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Anniversaries and After

This weekend recently marked the first full year since my grandmother has been gone.

I keep seeing little signs of her. Mostly hummingbirds. They were her favorite, and they’ve been popping up everywhere I look. I saw one in the form of a hand-felted ornament, and I brought her home with me. She watches over my bedside table now.

I’ve seen her in my apartment. I have a gorgeous hand mirror that used to belong to her, and occasionally, I’ll hold it up and swear I might have seen her reflection instead of mine.

Some of her earrings hang up on the bathroom wall, and sometimes I catch her gently putting them on, a glint of gold in the incandescent light.

Her old wooden spoon feels warm in my hand as I stir bread dough in the kitchen, and I can hear her voice above me, guiding me through her cheese biscuit-making lessons.

As I was sorting through a stack of old birthday cards, congratulations, and letters, I came across a little envelope with my name spelled out in slanting capital script. As I pulled out the contents, I found a recipe in my grandmother’s hand, a small newspaper clipping, and a short note. Signed Grammy. With oodles and boodles and forty kidoodles of love.

Each time I remember her is another moment I have to heal. The ache always requires healing. Every single time. I know it will never end.

But I don’t want it to. The ache is what I have left.

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Asheville!

I love Asheville. I love the smallness and the bigness. I love the local scene. I love the mountains and the neighborhoods. I love all the houses. I love the art.

I just had the chance to take the boyfriend here on his first trip to this beautiful city, and since we only had one full day to see everything, we did…everything.

  • Battlecat Coffee
  • Firestorm Books
  • Whist
  • Flora
  • River Arts District
  • White Duck Taco Shop
  • Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar
  • Asheville Bee Charmer
  • Malaprops
  • French Broad Chocolate Lounge
  • Rosetta’s Kitchen and Buchi Bar
  • Downtown Books and News
  • Urban Orchard Cider Co.

9.1 miles, 19,394 steps later, and we are exhausted. But so happy. The highlights were definitely Flora (a flower shop that doubles as a tea room and coffee shop), White Duck (the tacos were amazing and the line to order was super quick), Downtown Books (an incredible and affordable collection of books and zines with a friendly staff), and Urban Orchard (nothing like local hard cider to end the day).

We booked a room through Airbnb at this perfect West Asheville house. The owner has been very nice, but we haven’t seen her much. We kept passing her on the way in and out while we were there. Her neighborhood is less than a mile walk from Battlecat, and the weather this weekend was perfect for seeing the sights. I swear everyone here has a vegetable garden planted in their front lawn, and the houses are all dripping in character.

We spent the morning in West Asheville and the evening downtown. I’d say, we did a pretty good job covering all the bases while getting a good feel for the city. I don’t want to leave!

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Autumn Bucket List

  1. Appreciate the leaves changing color
  2. Invest in more linen clothing (some may say that’s a summer thing but I say¬†who cares)
  3. Listen to more podcasts (and pretend I’m in Southern France)
  4. Bake a pumpkin pie
  5. Find fresh hazelnuts (ideally for the pie, but probably just for myself)
  6. Try all the pastries at my new favorite (local) bakery (4 down, so many more to go)
  7. Go on more hikes
  8. Attempt a sourdough bread recipe
  9. Listen to Nick Drake’s whole repertoire (Pink Moon anyone?)
  10. Buy more wool socks