Posted by: heartofkudzu | July 6, 2009

California Girl: One Year

One year ago today, Michael and I finally made our way through Arizona and into California, pulling into his apartment which was suddenly our apartment. Fast forward through the next 12 months, all the little bits to establish me as a California girl: signing the lease, getting a driver’s license, learning the different highways and freeways (and what to call them), becoming EMPLOYED, then later actually getting benefits, and–just as of last week–finally registering my car with California plates. Whew. (I’m still a holdout with my Jacksonville phone number…so far.)

It feels a little surreal that I’ve lived here for a year as of today. This past year has, overall, been one of the best ones of my life. When I look at my life right now–living with Michael, working at a job I really love (even if it keeps me horrifyingly busy 99.5% of the time), spending time with the most awesomest of friends ever (and I am lucky that these friends are scattered across the country, because they’re everywhere I go!)–I am always a little blown away by just how HAPPY I am. Honestly, for the most part, I couldn’t have planned my life out here any better.

usa! Michael and I, hanging out in Alhambra Park, people-watching and waiting for the fireworks to start last Saturday.

And, good heavens, since I haven’t updated the blog in ages here is a partial list of what I’ve been up to:

  • turning 28 and basically turning the month of June into my month o’ celebrations: lots of food, dancing, and buying myself jewelry.
  • attending my 10-year high school reunion in Jacksonville.
  • going to the gym with Michael, not that you would really notice anything different about me. Michael is all of a sudden super-buff, and I am realizing that my body doesn’t snap into shape like it did 7 years ago.
  • slacking horribly at my photo-of-the-day project, although I’m still faithfully updating my Flickr account.
  • finally paying for someone (a dear friend that I trust very much) to transcribe my mom’s journals, because I have finally admitted that I’ll never have time to do it myself. This means I might actually be able to put out another zine…maybe by the end of the year? I might be deluding myself about how much time I’ll have to do that, but it’s definitely a goal of mine.
  • going to Dodgers games with Michael, where I must consume at least one Dodger Dog and one beer per game. Them’s the rules!
  • being completely obsessed with “So You Think You Can Dance” and trying to rub off a little of that obsession on everyone who will listen to me jabber about it.
  • still loving the fact that living in Southern California means sometimes I can wear sweaters/jackets/hoodies during the summer. Swoon!
  • never working a 40-hour workweek because I’m always either coming in early or staying late (or, quite often, both); I adore my job and my coworkers, but I definitely never have an ounce of free time!
  • still head-over-heels in love and giddy-happy on a daily basis. Even when we’re getting on each others’ nerves (which does happen…albeit rarely. More often when I haven’t put away my laundry.), I still have to just look at him and I get all melty inside.

So, yeah. To sum up? Life is beautiful.

Posted by: Michaelpop | May 29, 2009

I guess the hibernation season’s over

Contrary to popular belief, our lives don’t completely revolve around television.  Sure, we love our stories, and it’s true our DVR was up to almost 100% capacity recently.  But that can also mean we’ve been too busy to watch TV… or, man, we sure do record a lot of TV shows!  (Answer: a little of both, and also, at least 40% of the recordings on our DVR are from Lindsey saving a chunk of this season’s “Lost” episodes and holding onto “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew” episodes from forever ago.)

Thankfully, summer means our favorite series are now on hiatus which is great timing because ever since we started going to the gym our evenings have become a million percent less lazy (well, four nights a week anyway.)  Our new routine means not only less time to watch TV, but also fewer home-cooked meals.  SAD FACE.)  After we get home from work we change into our workout clothes and then put in at least an hour at the gym.  Then we get Subway (we’re such regulars now that when Lindsey went alone last night because I had to take my boss home, the girl there asked where I was. Then she told Lindsey that we were a cute couple.  And pale.  Uh, thanks?) for dinner (because there’s a Subway right next to the gym, which is like the most obvious and genius location for it.) and by the time we’re done eating it’s practically time for Lindsey to get to bed.

Last weekend was Memorial Day weekend and even though we’d planned on catching up on TV we never got around to it.  We actually went out and did stuff!  Friday night we went to April’s house to celebrate Morrissey’s birthday. Saturday night we had vegan dinner at Pure Luck (and a guy at the table next to us recognized me from when I used to go dancing!) followed by tasty ice cream treats at Scoops and then dancing with Lindsey’s friend Rachel. Sunday we took it easy and slept in and then did a date-night dinner and movie (sushi and X-Men: Wolverine). Monday we went outlet mallin’, but the people there made me SO CRANKY AND HATEFUL that we had to cut it short. And then we hit the gym and before we knew it the weekend was up!

Our best shot at catching up on TV is on Sunday, because next weekend I’m going back to North Carolina for work (oh, and missing Lindsey’s birthday, which is the WORST) and then the following weekend Lindsey’s going to Jacksonville for her reunion. And then the weekend after that we’ll probably do belated birthday stuff.  Whew, I’m exhausted just thinking about all of that!

Lindsey’s busy with work but I’m sure she’ll chime in soon.  You’ll just have to take my word that things are good and that we’re both happy!

Posted by: Michaelpop | May 15, 2009

Cutting down on pork loins and getting some exercise

I can barely walk today and it’s all Lindsey’s fault.  Her 10-year high school reunion is coming up next month and she wanted to get in shape for all the pictures that are sure to be taken.   At least, that’s what she says.  It’s either that or she wants to look hot for an old flame.  At this point, I’m too sore to care either way.  But the reunion was the main impetus for us joining a gym.  Joining a gym meant that we got a free 1-hour session with a trainer.  We didn’t even work out for the entire hour but it felt like 10.  You think you’re in decent shape but then you do some squats and OH MY GOD MUSCLES I DIDN’T KNOW I HAD WERE THROBBING.

And then for some reason afterwards Lindsey signed up for 16 more sessions!  She’s going to be paying for someone to torture her!  Man, this ex of hers must have been seriously HOT!

Posted by: Michaelpop | April 10, 2009

True love

I don’t want to be one of those guys who only gives flowers to his girlfriend on her birthday or anniversary (or when he’s done something wrong), so last night I picked up some flowers on my way home and surprised Lindsey with them.  Just because.

(Truth be told, they were as much for me as for her because flowers are nice to look at and I like having them around the house.)

But Lindsey had a surprise for me, too!  She pilfered some cookies from work and brought them home for me.  And they were delicous and made my stomach happy.

So, yeah, I guess we’re working out just fine.

Posted by: heartofkudzu | March 19, 2009

Don’t Stop Reading!

Ugh. The fact that I haven’t updated this blog hardly at all this year weighs on me all the time. In a nutshell, it can be explained by me having a job. When I moved out here and was unemployed, being a kept woman, I had time to stretch out on the couch during the day and make lengthy, thoughtful updates. Now that I am working harder than ever before (more often than not I stay late at work nowadays) and don’t get leisurely internet time during the day, it’s difficult to motivate myself to write when I get home or on the weekends. Mostly, I am so exhausted after work (and my 1+-hour one-way commute, which is a whole ‘NOTHER story) that all I want to do is snorgle on the couch with Michael and watch some TV together. It’s the best part of my day, even if it seems boring, but it definitely precludes everything else.

I am trying to make baby steps in my life to broaden my routine a bit, though, and figuring out how to write more in this blog is on that list. First up, though, is trying to exercise more: I’m waking up even earlier in the morning to get in some Denise Austin workouts (her peppy encouragements like “Squeeze those buttocks! If you don’t squeeze ’em, no one else will!” amuse and terrify me. Ouch, Denise!), which makes me even more exhausted in the evenings. I’m waiting for the point where my body is like, “Hey, exercising is awesome! I like being healthy!” but right now it is in full-blown surly teenager mode, all, “I don’t wanna get out of bed! Hmph! If I can’t sleep, then I’m just going to be sore all the time! So there!” It’s all I can do to cook dinner for us on most nights, let alone come up with something for the whole internet to see. Baby steps!

(But speaking of food! Last night I made my first foray into salmon, pan-searing it with a balsamic glaze, and it was delicious! I am no longer irrationally nervous about cooking fish, and now I can’t wait to add that to my dinner repertoire.  And I know Michael is excited to eat things other than pasta!)

But other than our lives being consumed with work and snuggles (sorry, friends, if we’ve been hermits lately), everything is going wonderfully. Every day I am aware of how much I absolutely adore him and how good we are together. Our mutual enthusiasm feeds off each other, and I love that I can still say, after almost a year and eight months together, that he still makes me swoon every single day. We can be utterly goofy together, which I love, and he keeps me grounded and content. See? Swoon!!

Posted by: Michaelpop | March 3, 2009

An excerpt from an email from Lindsey

Maybe tonight I will make some pesto, because if that spinach is still good it won’t be for long! I hate throwing away food but I am terrible at keeping track of when it goes bad. If shrimp is on sale, we’ll have shrimp pesto pasta! Or something! I want to try to make fish at some point, but I might save that for tomorrow night. Perhaps. I dong know! Melty brain! I love you!

It’s true, she is terrible at keeping track of the contents of the fridge.  I used to think that a fridge’s crisper was for fruits and vegetables, but when I tried to use it for its intended purpose, Lindsey would yell at me because she forgets to check down there.  You know, out of sight, out of mind.  So stuff would go bad and it’d be my fault.  Now we have beers down there taking advantage of all the extra humidity and stuff still goes bad.

Since Lindsey buys groceries, I don’t care as much when things go bad.  I almost think it’s kind of cute when a Tupperware container of sauce starts growing mold, like a science project.

But even if I were buying groceries, how could I stay mad at someone who says “I dong know?”   Or someone who wants to cook me so much delicious food?   I can’t!

She’s still the best.

Posted by: Michaelpop | February 16, 2009

Valentine’s recap

What kind of relationship blog doesn’t update about Valentine’s Day?  NOT THIS ONE!

Honestly, to me, V-Day is just a constant series of ripoffs, which isn’t to say that I’m a stingy bastard, because I’m all about excuses for getting dressed up and going out to eat, but Valentine’s Day is so fake and forced and leaves me with a feeling of being held hostage, and I hate that.  I celebrate love every freaking day, thank you very much, and I don’t mind going out for a romantic dinner, but I want to do it on my terms, not Hallmark’s.  Lindsey, on the other hand, LOVES Valentine’s Day, but we agreed that we weren’t going to do anything special this year, because, well, we’ve both been really sick and tired lately and we’re trying to save money.  So we didn’t exchange presents, but that doesn’t mean that I was going to let V-Day slide completely.

So, on Valentine’s Day eve, Lindsey and I tried Bashan in Glendale, because I liked the idea of a small, intimate restaurant where the chef/owner makes all the dishes. And there’s something cute about the fact that his wife handles the front of the house, so it’s like a labor of love. Also, after watching this week’s Top Chef, I was craving expertly made chicken.

I think it’s hard to discuss food without sounding either really pretentious or boringly repetitive, so I’m not going to say stuff like, “Braised pork belly is lighter than most, too, cooked to a buttery softness and served in a little broth with tomatoes and cranberry beans, and a few steamed mussels.” which is what the Times reviewer had to say.  I will say that for starters, I got the scallops and she got the pork belly, and oh my freaking god, that pork belly was the most delicious thing ever.  The scallops were very good too, but that pork belly was literally like butter in my mouth.

For our entrees, I got the chicken and she got the barramundi, which I had to Google earlier in the day to find out was fish.  Both were excellent.  The chicken was generous and juicy and came with a little quail egg which was interesting, and her fish was perfectly cooked and seasoned.  The thing I like about going out to places where there’s attention to detail is that I wind up forcing myself to eat outside of my comfort zone.  I tried all the little things that came with my chicken, and all of it was delicious.  I would never normally be like, “yay yams!” but there they were, under my chicken, and they were good.

We also had some wine, and then for dessert we split a chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream.  A delicious end to a wonderful meal.  It was a nice leisurely paced meal, too.  We were in at 8 and out around 10, but it never felt like our meal dragged on.  The service was extremely attentive and warm and I loved being able to just sit across from Lindsey and catch up with what’s going on with her.   Even though we live together, we’re always so tired from working so much that we hardly ever get a chance to just talk.  Date nights are so nice, and I don’t need a dumb prompt like Valentine’s Day in order to schedule one.

As for the rest of our weekend, we spent it exactly how we wanted:  in our jammies, snorgling under our Slanket, catching up on TV on the DVR and watching movies.  We were lazy and loving it.  In other words: it was perfect.

Posted by: heartofkudzu | January 31, 2009

I’m Not Dead

Almost every day, Michael says to me, “You need to update the blog or else people are going to start to think I’ve chopped you up into little pieces and put you in the freezer!” I made a grand “I will update the blog more in the new year” resolution…and then immediately broke it by avoiding the blog for weeks. Not for any particular reason, but I just couldn’t get into the writing mindset. But it’s almost February, so I wanted to squeeze in an entry so I didn’t miss an entire month!

Tomorrow we are hosting a Super Bowl party, for two reasons: Michael is a die-hard Steelers fan, and we are the owners of an awesome TV that Michael mentioned in his last two posts. So I spent the first 5 hours (literally!) of today surrounded by cookbooks and my laptop, trying to figure out what to make. I decided on:

Sweet stuff:
Vegan lemon-blueberry cupcakes
Vegan jelly donut cupcakes
Mocha bourbon balls (also vegan! I made these tonight and they are SO DELICIOUS)

Meat stuff:
Brown-sugar glazed kielbasa (I will use the Crock Pot that Michael got me for Christmas…for the first time)
Sausage balls

Other stuff:
Cheese bites (basically cheese in a croissant cup)
Spinach-parmesan dip
Chips n’ ranch dip

I love having parties–and just having people over in general–but Michael always gets the pre-party crankies, where he moans about how everything isn’t going to get done and the apartment is a mess and woe is he…but then, of course, it all works out and everything is fine and his worries are for naught. But his stress is definitely contagious, even though I try to inject some rational thought in there from time to time.  I know the party is going to be great, though, because I love our friends. And: go Steelers! (And don’t forget about the PUPPY BOWL on Animal Planet!!!)

watching the fireOn a completely unrelated note (because I’m writing this in a rush before getting back in the kitchen to whip up some spinach dip), last weekend I went camping for the first time! I was a little apprehensive, mostly because I don’t like to be uncomfortable and I have the worst morning bedhead that you’ve ever seen, but I really enjoyed myself. I don’t think I’ll ever be a camping enthusiast, but I will do it again. We went to Point Mugu, and one of my favorite parts (besides drinking Irish coffee around the campfire at night) was waking up super-early and going over to the beach with Michael to watch the waves.

sitting on driftwood

Okay, first entry in 2009 is done! Shoddily, perhaps, but the ice has been broken and hopefully now it will be easier to keep up the habit. Happy belated new year!

Posted by: Michaelpop | January 13, 2009

Happy new year!

We’re not even 2 weeks into the new year and it already looks like we’re failing on our resolution to update the blog more often.  For the most part we’ve just been laying low and trying to recover from annoying colds.  We had a nice New Year’s Eve, and had a blast at karaoke over the weekend, but otherwise we’ve just been staying in and enjoying our new TV.  Lost is coming back next week, so we’re going to watch season 4 on DVD to get all caught up, which probably means some more hardcore slarfing on the couch.

So that’s it.  Oh, on Sunday I ordered a pizza online for the first time and I probably made it more complicated than it actually was.  It took for-freaking-ever to get my order in, but eventually I got the hang of it and 20 minutes later a guy showed up at the door with a delicious pizza and now I feel totally “with it”.   Like, calling in a pizza order is so (year that is a long time ago).  If only there was a way the pizza guy could just leave the pizza on the doorstep so I didn’t actually have to interact with anyone, that was be the ultimate.

One of these days we’ll even take down our Christmas tree and decorations.  Maybe this weekend.   We are so lazy!!

Posted by: Michaelpop | December 30, 2008

Y2K9 minus 1 day

Lindsey’s BFF Taya has been staying with us since Christmas day (since Lindsey had a couple of weeks off from work) which means that for the past few days I have been a tourist-by-proxy.  She made Taya a binder containing a schedule of events and places to eat complete with menu print-outs and maps.  It’s amazing, but also a little insane.

Christmas day was nice and relaxing.  We slept in and then as Christmas tradition dictates, Lindsey heated up some Lil’ Smokies and pumpkin bread.  Oh, I guess I should mention that our Christmas present to ourselves from each other (if that makes sense) was a new plasma TV!  Just doing our part to help the economy. YES WE CAN! USA! You can see it here. It’s a 42″ Panasonic and we love love love it. Even though we got a great deal, it was easily the most expensive joint-purchase we’ve ever made. Of course we got each other other presents too, because what’s Christmas morning without unwrapping stuff, right?  So we put out our Christmas spread, Lindsey put on a Christmas CD and we then turned on the TV to this on-demand high-definition recording of a fireplace. If you ever wondered who would actually watch a fireplace on TV, now you know. It was oddly entrancing.

So that was Christmas and it was really nice. The days since have been packed with activities even though for over a week now we’ve both been under the weather to varying degrees. But having a visitor means sucking it up (literally, I’m talking about the snot in your nose) and powering through. Unfortunately I’m experiencing the worst that this illness has to offer and at this point I think I’m going to be sleeping in the new year. We have no plans yet and unless something awesome comes up, I’d be content to get crunk on Theraflu and watch Dick Clark’s corpse “rock” in the new year in my pjs. (Seriously, he must look pretty scary in high-definition). So, yeah, I DONG KNOW.

And if you’ve been sleepin’ on Lindsey’s Flickr, pop over and check it out.  There are some pretty awesome pictures of our holiday/my birthday party from, uh, almost 2 weeks ago.  Sorry we’re so bad at updating!  We resolve to update more in ’09!

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