Well, we made it. After over a year of hoping and planning, and hoping some more, we successfully moved into our own place. We somehow got the apartment of our dreams, with big windows in every room (so much light!), hydrangeas outside almost every window (that was actually quite a selling point for me), and a pantry (!).
So: the move itself. I spent the week leading up to actual moving day packing random things, sewing household items, and refinishing our table and chairs. I now have a new respect for people who refinish furniture; the backs of chairs are the WORST to paint. Somehow we filled half of the garage and my entire bedroom with our boxes—who would have thought we had so much stuff? It didn’t help that Bailey was moving on the same day as we were, so her boxes were in there too. It was quite a challenge to move around in the two-foot gap we’d left as a walkway.
Mom and Dad moved us down on Thursday. We left at 8 AM but still managed to get caught in the heat of the day. My car decided to start making Darth Vader sounds whenever I turned on the AC, so Mom and I got to feel the full heat of the valley for about three hours straight. Ripples of heat kept moving through my body, and I felt sweat droplets falling down my legs. At one point we were just laughing because we couldn’t believe how hot we were. A semi-truck almost crushed us at the end of a passing lane on Highway 46, since my car has a stick-shift and simply cannot move any faster once it hits a hill. We also got to try a new drink, called hot Kombucha, which I doubt will ever become popular. When we got out of the car at the apartment’s management headquarters, Mom’s sweat stains were so extensive that it looked like she’d peed herself and then done a handstand.
We finally got to our apartment and started unpacking mine and Jonji’s cars. After a while, we realized that Dad, even though he was navigating traffic with a giant trailer, was taking way too long to get there. Turns out, he had driven to Washington Avenue, not Place, which was an hour away. Despite this set-back, the Bear kept his head on straight and stayed admiringly calm and positive. The silver lining ended up being an opportunity for us to run to Target to get toilet paper, as we had none. And by run, I mean Jonji was literally running through the parking garage to get to Target because he didn’t want Dad to get to our apartment without us being there.
Unpacking went fairly quickly with the four of us and me directing the placement of boxes. Then came the arduous task of finding and buying a fridge. I had never thought that some apartments do not come with a fridge, but strangely enough that’s something you actually have to consider here, when house-hunting. Luckily I had been doing a little research on Craigslist in the week leading up to the move, and was able to contact someone right away. So there we were at 9 PM, driving to someone’s house to pick up our fridge. The only issue we had getting it was simply fitting it through the door. Jonji and Dad ended up having to take off the doors before it would fit through, not before they had tried just squeezing it through the kitchen door. This attempt, however, took a chunk of paint out of the doorway and almost made the kid selling the fridge tear chunks of his own hair out as he contemplated the loss in his security deposit. Sorry, man, but that fridge definitely should have been taken out before the place was cleaned and repainted, and not the night before the inspection.
By the end of the night, we had a new fridge, a new apartment, and plenty of boxes to unpack. We were so tired that we just scrambled some eggs and sausages and ate it out of bowls with a little avocado. I don’t think I have ever felt so immensely sticky. Not surprising, as I was sweating profusely, non-stop, for half the day.
The next morning we got up early and went to downtown Venice to show Mom and Dad around before they had to leave. Mom went bug-eyed over Gjelina take-away, where Kelsey used to work, and she decided to get a bunch of scones and an assortment of other savory goods. Delicious!
Too soon, they had to leave. I feel like I’ve been prepared to move away for so long—I’ve even lived elsewhere for a year, although it was only a few blocks from home—but nonetheless I felt a great wave of sadness as we said our goodbyes. But I guess that sadness is a good thing, since it means that my parents have been so good to me as to make me never want to say goodbye. Still, not being able to go over to their house any day will take some getting used to.
I’ve been trying to get my bearings here in LA, and part of that attempt has included making chicken stock. Seriously. Chicken stock is the basis for so many recipes, and it’s too easy not to make. Not to mention, it makes any recipe substantially better-tasting. The smell of simmering chicken stock reminds me of good health and a happy home. Once, I drank just chicken stock for a week straight, after the India Sickness Incident. That stock saved me then. When I see the broth happily simmering away on the stove, I instantly feel better.
makes about 8-10 quarts
1+ chicken carcass and/or chicken bones—the more, the merrier*
3 celery stalks
3 medium carrots
2 small leeks
1 onion, skin still on
2 bay leaves
1 tsp whole peppercorns
6–10 sprigs thyme
5–10 stems parsley, with leaves attached
3 tsp salt
any other leftover clean stems, greens, veg, or herbs
Place chicken carcass and/or bones in the largest pot you have. Cover with water until only 2 or 3 inches of the pot’s sides remain dry. Place on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Periodically check for foam on the surface of the water—remove said foam and discard.
Meanwhile, roughy chop the celery stalks and carrots and place in a medium bowl. Clean the leeks and cut in half, then chop into half-moons. Place in the bowl. Slice the onion in half and throw that into the bowl (I know, leave the skin on? Crazy! But apparently there’s a lot of good stuff hidden in those layers). Place peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley into the bowl. Throw in any leftover stems, greens, or herbs you may have as well.
Once the water has come to a boil, make sure all the foam has been removed and then add the bowl full of veggies and herbs. Add the salt. Stir once, then let the water boil again. Remove any more foam and then turn the burner down to simmer. Let simmer, with the lid partially on, for at least 6 hours.
Use in recipes such as braised meats or vegetables, any kind of soup, or simply drink it by itself.
*Substitute a pound or two of beef bones if you’d like, but simmer for at least 8 hours if you do.