Living Together – The First Year

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Living Together – The First Year

“The best relationships usually begin unexpectedly.” Unknown

May First marks our first year of living together. Was it just a year ago that I was worrying about sharing closet space, how to split costs and who’s art would go where? I had deeper concerns also. Would we grow to hate each other? Would resentment fester over my messiness or his need for a lot of alone time?  Would moving in together end up moving us apart?

I also moved into an apartment after living in a house for many years. The walk up stairs are no joke when you have the dog and packages. The landlady lives underneath us – a fact that seasoned apartment dwellers would have taken into consideration. Parking is a nightmare.

Somehow we figured out how to exist together in a way that’s both scary and comforting, hilarious and serious, calming and nerve racking, and utterly unique in every way. 

Then Covid 19 arrived in Los Angeles. The virus that had felt abstract and in faraway places like China, Iran, and Italy was spreading across our city.  The fear of Covid 19 and what it would do to our relationship as we navigated the crisis during this first year of living together was real. Suddenly we were spending every single minute in the house together for weeks. We had two beautiful trips planned during this time that were both abruptly cancelled. Our conversations quickly went from where we should eat in Paris to how much toilet paper do we have left.

 At the start  of living together, I was worried that the mundanity of everyday life would kill all the romance and excitement between us. COVID-19, it turns out, has made our life even smaller and more mundane than I could have ever imagined. We barely leave the apartment except for special occasions like a morning or afternoon walk on the beach. We play word games when there is a lull in the conversation. I am usually in sweat pants or jeans and no makeup. We watch a lot of TV and have settled into an equilibrium over cooking and cleaning because there are no schedules to coordinate. 

In an unexpected twist of circumstance, COVID-19 will come to define this rather momentous step in our relationship. The crisis has also hit me with some much-needed perspective and gratitude. I feel lucky to navigate all of this with someone I love. At a time when public safety demands social distance, I feel grateful to have so little space separating us.

Self quarantined in our apartment, inundated with news and confusion about COVID-19, we are doing fine. Perhaps the real test of our relationship will come when the fears of COVID-19 subside and we once again have to decide if we will stay or move. Whatever we decide, I think we will make it through.

Stay safe,

JAZ

 

 

Anxiety And The Dog

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Anxiety And The Dog

“When you hear hoofbeats coming down the street, think horse – not zebra.”J.C.Peters

My dog Banksy and I both have anxiety. I can’t decide if that makes him the best dog or the worst dog for me. We live in Venice with a lot of scooters, bikes and dogs running free on the beach. He is fine as long as I carry him. I don’t think that he is well equipped with coping mechanisms.

Banksy is very excited to go in the car because it means he is not being left to fend for himself alone. Every time he gets in the car he has a panic attack. The heavy breathing, panting and crying begins. He is in the car a lot. If i open the window and he can look out, it is better. Is he claustrophobic as well?

Banksy also has a lot of fears of things that don’t really present any harm to him. At the moment he is afraid to walk on the wood floors in the house. He must have slipped and now the light reflection looks to him like we are on thin ice. If he has to walk he does it very slowly and carefully. I have to walk first to show him that its safe. Today we came home and the plumber was in the house. He wouldn’t walk in and ran down the stairs as if to say “Save yourself.” I realize now that all the barking he does when someone comes over is really just him falling into psychological chaos.

I have different fears but just as strong. Writing is a way to accept and work through the turbulences of life. Mindfulness helps – being in the here and now keeps my thoughts from looping down a bottomless pit to nowhere. Deep breathing, Qi Gong and sunset on the beach help a lot.

The funny thing about Banksy is that he can’t ask me what’s wrong but he knows when I’m in trouble and will shower me with affection to let me know things will be OK. If I begin to panic, I just look down and there is a wagging tail ready to distract me from my anxiety trigger. He also knows that I will pick him up if he is scared. The bond between someone and their dog is unique. We may be two completely different species, but we have a mutual understanding that we will take care of each other.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Best Meals The BF Cooked For Me So Far

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  Best Meals The BF Cooked For Me So Far

”Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” Federico Fellini

There is something special about having a boyfriend who loves to cook and is good at it. Living alone my dinners included cold pizza, eating peanut butter out of the jar, scrambled eggs, smoothies, tuna and take out. He is totally happy to be the one preparing the meals. Gender stereotypes mean nothing to him. He is going to make a great wife someday.  It’s kind of magical to come home and find  him cooking a dish that turns out to be inexplicably perfect. Here are some of our meals.

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Fly safe,

JAZ

 Ten Things That I’ve Learned About Him After Two Months Of Living Together

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 Ten Things That  I’ve Learned About Him After Two Months Of Living Together

“If you can stay in love for more than two years, you’re on to something.”  Fran Lebowitz

Living with another person is always complicated and perfect is not going to happen over night.  You face all the same issues that dating couples face -time together, managing friends, ex-partners — but you also face all the issues married couples face, like household contributions and managing money together.  We slid into certain habits and discuss others.  I think we are just going to have to settle for “really great most of the time.” Here is what I’ve learned so far about him. 

If I leave dishes in the sink for more than an hour, he will wash them. 

He listens to the news all day every day.  Rachel Maddow’s voice echoes in my sleep.  My Trump anxiety is through the roof. 

He has had a few cups of coffee before I wake up and immediately starts talking in depth about whatever is in his brain. My brain is just coherent enough to make coffee. 

He decided not to edit  his photography collection. 

He hates parking. 

He loves to go to the farmers market every Saturday morning and I love to relax and go out to breakfast. We are compromising. 

When he decides to learn a new difficult song on the guitar he plays it over and over for days – which will turn into months until it is perfect. Luckily, it is Beethoven and I love it.  

He talks to me in great detail about guitar fingering and tunings as if I am a person who understands what he is talking about. 

He wakes up happy.

 He often say weird things like babe did you see my keys? did you see my wallet?

Fly safe,

JAZ

 Ten Annoying Things That He’s Learned About Me In The First Month Of Living Together

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 Ten Annoying Things That He’s Learned About Me In The First Month Of Living Together

“Before you live with a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet service to see who they really are.” Will Ferrell

 Apparently my quirks aren’t so cute anymore.  But nothing is a dealbreaker yet. We  are figuring out how to exist together in a way that’s both scary and comforting, hilarious and serious, calming and nerve racking, and utterly unique in every way. Here are ten things he has learned about me so far. 

I use the Find My Phone App on a regular basis.

I meditate to strange music.

I like to soak the blender in the sink for many hours after making a smoothie. 

I drink instant coffee even though he makes delicious coffee every morning. 

I am a worse driver than he originally thought.

I spend the last fifteen minutes before leaving the house frantically rushing back and forth. 

Sweatpants and a sweatshirt without makeup is really my home uniform. My favorite sweat shirt is the red one  even though i have many sweatshirts.

I anthropormorphize  a lot with my dog (look it up if you don’t know what it means as I had to).

I believe it is his job to take out the garbage. 

I often say weird things like babe did you see my keys? did you see my wallet? 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Things That I Have Learned About Him After Being In A Relationship For Two Years

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Things That I’ve learned About Him After Being In A Relationship For Two Years

“It reminds me of that old joke –  you know, a guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office and says, hey doc, my brother’s crazy! He thinks he’s a chicken. Then the doc says, why don’t you turn him in? Then the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. I guess that’s how I feel about relationships. They’re totally crazy, irrational, and absurd, but we keep going through it because we need the eggs.”Woody Allen

He is great at birthdays, flowers and Christmas.

Never travel with him when he is writing. Even if he says “it won’t be like the last time.” It will. Travel anywhere with him when he is not writing. He is a great traveler. 

He has excellent musical taste.  If he says let’s go to this concert or hear this musician, I just say yes because I know that it is going to be good. 

Always tell him he looks terrific when he does. He likes that. However, when an outfit choice is questionable and you mention it – then you are shallow.  

He is a popcorn hoarder. I am a popcorn sharer. It is less caloric if you eat out of one box of popcorn. He does’not get that.  

He is very generous with wine. Sharing a glass of wine is totally fine. Sharing a second  and third glass is fine also.

He is not a casual chef. Each meal is a challenge and has to be the best thing he has ever cooked. Every dinner with guests is a chance to try some new difficult recipe he has never attempted,  It is always delicious but a bit stressful. 

My dog does not like him. He expects dogs to just like him. That is what dogs do. Not Banksy – he is jealous. It has been two years and Banksy still acts like when he gets back into bed he is attacking us and when he leaves the house  he is stealing something.

He gets bored driving down the same street. He prefers to drive the long route if that is  what his car navigation tells him to do.  If he asks how should I go, it is best if I don’t answer because he will only follow part of the directions.

He doesn’t like it when I tell him to turn left three times and he already knows that. He also doesn’t like it when I don’t say anything and he misses the turn.

If I mention that I like a song, he learns how to play it on the guitar for me. That is really sweet. He is like my high school boyfriend. 

 Relationships are not easy but we work at it.  I think it will  turn out that by taking a chance and moving in together  we will gain a lot more than we lose. Love wins.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ten Things That He Should Know About Me Before We Live Together

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Ten Things That He Should Know About Me Before We Live Together

“Women who say that they have met the most amazing guy in the world are only saying that because they haven’t lived with them yet.”  Heather Chapple,

Living together is complicated.  We are gradually about to discover each others irritating habits. I’m hoping that our good qualities more than make up for the nails on the chalkboard ones. We are in it together.  My goal is to find a way to get over, through, or around every obstacle. Here are some things he should know beforehand.

I need a junk drawer.  I like having a place for random things.

Shoes can go anywhere. I’m not editing my shoes to fit a closet. There is a pantry, oven, linen closet and under the bed to work with. 

I save leftovers. No leftover is too small to put in the refrigerator. You can almost always find one half of a potato, a few pieces of spinach, twelve raspberries and a quarter of a banana in mine. I don’t always eat them. 

Sweat pants, a sweat shirt and fuzzy socks are my home loungewear of choice when it is cold. I’m keeping my favorite red sweatshirt.

I leave the top off the toothpaste. I also forget to close drawers.

I like the toilet seat down,

I eat in bed. I like my side of the bed. I have certain favorite pillows that are arranged in a specific way. to help me sleep better. They are my pillows.

I cannot assemble furniture. 

I may not always know where the remote is. 

It will take my dog a long time to adjust.

But he will and then will we call it home?

Fly safe,
JAZ