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BWB and I are moving next week, and there will be a lot of changes in the new place.  It’s on the other side of town, in an area that neither of us has lived in before.  It has an awesome pool, and we don’t share a wall with any neighbors.  There are three floors, which I am sure will prove interesting when trying to get the puppy and his exploding bladder out of the house in the morning.

Also, when we move in to the new house, we’ll have a housemate.

When we first found the house, we had a friend lined up who wanted to move in with us. Unfortunately, after we agreed to the rental, he changed his mind.  He would have been much more of a known quantity, as BWB has lived with him before and we’re good friends with him, but when he backed out we decided we’d go ahead and find someone else.  After running through several other friends, we turned to Craigslist, which is how we found the roommate.  She’s a very nice girl, and she’s bringing her cat and a “fitness pole”.

There are many things about having another person in the house which I’m looking forward to.  She likes to cook, and I think it’ll be fun to have someone to share recipes and ideas with.  She loves dogs, so we won’t have as much trouble figuring out what to do with Asha when we need to go out of town — which will be especially nice given there are at least a few month-long away rotations planned over the next year.  We’re pretty sure her interests (read: geekiness) line up with ours fairly well, and it’ll be fun having someone else in the house to play games with.  Plus, when BWB is on nights, I will feel safer in the house than I would by myself.  The drop in rent from what we’re paying now is no small thing, either.

The closer we get to moving, though, the more I realize there are things I will miss.  Silly things, like not having to worry when the cat pushes the bathroom door open while I’m sitting on the toilet.  And selfish things, like being able to use up all the hot water with a very long shower, or having guests in the house whenever we want.  In the category of probably good for me are things like being able to leave dishes in the sink overnight if I’m feeling lazy, or letting the stinky workout clothes languish on the bathroom floor a little longer than they should.

There’s a freedom in living alone, or with one’s partner, which one just doesn’t have when there is a housemate sharing the space.  It’s been a while since I had a roommate, so some of the details had faded a bit.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I regret our decision — I don’t (yet, knock on wood) — I think it is the best option we have right now, and there are plenty of benefits to the arrangement.   That said, I also think this will just make it sweeter when we are alone in our house once again.

I’m always curious what people have on the playlists they run or workout to.  I find it really interesting to see what music strikes other people as inspiring or driving.  Sometimes it’s clear that people have selected songs based on the rhythym, cadence, or beat, where other times it seems like the choice was made more for the content of the lyrics.  I have a little bit of both on mine, and I thought I would share my current playlist on the premise that I might not be the only musical voyeur out there.  The only songs I took off of this list are a bunch from Study With Substance P.  Substance P is a guy who has set some important medical facts to music in an attempt to make the brute force memorization require a little less brute force.  I highly recommend these tracks to other health profession students, but they’re not really relevant for anyone else.  Unless you’re weirdly interested in random medical knowledge, in which case more power to you.

The only other note I have is that I am also subscribed to the podcast from This American Life, and when I have longer runs I often opt to listen to that instead, or some combination of the podcast and the music.  I’ve been thinking about delving into the realm of audiobooks, but haven’t done so as of yet.

And now, without further ado, White Horse Girl’s running playlist:

All Nite (Don’t Stop) Janet Jackson
Alles Neu Peter Fox
As Cool as I am Dar Williams
Beep The Pussycat Dolls
Bitch Meredith Brooks
Black & Gold (Who Dat!!) K. Gates
Boom Boom Pow Black Eyed Peas
Breakaway Kelly Clarkson
Breaking the Habit Linkin Park
Bring Me to Life Evanescence
Buddy Holly Weezer
Burning Love Elvis Presley
Catch My Disease Ben Lee
Cobrastyle Teddybears featuring Mad Cobra
Crayola Doesn’t Make a Color for Your Eyes Kristin Andreassen
Defying Gravity (Dance Mix) Idina Menzel
(Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar The Guild
Dragostea Din Tei O-Zone
Flood Jars of Clay
Get the Party Started P!nk
Girlfriend Avril Lavigne
Give It to Me Timbaland featuring Justin Timberlake & Nelly Furtado
Gold Digger (Featuring Jamie Foxx) Kanye West
Gone Daddy Gone Gnarls Barkley
Great DJ The Ting Tings
Halftime (Stand Up and Get Crunk!) Ying Yang Twins & Homebwoi
Haste To The Wedding Corrs
I Write Sins Not Tragedies Panic! At The Disco
If Janet Jackson
In the Belly of the Whale Newsboys
Jenny Says Cowboy Mouth
King Without a Crown Matisyahu
Let It Rock Kevin Rudolf & Lil Wayne
Livin’ on a Prayer Bon Jovi
Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard Me First And The Gimme Gimmes
Mercy Duffy
Piece of Me Britney Spears
Poker Face Lady GaGa
Pump It Black Eyed Peas
Quick Eddie From Ohio
Right Round Flo Rida
The Saints Are Coming (Live from New Orleans) Green Day & U2
Shine Newsboys
Smooth Criminal Alien Ant Farm
Some Days You Gotta Dance Dixie Chicks
Stand Rascal Flatts
Stick to the Status Quo High School Musical (Soundtrack)
Stronger Kanye West
Switch Will Smith
The Tale of Mr. Morton Skee-Lo  (School House Rock! Rocks)
Telephone Lady GaGa & Beyonce
Tubthumping Chumbawamba
Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Bloodhound Gang
Under Pressure David Bowie & Queen
Uptown Girl Me First & The Gimme Gimmes
Walk Away Kelly Clarkson
Wannabe Spice Girls
What Do You Hear In These Sounds Dar Williams
What Do You Love More Than Love Dar Williams
What I’ve Done Linkin Park
What You Waiting For? Gwen Stefani
You Give Love a Bad Name Bon Jovi

Okay, now it’s your turn!  What music is on your exercise playlist?

As a study break treat, tonight BWB and I went over to St. James Cheese Company for one of their cheese classes.  This class was beer and cheese, as the title of the post suggests, and we had a great time!  There was a special guest from Bayou Teche Brewery, plus the owner of St. James Cheese Co. as a last-minute substitution after a special guest was unable to attend.  I can only imagine that the guest would have been unbelievable, because Richard Sutton was fantastic!  I think some of the pontificating got to be too much for BWB, but I really enjoyed it.  Beer and cheese really aren’t his thing.

There were 6 cheeses with accompanying beers.  Due to last-minute changes (I think), they didn’t have time to make up the spiffy informational sheets they usually hand out with these classes.  I took lots of notes, though, and thought I’d record them here.  The plate of cheeses was neatly arranged and placed in front of us with the instruction that we should start with the cheese at 12 o’clock and work our way clockwise from there.

Pairing #1:  Pont L’eveques with Fuller’s London Pride

A cow’s milk cheese from Normandy, soft, with a mild but nice flavor.  They called this a “washed rind version of a brie”, which is an apt description.  Apparently once upon a time this cheese used to be much stinkier, but due to changes in the cheese industry, it has morphed into the current, milder version.  A neat tip we were given: this should be a springy, leathery cheese; if it’s runny or has a bread-crumby rind, it’s probably old.  Fancy!  I have in my notes that BWB started to make sad face in the midst of this discussion — he wanted to eat the rest of the cheese on the plate!

Pairing #2: Paesanella with Orval Trappist Ale

The St. James guys said this was a brand new cheese from Northern Italy.  It was quite tasty!  We were told it was similar in process to a taleggio, and after he said that I could definitely see the resemblance.  This pairing was one of the ones which worked best for me — I wasn’t very keen on the beer, but the cheese cut some of what I didn’t care for.  The Paesanella was one of our favorite cheeses of the evening.

Pairing #3: Tomme Pur Brebeis with LA 31

A Basque sheep’s cheese.  This was a harder cheese, although as the cheese wiz (heh) said, it isn’t as hard as parmesan “or the other graters”.  This cheese came with some very interesting stories about the name, the production, and the aging process, but I can’t possibly do them justice here.  You’ll have to ask me some time, or take a St. James class on your own.   This pairing was also where Mr. Knott stepped in to speak about Bayou Teche, and the story he told about his company was delightful.  Again, I can’t possibly do it justice in this space, but the net result is a brewery trying to make beer to match Louisiana cooking.  I can’t wait to try more, with the food it’s intended for.  If you get a chance, give LA 31 or another Bayou Teche beer a try.

Pairing #4: Bloomsday with Dead Guy Ale

This cheese is a raw cow’s milk cheese, made from fancy Jersey cows. Apparently Jersey cows don’t produce as much, but their milk is much more rich.  The cheese was airier than #3, although it was definitely still firm.  It was less compact, and fell apart a bit in my mouth.  It was a nice little cheese.  I don’t care for Dead Guy all that much, but I appreciated the pairing nonetheless.  Also, apparently the Rogue brewery is an awesome place to visit, and highly recommended as a stop on a tour of Oregon!

Pairing #5: Livarot with La Fin du Monde

I liked the Livarot quite a bit, but then I have a thing for stinky cheeses.  It’s a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese from Normandy, and our tour guides pointed out that this cheese “grew up with beer” — Normandy is more of a beer region than one for wine!  I really, really don’t care for La Fin du Monde (REALLY), but again, I could appreciate the pairing despite the fact that it was a nasty yeasty Belgian triple not my favorite kind of beer.  (Ahem.)

Pairing #6: Idiazabal with Meantime London Porter

I have to admit that after the long parade of Belgians, I wasn’t overly optimistic that the last beer would be one I’d, um, properly appreciate.  Imagine my delight when this dark, rich liquid appeared in my glass!  When BWB tasted it, his eyebrows shot up, “Coffee!”  Yes, coffee-caramel-chocolate!  This was definitely our favorite pairing, and our favorite beer of the evening.  The cheese is a smoked sheep cheese, which is only funny because I don’t usually like sheep’s milk cheeses much at all.  The smoke is very subtle, the texture of the cheese is dense but somehow still flaky, and all in all it was just really good.  The porter was delicious — I’m definitely going to have to keep an eye out for both of these again!

All in all, it was a wonderful evening.  I have so many notes, and what I’ve mentioned here barely scratches the surface.  I cannot recommend these cheese classes highly enough — this is my second one, and I hope there will be many more to come.  Even when I don’t care for a particular wine, beer, or cheese, I gain an appreciation for it through their explanations of why they chose it.  I love that we have a cheese shop staffed by such knowledgeable people who are genuinely interested and even excited about their products.  St. James Cheese Co. is definitely on my list of things that make New Orleans special — check it out if you ever have the opportunity.

BWB and I are moving at the end of the month.  We’re headed into a beautiful condo which we will share with a housemate.  We love the new place (especially the pool!), but there is a distinct lack of storage space.  As we prepare to move, we are trying to pare down.  Some things, mostly furniture and seasonal items, we will probably put in a small storage unit nearby.  Other things are going to Goodwill.  I’ve been working hard on decluttering for some time now, but I think if anyone were to look into my craft closet as it is right now, she would have a hard time believing the volume of stuff I have already removed.

There will not be a craft closet in the new house, as there is simply not a spare closet.  As I look at the bins, shelves, and bags full of fabric, stuffing, thread, and other assorted crafty items, I find myself wondering what to do with them.  In fact, I find myself thinking perhaps I should let them go.

For over a decade, I was involved with the Society for Creative Anachronism.  I spent a great deal of time and energy working on clothing and other items in a medieval fashion, and collected a large stash of beautiful fabric.  As my involvement dwindled, I kept thinking I would parlay some of my sewing experience into making clothes for myself, and collected a large stash of interesting patterns.  I knit, and have many unfinished projects with their associated yarns, and many more odd balls of yarn leftover from previous projects.  I keep trying to scrapbook, although my success at that endeavor seems mostly limited to assembling bins and bins of pretty stickers, fancy papers, and photographs forlornly waiting in a filing box.  I quilt, and with that comes boxes of colorful fabric scraps — insidious because even the smallest scraps can be held onto with the excuse that they might be useful someday.  And then there are the bags of stuffing, rolls of batting, polybead filling, bottles of glitter, extra zippers, tins of buttons handed down to me from my mother, and all of the assorted associated clutter of the craftaholic.

I love my craft closet.  I love being able to go in there and dig out all kinds of interesting things for projects, when I have the time.  The problem is, I am a tiny bit busy and “when I have the time” is a little rare these days.  In the meantime, the bins of patterns collect dust, the fabric sits unused, and the scrapbooks remain empty.

There is a part of me that thinks I should keep all of this stuff, because someday I will have a proper craft room where I can organize it better.  Someday I will have the time to make pretty dresses out of the beautiful silk, someday I will get the hang of scrapbooking, someday I will finish all of my knitted UFOs.  Someday.

Then there is the part of me that thinks when the time comes that I have a proper craft room, I can buy another bag of stuffing.  I can find another pretty silk, and there will be patterns I like just as much as the ones in the jam-packed filing box.  This radical part of me is suggesting that I might be happier in a house with less Stuff.  That, if I get rid of the craft stuff I am hauling around with me now, I can more easily justify the fun of picking out new patterns and fabric when I want to do a new project.  This part of me thinks that a clean slate would make it easier to focus on new projects, and that in the long run I would finish more of them if there were fewer of them to focus on.

My husband just read part of this post over my shoulder and IM’d me with the following*:

BWB:   I haven’t read your post, but it seems to be (at least in part) about the loss of crafting storage space. Well, it occurs to me that you will have your old craft storage space in the china cabinet. We will have two closets in our room, and three dressers.  You don’t like putting clothes in dressers anyways…

Me:  Yes, but the question is, do I need to keep all that stuff.

BWB:Oh…
Well, no.

Well, no, indeed.

When I think about how it would feel to get rid of those things, I have to admit that I get a little anxious.  My inner pack-rat is screeching, “BUT I COULD USE THOSE THINGS!  THEY ARE PRETTY!  WASTE OF MONEY!”  And yet, when I think about how it would feel to not have the clutter anymore, I imagine that would feel pretty good.

Maybe it’s time to get a little radical on the craft closet.

Maybe.

* Yes, we are sitting next to each other and IM’ing rather than speaking aloud.  We’re in a coffee shop, but we do it at home so that’s not really an excuse.  What, doesn’t everybody do this?

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