Saturday, April 21, 2012

Breakfast of the Month Club

No, I do not really participate in a Breakfast of the Month Club, but it does sound like a great idea.

This blog post is mostly to share my newfound love:

Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut oats, in the crockpot overnight. This is where magic happens.

When it came time to eat this stuff, I had to enforce some serious self-discipline and portion control. And we're talking oatmeal, not a pint of B&J or Salted Caramel Brownies (which are also delicious).

And they're so easy! All you do is:
-Fly to Portland, visit Bob's Red Mill factory, and purchase steel cut oats from bulk pins. Or go to your local supermarket.
-Put in 1 part oats to 4 cups liquid. I did water with a splash of skim milk)
-Add some salt, dump whatever spices strike your fancy (might I recommended cinnamon, vanilla, and fresh grated nutmeg?), add some sweetener (I did a splash of agave syrup which was more than enough)
-Plug in your crockpot (very critical), set it to low, and try to sleep.
-Suffer from insomnia at 5am, check on crockpot, stir, smell, and smile... try to fall back to sleep.

IMPORTANT: When eating, do not douse Steel Cut Oats in butter, brown sugar, raisins, or other distractors. I will allow you to add a splash of milk. But, at least for your first bite, taste it in all it's pure, healthful deliciousness.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Other Side of April

Well, the trip was a blast. We saw a lot of places from my childhood, ate a lot of good food, and (he) met a lot of important people. It meant so much to me to see him with my family. There was a moment where I was sandwiched between my Dad and Kevin on the couch and everything just felt right, being surrounded by the two most important guys in my (worldly) life.

Obviously, our relationship grew and deepened - how can it not on a trip like this?

A few highlights:

-Playing an old-school version of Wall Ball (The real version. Not the self-sacrificing version where you throw a ball at a human target) at my elementary school

-A mutual appreciation for exploring health food stores and Bob's Red Mill. I'm glad we can be whole-grain-dorks together.

-Chocolate Beet Cake (You rock, Afton!)

-Quotes from Hannah on Easter:
Hannah, whispering to me: "Senia, when did you get your boyfriend?"
Me: "Hmm, November?"
Hannah: "Oh. ... When did you name him Kevin?"

-Many episodes of hysterical laughter with my parents and family. He definitely has a better understanding of why I am the way I am! I am realizing more and more that I am certainly my Mother's daughter.

There were of course many, many other highlights, far too many to list.

One of the greatest parts is that we were able to be a "normal" couple for 5 days. We were able to escape our reality a little bit and just focus on the great relationship we have. There was a sense of anonymity, which was refreshing. When we ran into a family friend at the grocery store, I was able to happily introduce him as my boyfriend, without fear of them judging him, me, or us. There was no pity for him or surprise or bittersweet emotions.

But of course reality was waiting for us Tuesday evening. The last few days have been tough, but we've made it through so far. He has been tremendously supportive of me in the last few weeks, especially through emotional goodbyes and hard transitions.

And, so, on we go...

Monday, April 2, 2012

April update

You could get a completely different story depending on the time or day of this update. This is the more emotional version...

There's no way around it, my relationship with Kevin has been in the forefront of my life for the past 5 months, at least, and realistically, more like 7 or 8 months. But within that I continue to strive to find balance, which has included:

-A wonderful visit from Heather, who finally (!) made it to MN to visit me. Maybe there's hope for the rest of you! We had a great time relaxing, doing girl-y things, visiting my favorite hang outs, and chatting away. It was fun to finally host her here, as that's not something I've had the chance to do until now.

-I officially survived a year at Courage Center. There were a few moments on my 1-year Anniversary (and in subsequent days) where I thought I might just make it 364 days of employment, but I keep plugging along.

-I continue to be blessed with a great network of friends. The most "novel" friendship has been Christine, who lives one floor beneath me. The convenience of popping in and out, doing movie swaps, borrowing ingredients, etc. is something I haven't had before and am really appreciating. Plus, she is always good for a juicy dating story (which I can fully appreciate now that I'm on the "other side," at least for now!)

Kevin and I leave for Portland in 3 days... 72 hours to be exact. We are both so looking forward to the trip. These next 3 days could be long, though.

Amidst the excitement of this trip and a big step in our relationship (and undoubtedly an incredibly fun, full trip!) comes the sadness, anticipation, and reality of the 1 year Anniversary of Alison's death (April 13). While the reality of our relationship has never fully escaped me, I feel the sting of it more these days. I hurt for Kevin, I worry about what these milestones mean for us, I grieve for her friends and family. I try to be strong but this is a tough path we've found ourselves on. A path that has brought my tremendous joy and that I feel lucky to be on, but also a path that has a painful reality and that I sometimes wish was easier.

"Love isn't a decision. It's a feeling. If we could decide who we loved, it would be much simpler, but much less magical."