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It occurred to me yesterday that I adopted Zoe for free. She was basically a wild wolf the day I brought her home; we've come so far!

It's 6am PST and my levain was loved up and ready to go. My apartment is super drafty so climate control is hard which makes maintaining a sourdough starter difficult. I've done the light on in the oven thing. It works most times. I've also melted one 12qt cambro and another 6qt cambro because I forgot they were in there and preheated the oven. Container melts. Starter lost. I spiral every time. I have dehydrated starter saved up, but it still sucks. It means I have to wait another 48 hours to make bread. That means no hot dog or hamburger buns, biscuits, batards, fougasses. Nada. I've had lunch meat go off, cheese get moldy. It's a frustrating Cascade because I melted my sourdough starter. Maintaining a healthy starter is like caring for a gerbil at 12 but with a deeper understanding of the responsibilities. When I murder the fucker, it feels like I've ovened my gerbil and her delicious possibility babies.

I always check on Zoe in the middle of the night if she decides to sleep by the door. It helped when I learned that Great Pyrenees do that, but I'm still always a little butthurt when she does it. Still, I check on her in the drafty living room and cover her with a bougie teddy bear comforter then go back to bed. This morning, however, I heard the doorknob rattle in a familiar way. She's done this before I want to train her to keep doing it; she hits the knob to let me know she wants in. I opened the door and lo and behold the bitch bounces in and looks to the bed. It's a King-sized giant so up she goes post 3rd invite. Never on the first. Why dogs, why?? I'm looking at you too, Garvey (RIP) And as a result, we have the picture in the header.

So, I'm up baking bread as the butler. She's napping like the youngest child of a geriatric millennial that she is. Oh, what a life. Glad you're enjoying it, Zoe.

Someone once told me that I'm the only person they know who'll say, "I'm hungry!" Then proceed to take three hours to make a meal from scratch. It's so true. I'd rather wait and make something delicious than scarf down something mediocre. In this case, I've been waiting to make these brioche hamburger buns for months. Finally in a beautiful convergence of events, my starter cooperated, I remembered to freeze the butter in bb chunks, and I had whole milk (lactose free) in the fridge.

I have some accidentally purchased blue cheese and garlic hamburgers that I'm excited to make in the cast iron. I do want to make onion rings from scratch especially now that I have homemade breadcrumbs, but not today. The brioche is done. The starter is rising so I can make croissants for the first time. Learning to make croissants because the bakery by my house makes these giant ube croissants that I often crave. They've questionable employment practices so I'm trying to make a dupe for my conscience's sake.

So at some point today I'll make hamburgers, onions rings, and strawberry lemonade (made with my homemade shrub!)

Updated: Jan 19

I feel incredibly loved today. All of it. The whole day was and continues to feels like I am loved and it is easy to do so. I rarely get to spend the entire day with the person I love. Today I got to. We spent it on the road doing a thing that only benefitted me.

Earlier this year, in absolute Jéhan fashion, I began to reexamine my intimate relationships. This world is unlike anything I could've imagined back when I was hopeful. Younger me didn't know what lay ahead. At some point I mortgaged property in the idea that life meant a hetero marriage, kids, house, job. Now I know that it varies. Especially for me.

Growing older has taught me just how different I am. Not because I want to be. In this body, with these experiences, my life is one lined with stories and stitched into patterns with scraps and mud. The love that extends from this life is .. different. It's a love I deserved and didn't receive. It's a love that requires maintenence. One that asks difficult asks of itself and the receiver like, who is this love for?

I watched an interview with a pro athlete who said he hated receiving gifts because they're always about the giver feeling good. There was more, but that's the gist. It made me so sad; this dark-skinned grown ass young man who is performing at an extraordinary level, has this relationship of hatred with gifts. My relationship with gifts is historically complicated but has aged like a delicious parmesean. BUT giving gifts that the person will love simply because they will love them.

I was in a relationship where the person I loved, loved giving gifts. They also loved poetry. So I bought them this book of poetry by one of their favorite poets. I made sure to buy multiple copies so they could give them away to people. Rarely do I receive a gift I love. Less rarely but still so, do I receive a love that resonates with the knowing I crave.

That's what so unique about this person and this love. It's not new to me. We've loved each other for awhile now. The first revelation declared on a day when I was immobilized by the excruciating pain of menstruation. Together we lay on my bed. My laying was more of a constricted writhing due to this genetic curse on my uterus. After skipping out of the room to retrieve something for me, there was a skip back to my bedside with a kiss and a "love you!" Confused I lay there because it was a simple sharing. So simple I almost missed it. Later I text for confirmation.

Our love isn't unique. It's the same as yesterday's and willing to be the same tomorrow should tomorrow require the rewearing. It's a love I can feel and the feeling satiates.

Today was a day that felt normal. A day where I felt like an easy companion. Where I got to wear comfy clothes and not drive at all for the 10 hour trip (even though I was willing)! Where I got to search for small town coffee shops that would eventually be closed. Today was a day where we both pointed out the abundance of police cars with the oddly equal caution of an immigrant and melanated queer. Where we talked and listened to each other while Weird Al shuffled in the background.

Today was an absolutely normal love-filled day of adventure. Today was a day baby Jéhan could never have imagined. I feel so proud to have this life I've carved out there's so much space in the art of this carving. So grateful for space.

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