Monday, January 20, 2014

Remaining Sane while Decluttering

What's your favorite part about moving or traveling? Mine is being in a new place, and adapting to the surroundings. By far, my least favorite part is MOVING my stuff from point A to B.

The last couple weeks have been stressful, but productive, as I've begun culling my possessions. I am not a home owner. I rent a room in a house, so you'd think it would be easy, but I have surprised myself at how much stuff I have.

In an effort to make my move as easy as possible, I've been weeding out my stuff like a machine. Trash, donations, eBay and keep. It's a process I've been through before.

When I left Texas the first time, I had accumulated an apartment worth of stuff. When I decided to leave for the east coast, due to my budget and logistics, it became clear that most of my stuff would have to go, and by go, I don't mean with me.

I recall how bittersweet it felt, giving all my things away to neighbors, selling some of it at a flea market, or tossing things in the dumpster. Even though it wasn't much, it was mine, and it was what gave me a feeling of being home.

Once I parted ways with my things, and the sentimentality lifted, I felt rejuvenated, as if I'd just cut my hair or lost 50 pounds. I rode off to the east coast, ready for adventure.

I'm now reminding myself of this lesson as I lighten the load. Although I don't want to divest myself of all my possessions, I am constantly reminding myself that I'm about to embark on the next chapter of my life, and it's ok to start from scratch.

It makes me wonder if I'll ever really be the domestic type. I like keeping a home, but I don't like the logistics that surround filling it with things. All I know is the act of removing is freeing me up for the move, so that keeps me motivated, which is a good thing!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Super Easy Carnitas

Since I began pondering going back to Texas, I've been getting certain cravings, like Rotel Velveeta dip, Whataburger, and tacos! Of course, where I'm at now has lots of tacos too. But I want the kind you get in small taquerias in the SW. Like really fresh shredded meat on corn tortilla tacos.

I gave in to my cravings and decided to make some carnitas. I use a way simple recipe that yields some delicious shredded meat.

Texas Carnitas

3lb pork butt, cut into large chunks
3 cups water (1 cup for every lb of meat)
1 cup orange juice
2 tsp salt or to taste
pinch of chipotle powder (optional)

Throw everything in a large pot or dutch oven, cook over medium heat uncovered until it starts boiling. Reduce heat, simmer on low uncovered for 2 hours. Walk away, enjoy a cold one, don't touch the meat! After 2 hours, increase the heat to medium high, and stir occasionally to prevent sticking, until all the water is gone and the meat's cooking in it's own fat and juices. It should be fall apart delicious by this point.

For Tacos:

white onions
corn tortillas
hot sauce
squeeze of lime

I like my carnitas tacos with diced onions, cilantro, and squeeze of lime and of course some very hot sauce! 

Now the final step: ENJOY!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

In the Beginning...

Have you ever tried to start blogging, only to find that either a. you get serious writers block or b. completely forget about said blog? I think by now there must be several fragments of my writings scattered here and there, but I am determined to see this through this time!

My inspiration for writing has come from the many blogs I anonymously follow, especially those related to moving, nomadic lifestyles, or the Southwest. I seriously enjoy the determination and gusto that drives people to travel, create, be. I want that too.

I currently live in Los Angeles. I wasn't born here, but I've been here for several years, and more than long enough. My life has grown too comfortable, too stagnant.

When I was a child, I idealized living here, and planned a charming life as a grown up in the big city. I didn't actually land here until my late 20's, but sadly it's not been what I expected. It's not like I was completely deluding myself into thinking it would be this wondrous place, but hey, I was hopeful.

I do enjoy the weather immensely, as well as the accessibility to lots of exotic foods and cuisine. I don't love the phoniness, the traffic, the cost of living, among other things.

I grew up in Southwest Texas, in a small town on the border called Del Rio. Although the area is stunningly beautiful and historic, the town can be stifling, and I was planning my escape, via college, early on. Since then, I've only been back in small doses. 1 week here, 3 months there.

 I did spend a year there as an adult a few years ago in-between moves from East to West coast. Not much had changed, except for some new restaurants, like Chili's and Jack in the Box and a heightened federal presence. The people were the same, the culture, a bit more eroded than before.

And yet, it was a good year. The howling wind, nearby trains, and early morning roosters were comforting to me. It was nice to be home, work in the yard, spend time with my family. I also enjoyed day trips to beloved places like Seminole Canyon and Langtry. I could visit there a million times and still enjoy myself. Some things never change, thankfully.

So back to L.A. I've decided it's not for me. At least not right now. I'm pretty unhappy here and growing more antsy by the minute.There's other places in California that resonate with me, like Santa Barbara, Venice and Ojai, but unfortunately they're out of my budget at this time.

So I am plotting my return to Del Rio. It just feels right. Will I stay there? Likely not, but I will land there for a while, catch my breath, and clear my head. It's a good place for doing that, for me anyway.

As my mom loves to remind me, "you always have a home here."