Monday, May 20, 2013

Home in Colowasota

After a brief hiccup with my work schedule, I am set to leave for Colorado in three days! I ready myself to venture to my homeland with plans to spend time with family and friends, scatter Rascal's ashes, explore settings for my writing, and breath Colorado air.

Owen and I hoped to leave for Colorado together, but as often happens with the PhD program, he has to stay in Iowa City to take a class. Relief and Anxiety compete for my attention. After battling a complex and volatile schedule, I am lucky that the details are finally fixed down, but leaving without Owen will be strange. 

I have known Owen for only six years, and my parents have known him for only three, but he has become a significant member of our family. He fills gaps that we didn't know existed until he made us a little more whole.  Owen has built a website for my dad's business, golfed with my grandfather, discussed academic pursuits with my sister, and taught us all about psychology. We joke that Owen is the favorite at my family's house. 

I've spent more time in Colorado without Owen than with him, and yet next week he will be a missing piece of our home.  

Six years ago I would have never imagined that Owen and I would have a house together in Iowa. The past few days I have been working through my pre-trip to-do list: make sure that all of Owen's laundry is clean, that he has all the food he needs, that the house is clean for him, etc. As I work to care for Owen and our house, it is clear that I am home in Iowa City also.

My life is now split between Colorado, Minnesota, and Iowa. Though I often feel homesick for Colorado (usually accompanied by cravings for Mexican food, chai, sunlight, and/or Dan In Real Life), I feel glad to have so many places that I can call home. Surprisingly, my homes start to blend together as the colors of Colorado inspire our home decor in Iowa and as family and friends from our other homes visit us in our current one.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Food Ethic

Dear Readers,

I have decided to start a new blog project about ethical consumerism focused mainly on food.

My writing goal is to alter weekly posting between My Modern Marriage and Food Ethic, as Owen and I continue to explore what it means to create positive relationships between ourselves and the world around us.

I would like to invite you to join me in this new endeavor.

Thank you for all of the support you have given me,

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Daily And Not

As we approach the two year mark of our time in Iowa, we find ourselves doing less unpacking and more sweeping our dirt out from under the furniture. We're better adjusted and more confident in our abilities to do grown up things like paying bills. We aren't newlyweds anymore. Suddenly, life is daily. Though dailyness has a reputation for being a grind, it also brings routine and relaxation. I find that I don't examine my relationship with Owen as much anymore; I just live it.

The most recent and un-daily event I have to share is the passing of my family's dog, Rascal. The last I saw him was at Christmas, and even though he was grey in the face, he still had his puppy-like energy that had once been part of my daily life. It is difficult to imagine that when I go home to Colorado in three weeks he won't be there to greet me.

When we first met Rascal as a puppy thirteen years ago the people selling him claimed that he was a pure-bred St. Bernard, but that they just didn't make the effort to get papers together. In reality he was a mostly-St. Bernard.

Rascal was not a well trained dog. If you called his name he was just as likely to run away from you as to you.  On hot days he would swim in the pond by our house and then run up and thwack you with his giant tail sopping with pond scum.

His general disregard for systems and rules carried a certain freedom. His not-so-pedigree genetics were unexpected and beautiful, and he was always, always friendly. Though I am sad to see him leave, I was touched by the gentleness and care that my parents provided him in his final days while I was absent.

Rascal's passing was one of three that we have learned about in the past week or so. Today we visited the grave of a client I worked with through the Arc and were shaken to find that her mother, who I had consoled just months before, was buried next to her. 

With so much death surrounding us this week, we find ourselves dealing with heightened death anxiety. Since we started dating, Owen and I both notice that we are generally more afraid for our own and each other's safety than we were before. We've transitioned from young-hearted fearlessness in the face of mortality to suddenly having a lifetime of plans to lose.  Yet, even with the fear of losing the life we look forward to, we don't seem to live as fully as we would like to right now. Though the dailyness brings relaxation and routine, it also presents the potential for stagnation and stunted growth. 

Too often I waste entire days in a state of waiting. Constantly, I am waiting to hear back from some application that I've submitted in search of a more fulfilling daily. Yet even as I feel that some days are wasted by dailyness, those activities that are incessantly repeated are making me stronger and more capable.

With every downward dog and chicken dinner I am preparing myself for the future. With every day that Owen and I pass hours talking and thinking together, we build our relationship. So when the time comes that something is not daily, we can be ready. Having Owen in my daily means that he knows all of my emotions as they pass, and so he was ready to hold me when the un-daily news of Rascal's passing came our way. 

Daily life is boring, and it's comforting. Sometimes it feels like chains holding me down, but my muscles grow stronger from carrying them. What we do in our daily becomes what we do in our not-daily. What skills are you strengthening every day? What emotional responses are you practicing?