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Patterns Saturday, August 23, 2008

Posted by Grace in eating crackers in bed, strange days.
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Driving in the car a few days ago, Fearless and I were talking and he mentioned something I’d heard about before, but had never really thought about. And it’s been sort of stuck in my head since.

He brought up the idea that people look for people similar to their parents when starting relationships. The whole idea of a man wanting his lady to be like his mother. Not act as his mother, but to share some of the same basic personality traits.

He made an example of me, as well as another person he was with for a long time before I came around. First, that both of us have some common traits with his mom: a little bit shy, creative, like to spend time in the kitchen, and being kind hearted (though, if I remember correctly, he used the word softies).

I brought up the point that if people do look for their parents in their partners, what was I supposed to go off of? My dad died when I was very young, I have little recollection of him. How am I supposed to be looking for men like him when I don’t really know who he was? (Note: This was not brought up in any sort of woe is me, accusatory way. It happened a long time ago, and it’s not something I get really emotional about whenever fatherly topics come up. It was just a point to be made.)

Fearless said that my dad had been around in my life long enough to have made an impact, and though I may not know on a very conscious level the person that he was, on a visceral level I knew the type of person he was. And that I know things about him, it’s just that what I know I’ve been taught, I don’t know it first hand.

And much of that proves true: my father was a very masculine in the classic sense, he knew how to fix just about anything, was very much a provider/protector personality, loved being outdoors and working with his hands. 

The type of man I generally get interested in is classically masculine, outdoors-y, a Mr. Do-it-yourself and it’s important to me that I get that feeling that I’m safe with them (not that I haven’t been wrong before). 

So fine, he had a point. But then he pointed out that A, the other girl, and also had many similarities. And that’s what’s been sticking in my head.

Besides the obvious your last two relationships have been with Army men, Grace there have been some interesting similarities I’ve found between Fearless and First.

What has really been making it stick to my brain so much is their similarities with the one other person who I’ve been in a relationship.  Now, I’m not going to mince words, he was a manipulative, controlling, violent person. It wasn’t good, or healthy, while we were together. I had been told often enough that it was, so I believed him, but that’s a different story for a different day.

First and Fearless both habitually are decision makers. This is not a bad thing, but when you’re looking at it, they are the person who generally takes control. I know that it’s nothing near the degree of controlling that this nameless person was, but it’s still a strange parallel.

I don’t think I’m going to go into this too much deeper here, but it’s just strange, when you think of it, the lines you can draw and patterns you can see.

Any of you out there looking for your parents in your significant others?

Ten Days Friday, April 25, 2008

Posted by Grace in eating crackers in bed.
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Fearless is gone for ten days.

Ten days isn’t long, not long at all.

So many people are separated so much longer.

I am not saying that ten days is at all the same.

Still, I dropped him off 0540 this morning.

I dropped him off so his car wouldn’t be left there.

And there was that bit of sad silence.

Neither one of us wanting to say anything.

Hearing and acknowledging the words would make the ten days stretch, seem longer.

I yielded, parked amongst the bank of vehicles.

Unlatched the trunk, he let me carry the smallest of his bags.

He planned, and wanted, to carry them all; he knew I would feel better helping.

Remembering yesterday’s conversation, I had to ask You packed extra socks?

He laughed.

Already, the change in him was evident. His posture, the way he looked around, you could see he was in his work headspace.

We approached another bank of vehicles. Different this time, bigger, all the same shade of green.

We stopped. His fingers traced their way down my arm, he took the bag.

I’ll call if we’re on the grid. If not, I’ll call on the drive back.

A few more moments, and he was gone.

Ten days is not long. It is almost nothing. Still, whenever they leave, there is that indescribable finality of it all.

Love Me Tender: In the Days of Melting Snow Saturday, March 29, 2008

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Fearless lives in very close proximity to a large church.

On Sundays it is near impossible to get parking anywhere nearby.

I don’t know what was going on yesterday afternoon (wedding? baptism?), but there was no open parking down his road, just back to back parked cars. I turned and weaved my way through winding side roads that generally have some open spaces, with little luck. I found a tiny little spot between cars, and was rather pleased with the fact that I drive a tiny little car that would fit.

Being a born and raised country bumpkin, I’m used to people having drive ways. Used to lots of available parking space, and free parking at that. As it happens, Fearless is a matter of blocks away from downtown.

It was snowing, but hovering around zero, so as soon as the snow landed, it pretty much melted. Not yet having transitioned to a waterproof spring jacket, I was still wearing a heavy, non-waterproof, wooly jacket. The long walk didn’t go together with lack of waterproofing very well, and by the time I got too his doorstep, I was pretty soaked.

Sad little person I must have seemed, wet hair, sopping jacket, teeth chattering when he answered the door. He unbuttoned my jacket for me and took it to hang on a chair close to the fireplace to dry. I went to the hall closet and got a towel to get some of the excess wetness out of my hair.

While I was smoothing it down with my fingers, trying to avoid as much as possible the fluffy texture my hair likes to take on, he came down the hall with a bunny hug of his, knowing I would still be shakily cold. When I get chilled like that it sticks with me for quite a while, and I’ll shiver and shake until I warm back up.

I pulled on the bunny hug, marvelling once again to myself how small I feel next to him. The waistband was more than half way to my knees, sleeves extending way past my shivery fingers. It was perfect, soft and warm. But even better, it felt safe, smelling like that pretty mixture of old spice and cedar and himself that I love to breathe in.

As I rolled up the sleeves, hands reappearing, he told me to get out of my wet socks. You’ll catch cold. And anyway, you’re leaving little wet footprints everywhere.

I wiggled my way out of my mismatched sopping socks and threw them in the laundry. I’d steal a pair of his when I went home.

He led me back to the living room. My soggy shoes were in front of the fireplace, as was my jacket hung over a chair brought in from the dining room.

Then he did the perfect thing, got me down on the couch and nestled up behind me. Broad chest and shoulders like a shield, an envelope I fit into just right. Through the fuzzy fabric of the bunny hug, I could feel when he breathed. One arm was a place to rest my head, and the other came across my side. Muscle and bone not resting too hard, but transferring enough weight and pressure to feel their strength and protection. His big hands swallowed mine up, transferring over their heat. He’d had a day off, and so avoided shaving because it wasn’t compulsory, and the stubble touching my cheek wasn’t too prickly or tickle-y, it was just another layer of texture.

To think you said you weren’t one to cuddle I breathed into the warm air.

He shushed me and replied For you, anything.

(I know, I’m being super smushy. I just couldn’t help myself.)

Song of the Day: Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley

Secret Agent Man Monday, March 10, 2008

Posted by Grace in strange days.
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Earlier this weekend I found myself in a dimly lit room. On a worn seat at a heavily beer stained table. Fearless brought me along with some friends of his from work. I sat at that table and drank my beer, surrounded by fit young men with high and tights. As the alcohol flowed more freely, jokes got a lot more work-based and little bit raunchier (okay, a lot-a-bit). Apparently some people figure they’ve spent far too much of their lives on certain bases, and are tired of fighting over plastic covered mattresses so’s to not attract ‘critters’. Ew…

Eventually the conversation turned to the way a person in uniform sometimes gets treated by the general public. I heard a lot about the ‘friggin civvies,’ and didn’t get to contribute too much to the conversation. Not being a civilian of that particular disrespectful disposition, but still being non-military, I got to see and experience something I wouldn’t normally be expected to have, but didn’t get to contribute too much.

Being that female friend who gets invited to many boy’s nights, that one who the majority of the time is ‘one of the guys,’ I tend to see and experience things that the girls normally aren’t exposed to. I hear the tales and escapades that normally get toned down when other people are around. I see some of that male mischief that they get into sometimes. Ever wondered how much air you can get on an old couch your parents were going to throw out? With the right conditions and combustibles, its pretty impressive.

All through school, I got put ahead a year in certain classes. Some years, there would be other ‘jump ahead-ers’ my age, and some years I was the only one. There was a boy named Cody from my grade, who ended up in some of my year ahead courses. He was loud, and seemed to think he was funny, but really was mostly just annoying. In those classes we would hear a lot of jokes and complaints about those annoying little grade x-ers invading the class. Those in class who knew me well enough to know I was one of those would look over knowingly but not say anything. Teachers didn’t point me out either. I was pretty quiet throughout grade school, so I mostly flew under the radar. I got to experience all the hoopla about graduating and standardized testing before I was allowed to experience it.

I’ve just been feeling I’ve got a little James Bond in me lately. The secret agent in the room who sees things I’m not meant to, and stays stum to not give myself away.

Secret Agent man, Secret Agent man
They’ve given you a number and taken away your name.

Song of the Day: Secret Agent Man – Johnny Rivers

Young Folks Tuesday, February 26, 2008

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Early morning, I was sitting in the relatively empty terminal. The light that was shining in the ceiling to floor windows still had the mauve fuzzy shade that seems so unsure as to what it is, night or day. Dusk.

I had seen, printing my boarding pass, that the flight would be relatively empty. My terminal being the last in the long hall contributed to the lonely, divided feel. Of the eighty or so seats set before the gate, and the already beaming flight attendants, maybe 2 dozen were filled. We were an archipelago, us soon to be travellers. Each person their own island in a sea of seats, some small groups, travelling together, sat together.

Early and prepared for the wait, I got out my headphones, turned on the music, and cracked open a textbook. Any opportunity to study, right?

I felt the shift in the attached seats as someone took a place directly to the right of me. I was slightly confused, not because I wanted to be alone, but because there were so very many seats open, and by general, the archipelago was pretty much following bus etiquette. But hey, free country, right? Stranger can sit wherever he wants to.

I proceeded that prickles on the back of my neck feeling that someone was looking at me. It became apparent that my seat neighbor was looking at me. Once again, I pulled the Okay, little bit weird, but whatever card, and continued to read. Mmm… matrix metalloproteases.

But then, my seat neighbor leaned towards me and said Hello.

I looked up, little me with my headphones and my cell biology textbook, and saw (could you guess) a nice young man in uniform. We exchanged pleasantries, he was heading to a different base, I was going to visit family. He’s originally from out East, I’m from this neck of the woods. What are you listening to? Year Zero. Good album, I’ve got that on my iPod. Et cetera. When there was a lull I turned back to my book. He proceeded to get my attention again, but they called us to board.

The plane was virtually empty, and so he took it upon himself to seek me out and sit by me. Doubtless to say I didn’t get a lot of studying done, or music listened to for that matter. By the time we landed and picked up our luggage, we had talked about quite a lot, and he had given me his cell phone number and said we should do something while I’m still in province, or maybe he’ll drop me a line next time he’s in my neck of the woods.

Very nice guy, I hope he enjoys his time on that base (I’ve heard some stories about how boring and middle of nowhere it is), but once again, I wonder about this invisible sign I’ve got stamped on my forehead.

Song of the Day: Young Folks – Peter, Bjorn & John

I’ll Cover You Monday, February 18, 2008

Posted by Grace in eating crackers in bed, from the kitchen.
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Yesterday, the rescheduled Valentine’s was rescheduled again because Fearless has come down with a serious bout of the flu.

I went to his place at the time he had given me, dressed for the weather as I was told to do. And when I rang the buzzer, there was no answer at the door. I was confused at first, wondering if I had forgotten I was supposed to meet him elsewhere? I got out my phone and dialed his number.

The door opened. It was him, looking like death warmed over, wearing naught but a pair of gray sweats.

It’s Sunday? He asked, voice a little raspy.

I didn’t answer. You’re sick?

He ushered me inside. His movements were slow, very out of the ordinary because he normally carries this kinetic energy that buzzes from him. He grabbed a blanket from the floor, where he must have dropped it, and plunked down on the couch. I’m sorry about Valentine’s. He proceeded to lie down again.

The caregiver in me kicked in (as it always does), Have you eaten anything today?

He pointed at an open but untouched looking packet of soda crackers and said, Keep throwing up.

Are you staying hydrated?

He lifted a bottle of water from his side.

I fluffed the pillow under his head. He started to mumble something about moving Valentine’s to another day again, but I shushed him, gave him a kiss on the forehead, and told him I was going to make him some chicken soup. Fearless started to protest; he’s such a protector, he likes to do the taking care of, not be the object of it. Luckily, he was tired and weak from being sick, so protesting didn’t get him very far.

I whipped up a simple stracciatella, the perfect thing for a sensitive tummy, and brought him a new glass of water.

He ate, got sick, and tried to eat a little more. I got him into his bed, solved his achey muscle issue with a long massage, and just sat with him for a while in the quiet. He kept saying sorry about Valentine’s day, he had so much planned; but really it wasn’t bad at all. I got to spend a quiet day pampering my man and showing him I care. The only thing better would have been if he wasn’t sick.

Valentine’s has been moved again, to as soon as he’s feeling up to snuff again. From talking to him today, it seems he already feels much better. I hope work tomorrow doesn’t make him any worse, it sounds as if it’s going to be a rather intensive day.

Stracciatella

7 C Chicken Broth

1/2 C Orzo (my personal choice for this) or other small pasta

2 Eggs

1/3 C Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Tbsp Chopped Parsley, fresh is best but dried works too

Pinch pepper, to taste

Bring six cups of the broth to a boil, reserving one cup. Stir in orzo or other pasta, and cook until al dente.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese, parsley, pepper, and reserved broth. Gradually pour mixture into boiling broth, stirring constantly until the eggs break into strands.

Serve!

Song of the Day: I’ll Cover You – RENT

The Space Between Monday, February 11, 2008

Posted by Grace in blue doves.
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First called. From half a world away. Upset, disjointed, not himself; that agitated work-self.

Trying initially for common banter. Seeking something normal, comforting. I haven’t been able to talk to him since the decision he made. Banter isn’t common, it isn’t normal, not anymore. So he didn’t find it comforting.

I should have been there for him, to help. That is what I’m good for. What he is going through is far from easy. But I just couldn’t pretend that we were okay.

On any level.

He gave up on the lightness. And, blunt as always, revealed his purpose.

I miss you. More than you can know. I need you. I was wrong. I am so sorry.

The man I can’t even talk to properly anymore, for the pain of that break. After he’s been gone for so long. So far away. He tells me this.

I didn’t stop loving you. I can’t.

I need to think. I can’t.

Song of the Day: The Space Between – Dave Matthews Band

She’s So Hot… BOOM!: Chocolate Lava Cakes Sunday, February 10, 2008

Posted by Grace in eating crackers in bed, from the kitchen.
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What better than to follow up the first, cold part of the weekend with something luscious and hot?

Quintessentially female, I have quite a love affair with chocolate. I made them for Fearless earlier in the week, and he loved them too! I’m lucky the recipe makes a bunch, because he didn’t want to settle for just one. He was a lucky man because I let him take some of the extras. What can I say? Food is love! They’re just perfect little personal cakes of pleasure, ready to go the way of volcanoes at the first touch of a spoon. Each mini cake is baked with a truffle in the middle, and as the cakes bake, the truffles melt. Just divine!

1. Truffle

4 oz bittersweet chocolate

1/3 C whipping cream

2 tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream (or other preferred liqueur, Bailey’s is my personal favorite)

In a saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium heat until steaming. While waiting for the cream to heat, chop up the chocolate and place it in a bowl. When the whipping cream is ready, pour it over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the liqueur, and then refrigerate until firm. That takes about an hour.

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with plastic wrap. Spoon mixture into eight mounds onto the sheet. Roll them into balls. Cover and freeze until firm, around four hours.

While you wait, grease eight 3/4 cup ramekins lightly, these cakes are sinful enough without adding a lot of extra butter.

2. Cake Batter

3/4 C Butter

3/4 C White sugar

12 oz Bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 Eggs

4 Egg yolks

1 tbsp Vanilla

1 C All purpose flour

In a bowl set over a saucepan of hot, but not boiling, water, melt the chopped chocolate with the butter. Let cool.

In another bowl, while the chocolate bowl is cooling, beat the eggs, extra yolks, and sugar until thickened. (Takes me around 5 minutes, but I guess it depends on your skill at beating eggs) Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla. Stir in the flour.

Spoon half of the batter into the prepared ramekins, and then place a frozen truffle in the center of each. Cover with the remaining batter.

Bake with ramekins on a baking sheet on the center rack of a 350° oven for 22 minutes, or until the centers are sunken, soft, and shiny. Let cool until you can just handle them. Gently loosen edges with a knife, and unmould onto plates. Serve immediately.

They’re beautiful little cakes, that so far haven’t ever failed to impress. The person who taught me the recipe serves them with a Crème Anglaise flavored with the same liqueur, but I find the cakes rich in and of themselves, and skip it. They’re great when you have people coming over for dinner, or any other time, but then you don’t get to finish them all right when the cakes have come out of the oven and are perfect. Though, a little reheating and treating yourself the next day or for a midnight snack isn’t uncalled for…

Song of the Day: She’s So Hot… BOOM! – Flight of the Conchords

The Sweetest Thing Thursday, January 31, 2008

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I was sitting in the science library, with my organic chemistry lab partner, attempting to figure out a particularly difficult problem via teamwork. It wasn’t going very well, despite the fact that he and I tend to be a rather formidable team when up against the most heinous of organic questions.

My cell phone started to ring. I rushed, digging through my purse to stop the ringing, but still received a couple of glares from surrounding students in the moment it took. I told my lab partner that I would be back in a moment, and made for the exit.

It was Fearless. He asked, Hey, where are you?

I’m at University, like I always am on Thursdays at this time of day…. aren’t you at your school? (He goes to a different University).

I know you’re here, but where here?

Um, outside the entrance to the Science Library? Why?

Okay, I’ll be there in a minute. And then he hung up.

I waited outside. What else could I do? I was wondering what he was up to, because he was supposed to be in classes at his University, and we hadn’t planned anything.

When Fearless arrived, quite soon after, he didn’t explain anything, he just told me that we had somewhere to be. When we went back into the library really quickly, to pick up my books, my lab partner just smiled.

We left the building and headed across campus. I wasn’t sure where we were going, we left the complexes that most of my classes are in, and I began to wonder how he knew where we were going, because he isn’t a student here. He just smiled and told me he knew where he was going.

We entered the ecology building, a building that until this point I had never been in, and he lead me to the atrium that attaches the buildings to the greenhouses. Great big windows showed a variety of plants.

Well, he explained, finally, I made us lunch. And at least this way it can seem like we’re outside without freezing our asses off.

He surprised me with a picnic at the end of January. It was perfect.

Song of the Day: The Sweetest Thing – U2