buddies at the beach

Everyone should really come visit me at the beach because it is quite fun.

I had quite the crew come and visit me over the weekend a few weeks ago. First Sam arrived late Friday night (we both worked a full day and then she drove across the state from Charlotte to meet me). We walked around downtown and got ice cream and then we both admitted we were kind of wiped and were okay with turning in early. Were getting ready for bed and she said “We can have pillow talk after we turn the lights out, right?” and it was just like the girly slumber parties of my youth:) A real advantage of my student housing having two single beds in each room.

Then Saturday morning Claire and Nate arrived to join us too. We immediately proceeded to Kure Beach to eat some seafood. Claire and I split this seafood platter which was perfect for variety and deliciousness. Fried flounder and oysters, sweet potato fries, and grilled asparagus. Unpictured was the free hush puppies our waitress brought the table❤

IMG_5687

Then we got our beach on! Some of the other people from our program who had planned on coming canceled because of the weather, but though it remained cloudy didn’t actually rain while we were on the beach. And the clouds helped prevent sunburn and gave the whole day a kind of dreamy aura.

IMG_5688

I actually SWAM, out in deep water, for the first time in recent memory. Something about being with a big group of friends made me less petrified of sharks than I usually am, hahaha. Kure Beach has pretty intense waves so I’m calling it a workout!

IMG_5694
ITDE4691

There was also frisbee-ing. I somehow ended up in a position where I was downhill from everyone else and when they overshot (which was fairly frequent, since it was a pretty windy day) I’d have to sprint to keep the frisbee from going out to sea. Yet another workout!

IMG_5690 NAYA9854

Sam showed off some gymnastics

KMXH4189

Claire and I did our best Ted Cruz Goes to the Beach faces. I missed this girl and our silliness!

IMG_5708

Nate made terrible old man puns the whole day so we made him pose in front of this sign.

IMG_5715

Then Sam hit the road back to Charlotte to get in one productive day for the weekend, and Claire, Nate and I proceeded to Indochine, which I’d heard all my coworkers/everyone who lives in Wilmington rave about. It was FAR beyond what I thought it would be.

You pull up and it seems like kind of a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant, but then you’re confused because the parking lot is massive and totally packed. You go through the front door, take a pager (there’s always a long wait!) and then go outside, where you get astounded by all the incredibleness as it just keeps going and going and going!

IMG_5723

Here’s Claire and Nate being adorable and posing by the koi pond.

IMG_5721

We had about an hour’s wait, so we got some appetizers and sat at the tiki bar.

IMG_5725

Then we were seated, indoors, which turned out to be fortunate since the sky opened up and just started pourrrrring rain. The indoors was really cool too- it was clear the owner has a real eye for detail, and there was no corner of the place that didn’t have some cool, unique piece of decor.

IMG_5730

Though indoors, we did have a window seat, and for some bizarre reason this BEAUTIFUL man came up to the front porch of the restaurant and ripped off his shirt and stood there shirtless as the rain fell behind him whattttttt?! Nate rolled his eyes as my and Claire’s jaws both dropped to the floor. So WHO KNOWS what you can encounter at this magical restaurant?!

Everyone got a tasty little cabbage slaw with peanuts on top to start off the meal.

IMG_5729

Then our entrees came and we all shared some VERY tasty treats. I’ll let Claire’s snapchat screenshot tell the story (don’t I look beautiful?!)

FullSizeRender

Drunken noodles with tofu, green curry with scallops (the most delicious!), and yellow curry with all kinds of exotic vegetables. The portions were ENORMOUS so this satisfied us for several meals.

We all collapsed into food comas and slept comfortably til the next day. At that point, we were greeted by Zach, Jaclyn, and their doglet Lemon, who drove down for a daytrip. Zachlyn both really love donuts (well and the rest of us don’t hate them either) so our next destination was Wake and Bake, in Carolina Beach. Their selection is COLOSSAL. And they had donut holes to sample while you waited in the (sizeable) line, which was super legit of them. And the guy who helped us was hilarious and (as you’ll see) gave us the most MASSIVE fritter possible.

IMG_5746

We got a dozen to go and then preceded to Fort Fisher (the only beach that allows dogs).

We sat in their lovely picnic area and chowed down. Since there were four of us indoors making the selection (Zach took one for the team and minded the dog outside) we each picked out three flavors.

Behold:

IMG_5749

First in the left column, there’s a Butterfinger and two Samoas. Then in the next column, there’s some sort of ridiculous chocolate caramel thing, a key lime pie, and a Reeses peanut butter cup. The next column, an espresso, another key lime pie, and a “Carolina Sand” which was cinnamon sugary. Then in that column furthest to the right is a creme brulee (with crunchy sugar on top!), another espresso, and a red velvet.

The general consensus was that the Reese’s was great but just TOO MUCH. It sort of lost its identity as a donut with the rich filling and the multiple glazes and the peanut butter cup topping. The key lime and Samoa were both EXCELLENT. The cake donuts were good and I wish they had more of them (I am team cake donut, COME AT ME). And the espresso ones were just a bit of a yawn, just because the others were more exciting in comparison.

Also, because we are millenials, everyone took a bazillion pictures.

IMG_5750 IMG_5751

Oh and also, if that wasn’t quit enough fat and sugar, we also got the most enormous blueberry fritter in the world.

IMG_5755

Then it was time to get our beach on. We began with a walk in a vain attempt to lower our blood sugars a bit. Lemon was not quite sure about the ocean.

IMG_5758

She was sure that she enjoyed digging holes in the sand.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 3.48.39 PM

SUCH a fun weekend. I really think everyone should take the opportunity to live at the beach for the summer at least once in their life.

summer is delicious

It’s super unfair how much I benefit from Myra’s work stress. The more crazy things are in her neverending fight against evil Duke Energy (she’s an attorney for Southern Environmental Law Center) the more she works out the tension by preparing delicious foodstuffs for family and friends. I AM SO LUCKY. DID I MENTION SHE’S WATCHING MY CAT TOO?!

Here’s what she made me for dinner. BEFORE I DROPPED OFF MY CAT AT HER HOME TO CARE FOR FOR THE INDEFINITE FUTURE.

IMG_5789

It started with the waffle iron, as many great meals do at Myra and Alex’s. They got pizza dough, topped it with a hefty coating of parmesan cheese, and cooked it in the waffle iron til the dough was puffy and the parmesan was browned and crispy and smelling like heaven.

Then Myra gilded the lily by cooking fresh mozzarella in olive oil and topping the crispy parmesan layer with a gooey mozzarella layer.

IMG_5779

For nutrition or something, veggies also went on. Lovely roasted squash. Also unpictured corn and caramelized onions. And a basil garnish.

IMG_5783

And again, because the more stressful work is, the more ambitious Myra’s cooking, there was also a soup. I don’t know what it was but I seriously embarrassed myself moaning and groaning for the first twenty seconds or so of eating this soup. It was just PERFECT. Chilled cucumber soup with Greek yogurt. Like really really creamy and amazing tzaziki, but… on another plane?

IMG_5786

At their cute table. As always, Myra’s portions were generous. As mostly always, I passed off a chunk of my meal to Alex, and he ate it with gusto.

IMG_5791

My contribution was pretty puny in comparison- I brought a bottle of wine and covered the dessert department with break and bake cookies (which were actually really delicious- they involved chocolate, salted caramel and pecans), and muffin tops (which were made by starting my mom’s recipe for banana bread, panicking that I had no leavening, throwing in an egg, picking some fresh blackberries from my yard (!!) and adding those, and converting it into muffin tops).

IMG_5787

My contribution seems particularly inadequate when you hear the latest Lola the Cat update: SHE HAS WORMS. I know this because after I dropped her with Myra and Alex to care for her they announced she had started throwing up worms in their home aaaaaaaaagh. So I decided the best way to deal with this was to send them a gift basket. “Sorry I loaned you a wormy cat, here are some chocolate covered pretzels and treats!”

Annnnnnnyway.

More tasty goodness- a birthday brunch for Malindi, my now 25 YEAR OLD baby sister! Malindi’s boyf Eric joined us, as did my roomie Alli (another June birthday girl!)

We went to Guglhupf, always exquisite. It was kind of dripping with rain when we arrived but we decided to chance it and sit outdoors, (semi) sheltered. Coffeeeeeee! (Well, Malindi the birthday girl got a chai latte).

IMG_5796

I had analysis paralysis for quite awhile regarding the menu but ultimately opted for the mushroom and Gruyere omelet. It was almost comically cheesy- I’d cut myself a piece and lift it, and cheese would trail for six inches beyond my fork. QUITE delicious.

IMG_5797

I also ordered a fig and almond scone for sharesies. That was a good choice as well!

So a bit of my home cooking: you’ll recall that the last time I was home I saw Alli eating bread and butter and tomatoes and I was jealous so I went off and bought mozzarella and tomatoes and had a lot of bread and caprese salad action.

BUT THE URGE PERSISTED. So then I went to Harris Teeter and got some of their whole wheat pizza dough (which was EXCELLENT!) and topped it with:

  • more of the fresh mozzarella
  • packaged lite alfredo dressing (the tackiest part of this, I promise!)
  • fresh tomatoes
  • fresh basil (added at the end)

I cranked up the oven in my student housing apartment as hot as it could go (which, uh, was NOT very hot- I noticed that underneath one of the burners on the stove there is a rather large opening DIRECTLY INTO THE INSIDE OF THE OVEN. There is absolutely no way that is safe, first of all, but also it means I can’t get the oven especially hot. C’est la vie.

Anyway, it turned out gorgeous.

IMG_5798

By far my best homemade pizza to date. It produced some really glamorous work lunches too.

And stillllllll I thought just in case I should probably have some more carby cheesy tomatoey goodness. So I cooked up some pasta, added more of that lite alfredo sauce (and really I was unfair to disparage it because it was pretty tasty and highly convenient and I’m not allowing myself to buy milk anymore because I just don’t consume it at a fast enough rate and end up throwing it away or making weird milky things I don’t want and throwing them away so I might as well buy a premade white sauce), and added, again, tomato and basil. All I need in this summer, friends.

IMG_5825

And because experiences as well as foods can be delicious, a few beach shots, because I just feel that I ought to include them in all of my posts about this fabulous beach summer.

The tide is REALLY low right now and there are all kinds of exciting tide pools in which to wander about.

IMG_5802

It’s like, from the deep water going inland, first there’s the ocean, then moving inward there’s the mini beach where you can walk around, then moving closer to land somehow there’s more ocean. Like, ocean take two. And some of the tide pools are like a couple of feet deep, as shown by the dude wading through the center of the picture! And then after ocean take two there’s the real beach.

IMG_5809

Also cool marks are left behind on my fave spot at the end of the beach.

IMG_5818
IMG_5820

And lovely sunsets over where the wild birdies nest.

IMG_5819

Finally in delicious experiences, two of my favorite people, my Auntie Jeanie and my Uncle Tim, came to see me in Wilmington. It was SO GREAT.

  • Duh we did more walking on the beach
  • Duh we ate more delicious food
  • Jeanie and I psychoanalyzed our relatives because we’re wise and practically have psychology degrees just from… experiencing some of our family members
  • Tim made some truly awful puns for our amusement (we encountered a motel on Carolina Beach called “Wanda Inn”. Say it out loud. In a Southern accent. Then groannnnnn)
  • Jeanie and I were talking about how we spell our name. Because our last name starts with V and we’re constantly trying to give people hints how to spell it correctly and not with a B or a Z (this is particularly necessary over the phone). My grandmother (slash Jeanie’s mom) would say V as in Victor. I’ve recently taken to saying V as in Vegetable. But we got into this hysterical round of coming up with other possibilities, and Jeanie swears to me that one time she was in my grandparents’ retirement community and was having to spell it out and went “V as in Virgin”. I really wish I had been there. We are both going to keep each other posted about when we can work “V as in Vulva” into a conversation teeheeheeheehee.
  • We also listened to a really great beach thunderstorm while sitting cozily in their bed and breakfast and doing a PUZZLE! (I was also hanging out with them there because Jeanie had practically force fed me margaritas and I wasn’t competent to drive yet!)
  • I got to feel some hope because Jeanie and Tim didn’t get together til later in life and they are really just so cute and hilarious together. They’ve got some quality love that is comforting to witness. #relationshipgoals

IMG_5829

visit with mama

I was going to blog and then the world made me so sad and I didn’t know how to write about it. I have things going for me that (unfairly) other people don’t to help me cope with the sadness in this world:

  • I am interning at a hospital and get to do  job that actually feels meaningful most days. Like, I get to feel like I help people. It helps with the crippling feelings of helplessness. (<<< those sentences need a thesaurus but you know what I mean). It’s absolutely a privilege to have a job that’s meaningful and provides personal fulfillment. I have  been blessed to have obtained the education (and had the money to get the education) to allow me to do so.
  • I get to go do my deep thinking by the ocean, which is beautiful and peaceful
  • I can always call my mom, who is wise and comforting.

I feel generally gross opining about the state of the world online. I am a privileged white girl. I don’t get it.

So I try to do my thing in the hospital. And I try to do good. And hopefully this blog is a nice benign distraction from the sadness in the world?

Also, maybe some of my mom’s wisdom and comfort will soak through the screen to yall. So here are some pictures from the last time I saw my mom- she came down to Wilmington to see me!

She arrived and after everyone got settled in we went and had dinner downtown by the river. French food, wine, and a killer view.

IMG_5561

Then back to the bed and breakfast. Clyde was our buddy in the lobby. Clyde used to have a lady friend (Bonnie, naturally) but she is now in birdie heaven, but Clyde remains.

IMG_5616

Clyde has a VERY IMPORTANT TASK.

IMG_5608

Clyde, like all birds, is quite the little… excreter. The proprietors of the bed and breakfast have observed that Clyde’s… excretion has been somewhat prophetic in the past. They lay out newspapers with pictures of the presidential candidates in his… bathroom area and see who he chooses to… mark.

And he is really good at it!

IMG_5609

Clyde, you’d better keep doing what you’re doing, champ.

Other activities included getting massages (!) and going to the aquarium. It was lovvvvvvvely. They have a little butterfly pavilion. It’s flippin hot but the butterflies are beautiful and you really get a front row view.

IMG_5566

And all the other sea creatures are amazing too, of course.

IMG_5587

Two of my favorites, jellies and seahorses.

IMG_5593

My mom took pictures of me throughout our weekend, most of which were too derpy to post (I then taught my mom the word derpy) but here I am in action.

IMG_1061

Is it macabre going from an aquarium to a seafood lunch? Iunno. We did it anyway. I lovvvvvvve soft shell crab! (And french fries too, hahaha. It’s funny, I never enjoy classy restaurant fries as much as I enjoy cheapo crinkle cut fries).

IMG_5595

Then we went to my favorite, most deserted beach. Big waves, so a little scary for swimming, but beautiful for walking. Lots of swooping pelicans. Here’s my mom looking adorable.

IMG_5603

VERY EXCITING. Sea turtle nest!

IMG_5607

More seafood- we had a casual dinner at Dock Street Oyster bar. My mom’s squid was quite inventive looking so I snapped a pic.

IMG_5612

Then we got more ice cream. We went to Kilwin’s twice in the same weekend, because vacation (or I suppose staycation in my case). I got the same combo both times, because if it aint broke don’t fix it: half peanut butter pie, half smore. Swoon!

IMG_5614

the feline saga

In Which I Make a Friend

I see a cute little gray cat hanging around the parking lot. The first time I see her she runs away but the second time after she adorably meeps at me for a few minutes, she lets me come pet her. I call her Lola. She’s very small and her ribs protrude a bit. Her belly looks like she’s done some lactating at some point in her life.

She seems to live outside. I notice the neighbors have put food for her on their porch.

IMG_5627

In Which I Learn Lola’s Story

My neighbor with the cat food on the porch is out for a smoke and I strike up a conversation with her.

Apparently my neighbor (Lauren) found Lola in the Walmart parking lot and obviously Lola was super sweet and friendly. Lauren went in to the store to get the lil kitty some food and when she came out Lola was hanging out with the Walmart employees and they said a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE FAMILY had brought in the cat with a litter of kittens and abandoned them in the parking lot!

WalMart found a cat rescue for the kittens but not for Lola so Lauren brought her back to her apartment complex and has been feeding her but Lola’s been living outside (and there’s a feral cat who hangs around who we’re both a little nervous has knocked Lola up)

But, Lauren won’t be here for long and has cats of her own who’ve been living with her mom while she lives here temporarily waiting on a house she’s buying.

I spend more and more time thinking that I would like Lola to be my cat. She is sweet and affectionate and goofy. She likes to play fight but is gentle with her teeth and claws. She has a sweet dark gray nose and a tiny precious meow. She loves rolling around on the floor on her back.

IMG_5634

In Which Lola and I Witness an Emergency

Sunday night, I go outside for my usual evening hangout with Lola. I pet her, she rolls around on the ground, everyone is happy.

THEN I hear pained meowing. It’s not Lola. After some investigating and obtaining my phone to use its flashlight function, I discover there is a cat trapped underneath the porch, in the crawl space under our apartment building. There’s a grate through which it’s meowing at me, and I try to loosen the grate (crawling through prickly shrubs to get it it) to no avail. Then a neighbor comes to assist me, and informs me that there’s a little door in the back of the building to get into the crawl space. I go into it. No sign of the cat. Then I go around the side and find another door. Boom, when I open it, I am hit with the smell of cat urine, and know I have found the right place. This one has a very low ceiling. I army crawl through (through the puddles of cat urine!) and get near to the cat, but it is terrified of me. It’s also at this point that I realize the cat is hurt- it has a big gash on the right side of its neck. I try to maneuver around the side to urge the cat out the door to the crawl space, but this does not work. I back out and the neighbors and I try many methods to lure the cat out. Eventually (every step of this took a long time) we get the cat to come out to drink some milk out of a bowl, and I shut the door of the crawl space behind him.

We realize we need to call in reinforcements. I call Animal Control. They are closed and say to call 911 if it’s a true emergency. I call the local animal hospital. They say unless we want to assume full financial responsibility for this cat, we should call Animal Control. We call 911 and they say since the cat is injured, they’ll call in someone off duty from Animal Control, but he’ll be coming in from another county, so it’ll be at least 45 minutes. We continue to monitor the cat, keeping him in the range of light of the phone’s flashlight beam but trying not to scare him too much with the light. We are being EATEN ALIVE by mosquitos during this time. Also, curiously, Lola hangs out the whole time, sitting near the other cat. Seemingly just keeping him company. Keeping an eye on him. It is very sweet.

45 minutes go by, 50, 55… and OF COURSE, shortly before the guy comes, the cat manages to make a break from our range of vision (we’d had him near the building, underneath some stairs up to one of the apartments’ patios) and runs into the bushes. We cannot find him ANYWHERE. The bushes are dense, there’s a fence behind them he might have hopped, we just have NO IDEA. Then animal control shows up, and we decide the best plan is to set a trap. We are concerned since Lola is still happily bopping around and will obviously climb into this awesome box with cat food in it at the very first opportunity.

And THAT is why… Lola spends the night in my apartment. My new roommate has just arrived and is being very chill. Lola isn’t sure how she feels about indoor living but then I microwave a Trader Joe’s tuna burger for her (they aren’t very good, IMO, but i’m making good use of them now!) and she’s a fan.

IMG_5640

I wake up on and off all night feeling super anxious about what to do with the cat situation.

At three am, I go out to check the trap and discover a random , uninjured neighbor cat with this expression on its face like “I did not intend to get myself into this situation”. I release him and he zooms off running faster seriously than I’ve ever seen a cat run. And the animal control guy did not explain to me how to reset the trap, nor do I have any bait for it, so I trudge back to bed, frustrated and further mosquito-bitten.

At that point Lola is like THREE AM IS THE BEST TIME, RIGHT?! I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE AWAKE SO WE CAN PARTY TOGETHER!” so I let her outside. I am also concerned she would otherwise pee in my room.

In the morning I leave an elaborate note for animal control explaining the situation.

In Which an Animal Trap Saga Ensues

Monday night I go home after work to discover that Animal Control has re-set the trap. I hang out with Lola for awhile in my apartment (luring her in with tuna). I hope that keeping her away from the trap will give the injured kitty time to wander over and be tempted by the food. Lola enjoys watching The Bachelorette with my roommate. Then I am ready for bed, and Lola wants to go out and party, so I look her in the eye and beg her earnestly not to go in the trap, entreating her that it is for the injured kitty.

I wake up Tuesday morning and go to check the trap, and Lola indeed is not in the trap, hurray! However, rather than the injured cat, I discover a rather bewildered possum.

Tuesday evening, I take a  long walk on the beach. Then I come home and Lola is caught in the trap. Meowing pathetically. I let her out. Fortunately there is a YouTube tutorial on resetting these traps, so I bring Lola in and re-bait the trap with more of my tuna burger. Again Lola hangs with the roomie and me for the evening. I am becoming increasingly emotional about the well being of both the injured cat and Lola (a long day in the surgical trauma ICU contributed) and I send my roommate back home in Chapel Hill an earnest email asking about the likelihood of her hosting Lola in our apartment for a few weeks by herself before I’m done with my internship.

Again the trap isn’t sprung before my bedtime. I let Lola out, confident that she will now avoid the metal box with whom she now has a negative history.

Wednesday morning the trap is bare. My tuna burger did not give off enough of a scent, perhaps.

Wednesday evening I get off work. My Chapel Hill roommate very reasonably requests that Lola not come to our new home til I do, and politely but respectfully makes clear that she is not interested in cat parenting and this is my jam with which to deal. Meanwhile, I am concerned that Lola is not the brightest bulb in the pack when I have to rescue her from the trap for the second time.

I bring her in for the evening (again hoping her absence will give the injured cat a chance to spring the trap), give her some food (so she’s less tempted by the trap), and she joins my roommate and me in watching 27 Dresses.

IMG_5669

A few hours later the trap is still set but I’m ready to sleep. I let Lola out, telling her sternly to stay away from the trap. I brush my teeth and go out to check the trap one last time for the night. Lola is sniffing around it again, EVEN AFTER HER SECOND RESCUE. I bring Lola in and lock her in the bathroom with a snack. She springs herself free after five minutes. I really don’t want to keep her in my bedroom for the night, as I don’t know what fleas or critters she may be harboring (I cleaned my room in a panic after Sunday night). So I shut her out in the living room and cross my fingers that she wont trash it too much.

An hour goes by. I think I hear meowing. I’m too nervous she’ll pee or poo on my carpet. I let her out.

Thursday morning. Lola is in the trap. Apparently she has decided she’s willing to experience a period of confinement as long as it is preceded by a can of food. She is adorable when I rescue her and very appreciative. She follows me into my apartment like “Hurray! This is the cuddles and snacks place!”

Thursday afternoon. I decide it’s time to just do the damn thing. I go to the pet store and spend $120 on:

  • a litter box with a dome that looks like something from Star Wars
  • kitty litter
  • flea and tick meds
  • fancy healthy dry food
  • fancy healthy wet food
  • cheapo unhealthy wet food to mix with the fancy food since apparently cats find it more palateable
  • a scratching post that comes with a little bag of catnip
  • dental health cat treats

Because Lola is THE BEST LITTLE CAT IN THE WORLD I plunk her down in the litter box and she starts feverishly spinning around in circles and sniffing. Once she decides there’s no other kitty leaving stuff there, she has herself a little pee. I reward her with enthusiastic hugs and treats. GO LOLA!

In Which Lola and I Establish a Pleasant Domestic Partnership

I go off to work. I say a little prayer to myself each day that that day will not be the day the student housing manager decides to pop by for a visit. I arrive home and greet Lola with, “Hello my love!” She is always pleased to see me/get dinner. I learn that Lola:

  • Loves hair ties more than any toys.
  • Is wary around men (LOL not like I’ve had gentlemen callers, but my roommate’s male friend and my buddy Nate who was visiting, both of whom are pretty gentle dudes who grew up around cats, still freaked her out)
  • Loves mooching for human food, even things she will obviously not enjoy, such as chocolate ice cream
  • Meows with a noise that sounds like “murrrrrrp”, sort of a purr slash meow slash hum. So I call her Murp and also sometimes Mrs Murp Murp. Animals know you love them when you give them nicknames.

In Which Lola and I take a Road Trip

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 3.40.59 PM

Captured in this charming photo, oy.

Myra and Alex, being amazing friends, offer to mind Lola for the remaining four weeks of my internship, so I don’t have to live in a state of low grade panic on a daily basis, convinced I’ll be busted with Lola and banned from all future student housing (which would be a BIG OLD PROBLEM since I will require it for my fall internship as well).

But of course that means road tripping with Lola, who is NOT a fan. I get her a carrier, but she pees in it about 20 minutes into the trip and her meows, which had been loud and frequent, at that point become hysterical and unceasing. So after waiting the interminable distance between highway exits in the North Carolina countryside, I bail out to a Bojangles and fling the carrier in the trunk and do my best to wipe off the urine-soaked cat. And she spends the rest of the trip as pictured above. Oy vey.

I take her to the vet for an exam and her shots. I learn that Lola is about a year old and is in pretty good health but for a slightly broken tooth (which fortunately for the moment will be managed by watchful waiting and nothing else). She gets her immunizations. Another $90, and spaying is in the hundreds range. PETS ARE EXPENSIVE, FRIENDS.

Anyway, that’s the story, for now. Lola is off with Auntie Myra, Uncle Alex, and cousin Lochsie the daschund (thus far the kitty and doggie have only interacted through closed doors- I think starting slow is wise). They have already coaxed some purrs out of her, and she fancies a little perch on the closet shelf in Alex’s office.

I love and trust M+A and know they will spoil her relentlessly, as they do with every animal they’ve ever encountered (their dog gets organic Whole Foods goat cheese as a regular snack). However, I still feel like a little piece of myself is missing! I just really love my little side kick!
IMG_5772

migrating back and forth

Whoosh I’ve been such a nomad this summer. My life has been all over the place so this post will be all over the place.

First, here is a picture of me looking nice.

Photo on 6-5-16 at 2.19 PM

I actually did my hair and makeup for Myra and Alex’s wedding, and since that level of attention to my personal appearance takes place (maybe) twice a year, it’s good to document for posterity. I actually took this photo to get my sister’s approval of my whole look (this was in the immediately pre wedding “Oh *@#% I’m about to have to interact with the dude I dated for four years and his new girlfriend” state of nausea). She approved, though recommended I add another layer of mascara, which I did. Also, noted: primer is kind of amazing. My stepmother gave me a sample of it (she tries so hard to get me to try a little, haha) and it does make applying makeup sooo much easier and everything looks more even.

So took that mega journey from the wedding in the mountains to a pit stop in the Triangle to move more things back to the coast (a total of 6.5ish hours of driving in one day, eesh!).

And now I’m 8 weeks down, four to go, in my internship. Life at the beach, interning my little heart out with hospitalized patients at nutritional risk, continues to be good. I might have a reflective post in a few days about not coming in with the knowledge of quite how much death and despair I would contend with on a daily basis. But I’m learning a lot, and I’m helping people, and I do see the occasional medical miracle.

I’m also continuing to love the beach. I’ve had some wonderful visits with friends and family (see posts to come) and also still go by myself after work quite a bit. It never doesn’t make me feel good. Even when I feel sad, it’s a more pure and satisfying sadness when I process it on the beach, if that makes sense?

IMG_5666IMG_5662IMG_5660

Can anyone identify this bird?! Please and thank you. Tried looking ’em up to no avail.

IMG_5657

Sometimes when I’m at the beach I get a real bad craving for seafood and buy myself an oh-so-heart-healthy Southern dinner.

IMG_5667

But mostly I’ve cooked healthy-ish. Here is an attractive brunch I made: fresh cherries (I’ve just been eating tons of ’em), whole wheat buttermilk pancakes from Kodiak mix, and veggie buffalo chicken nuggets. Random but tasty.

IMG_5430IMG_5428

As for food on the road, my challenges in all the trips between the beach and the Triangle contending with moving are:

  1. I’m totally addicted to caffeine now
  2. I’ve been rubbish at meal planning up in Chapel Hill, PLUS all the moving related stuff is exhausting

So, I’ve spent a lot of money on going out to eat.

Pics:

At Johnnys, my fave coffee shop, with an iced latte, an egg and cheese biscuit, and a provocatively titled newspaper to read.

IMG_5635

My last meal in the squalor of the old place was a frozen pizza. I put the damn leftovers in a tupperware with every intention of eating them (this was Trader Joe’s VERY TASTY frozen pizza with kale, sweet potato, butternut and parmesan) and then left ’em when I drove back down to the beach. So I sent my roommate an imploring text begging her not to let the pizza go to waste.

IMG_5545

More moving stuff: my cousin and her hubs helped me move (mostly her hubs, since my cousin is about seven months pregnant right now, hahaha. She was such a trooper, carefully carrying light items in one hand while gingerly holding the hand rail on the steep stairs at the old place. Sitting in the car while Mike help me set up stuff at the new place since I’d just had it treated by the exterminator and she didn’t want her little baby boy growing extra limbs).

I rewarded them with that oh-so-traditional someone-helped-you-move meal, pizza. Enhanced with delicious garlic knots.

IMG_5636

The next morning, before hitting the road again, I once again spent too much money on food at Weaver Street Market, where I enjoyed a REALLY tasty blueberry pancake with berry compote, baked apples, and a tasty tofu scramble. Plus a cafe au lait.

IMG_5638

Then I went back to the beach, for a few more weeks, then turned around and drove back up to the Triangle again.

Preview as to why:

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 3.40.59 PM

Yepppppp. Anyone remember reading my post earlier this year how I recounted how disgustingly busy I’d be this summer?

Did anyone go, “Gosh, she really should rescue a cat in the middle of it”?!

Well that happened. The saga is ongoing, but will merit a blog post soon. At some point I’ll also try to share some pictures of the new house. Now that the roaches are dying off, it’s easier to appreciate things like the blackberry bushes in the front yard, the abundant closet space, the spacious kitchen, and the lovely wood floors.

In the meantime, here’s the dinner Lola the cat watched me make (and begged for some of) last night. More overspending at Weaver Street Market!

  • Bread (from my freezer, a single concession to economy)
  • Tomato
  • fresh mozzarella❤
  • Basil (from our new yard!!!!!)

IMG_5777

Plus olive oil, salt, and pepper. Tasted like summer. It’s a crazy summer, but I’m still glad it’s summer!

love goes on

Here is my BEAUTIFUL FRIEND MYRA in the WEDDING DRESS she MADE!

Messages Image(1092151862)

Yes, two of my favorite people, Myra and Alex, got hitched on Sunday in a little slice of paradise in the North Carolina mountains.

But let’s rewind a bit. Get comfy. This will be a chatty post.

It all started Friday night, when I left my temporary home at the beach for leg one of a cross-NC trip. I managed to fit quite a bit of fun and quite a bit of work into the next 24 hours: a sushi date with my baby sister and her ridiculous cat Friday night, a Mexican dinner with my friend Roxanne who’s getting ready to take- and rock!- her nursing boards exam, and most importantly and least fun, at my own apartment I packed my little face off, since as you’ll recall that this is the summer of everything ever and Alli and I are moving VERY SOON!

I woke up vair early Sunday morning and got on the road once again, to make the next leg of the trip: Triangle to Mountains! My destination was 60 miles of Asheville, but since Asheville was smack dab on my route and I have two friends from my program interning at their two respective hospitals there, I got to stop mid-trip for BRUNCH! Camille, Leah and I hit up Rise ‘n Shine Cafe and spent a lovely hour and a half speaking the language only nutrition interns understand. Hope the other diners didn’t get too grossed out hearing about tube feeding residuals during their brunches!

Also, I got this totally hippie meal of whole wheat pancakes with bananas and walnuts and REALLY delicious griddled tempeh!

IMG_5487

Then I got back on the road and drove even deeper into the mountains and whoo there were some exciting hairpin turns! It was worth it, though, since I arrived to the wedding venue and discovered that my accommodations were in an enchanted little area called Fable Village. I MEAN!

IMG_5491

The inside of it was a magical little fairy tale cabin. I did not want to leave, especially while it was gently dripping rain outside.

IMG_5494

Fable Village was down the hill from Myra and Alex’s wedding venue, which was a stinkin’ CASTLE! Castle Ladyhawke, to be specific. Apparently a rich lady built her dream house in the woods by Asheville to settle down with her love. And then she and her love got divorced, so she wanted out! And thus it became a wedding venue:) I can’t quite imagine this being my home.

a freaking castle!

But I would not at all mind this view off my back porch.

IMG_5500

Before the wedding started and throughout the reception we all wandered in and out of all the lovely terraces. Mist moved in and out, rain moved in and out, I hopefully looked out for bears to add to the wedding excitement (but did not see them).

IMG_5506

And as I meandered, I clenched a bit too. Truth time: I had been less than excited for this wedding. Not because I don’t love Myra and Alex, because I do! But more because this wedding was the first in person reunion with the ex boyf in over a year x_x We have not exactly been on good terms. There’s no active spite, but our last email exchange was not pleasant, and we just haven’t been in touch at all.

I was thinking I was pretty chill about it; after all, it had been nearly a year and a half since we ended our relationship. I saw the email next to his in all the wedding related emails and was emotionally prepared to see him with a new girl (though really I could have assumed it without hints from Myra and Alex, since my ex, bless his heart, has never been single in his adult life and that pattern has continued since approximately 3 hours after our breakup).

But then I felt not so chill as I waited for the little shuttle bus to take me up the hill to the castle and the wedding. And by not so chill I mean a little pukey. And I had to text my loved ones to request encouraging messages of support. But all these lovely things came together that made it not bad!

First, I reunited with one of Myra’s best college friends, Whit, who I’d met once before in the past and really liked at the time. Whit had recently had a breakup of her own and was amazing enough to become my human shield for the evening. She entered the reception area before me, saved me a seat by her at the open-seating dinner, provided excellent conversation, etc.

Second, before the wedding I shared an unexpected and lovely moment with the bride. We were all in our chairs getting ready for the ceremony to start when Myra’s dad made a little announcement that the bride had done something to her foot and the wedding would be delayed while she iced it. Oh dear! He recommended that we all hit up the bar a little early and talk amongst ourselves while we waited for the ceremony to begin. This led me to think “Hm, Myra really likes wine, and I bet she’s really stressed right now.” So I grabbed a bottle and some plastic cups and delivered them to her suite. That somehow led to me being the veil wrangler as Myra and her dad made the surprisingly long walk (down a spiral staircase in the classy castle!) to the aisle. Because if you already have a potentially broken foot, you really don’t want to trip over your veil. #Fact

Third, MY EX AND THE NEW GIRL LEFT EARLY HAHAHAHAHAHA. They were there through dinner and then they had, I dunno, work commitments or something (I don’t really care!) and left! We exchanged a single pained exchange of “hey”s and that was it! I SURVIVED, GUYS.

And even if the lovebirds hadn’t skipped out, I think I would’ve been okay. I did a lengthy debrief with my amazing roommate, Alli, after the fact,. She pointed out that here was this new girl and me, strangers to one another and connected by this strange bond of awkwardness created not by us but by this boy. Yes, potentially it was equally cringe worthy for this girl (towards whom I hold no malice) to spend an evening in the company of a woman her boyfriend had been in love with for four years. Yes, I feel a sense of possessiveness around my story as it’s told by my ex, but the people I love (who were in abundance at this wedding) know who I am and what I’m about and who cares about the rest of it?

And there’s something about serial monogamy that’s sad to me. And I really don’t mean the word in the “pathetic” sense (or, heh, at least I don’t exclusively mean it that way). How many more weddings will my ex attend, clutching the hand of whatever anonymous woman sits next to him like it’s a life preserver? Like he did with me (with someone else on his mind at the time, as was later revealed), like he did with this girl, like he’ll do with an endless series of women if things don’t work out with this one? I held my own hand at this damn wedding, and I was okay.

Also, there was good love on display at this thing, and good love is worth holding out for. Look at those faces! Look at those eyes! (I get no credit for this photo; I stole it from Alex’s sister who posted it on Facebook).

aw love

All kinds of feels happened at the wedding, looking at all this good love.

Tiffany, Myra’s best friend, warmed up my tear ducts with her officiating.

The bride and groom continued to punch me in the heart with a first dance to Love Goes On from Robin Hood, played by our friend Tom. Tom’s married to Tiffany the officiant. Tiff and Tom are parents to Ada the adorable flower girl (unpictured due to the traditional flower girl meltdown) and another little one due in December. I sat up by Tom on the balcony as he strummed away on his ukelele (Tom requested moral support for his public performance!). I watched Myra and Alex look all goo goo eyed dancing and listened to the dreamy music and it was such a sweet, magic moment and I felt so lucky to be witness to it.

The wedding had all kinds of personal touches sprinkled throughout it. My wedding mad libs, for your amusement:

IMG_5533

Also, Myra is no lady of leisure who has time to put together all these touches. She is in fact a really talented and hardworking attorney and continued to work full time while doing ALL KINDS OF CRAZY NONSENSE for the wedding. There’s that gorgeous homemade silk dress, up top. There were these wine charms for every guest- you’ll notice my name woven in golden wire, what?!

IMG_5534

Food was yummy, and served with biodegradable plates and implements, since Myra ‘n Alex are crunchy:)

IMG_5538

The wedding was also notable for all the lovely people at it. Because their wedding was so small, I feel like I got to actually have meaningful conversations with people, including Alex’s sweet Greek grandmother, a cousin who’s a clinical dietitian and with whom I just went nuts talking about cancer nutrition, a college roommate’s girlfriend who is studying to do equine based therapy (!) And then I had tons of fun talking to Tiff about her pregnancy because this was the theme of night- rejoicing in the good love and good lives my friends have found.

Alex’s big Greek family (of which I was often presumed to be a member, since I shared their Greek look!) and Myra’s big Missisippi came together and got along splendidly and each side was just a barrel of laughs. We did some frenetic Greek dancing. We ate this family recipe for cake that Myra’s aunt made that contains a formidable amount of chocolate and an entire bottle of tequila!

IMG_5540

Oh, don’t worry, that wasn’t the only cake. There was also a wedding cake that, surprise surprise, MYRA MADE TOO. And a tower of donuts from Myra’s mom. And late night popcorn that went down real easy after lots of drinking and dancing.

IMG_5541

Finally, to know Myra and Alex is to know their obsession with their willful but extremely adorable golden daschund, Lochsie. Naturally, she was walked down the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony. She also was reunited with her long distance love, Charlie, whose parents traveled up from Atlanta for the blessed event. Both dogs are heavily featured in the wedding photos, hahahahaha.

wedding dogs

I woke up the morning after the wedding, in the mountains– wrapped up in four pillows, because us single girls get to do that in plush hotel beds– and smiled! And then drove for many many more hours back to the beach to start work today.

I did a little pleasant delayed onset weeping to keep me entertained in the car. Sang some cheesy love songs to myself (Backstreet Boys, you know it). Life is good. There’s good love out there.

oh i do like to be beside the seaside

Whew I had a busy week at the cancer center and now I’m back in the Triangle packing up my apartment (!!) since I’m a genius and will be moving on weekends since our lease is up before I’m done with my internship 2 1/2 hours from home. BRILLIANT.

Let’s talk about beach life.

Another day, another beach to try. Last Friday night I went to a new beach where the waves were a little intense for swimming but the walking was legit.

I saw pelicans divebombing the water, fishing for their dinner, and it was so cool I wanted to cry. GIF’d above for your viewing pleasure.

There was something satisfyingly old fashioned about this particular beach. Including FREE PARKING! What a luxury. And bubble gum pink motels, and a slow paced downtown with fishing piers and arcades.

I feel so much affection towards my fellow beach goers. Sweet families with their umbrellas. Dudes with metal detectors, livin’ the dream. Women in giant Tshirts with giant bassett hounds on them.

IMG_5398

AND OF COURSE THE AWESOME PELICANS AGH.

IMG_5408

Then, because I am an awesome independent women, I took myself to a beachside dinner at a cute little cafe where there was live music and this sweet, megatanned waitress who called my “baby”.

IMG_5426

I sat at the bar and got a comically enormous fried oyster po’ boy and sweet potato fries. And a redheaded welder chatted me up as he smoked several Marlboros hahahaha. It was fun.

IMG_5427

(that sandwich was ENORMOUS. I ate all the oysters and maybe 1/3 of the sweet potato fries and then admitted defeat).

Another day another seaside adventure. As you’ll recall I had a super cool social engagement visiting the aquarium with my cousin’s daughter’s girl scout troop. They were having their end of year party and got to go on a backstage tour of the aquarium and do some educational activities.

We got to meet a baby alligator! They name the lil guys after the patterns in the scales on their back and this little fella was named BUBBLES. A BABY ALLIGATOR NAMED BUBBLES.

IMG_5316

We also saw a bored looking albino snapping turtle hanging out behind the scenes.

IMG_5320

And a seahorse nursery❤❤❤

Also, for some reason there is a large selection of animatronic dinosaurs in the courtyard outside the aquarium! So that was very entertaining.

IMG_5330

Another weekday beach stroll. When you park in the public lot, go to the beach, turn left, then walk for an hour, here is where you arrive! The end of the beach!

IMG_5363

At low tide there are all these mysterious marks in the sand- little critter trails?

IMG_5370

The crowds drift away and by this point I pretty much had the beach to myself. AMAZING. It’s hard to even describe what it’s like to be able to go walk by the water whenever I want, for hours at a time (the perk of having to be at work at 7:30am is that you get out at a reasonable hour and then, in the summer at least, have a couple hours of sunlight to do with what you will).

IMG_5374

My blood pressure has definitely lowered since I’ve been living by the water. I just walk and walk and my thoughts melt away.

Something that’s struck me over and over is how abundant life is when you look for it. With the retreat of this wave, tiny little shelled creatures wiggle wiggle wiggle to redisappear under the sand. Tiny little fishies come in with the waves and then zoom out as they ebb. The ocean itself is this incredible vital force that seems alive with all these tiny little microcurrents smacking into one another.

And this little sandpiper, who I swear was posing.

IMG_5382

I’m really happy walking on the beach alone, thinking thoughts. Sometimes I worry I’m getting too antisocial. I think I’m comforted by the fact that this is a temporary summer internship and that I have family and friends and a more social life back in the Triangle. If this were all of my life, I’d probably be lonely.

But, seeing all the goodness, nature in its perfect symmetry, life in abundance, is really good for me. There are really no guarantees (and believe me, working at a hospital- and particularly spending my most recent week in the cancer center- assures you of that on a daily basis) but it’s also nice to see this perfect little ecosystem, designed by God. It’s nice to know I can be alone and have this lovely world to keep me company.

IMG_5384