Scenes from Asheville, NC

 

Beers, books, (vintage) bathing caps. Yup, that pretty much sums in up.

(June, 2013)
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Did I mention that I gave up sugar for 30 days?

Well, it was sugar, dairy, alcohol, legumes, soy and grain.

(I promise I was able to feed myself. And still eat a lot).

Today was day 31. Yesterday felt like Friday night and Christmas Eve: I thought about what I was going to eat, how I was going to celebrate, and dreamed of inhaling the most delicious muffin.

This morning, I woke up, put on my favorite dress (what better way to celebrate?) and went to my favorite bakery in town. I carefully picked out an egg strata with roasted peppers, basil, goat cheese and mozzerella. And the most gooey chocolate donut.

I ate the egg strata first, and it felt like a flavor explosion in my mouth. The sharpness of the cheese, married with the freshness of the basil took me back to Europe in the summer, all in one delicious bite.

And the donut. Oh man, that donut. Sugar coated sugar, dripping with chocolate. Almost too sweet, but sinfully decadent and so worth it.

I’ve learned a lot over the course of these past 30 days, mostly about food and my eating habits. But I’ve also learned that restraint lends itself to utter appreciation and satisfaction when indulging in life’s little pleasures. And it’s incredible.

 

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I just got off the phone with my mountain man. He’s hiking the Collegiate trail in Colorado with his brother, teaching him the ways of the wilderness one summit at a time.

I’ve loved hearing about his adventure.  I know how restorative it is just be in the presence of mountains, either from a distance or within their majesty.  We both find a certain kind of freedom in the hills.

After rehashing their adventures both in nature (there were elk skeletons) and the culinary world (two words: dehydrated chili), he said something that was so very true.

“What’s in front of us is the gift we’ve been given. ”

In the context of hiking, it’s beautiful. In the context of life, it’s profound.

When things fall

The ceiling literally fell in.

Black dust,  pieces of plaster & the mess of everything lent itself to a certain kind of chaos. The kind of chaos where you’re calling your mother in tears, demanding your landlord for more information, and making friends with your insurance guy.

I’ll spare you all of the (literally) gritty details, but over the course of the next few days, I dusted, cleaned and packed up all of my belongings to be shipped off and cleaned.

And guys, it was liberating. To be free of the stuff.

I realized that none of it mattered. I was safe, I had a wonderful support system, and (luckily) had gotten renter’s insurance back in April. And I didn’t miss anything that had been sent away.

I also realized that I have carved out a home in this dingy, run down apartment. I started looking at Craigslist right away, telling myself that there was no way I’d be living in this mess with a crazy slumlord for one more day. But then, nothing seemed to look right. And I found myself missing the crumbly brick walls, the cramped kitchen, and the quirky plumbing. This is by no means a forever home – I know that the near future will probably involve another move, a new neighborhood, maybe even a new town. But this place will always be important in my timeline. It’s were I’m learning to live, alone and with others, a life that is uniquely me.

Also, I’m having a garage sale. To sell all the things. (seriously).

 

still.

That moment when you clutched my hand? It made my heart beat just a little faster. It made my soul soar just a little higher as we rattled down the dark interstate in the early hours of the morning. The darkness covered up the world, and a for a few hours it was just you and me, together. No one else existed. Time stood still.

I like making time stand still with you. In a blanket fort as the sun peeks through the curtains, in a book shop with cups of coffee, in caves with secret slides, in a tiny bluegrass-filled kitchen, in an old stick-shift car–these are my favorite moments. They make me want time to speed up just so we can stop it again.

Dreamin’

What does it say about you if you start having wedding nightmares….about your best friend’s wedding.

I’m no stranger to unpleasant dreams of the marital nature. No matter that I was obsessed with brides as a little girl, every dream I’ve had about walking down the aisle ends up the same – with a panicked wake up. So I guess I’m a fan of the party, just not the commitment.

So the best friend gets engaged. She eloped first–which brought on a whole slew of odd reactions (read: hyperventilation)–but decided to have a formal ceremony to truly celebrate. She hired a wedding planner, made a list, took care of business and has remained as cool as a cucumber could be.

But this girl? I seem to be subconsciously absorbing the wedding stress and it’s manifesting itself into weird dreams.

The latest involved arriving to the church the day-of (with no time for a rehearsal), the bridal party just hanging out at the altar (no processing) and the bride with no less than six purses on her arm. The groom decides to make a grand entrance with an elaborate slide show, music and dancing. And I’m just trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with the train of her dress, which doesn’t exist anymore because the bride has decided to wear a nightgown. To her wedding.

So maybe this means that I hate change. Or that there’s some funky stuff brewing in the corners of my brain.

Lumps & Bumps

These are the months of the lumps and bumps. They are filled with the calls that you never want to get and the moments that take your breath away for a brief second. Moments that make time slow down or that cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, panicked and flustered with realization.

It makes me realize that we’re getting old. And that those things, these events that we would view through through the eyes of our parents, are ours now. Is this what being an adult means? Quiet tear-soaked phone calls?

But wait. There was this moment, in the midst of the confusion, sadness and hurt, that was great. Really really great. To begin, this was a physical lumps and bumps situation, which meant surgery, vagueness, and a scared friend. The morning of her surgery, our friends emailed each other, we called, we prayed, we stood strong, linking arms around her, ready to hear anything. Ready to do whatever it took.

And there was so much love. I think I said ‘I love you’ more times that day than I had in a while, to people I don’t say it to nearly enough. 20 years of friendship had formed an unbreakable bond, but with this, we were knitted together. A community of women ready to protect their own.

At the end of the day, the news was good! There were joyful, awkward tears (I was at a party, with lots of people when I heard the good word) and the feeling of  relief. It was going to be okay. She was going to be okay. Our tribe of women would remain whole for years to come.

That’s when I realized, on the other side of this whole messy thing, that I would never have to worry about being alone. Ever. These moments make you realize how very not-alone you are. And it’s beautiful.

Sweet summertime

There’s one thing you should know right away: my apartment doesn’t have airconditioning. It’s an old one-bedroom apartment in a very old building, in a very very old part of town. The red bricks have a way of holding the heat, and I’ve realized that this hot, sticky humidity that permeates my living space is just the calling card of summertime in ohio.

It’s a lethargic kind of heat. A lazy kind of heat. A move-slowly-too-hot-to-clean kind of heat. I perch in front of the open back door, hoping for a breeze, wondering if I’ll ever be cool again.

Today, with the gray overcast weather, the air moved quietly through my apartment. Like magic, I was motivated do all the things: clean the kitchen, sweep the bedroom, heck, even doing a little writing. It’s been, what, over a year since I’ve posted?

I’m telling you, a good cool breeze can work miracles.

And ice cold popsicles.