Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy birthday to me!

Yesterday was my birthday. I always feel grateful for the amazing people in my life, but on birthdays it's extra apparent how loved I truly am. I got so many well wishes from family and friends and, sure, most of the time it's just a Facebook post, but that still means a lot.

And of course, no one is better at showing me love and affection than my dear husband. He took me out to dinner at Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse in Northampton. It's just a little hole in the wall place that I picked on a whim. And it was amazing! I got the Bife con Gorgonzola (described as "our chef's favorite, 13oz NY sirloin, topped with gorgonzola garlic butter, chive mashed potato, and grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto") and Josh got the Bife "El Gaucho" (which was a "16oz thick-cut ribeye steak, served with chive mashed potato and sautéed vegetable of the day, finished with a rich veal demi glaze"). We both agreed it was the best steak we'd ever eaten -- salted, seasoned, and grilled to perfection! My mouth is watering just writing about it.

After dinner, we walked across the street to Herrell's Ice Cream, a handmade ice cream joint that is locally famous for their good quality. They have all the standards and they rotate in seasonal flavors. I got my usual, mudpie, which is coffee ice cream with oreo cookies and fudge ripple. It's a standard here, but I people generally haven't heard of it outside of New England. Josh got pumpkin cheesecake, which he certainly seemed to enjoy.

And then we came home! It was a pretty low-key birthday, but it was still pretty awesome. Thank you everyone who thought of me. I certainly appreciate the love -- and I'm sending it right back at'cha!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Up on the farm.

Aunt Lin invited us up to the farm on Sunday for Cider Fest. To understand the scope of this, first you must know how big Uncle Pete's family is. He has twelve siblings and most of them live in the immediate area surrounding Diemand Farm. On this particular occasion, they were all getting together to make fresh farm apple cider. They had stations set up: washing the apples, fixing the apples (cutting out any bruises or bad spots), grinding the apples, pressing the apples, filtering the liquid, and finally loading up the finished cider. It was quite the production.

That's my cousin in the black hoodie. Here, they are dumping the apples through the grinder while Phoebe turns the crank to press the juice out. They gave us each a glass and I can easily say it was the best cider I've ever tasted.

Meanwhile, there were half a dozen small children running around having a blast. My aunt made a pumpkin man (with Josh's help). Then my uncle took us on a hay ride.
A good time was had by all. I'm always a little intimidated by the Diemand clan, for they outnumber my family by about a factor of ten, but they are kind and welcoming, hardworking and fun-loving. And, really, they're my family too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

So here's a cheerful update!

I had an interview yesterday at Target in Holyoke, and I got the job! It seems like things are going pretty smoothly here, about as smoothly as possible.

We move to Massachusetts. Lisa gets her new job a week later. A week and a half after that, I get a new job. The house in Warren sold, so my father-in-law, who shall forever be named Pop from now on, can afford to buy a new car, therefore giving his current car, a Saturn, to me. I'm excited.

We also found out about a USDA home loan that allows for 0% down, so we're thinking more of buying a house and living there instead of dumping our money into an apartment.

That's it for now, folks! Catch you next time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The important things in life.

Moving home to Massachusetts meant a lot to me. Josh knew that from the start and he always promised he'd bring me back someday. After I graduated from college this summer and he lost his job, it seemed like a good time to make the leap. So here we are! Staying with my parents until we can get settled. It's not ideal, but everyone is making do. I absolutely love being back home, but I worry a lot about Josh and whether or not he's happy. I know he feels a little lost and a little stressed and probably a lot homesick. But under all that, I think he's okay. I just hope he finds a job soon, for his own mental well being more than anything. I have faith that he'll find his place here and soon this will feel like his home too.

We had lunch with my grandmother and my cousin today. It's little things like that I missed so badly living in Ohio. We went to the Four Leaf Clover in Bernardston, one of my favorite restaurants. Their lobster roll is to die for. The soup is amazing. Even the coffee is excellent. Sorry, I got distracted by food. The point is I got to spend a random afternoon with my family and that's why I wanted so desperately to come home. Yes, I feel rejuvenated by the sight of the mountain range in the backyard. Yes, I feel comforted by the crazy liberal hippies with the bumper stickers all over their cars. But mostly, I'm just happy to be near my family. And I'm so grateful to my husband for making that happen.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Buckeye in the Bay State

Greetings, Travelers!

A little bit of background:

I was born in Akron, Ohio, the second (and, ahem, favorite -- sorry, Mike!) son of a schoolteacher and a secret agent (okay, not really, but it's cool to pretend). After high school, which was as boring and typical as you'd imagine, I floated through life, going from job to job, and school to school, and even had a short stint in the United States Navy. Being of the Thoreau ilk -- meaning I traveled to the beat of a different drummer -- that didn't last long and I retreated to my parents' house in Hartville, OH, and spent my days reading on the back porch and smoking entirely too many cigarettes.

Then I met Lisa. Hoo boy. Here I was, raised a conservative Christian, interested in the red-haired, godless, glassy-eyed Clintonista that was Lisa. Long story short, we fell in love, both became a little more moderate in our political beliefs, and now we find ourselves married and living in Hadley, MA, my wife's hometown.  I love it here, and not just because of the pretty fall colors, or the myriad bookstores that also sell coffee (and BEER!), but because it makes my wife happy to be home (I sort of promised her aunt the first time I met her that I'd bring her niece home -- I did, and fulfilled my nephew-in-lawly obligations).

I've been unemployed since July. Trying to find a job in Ohio sucked, as I put out a million applications and never heard boo from any of them. We've been in MA for less than a week and a half and I just got back from my second job interview in as many days. Hoping I get the job at Apple, because it seems like a place I'd enjoy working (and the rumored employee discount doesn't hurt either -- what up, iMac?!). The other job is at Sears Portrait Studio, and is only part-time seasonal, but that's better than no job. It's also a little farther away than we want to be, but I will say it's a pretty drive on the backroads of New England to get there.

Until next time, True Believers!