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Farm Fresh and Fancy Free

Every week, I usually can get my hands on some farm fresh veggies, and they are so good. It makes everything a little better knowing I have something good just waiting to be cooked up for dinner at the end of a long day. 


And most evenings, the boyfriend and I hit up the local greenway for a run (well, I bike alongside him because this girl doesn’t run). It’s so beautiful around here at sunset. And this greenway is especially well taken care of, and we’ve been here long enough that we see lots of the same faces on the same trail. 


Life is really truly good. 

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Fountains where they shouldn’t be

Water is amazing isn’t it?

It’s our life source. It’s quiet. It’s loud.

It belongs in the ocean. In the sky. In the rivers and creek beds. In our eyes and our bodies.

But it certainly does not belong on the bathroom floor.

I’ve never seen so much water shoot out of a sink before, out of the place where the hot water handle is supposed to be. I’ve never had that kind of adrenaline run through my body before. And I’ve never felt so frozen and so unable to do anything in such an awfully panic-inducing moment.

In just an hour,  we dumped bucket after bucket of water from the sink to the tub. I made shouty panicked phone calls at people who put me on hold and told me they couldn’t help me at all. I looked in the water closet 4 times before my eyes finally separated the white shut-off valves from the white water pipes and got the river to stop.

The boyfriend and I wrung out towels into the tub and a plastic bin, hunched over for another hour, trying to clear the water from places it didn’t belong, until our hands felt too crooked to continue. We made nervous, adrenaline fueled conversation. Or at least, I talked to fill the strange silence in the wake of the roaring sink fountain.

After the pool in the bathroom looked like a tile floor again, we assessed the rest of the damage. My stacks of books found hurried refuge on the bed, as the sea had spread into the carpet, slowly seeking every corner it could find.

We laid in the middle of the floor and let the nervous laughter escape in manic bursts.

I’m eternally thankful for moments of clarity and humor amidst the madness.

And I’m very thankful I never have to go through it alone.

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Southern memory

We Southerners have a way of holding onto things.

Stories. Memories. Grudges. Old photographs. Stained recipes cards. Traditions. Wedding China. Old tea towels. Rusted oil cans. Books. Politics. Yes ma’ams and no sirs. Gossip. Our vowels.

We talk and talk and talk with cups of coffee in hand out on the back porch, remembering and rewriting our stories. We wave to our neighbors. We hold onto our ancestors, inviting them to dinner every night, as we talk about what they were like and that time when Aunt X said this or Great Grandpa did that.

We listen to the rise and fall of the cicadas in the tree tops, recalling the last big hatching and how it was almost like the plague.

We say our niceties on Sunday morning at church and break out the latest gossip over lunch.

We take family time seriously, and we know that our cousins are our true allies in this life.

We gather. We reunion. We remember.

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The Missing

I miss my grandmother.

I had the privilege of being close to her, if not always in proximity, then at least knowing that she was always just a phone call away.

I should have called her more.

I always loved her laugh, and I loved listening to her stories, the way she told them in her languid Southern drawl, reminiscent of humid Georgia days spent sipping sweet tea out on the front porch.

I should have listened more.

I loved the way she would slowly retreat into her own self after a while, knowing that she was becoming overwhelmed with people and socialization, but also knowing that she gave that trait to me.

I should have held her hand more.

I loved the eyes she had for my grandpa, always rolling to the ceiling in exasperation, always floating back down with so much love for the man who called her his bride.

I should have watched her more.

I loved the way she loved us, knowing that I could always find solace on the couch sitting next to her, as she would brush my hand with her beautifully crooked fingers, a little space of quiet in my grandmother’s presence.

The more I miss her, the more I love her.

On and on it goes.

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Unnatural Creatures

Since there’s still no wifi set up at the new place, my attention span has gone way up, and I’ve been working on my very large reading list. I just finished up Donna Tartt’s The Secret History a few days ago (just amazing!), so I had to find another one quickly.

I’ve been wandering my way through Neil Gaiman’s repertoire (not in any specific order), and I managed to get my hands on his collection of his favorite short stories that involve creepy and unsettling creatures, aptly named Unnatural Creatures. I admire everything Gaiman does, and while only one of the stories was penned by him, I knew I had to read it.

So here is my ranking of the stories from my favorite to least favorite. The nice thing about having such a collection is that there’s a little bit of this and that, and there’s probably at least one story that each reader will cling to. So please take this at face value and read the book for yourself if you haven’t already! So good.

  1. The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees
  2. Moveable Beast
  3. The Cockatoucan; or, Great Aunt Willoughby
  4. … (the title of this one doesn’t translate to text and is also unpronounceable, but if you read the book, you’ll know why!)
  5. The Smile on the Face
  6. The Griffin and the Minor Cannon
  7. Come Lady Death
  8. Or All the Seas with Oysters
  9. Ozioma the Wicked
  10. Prismatica
  11. The Flight of the Horse
  12. Gabriel-Ernest
  13. The Manticore, the Mermaid, and Me
  14. The Compleat Werewolf
  15. Sunbird
  16. The Sage of Theare

The first 5 are my most favorite ones, and they were hard to rank. The last 3 I couldn’t make myself read all the way through, either due to the writing style or the sentence structures. But I know that someone definitely loves them!

If you read the book, let me know what you think!

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A Letter

To whom it may concern,

They were all right, you know. Your mothers and your fathers. Your grandparents, in the way they could see right into your future. They’ve been here already, you see. Right in the shoes you thought belonged to only you.

Your mother had her heart broken into beautiful pieces like that boy did to you all those years ago. Your grandfather gave his hands to his work the same way the callouses on your palms grow bigger by the day.

You’re important. What you do and what happens to you matters. But don’t go out there thinking no one could possibly understand what’s swirling around in your mind.

Let people in. Let people understand. Because they’re the ones who are going to help you through.

With love.

 

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It’s Rabbit Season

Or rather, job hunting season. The hunt continues this week, but I’m still feeling good about things. I’ve applied to a handful of places already, followed up with a couple, and I still have more resumes to hand out to whomever will take them. I’m still in that sweet phase of life where I don’t really have to consider a “grown up” job yet, although I suppose that’s looming closer on the horizon, I just try to keep it out of my peripherals. Trying to enjoy these next few years for what they are.

Knoxville has been good to us so far. We haven’t been here very long, but things are settling right in. The boyfriend has had a great couple of first days at his job (his boss even used the word “outstanding”), so I’m not worried about him at all. The apartment gets better every day, and soon enough we’ll be in our little routine.

I’m excited to get back into the Smokies again, the mountains where I grew up. I haven’t had a chance to get lost in those beautiful hills in a while, so I’m impatient to get back out there. The boyfriend and I have a swimming trip planned soon.

All in all, things are good. Life is delicious. And being back home is grand.

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Moving Daze

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. I’ve let my blog fall behind because I’ve been wrapping up the last days at my job and packing up everything I own into boxes. The boyfriend’s job moved us up to Knoxville, where we managed to find a great apartment that’s right in the middle of everything. We’re close to downtown without having to deal with the downtown traffic. We’re right behind a great bookstore, and we have access to 3 grocery stores and countless local restaurants. We honestly could not have picked a better place to live.

Now, we’re just trying to get everything settled after a bit of a moving disaster (the truck I rented didn’t work out, and we wound up getting a trailer and had to make a couple trips between Chattanooga and Knoxville). The new apartment is feeling like home already, and I think it will be a place we’ll be able to enjoy for a while. (Pictures will come as soon as it doesn’t look like a mess anymore.)

I’m currently on the job hunt. The boyfriend is getting ready for his first day of work today. Things are really looking up!