Wednesday, July 31, 2013

So, I Live in Austin Now

For almost four days, actually.

It, um, wasn't as easy as it sounds.

I understand now why people live in one house for all of their lives, or at least the same town, or maybe why people become agoraphobic, or refuse to make connections with their neighbors, or become hermits and move to tiny caves in the middle of nowhere.

Because goodbyes?  Are just unbelievably painful.  Even when you know you'll see each other again, even when there is Facebook and email and free long distance and Skype, there is just no way to make saying goodbye easy.  I walked around for two months on the brink of tears and then, during that last week, as I took my last yoga class in Northport and saw my acupuncturist for the last time and our vet and Elmer and said goodbye to the things I love and hold dear in New York, I was just wrecked.  Just WRECKED.  I stopped sleeping. I cried a lot. I held my girls as they said their goodbyes and cried. Change is hard.

And then we packed all of our stuff and moved.

Which, um, wasn't as easy as it sounds, either.

For one thing we had to figure out how to get all of our cars and stuff and all of our people (furry and otherwise) to Texas. In July. As I write this, Coop and Jane are finishing the final leg of their car trip here from New York with the dogs. This was not as easy as it sounds, because Scout is INCREDIBLY car sick.  But we got tranquilizers for the poor dog and he's done just fine.  Look:

It was captioned: "Yes, his eyes are pointing different directions. But he still plays fetch and everything."
(I laughed so hard I was ashamed of myself.)

Later, the update said, "Scout is handing out flowers to the National Guardsmen and staring at bright lights." 

Kath and I flew down on Thursday with the cats.  Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to me, Thomas is ALSO very car sick. I was covered in cat vomit before we even got to the airport. But nothing further happened that was traumatic unless you count the fact that when we went through security, where they made us get the cats out of their carriers, Edward pooped while I was holding him. Poor little guy was so freaked out. It didn't help that the TSA attendant had clearly never seen poop before because she kept shouting, "WATCH WHERE YOU STEP" while I, still holding Edward, cleaned it up.  Then I had an encounter with a drunk and incontinent woman in the restroom and by the time we got on the airplane, I was smelling pretty good, as you might imagine. This worked in my favor though, because the guy who bought the seat in between Kath and me changed seats before we'd even left the gate.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, except for Thomas's yowling, but by that point, nothing could have embarrassed me. We landed in Austin, took a Taxi (which took a wrong turn but since we're from here, I could totally help the driver get back on track) to the new house to find that my beloved husband had set the place up for us during an earlier visit at the beginning of the month.  He'd had the new washer and dryer installed, filled the fridge with vegan treats for me and Amy's ice cream for Kath. He even set up cat boxes!

I unrolled my yoga mat in what will be the yoga studio and just like that, we were home.

A few pictures from our first 24 hours here:
These were waiting in the house for us.  My brother-in-law accepted shipment of our van, drove it to our house, unloaded it and then left us this gorgeous bouquet from his family.

I went to the grocery store the morning after we got here to buy fruit and other perishables.  This, um, might have happened.

Our Realtor sent us a welcome present!
This was the balloon attached to it.

Tacodeli Freakin' Vegan breakfast taco for the win!

Cats settling in.




Girl settling in.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Stages of Grief and Hummus

I've reached that stage in the move where I'm noticing all the things I'm doing for the last time in New York. We're in the final countdown before our move back to Texas --the movers arrive on July 22nd to start packing and by week's end, Kath and I and the cats will be settling into our new house in Austin. More or less.

(Coop and Jane are driving the dogs.  Pray for them.)

Anyway, it's a curious mindset to be in.  I find that everything has this undertone of tragedy.  Like, "This is the last time I will buy cereal in New York." "This is the last time I will hunt for a competent pet sitter in New York." "This is the last time I will make black beans in New York." "This is the last time I will clean up Scout's urine...oh, who am I kidding?"

It's particularly upsetting when I know I'm seeing someone for the last time. There have already been some tearful farewells when we said goodbye to friends who left for the summer and who won't be back before we leave. They've been just...well, REALLY PAINFUL.  As you know, I've spent the better part of three years trying to eliminate the things that mute my emotions--trying to live in the world unfiltered.  So, my friendships with people are deeper and I get to feel all of the joy of that --but the downside is that I don't have much in the way of protection from feeling the pain of saying goodbye.

Take, for instance this past week, when we travelled to Massachusetts to visit our landlords for the fourth of July. Remember how I told you that we'd become good friends? They're really just amazing people.  Just...amazing.  Wonderful, kind, smart, creative, funny.  I really love them.

We knew we had reached our destination when we drove onto their property and saw this:







The landscape is an art form --each tableau composed like a painting. (If you're curious as to why this seemed very familiar, go follow that good friends link above.  I'll wait.)

Anyway, the whole visit was magical and I had the oddest feeling of coming home.  I guess that makes sense--it's the same feeling I had when I first walked into THIS house, which was created by the same people.

In addition to just loving the heck out of our landlords, we met the rest of their family.

Our landlords breed bulldogs and had EIGHT bulldogs on the premises.  They were unbelievably adorable and snuffly.  This is my favorite, Elsa:
I loved ALL of the bulldogs, but Elsa is the youngest and has that puppy thing where she just topples over and waves her legs in the air while you rub her soft puppy belly.  I'm a sucker for that.
Sam.  The Coopers LOVE Sam. Sam LOVES tomatoes.
Is that a great face or what?
Here are the chickens.  And their incredibly mean pimp rooster. The incredibly, um, ACTIVE rooster who is pulling out their feathers in the discharge of his duties.
Julius.  (Who is orange.  Get it?)
So, then there were assorted fish and more turtles and an iguana and a frog we found in the yard... and then this guy stopped by:


So, I could go on and on about our landlords and the kind and interesting people they invited to meet us, and the idyllic village in which they live, and how they made both regular eggplant parmesan and VEGAN eggplant parmesan which was incredibly labor intensive (
Parenthetical photo.  I still got it!
) and how their animals are sort of a symbol of how much love they have to give and share, but this is making me incredibly sad as I write.  I love them. I've asked them to adopt me as a sister, they've agreed, and I'm going to go on faith that these tears I have dripping down my face are just because we are widening the physical distance between us.  The distance between our hearts? Closer than ever.

(Had I been thinking, I would have had them buy our house in Austin and then rented it from them. But now maybe we'll have a chance to return their hospitality.  I'm SO looking into getting a turtle.)

So, I've probably made you sad now, too.  Here, I'll share Harry's amazing home-made hummus recipe with you. (Well, you know, more or less.)


First, buy these.  Or some other brand.

Next, take about a third of the can out and place it in the food processor.

Like so.

Add garlic.  This is how much garlic I added.  Divide yours by half.  This was WAY too much garlic.
I would have added fresh garlic (one or two cloves) but my garlic cellar was full of shallots.  Damn them.


Blend until smooth.
Add about three tablespoons of tahini.  More or less.

Add about three tablespoon of olive oil.  You may need more later to get the consistency you want, so don't put it away.

Add kosher salt, a good heaping teaspoon, and the juice of half a lemon. Add the rest of the chick peas in the can and process until still a bit chunky.

Blend. Taste.  Realize that you've used more garlic than anyone in your family will ever forgive you for using. Open another can of chick peas and add most of it to your batch in the processor.  Now add the juice from the other half of the lemon, and some more tahini and salt and olive oil.


Realize that you've made more hummus than you can eat in the next week before your move.  Realize that it's the last time (well, and the FIRST) that you will make hummus in New York.  Try not to let your tears fall into the hummus as you text Harry that you made hummus, just like he showed you.

More or less.

(Edited to add: Harry says I left out the red pepper. This is probably a blessing to those who have experienced my Love of All Things Spicy (and who are still hopeful that the skin on the roof of their mouths will grow back eventually,) but anyway, add a tiny dash of cayenne pepper.)