We're six!

Photo by Ian MacLellan
Today is our sixth (dating) anniversary. Stephen and I met when he was 18 and I was 19, and starting dating 7 months later. I've been thinking about that time, late April 2003, trying to remember the details.

I remember introducing Stephen to my boss at the library (a very sweet motherly person who I ended up working with for four years) during finals week. She asked, "So, will he visit you when you're studying in Santa Fe next fall?" and my mind boggled at the idea of trying to imagine something so far in the future. I had no idea what would happen. It was my first relationship.

Six Aprils ago, I was a sophomore in college. I made $5.40 an hour at my work study job. I had never been on an airplane. I had just declared a major (Studio Art) and had completed Wilderness First Responder training a month earlier. I went home for the summer, and Stephen took a cross-country trip with his friend Sam. We didn't use cell phones then, so Stephen would call my parents' house from pay phones by the highway. I wrote him letters. When we got back to campus, we started the weekly ritual of The $20 Date: $10 for Chinese food at Main Moon, $4 for an ice cream sundae at Maxwell's, and $6 for two movie tickets (student discount) at the Hamilton Theater.

The thing that stinks about moving from place to place is that it means you can no longer have all of the things you love in one spot. I'll never be able to get Greek take-out in Cambridge and go have a picnic on the green in Hamilton. I can't take a walk through Beacon Hill on a brisk spring day and then warm up with chai at the Village Tea Room in New Paltz.

But that's okay, because wherever I go, Stephen is there.



listening to
The Crane Wife LP, again and again
practicing my whistle (I'm a terrible whistler, always have been)
eating homemade lunches instead of the usual dining hall fare
cheering at
the Boston Marathon
pet-sitting two guinea pigs, an eighteen-year-old Siamese cat, and a turtle named Turtle Boy
visiting the Gropius House
ruing not backing up the files on my desktop


Conspicuous Consumption

I've always dreamt of having a couch in my kitchen. You never see that, but why not? There are so many times when I'm sitting in the kitchen, either waiting for water to boil or letting my tea steep or chatting with Stephen while he chops onions, and I always think how nice it would be to have a cushy couch to sit on. Our current apartment is too small for such luxuries, but maybe someday I'll have a big kitchen and I'll move this much-loved loveseat in next to the fridge.

I had an interesting conversation with some co-workers at lunch the other day about pleasure of purchase vs. pride of ownership. I think we got into it by discussing Costco and other emporiums of cheap goods. Not that cheap goods are necessarily worthless or "bad", but those big box stores capitalize on the impulse to buy for the thrill of the bargain: "Who cares if these towels pill up and fade after 3 washes? I'll just toss them and buy some new ones. They're only two bucks!"

So, what to do? I like buying things. But I guess giving up shopping is not the point. The point is that cheapness shouldn't be an end in itself, that you shouldn't buy crap just because it's on sale. I hate how cheapness lowers my purchasing inhibitions: "This shirt is okay. Whoa, it's only five dollars! Maybe I'll get two." You know how things always look more appealing when you find out that they're free, in a "Why not?" kind of way? I trust myself more when I buy expensive things, because it usually means that I'm motivated by anticipated pride of ownership rather than the thrill of purchase. Perhaps my strategy should be to ask: "If this cost twice as much, would it still be worth it to me?"

I thought about all this last weekend when I got a new dustpan set. After spending an hour contorting myself to vacuum up every last dust bunny in all the hard-to-reach corners of the apartment, I found this little gem at Abodeon on Sunday morning: a super light, well constructed, beautifully designed dustpan and broom. It was much more expensive than the average set you'd find at Walmart, but it works well and is a joy to own. (You can see a little animation of it in action if you visit www.normann-copenhagen.com and click on Products > Dustpan & Broom).

Since we're now talking about purchases: I've been looking at this brochure (big PDF, in German, I think) about the inspiration for the new PS Collection stuff that's supposed to come to IKEA this month. You see that chest of drawers on page 29? That would bring me pride of ownership, don't you think?


Weekend Window Update

Another Saturday spent cleaning. I started washing dishes the minute I woke up. Stephen left for his parents' house at noon (he's helping build a chicken coop for their yard), and when he called to check in at 4 pm, I was still in my pajamas, scrubbing down the windowsills with baking soda paste. I also rearranged the bookshelves, polished the wooden furniture, flushed the drains with boiling water, and replaced all of those little felt floor-protector pads that you stick on the bottom of chair legs. It's amazing how much my list of home-maintenance duties has expanded since college, when it was more like this:

1. Make bed.
2. Wash laundry.
3. Vacuum floor.
4. Go play!

While I cleaned, I listened to last week's episode of This American Life, Scenes from a Recession. It was sad, and fascinating, especially the part about the FDIC takeover of a regional bank in Washington State. The snippet of a song by former Circuit City employees after Act Three is definitely worth a listen, too.

When I finished up in the kitchen, I noticed this little beauty blooming on the windowsill. I can't remember what variety these are, but they're lovely. Amazing what dirt and seeds can make, no?

P.S. I was having trouble with the camera yesterday and didn't like how the photos in the quilt post came out, so there are new ones up now.


Something(s) New

Oh boy oh boy oh boy!

A new quilt! This was a present from Stephen's parents. I've talked about this before, but I love blankets and can never have too many. To me, they are the embodiment of Home. Mmm, nothing like a nice cotton quilt.

I've always liked the saturated colors and bold graphics of the ones at Anthropologie. And this one provides a particularly stunning backdrop for my burgeoning collection of cotton tank tops:

My enthusiasm for these is rapidly outpacing our capacity for storage. It was comical when I came home with two new tank tops yesterday and found that I can no longer fit them all into a single dresser drawer. Each time I stuff a new one in, the one on the end pops out. So I'll either have to triage these or just make sure that a few are in the laundry basket at any one time.

Lamely, I didn't fool anyone on April Fools' Day. I almost never do, although I'm quite gullible myself. I don't like practical jokes and have a lot of trouble keeping a straight face. An intern of ours told me that she texted her roommate in the morning: "It's snowing!" Ingenious: plausible, benign, but devastating in the short term. I'll have to remember it for next year.