Catching up



Emotions have been on a roller coaster lately. Mostly in response to very understandable situations that bring me great stress or great joy, but still, the differential is exhausting. I don't want to go into the specifics right now; perhaps later.


Last week or so I decided to start going vegetarian (although I imagine that will involve some flexing for quite a while to come; it's hard to eliminate meat utterly). Mainly for health reasons; in addition to the direct dietary benefits, I find both that I eat less and have more self control on such a diet (probably because I'm thinking more carefully about food). Tess took me out to sushi for my birthday and it served as both an opportunity to try some vegetarian-friendly options there (and yay, managed to convince the chef to make gari maki! Some places they look at you weird for that one...^^) and get in a nice, hearty meal of fish -- as well as introduce my spouse to broader sushi horizons than she'd experienced previously. After far too long away from home (where moderately-priced acceptable-quality sushi can be had for those who can't afford to splurge on the good-but-expensive stuff) this was an exquisite treat.


The biggest thing I notice with going veggie again: my persistence lives and dies by the quality of available meat substitutes. Tofu is nice but insufficient by itself -- prepackaged     meatless equivalents to junk food (think Morningstar Farms here) tend to be overpriced and, with some exceptions, not especially enjoyable -- except for Trader Joe's soy chorizo, which I always preferred to the other kind anyway. I cook more than ever these days, and need something that can endure experiments and attempts to replicate my favorite meat-based dishes. Fortunately, there's seitan, although I've yet to find the sweet spot for buying it. Eating dinner with Marion a lot has helped -- she can cut costs and has been eating this way for much longer than either of us.


Speaking of Marion, we've been growing a lot closer over the last couple of months. It's an odd situation -- at the time we began to acknowledge the feelings between us were a bit outside the range we normally associate with "just friends", I wasn't open to new partners and neither was Tess. At the same time, cuddling and emotional closeness with friends of the right kind are sort of default for me, and so we've been calling each other "cuddle buddies" for a while now. Lately it's been blossoming into something more like family for all three of us -- Tess seems to like Marion a lot too, and doesn't react to her presence the way she does most people. I can relate -- as introverts with a lot of social problems sometimes, we tend to experience people as so uniformly requiring of energy and effort to deal with that the exceptions tend to be unusually important to us. For both of us, Marion just doesn't show up on the radar, and so it's easy to enjoy her presence at length, or repeatedly throughout the week. I tend to defer joint socializing past a certain point if I think Tess will be overwhelmed, but it seems whenever I do that instinctively by not inviting Marion over on some occasion it's Tess who'll suggest we do. We like having her around and seem to be very comfy with where things are at.


I'd be lying if I didn't say there weren't romantic undertones, or some desire on the part of at least Marion and myself to remain open to that possibility. However, it's not where we are now, or where we're ready to go collectively, and I've been quietly hoping that things continue to stay comfortable for everybody. 


The teacher in my Thursday volunteering position is moving on next month -- I've already told the coordinator I'll still work with the class and assist the new instructor. Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing at this position or if it makes a positive difference. It's hard not to assume my inexperience and awkwardness outweigh any benefit my presence might otherwise provide, but that's not what the teachers or the coordinator tell me (pretty much the opposite -- I don't think I have brain software anymore that can meaningfully parse the levels of praise that woman heaps upon me.) Last week, though, I helped a student find some resources in the community she badly needs, but hadn't known existed to help people like her. That...was sort of a nice counterpoint.