Monday, September 24, 2007

I feel like I just got a medal...

Retired mil-spouse co-worker: So I hear your husband is TDY?

Me: Yep. He's off doing xyz at ABC Base.

Co-worker: Oh. How long is he gone for?

Me: Only six weeks.

Co-worker: *laughs* You can always tell when you've been in awhile. You say things like "Only six weeks."

*long pause*

Me: Actually, we've only been married three months.

*long pause*

Co-worker: Well, bless your heart!

I'm glad I come off so nonchalant. I don't feel that way. I've been jumping in with both feet, trying to meet other people, get involved in the spouse group stuff for Einstein's squadron, working, job-hunting, trying to decide how much I actually want to work, obsessing about job interviews, weighing the merits of an enjoyable job vs. one that pays more and is better professionally, trying to hang curtains by myself, etc. Which means I've been busy. It also means that my biggest wish is that Einstein would come home, hug me and say "Stop stressing out! Let's get ice cream!" Which is what he would say, if he were home.

But a compliment from a coworker will work, in the interim.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Food and gardening

Einstein and I were raised in the sticks. We liked it then, and our families continue to enjoy it. There are times when I am annoyed by being from the sticks. Like when we are home over holidays and the sidewalks roll up at 5PM. Or when I realize that there is no real coffee shop. Or every time I am forced to drive from my family home to Einstein's (a nearly hour long drive, although we have the same "hometown").

But it is only after the past six years of being "away" from home that I begin to truly appreciate the thing that I miss the most about being home: the food.

I don't mean the actual dishes that are cooked. I love love love being exposed to all of the new dishes and produce-Einstein and I had green chiles for the first time last year, and okra for the first time this year. The food we grew up on was standard Midwestern fare, for the most part, with some tasty Scandanavian ethnic dishes thrown in.

What I miss is knowing where my food comes from. While no one in my family has farmed in three generations, my grandfather worked for John Deere. We ate grass-fed beef raised by some folks from our church. Our bacon was grown and processed locally. Our neighbors provided our milk (dairy and goat), chicken and eggs. Einstein's family is much the same, although most of their meat comes from the deer that he, his father and his siblings hunted (and continue to hunt) each year on their own land. They process the deer themselves. Their venison steaks are amazing.

Wild rice (which they now have to ship to us because I refuse to pay boutique prices for rice that isn't Uncle Ben's) is harvested from the lake that lies off the back of Einstein's family's property. Raspberries, strawberries, apples, rhubarb and just about every vegetable imaginable came straight from the garden. I remember being confused the first time I realized that my friends ate vegetables that came out of metal cans; ours were in glass jars. Frozen I was fine with, after all, I had helped Mom and Dad freeze a whole deep freeze full of veggies!

I know how much work that food was; I have a few clear memories of planting, weeding, watering, picking and sweltering August days spent canning. And canning. And canning. Lots of canning. But what I remember best is how sweet that corn was, how juicy the raspberries were and how crisp the green beans were.

When I was in college, I didn't miss this type of food much; part of the time I was living with a bunch of people raised much like I was, so we had a huge backyard garden and frequented the farmer's market. We were the only college kids I knew who made their own jam. Besides which, college kids are supposed to eat crappy food. It's a rite of passage. But now Einstein and I are a family, and I want to have real family food. And I can't, because:

The military is messing with my food. I feel really lucky to have the military community; after 4 years of unofficial membership and three months with an i.d. card, I know to appreciate the vitality, resilience and friendliness of those in my new community.

But there don't seem to be many farmers. Or even gardeners. I would give my eyeteeth for some farm fresh eggs.

So I've spent most of the time since we PCS'd looking for good food. I'm growing some fall tomatoes, and of course my little kitchen herb garden is thriving. I also have chives, mmmm. I found a farmer's market, but the last one of the growing season was two weeks after we arrived. Without the contacts that I had growing up, I'm not sure how to find a farmer to sell me eggs, meat and dairy. My super-librarian-research-skills have helped me locate some things (grass fed meat!!), and the commissary is pinch hitting with some cage free vegetarian eggs, but I'm exhausted at the thought of having to do this every time we move.

It was a lot easier when I was eight and could go across the road to collect our fresh batch of "golden" eggs and goat milk from our elderly neighbors.

Also, I'm used to being able to garden-not always a given if we are in base housing or an apartment (like now!). And even if I do find someone to buy bushels of tomatoes and whatnot from, do I really want to haul all of that home canned food with me when we move? What about produce that I freeze? Eat it up, I guess, but I'm paranoid about moving in the summer (highly likely) and ending up in this situation again-ie, facing a whole year with no home preserved anything because I was moving during growing season.

I'll just have to keep looking, and hope for the best.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Disclaimer: I suck at remembering important dates

Einstein called while I was watching the Oilers/Colts game with some other folks.

He called to wish me a happy 3-month anniversary.

Woops. I had completely forgotten. Completely. This was partially due to the fact that we were dating/engaged for so long that "month" anniversaries long ago ceased to be something I kept track of. We have "celebrated" the last two months (quiet, reasonably priced dinners out) but it is a lot easier to remember when he is here.

The other cause of my forgetfulness? I'm not good at romance. Einstein is (when he is on his A game, which is the vast majority of the time) incredibly romantic. Letters every day, flowers just because, post it love notes all over the house, stuffed animals and candelight dinners romantic. Don't get me wrong; he's not like that all the time. He is constantly telling me that he's not "good at romantic stuff" but that is just his own perfectionism talking.

I, on the other hand, struggle to remember even those most basic parts of relationship maintenance. Like, oh, say, the day we got married. Or the fact that it was 3 months ago today.

Hmmm. If we're going to be doing the month-by-month thing, maybe I should write it in on my calendar.

Friday, September 14, 2007

High School Musical

One great thing about Einstein being gone on TDY is that it means I have the netflix queue all to myself. This is exciting, since we rarely agree on movies since he, unsuprisingly, loves movies with lots of planes, explosions and watches Lord of the Rings repeatedly, and I am more into documentaries, "girl" movies and movies made of books that I've read. Since this includes LotR, we have been able to compromise. Neither of us are totally against the other's genres; I loved Transformers (seeing it on an Air Force base was definitely the way to go!) and he is a fan of The Devil Wears Prada. I like it because it is a well done version of a superb book, and he loves it because "It's a really great story about leadership styles." I kid you not. He actually said that. He wanted to show it to his squadron, and do a little presentation on leadership styles and teamwork. I talked him out of it, but maybe I should have let him run with it.

At any rate, it was kind of nice to get that little envelope in the mail and not have to listen to his complaints about having to watch High School Musical. I would like to take a moment to say that I would never have watched this movie if it weren't for the fact that I've been substitute teaching and every middle schooler I've met is obsessed with the movie. It made me feel old that I'd never even heard of it, so I put it in the queue.

And it was actually really fun. I love musicals, so it wasn't a huge shock that I enjoyed it. Also, after two weeks of eating meals by myself, going to my first ever squadron function (by myself), going to my first spouses group meeting, trying to "make friends", applying for jobs and substitute teaching the aforementioned middle schoolers, I have to say I think I deserved something escapist. And High School Musical certainly fit the bill!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happily unemployed?

With employment looming on the horizon, I look back at all of the my angst about getting a job and feel a bit ridiculous. As much as I love libraries, and hated to leave the last one I worked at, I've enjoyed these in between days of setting up our home, settling in and trying to relax into married life.

On the other hand, I realize that the only reason that these days seem enjoyable now is that I have prospects (no guarentees, but prospects, which is better than I've been hoping for lately) of steady, full time work in my chosen field. I definitely appreciate the insight, though, and I'm writing about it mainly so that I have a record to remind myself to treasure the looser days without a job when we move on to the next duty post.