Blue Hole

The boyfriend came to visit last weekend, and since I was scheduled to work every single day, we had to squeeze in as much time together as possible. Which meant we had about five full days jam packed into three. But that was alright by us.

Friday began with blueberry pancakes and coffee. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to do much else besides watch a movie because I had to work in the early afternoon. So the boyfriend wandered around town while I worked the closing shift. He did manage to wander right into a Ludacris concert. Chattanooga is full of surprises.

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On Saturday, we woke up extra early so we could go hiking. At 6:15 a.m., we managed to muster up enough awareness to get ready for the day, and we headed to the coffee shop at which I work. We were the first customers of the day, and we revived our tired brains with some coffee before we hit the road.

Our destination was Laurel Snow State Natural Area in Dayton, TN. But we never actually made it. The map on my phone led us to what looked like an abandoned road that was chained shut by a rusted gate. And then my phone lost service, so we couldn’t even look for an alternate route.

After much grumbling (on my part), we decided to head to the tried and true Blue Hole in Soddy Daisy.

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It’s this really amazing place. Blue Hole is an easy hike that follows a creek for a few miles, and all along the trail are places to swim in the water. Its name comes from the swimming holes found all through the creek where the water is a deep blue color. We had the whole place to ourselves for a while before the crowds hit, and it was absolutely perfect.

On Sunday, I worked the dreaded 10-6 shift, so the boyfriend spent the whole day by himself. And while I was at work, he filled the gas tank up in my car and tided up around my apartment. He even went to the local farmers market and bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, some farm fresh peaches, and some leafy green kale. It was such a nice surprise after a very long shift.

The boyfriend had to leave almost as soon as I was home, but we managed to have a full and wonderful weekend.


Morning Coffee Down by the River

Whenever I have a day off, I usually spend it at home, catching up on some Netflix, reading a book, and taking lots of naps. But the other day, I decided to spend the day downtown.

I put on my new dress, got a cappuccino and a croissant, and walked around the park. I sat down by the river, enjoying the morning air, and it was so nice to take everything slowly for a change. I walked over the bridge across the river, into the main downtown area. I wandered down streets with beautiful new townhouses. I found some sweet little alleyways full of flowers and windows.

I love living in such a beautiful place.



Old Photographs and Little Histories

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There’s just something about antique shops and their piles of old toys. Ancient appliances that don’t make sense to us anymore. Bins full of rusted out farm tools. Stacks of dusty books. Boxes of damp-curled photographs. To me, these are the memories left behind by the generations before us. I find things that look like the things in my grandparents’ home, and things that predate even them.

I’m most particularly drawn to the photographs. They capture certain moments in time that meant something to someone at some point in time. My collection has grown tremendously since I started collecting, and one day I’ll put them all together in an album (or two).

On my latest excursion, I found a striking portrait of a woman (pictured above). Her face looks so kind, vastly different from a lot of photographs from the time period. The back of the photograph is labeled “Edna Lawrence, Ellington, NY ’98.”

So I took to Google to see if I could find out something about her:

Her full name was Edna Belle Lawrence, and she was born in 1879 to Francis Z. Lawrence and Elizabeth Wight Lawrence. She had one older brother named Wight Lawrence.

Edna went to school in Fredonia where she studied the classics, and then attended Ellington Free University from 1898-1899 and was doing post-graduate work there.

She became a teacher and taught at Frewsburg Union School in 1902.

By 1911, she had met her future husband, Thomas Dick Mack, and they married in 1913. They had two children, and eventually moved to Thomas’s hometown in the 1940’s. Their address was 1515 E. Concord Ave, Orlando, FL. (The house has unfortunately been torn down and turned into a parking lot, otherwise I would have included a picture of that.)

Edna died in 1963, and Thomas in 1970. They are buried together in Orlando.

And all of this from one little photograph that was very important to someone at some point in time. 


I Will Love You

This is long, but so worth reading through. From The Beatrice Letters by the one and only Lemony Snicket:

I will love you as a thief loves a gallery and as a crow loves a murder, as a cloud loves bats and as a range loves braes. I will love you as misfortune loves orphans, as fire loves innocence and as justice loves to sit and watch while everything goes wrong. I will love you as a battlefield loves young men and as peppermints love your allergies, and I will love you as the banana peel loves the shoe of a man who was just struck by a shingle falling off a house. I will love you as a volunteer fire department loves rushing into burning buildings and as burning buildings love to chase them back out, and as a parachute loves to leave a blimp and as a blimp operator loves to chase after it.

I will love you as a dagger loves a certain person’s back, and as a certain person loves to wear dagger proof tunics, and as a dagger proof tunic loves to go to a certain dry cleaning facility, and how a certain employee of a dry cleaning facility loves to stay up late with a pair of binoculars, watching a dagger factory for hours in the hopes of catching a burglar, and as a burglar loves sneaking up behind people with binoculars, suddenly realizing that she has left her dagger at home. I will love you as a drawer loves a secret compartment, and as a secret compartment loves a secret, and as a secret loves to make a person gasp, and as a gasping person loves a glass of brandy to calm their nerves, and as a glass of brandy loves to shatter on the floor, and as the noise of glass shattering loves to make someone else gasp, and as someone else gasping loves a nearby desk to lean against, even if leaning against it presses a lever that loves to open a drawer and reveal a secret compartment. I will love you until all such compartments are discovered and opened, and until all the secrets have gone gasping into the world. I will love you until all the codes and hearts have been broken and until every anagram and egg has been unscrambled.

I will love you until every fire is extinguised and until every home is rebuilt from the handsomest and most susceptible of woods, and until every criminal is handcuffed by the laziest of policemen. I will love until M. hates snakes and J. hates grammar, and I will love you until C. realizes S. is not worthy of his love and N. realizes he is not worthy of the V. I will love you until the bird hates a nest and the worm hates an apple, and until the apple hates a tree and the tree hates a nest, and until a bird hates a tree and an apple hates a nest, although honestly I cannot imagine that last occurrence no matter how hard I try. I will love you as we grow older, which has just happened, and has happened again, and happened several days ago, continuously, and then several years before that, and will continue to happen as the spinning hands of every clock and the flipping pages of every calendar mark the passage of time, except for the clocks that people have forgotten to wind and the calendars that people have forgotten to place in a highly visible area. I will love you as we find ourselves farther and farther from one another, where we once we were so close that we could slip the curved straw, and the long, slender spoon, between our lips and fingers respectively.

I will love you until the chances of us running into one another slip from slim to zero, and until your face is fogged by distant memory, and your memory faced by distant fog, and your fog memorized by a distant face, and your distance distanced by the memorized memory of a foggy fog. I will love you no matter where you go and who you see, no matter where you avoid and who you don’t see, and no matter who sees you avoiding where you go. I will love you no matter what happens to you, and no matter how I discover what happens to you, and no matter what happens to me as I discover this, and now matter how I am discovered after what happens to me as I am discovering this.


5 Things My Mother Taught Me


  1. It’s better to have and not need than need and not have.

    • My mom is always prepared. In her car, she always has Advil, band-aids, paper towels, plastic shopping bags, an umbrella, a hairbrush. You name it, she probably has it. This made her one excellent Girl Scout leader and child wrangler for 13 years.
  2. Don’t be late. Better yet, be 10 minutes early.

    • Her watch and every single clock in her house is set 12 minutes early just so she’ll be ahead of schedule. What some would consider impractical, she has lived by her whole life. And it’s something she has instilled in both me and my sister, so that in college, I was always early to my classes, and I have never been late to work.
  3. Know the difference between a flat head and a phillips head screwdriver.

    • My mom has never let new furniture, a flat tire, or a clogged toilet get in her way. I grew up knowing my way around the tool box, and it’s something I know I will never regret. My mom taught me that women are strong and can do anything, no matter what social expectations may exist.
  4. Make time for your family and participate.

    • I have spent my whole life attending family reunions, visiting cousins, aunts, uncles, and the like whenever we go on vacation, and I have been to so many graduations, plays, sporting events that my sister or cousins have been in. Family is important. I cherish the time I have spent with my grandparents. I love their stories. I love my crazy extended family. I don’t know what I would do without them all.
  5. Don’t let a schedule keep you from doing something spontaneous.

    • Every Saturday growing up, my mom would take my sister and me on a Saturday Adventure. She wouldn’t tell us where we were going or how long it was going to last. Once, she picked us up early from school, we packed our suitcases for anything, and we hit the road. Later she told us she hadn’t planned anything. She just headed east, and we found ourselves at the Outer Banks in North Carolina for the weekend.

I know Mother’s Day was a few weeks ago, but I hope I never let my appreciation for my mom be restricted to just one day out of the year. I value any moment I spend with her. And I know that no matter how long I’ve been away, or even how often I’ve been home… Home is my favorite place to be.


Hunter Museum of American Art

I thought it was a shame that I’ve been in Chattanooga so long, and I haven’t been back to the art museum here yet. I went about 6 years ago when we moved my sister here for her first year of college, and I remember loving it. So since I had today off with no other plans, I knew it was time to go.

I started the morning with a chocolate croissant and a fresh cup of coffee from one of the many local coffee shops around town, and I enjoyed the sunshine for a little while before heading inside.

I just thought I’d share a few of my favorite pieces here:



Around the Clock with Red, Helen Frankenthaler


Ruth Gleaning, Randolph Rogers


Just as the baby’s feet cleared the ground Padfoot leaped into the air and buried his teeth into the feathers of his old enemy, N.C. Wyeth


Slip, Courtney Wynn Cooper


And my mother would say to me, ‘You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.’ And those words plagued me and bothered me. I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing I could acquire or consume. It was something that I just had to be. And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What does sustain us . . . what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty inflames the heart and enchants the soul.

-Lupita Nyong’o


At The Crossroads

When I was in D.C., I ate at this really great restaurant called Busboys and Poets that has a bookstore inside called Politics and Prose. It was full of novels, political and social commentaries, graphic novels, children’s books . . . everything. After taking in the whole scene, my eyes finally settled on a book called The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna. The bright water-colored words on the cover made a great first impression, and I was not disappointed when I began reading the first page.

This book is a tangible version of Luna’s blog she published 3 years ago. In her own words:

This is a story about two roads — Should and Must. It’s a pep talk for anyone who’s chosen Should for far too long — months, years, maybe a lifetime — and feels like it’s about time they gave Must a shot.


This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I graduated last May with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, and while I’m happy with my decision to stay on that path throughout college, I’m facing a different reality now that I’m on the other side. I love anthropology and archaeology. But I don’t love the idea of sitting behind a desk, writing grants, giving seminars, or teaching theoretical college courses.

Since I graduated, I’ve had a nannying job (which I loved, but was also not something I could see myself doing long-term). And for the past 8 months, I’ve been working at a coffee shop. I know I’ll have to make a career decision sometime in the near future, or at least find something that’s sustainable with long-term benefits.

The thing is, I want to pursue something I love, that I’ll get to enjoy for the rest of my life, and if that means doing something a little more nontraditional, then so be it. But the hard part is getting to the point where I can benefit from the things I love (which currently include: art, ceramics, Pilates, beekeeping, gardening, and coffee).

Which brings me back around to this book. It made me feel a lot better about the plan I want to lay out for my life. Especially this section:


“If you find yourself peering over the edge of an enormous cliff where you can’t see anything down below, back up. Don’t make the leap!

While this journey asks that your surrender to the unknown, it does not ask you to put yourself—or those around you—at risk. To choose Must is not like Evil Knievel proclaiming he will do the unthinkable. It is not a spectator sport. Must is too important, way too important, to be chosen on a whim, out of excitement, out of intoxication. That kind of decision-making is certain death.

The most sustainable Musts happen slowly, thoughtfully, and quietly. They don’t happen impulsively but are built with a sober, calm intention.

Every decision you make counts. Ten minutes of solitude. One Must instead of one Should. Setting up your space. Writing your wants down and pinning them to the wall. Must is not a faraway land that you hope to arrive at sometime in the future, it’s not for tomorrow or another day. Must is for today, now. And as you take daily action, the cliff will cease to become a cliff. It will simply become an obvious next step along your path to Must.”

. . .

Working towards your dreams can be so scary, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. And I know that there’s nothing wrong with taking things one step at a time. It just means that I’m going about the whole process with intention and a self-sustaining attitude.