quite gotten myself up to unfriending him on fb yet, but I'm seriously considering it. I thought about the ways I changed to fit in better with him and his friend group, the ways that were good and the ways I really didn't like. The aspects of my self esteem that he crushed. 

Part of it has to do with spending last weekend with my church friends. Yes, you read that right. I was raised Unitarian Universalist and it's something I identify as strongly. I was reminded of things I truly value; social justice work, spiritual exploration, irony, a certain amount of political correctness and spontaneous dance parties.

There are a lot of things I learned about myself this past year. I think the biggest lesson I learned is that I'm a high strung, goal oriented person that spends way too much time over thinking and trying to make the right decisions and the less I try to fight it, the happier I am. When I try to be a fun loving, irresponsible, young person I just feel guilty. Yes, I think I need to learn how to lose control from time to time, but I'll never be a drink every night party girl with a mindless job and be happy.

I also learned that I am a girlfriend type of girl. Sure, maybe that's because I haven't ever spent a lot of time being any other type of romantic partner, but being in an open relationship made me pretty miserable, being friends with benefits made me less than ideally happy. I may struggle and strain against the boundaries of committed relationships but I'm more comfortable and good at being in them than anything else.

2009 was not a great year, and I fully acknowledge that a lot of it was because I made decisions that I knew were bad and went with anyways. I want 2010/24 (my birthday is on the 20th) to be frakkin awesome and here are some of my goals.

1. Fill my life with people who love and support each other and don't go out of their way to create drama

2. Work my ass off at school and work. Help build a business that I believe in and gives me huge amounts of room for creativity and make sure that I have options to transfer to any school I want.

3. Drink less often and less copiously when I do. (This should be pretty easy because of goal #4/not seeing the boy)

4. Don't date an alcoholic

5.  Put myself out there to meet new people.

6. Learn how to get men to buy me drinks at bars (I think I have to not give them death glares when they try to hit on me).

7. Not hide how important moral/political values are to me.

8. Have more dance parties.

9. Take new relationships slowly. (don't just fall into what's easy/ take what I can get).

10. Make my cabin into somewhere I actually think of as home and throw dinner parties

11. Make healthy decisions.

So there it is kids, hope you'll keep me on track and yell at me when you see me falling off this path and that everyone had a fantastic New Year's. I'm gonna make 2010 mine and live my life the way I want, and if it makes people think I'm a crazy high strung, overly sensitive bitch, they're probably not the people I want in my life anyways. So there.

Class was cancelled and I finished my homework....

In case you're not my twitter or facebook friend- I got a job yesterday! It's not a lot of $ or hours but I'll be making chocolates again and, as the boy's best friend (seriously, he needs a different moniker, someone think of a good nickname for a nice, nerdy Jewish boy with a really adorable puppy) pointed out, I'm a student now so I'm not supposed to be making crazy money and working crazy lots. I'll pick up some babysitting or tutoring or something and make it work. Or keep trying to do more freelance. Excitement- I'm a frakkin chocolatier again!

Apparently rumor has it that "exactly my type boy" and I are dating. One of my friends here got an email from our friend that's travelling with the boy stating it was so. So it must be true, right? I find it hilarious that this travelled across continents without anyone actually asking him or I. Now that I've dispelled the rumor, it's going to be really amusing to watch everyone's confusion if anything does happen between us.

That's as much time as I have to kill for now.

More, more, more soon.

I'll be your baby tonight

It's probably time for a basic life updates sort of post. 

I know, I know, narcissistic, egotistical, not very exciting, blah blah blah. But you know, I figure maybe some of you people who read this blog want to know what's going on in my life.

Not a whole helluva lot. And kind of a lot.

I'm starting school next week. A full 12 unit course load to start working towards that bachelor's and elementary school teaching credential. I figured out that my AP scores still count which knocks out a good 9 units which is pretty swell. Also the last math class I took was at the J.C. so I don't have to take any placement tests. The not swell part was realizing I was still on academic probation from classes I had taken 5 years ago and had to go wait an hour and half for three minutes with a counselor before registering for classes. But I am now registered! Geology, Psych 4 (child development), Art History (gothic to impressionism) and History 21 (race, ethnicity and culture in American history) here I come! Art history is late start so I'm sort of easing into this whole crazy "reentering the academic world" thing. Also, notice the lack of hard science or math. (It's not that I'm not a math/science person, in fact one of my deepest, darkest secrets it's that despite all appearances of being a creative liberal arts sort of person, I like logic a lot and am actually good at math. I just have an abhorrence towards math homework.) Hopefully it'll be a pretty easy semester that just involves writing a lot of essays. I can handle essay writing like no other... except for maybe people that do it professionally.

Theoretically I live in a room in my grandparents' barn. It was my grandfather's office, now it has my futon and a lot of boxes in it. And my clothes being stored on bookshelves 'cause I had a huge closet in Berkeley and don't have large dressers anymore. And my cat. I got Moxie Crimefighter, the small black one that there aren't really any pictures of because she's afraid of everything and used to be feral. My other cat, He-Man lives in my grandparents' house and tries to bring me mice and gofers most nights when I'm home. I'm trying to encourage Moxie to follow his example 'cause she's a country kitty now but mostly she hides under my bed and won't leave the room. Sometime after the 15th I should be moving into a little studio/granny unit on the back of the property and I'll actually get to unpack all my stuff that has now spent a month in boxes. You have no idea how exciting it will be not to be living out of boxes and my car.

Why my car?

'Cause realistically I spend most of my time at the boy's house and though I have a lot of toiletries there, for some reason I draw the line at leaving clothes/doing laundry there- my own rules, not his. I don't have to walk outside to a different house to use the bathroom/kitchen/get a glass of water in the middle of the night so that's a major plus. Also I can go laze by the pool in the morning. And I can cook and make the boy eat real food and help clean ('cause his actual housemate sure doesn't) and generally make his life less stressful. Which is good 'cause he works something like 60 hours a week at a group home for boys that were in juvenile hall and are also mostly in recovery. To say his work is pretty fucking stressful is probably an understatement. I though spending as much time together as we have been would cause us to drive each other insane but it's pretty much been the opposite. We've been getting along great. He's been adorable and loving and sweet. He smiles at me when we wake up in the morning and eagerly devours whatever I have waiting for him when he comes home after midnight (yeah, I have food waiting for him. Have I ever mentioned my secret calling to be a 1950s housewife?), generally seems happier and, most importantly in my mind, drinks a lot less. He demands lasagna constantly. Apparently it was a mistake to prove to him how awesome my lasagna making skills are if I planned on ever eating anything again. (Just don't tell him I use whole wheat pasta and sneak things like zucchini into the sauce to try to make it vaguely healthy). I spend so much time there that spending two night in a row in my own room prompted each of my family members to ask me if everything is ok. It turns out I still like space, and he still likes space and I'm not really prepared to feel like I'm living with someone even if it seems to be going pretty damn awesomely.

When I asked him if I could come over tonight (which I generally do if I haven't been there for a few days) he just looked at me like I was crazy for asking, smiled and said "of course". And it was happy making.

Of course me being me and this relationship being what it has been, I keep waiting for something to go wrong but maybe, this time, with each other to provide some stability, we're actually on track.