Friday, May 1, 2020

On the Horizon

It's hard to look to the future right now because so many things are uncertain, but Matt and I have been working toward something for awhile and our first major step is complete, so I feel the need to share.

We've sold our house.
We signed the closing docs in our car. If this isn't peak 2020, I don't know what is.
If you've been reading here for awhile, you know we bought our first house in the summer of 2014. Our plan was to do what we called a "slow flip"; our timeline was four years but it ended up being six.
2014
Our biggest overhaul was the kitchen. In the intervening years, we've also repainted the inside and outside and spruced up the landscaping just a bit. After Hurricane Irma, we got a new roof.
2020
We celebrated New Years and birthdays in this house. We buried Archie there and set up a little memorial for him. This is where we celebrated my promotion, half a dozen wedding anniversaries, and quite a few Passovers. This was a good first home filled with memories.

But it's time to move on.
Our last photo, taken on moving day.
This was a scary time to plan a move. We listed the house in early March, right before Coronavirus really impacted our area of the country. The house went under contract barely a week later. So, we were dealing with showings, realtors, appraisers, etc, while also dealing with finding a place to rent, all while avoiding people and the outside world as much as possible. During this time, school went fully remote and I was working from home full-time. (I still am.)

Things have been stressful, to say the least.

One of the biggest hurdles was finding a short-term rental because...well, the future doesn't stop for a pandemic. Our goal before COVID-19 was to move to Seattle; this had been a dream of ours for a couple years. Things were delayed, mostly by Irma, but now that the house has sold, the possibility is back on the table. If things fall into place, we will make the move this summer.

Luckily, we were able to find a place where a short-term/month-to-month lease was an option, so we have officially moved in and bought ourselves three months to figure things out.

Now that the sale of our house has closed and we've moved out, I feel less stressed. I can finally look ahead with anticipation rather than anxiety. Things are still uncertain, but in a this-is-an-adventure sort of way instead of a wtf-are-we-doing way.

As things settle down, I hope to go for my first run in three weeks, scope out some job options, complete the school year as successfully as possible given the circumstances, and stay healthy doing it. I hope you are all staying healthy and safe, too.

ABK

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Making that Dalgona Coffee Stuff with Drip Coffee

Isolation really brings out the domesticity in people, doesn't it? I guess there's something to be said for boredom and creativity.

I've been seeing Dalgona Coffee all over the internet, as I'm sure you all have as well. Given that we're taking isolation really seriously, I refuse to go out and buy instant coffee when I usually make drip. It seems like a waste of money just to experiment with a coffee I'll rarely drink - I prefer mine black.

But Matt likes cold, sweet coffee and after seeing my friend Kim post her results, I was intrigued. She sent me an article that covers making this frothy coffee with regular drip, so I figured I'd test this method.
I whipped this for about 13 minutes at the highest speed.
From the article, I knew the whipping process would take twice as long and the coffee wouldn't get nearly as stiff as with instant. The first round I tried, I used 2 tbsp each coffee and sugar. The volume wasn't quite enough in the stand mixer and the result was thick but runny.
As you can see, frothy but not thick. I'm using oat milk here.
I made a second batch using 3 tbsp coffee and sugar, and this batch aerated much better; the whisk attachment on the stand mixer had a little more to work with!
You can tell this one clung to the sides of the bowl and the whisk more.
Second batch (left) vs. first batch (rested)
The result was the texture of thick cream - like a melted ice cream instead of a mousse. Think melty marshmallow. It definitely wasn't runny anymore and stuck to the spoon, especially after some refrigeration. The flavor was incredibly sweet and not very coffee-y because I hadn't bothered to make my coffee stronger than usual. Next time I want to play with this recipe, I'll make a small pot of very concentrated coffee and go from there.
The second batch was still pourable, but left a thick layer behind on the spoon. I think melted marshmallow is the best texture comparison.
This was yummy, simple, and fun. It makes plenty of leftovers, which I've refrigerated for use over the next couple days. I also stuck some in the freezer to see if would make a coffee granita of sorts. (The outcome was more like a super soft and sweet ice cream.)
Frozen Dalgona
If you're bored and looking for something fun to make at home, this is a treat, but I'll stick to my black coffee in the morning.

ABK

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A New Era of Running

Toward the end of 2019, I was beginning to wonder where my head was at. I had thought that by the time I was two years post-op, I would be ready to train for a big race again. But there I was, torn: I wanted to want to run another marathon, but I didn't actually want to.

Any time I tried to set a training schedule or increase my mileage, I felt resistant to my own plans and goals. My heart just wasn't in it, and I couldn't figure out why.

I nearly found that motivation in January 2020, but then the flu killed it. I barely got around to training for Gasparilla, and while I enjoyed that race and the accomplishment I felt after each long run, I didn't really enjoy the training itself.

I told Nicole on her podcast that I was in a weird spot with my running. I intended to grapple with this feeling and figure out what I wanted this spring.

And then COVID-19 made its way stateside and everything went pear-shaped.

Suddenly, I was working from home. Suddenly, I was dealing with the mental exhaustion of worrying about my friends and family constantly. Suddenly, the only time I could get out of the house was for a run.

Faced with isolation, anxiety, fear, constant other-thinking, and an uncertain future, I finally found peace in my running. I have literally no desire to build distance and stamina, no desire to work on speed. And I finally feel like that's acceptable.

In the evenings, my brain feels tired and overwrought. I step out into my backyard and cover the same two or three miles. The familiarity is easy. My brain can rest. My legs do the work. The push and pull of air into my lungs is reassuring.

As long as I can run, I know I'm healthy. I know I'm making it through another day.

Right now, running is a solace. That's all it is. It's a wonderful, freeing thing, to run without purpose, to run for such a basic reason and such pure need. It feels so simple.

When I see others out there, we give each other a wide berth and wave. There is a feeling of camaraderie in the space between us.

Today, Governor DeSantis finally called for a stay-home order for Floridians. It begins Thursday at midnight. Schools are closed until at least April 30, probably longer. I know this is far from over.

I have never felt so grateful for running in my life; it is life-affirming and absolutely keeping me functional. Stripped down to its most basic self, running is exactly what I need, and I finally feel like I can just enjoy it for the sake of enjoying it.

ABK