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a gentle exit
Friday. 4.29.16 3:16 am

7:30 p.m.

The sky is a dusty pink, beyond the lush green that is the forest behind my apartment. We lie there, tangled up in post-nap warmth and fuzziness, and listen to the rain. The leaves shake from the impact of the drops.

9:30 p.m.

It's quiet in the living room, but warm, and well-lit, and comfortable. I stop typing, and say, "I'm going to be done...for good...this Friday." He looks up and I can't hide the fact that I don't feel nonchalant about this at all.

2 a.m.

"Well," I tell him, motioning towards the finished paper. The term "cautiously optimistic" comes to mind. Later, in bed, he'll murmur that he's proud of me; "To be honest," I'll tell him, "I'm proud of me, too."

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Usual pass
Thursday. 4.7.16 10:29 pm
Be it extremely emotional, controversial, messed up, or whatever, this entry has been password protected.

If you know it, enter it; or, ask me for it.

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I'm making a new default password, and that'll be that
Monday. 1.25.16 11:20 pm
Be it extremely emotional, controversial, messed up, or whatever, this entry has been password protected.

If you know it, enter it; or, ask me for it.

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rituals
Friday. 11.13.15 10:16 pm

Successes:
- Got a promotion at work, which means a $.50/hr. increase and more responsibility
- Almost finished with Christmas shopping and it's only November
- Celebrated six months with R
- Almost completely sorted out everything with these last three credits of my college education

Now the entry.

I'm not a religious person, but one thing I do appreciate about a lot of religions is the use of rituals--the day-to-day tasks that help strengthen the human-deity bond. I'm attracted to the intimacy of these rituals, how many of them are both formal and informal, at once. That speaks to me, as an approach to closeness.

It's for that reason that I've only been doing the French braiding portion of braiding my hair, at night, and letting R do the rest. When I think of love and intimacy, I think of washing another's back in the tub when they're unwell, or feeding a child soup when they're sick, or braiding someone's hair for them, before they go to sleep. Those small, everyday gestures speak to me, carry weight...it's just lucky that he feels the same.

We've been nothing but smooth, throughout this relationship. Fights happen...maybe once every couple of months, and they're always resolved within the same day, and we come out of them more attuned to each other's sensitivities and needs. (Will that always be the case? I'm optimistic that maybe it will be, but realistic enough to know that some things can't be fixed so easily or learned from. Most of it seems like it's a matter of wanting to protect one another and having the big, uncomfortable talks early on.) We talk regularly whenever we can (at least every day), and support each other in whatever we're going after. Part of functioning so well is the fact that we already have a past and have hurt each other very badly, before any of this relationship business ever started, and I suppose the other part is us both having so much experience in functioning in environments where teamwork is crucial. It's so easy, in a relationship, to call yourselves a team, but to function as one is sometimes difficult and always a deliberate choice. Both of us have recognized that and made the choice, every single day, for six months. I'm proud of that.

And where did we find ourselves, on our six month mark? Eating a home-cooked meal that I'd made while he picked his classes. Me, sitting on the couch, knitting a scarf and watching a movie with my headphones in, while he wrote a couple of papers. Sitting in bed, me in front of him, while he finished my braid for me. No big, extravagant anything--he wrote me a long letter, I made him a card and half a dozen apple roses (recipe below). We smiled at each other a lot.

I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.



Apple Roses (recipe makes 6-8)


Ingredients:

Preserves, marmalade, or fruit/nut butter of your choice (I used apricot preserves)
1 standard sheet of puff pastry
1-1.5 large baking apple(s) (honeycrisp and envy apples work well and produce a nice sweetness)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cups water
Cinnamon sugar (to taste)

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. If frozen, set puff pastry out to thaw. If not, leave in fridge.
3. Peel apple and slice thinly so that slices look like so:

4. Heat lemon juice and water in saucepan to boiling; take off of heat and pour over apple slices in bowl, or add apple slices to saucepan until apples are pliable.
5. Throw down some flour and roll your puff pastry until the pastry is evenly thin; cut into strips about 3.5 inches tall with a sharp knife or, preferably, a pizza cutter.
6. Spread marmalade/preserves/apple butter long-way across center of puff pastry strips; place softened apples on the topmost inch or less of puff pastry strip, curved-side up and showing over edge.
7. Fold puff pastry in half so that the flat bases of the apples are folded in and only the curves are showing, then roll the pastry lengthwise--first tightly for the small petals--until the finished product looks like the photo above. Tuck any slices that slip out back into place.
8. Place in greased cupcake pan, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (I only used a pinch on each--this is a naturally-sweet pastry and doesn't need much help), bake for 20-30 minutes (I suggest making an extra you can cut open and eventually eat, since the baking time counts a LOT on how much you rolled that pastry out).
OPTIONAL: Dip each apple (curved part only) in red food dye or rub with blueberry juice to stain pink. A little bit of red food dye goes a LONG way, so be very, very careful with how much you use--you will be able to taste it, if you stain the whole petal. That's why I'd suggest blueberries, instead--no icky taste.
OPTIONAL 2: Set some pastries so the apple slices show point-out instead of curve-out, if you want to make lilies (drag blueberry juice up the lengthwise center of each apple slice to make pink lily design).

Best served warm with half a scoop of French vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. An argument can be made for butter pecan.

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