almost the end

I was going to write one post about the last few weeks of my internship and then I realized that the post would have been about 50 photos and 10,000 words long. SO. I’m splitting it up into Almost The End and The Actual End. There was lots of soaking up memories.

Proving that I know nothing about tides, what I thought was low tide then just got lower, and I got to have more tide pool adventures on my post-work beach walks.

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The water was exceptionally clear, and I got to do a lot of watching for little fishies.

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The problem was that I’d walk along the little sandbar, between the crashing waves (Ocean Part 1) and the tidepools (Ocean Part 2), but then the little sandbar would get a little lower and I’d realize I was thigh-deep, holding a purse with my expensive phone, and unsure if I took the next step if I’d be totally submerged. So then I’d backtrack until there was a clear path through Ocean Part 2 to get to Actual Shore and then loop back.

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If I had just worn a swimsuit and not brought my phone this would not have been an issue, but there would also not be these lovely photos!

Here is someone demonstrating the Wading Between Ocean One and Ocean Two technique.

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So incredible, right! Like the Bahamas! Except in North Carolina!

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It must be scary having tiny kids at real beaches with waves and things so this was kind of perfect for those families.

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LOOKIT THOSE COOL CONCH SKULL!

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In my last weeks down in Wilmington I had to go back and forth back up to Carrboro to check in on this little rascal.

“TAIL, IMMA GET YOU!”

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Myra and Alex continue to be amazing friends and I continue to owe them. So I took them to brunch! We went to Elmos, a Carrboro institution that somehow they had not experienced for brunch?! There’s always a wait since everyone and their mama (JK, actually everyone and their CHILD, it is packed with yuppie parents and their bambinos) goes there for brunch.

Alex got red velvet pancakes (!) and requested extra whipped cream (!) and then he put butter on top of that (!!!!) Oh plus bacon on the side hahahahaha.

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Myra was also team Whipped Cream.

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I went savory and got my faaaaaaavorite thing that they only sometimes have as a special. Behold, the Cowboy Eggs.

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  • Jalapeno cornbread
  • Veggie chili with a bunch of cheese melted on top
  • fresh corn
  • scrambled eggs
  • fresh tomatoes, green onions, and sour cream

I think historically the avocado is included but since there’s a shortage (?! where’ve I been?!) I had to order it on the side and pay extra.

I also was dealing with some stupid stuff at home, including pulling my dryer out from the wall into the middle of the kitchen (yes, my dryer is in the middle of my kitchen, isn’t yours?) and inspecting the vent to describe its contents to my landlady. The dryer has been broken since July 1st (since the first time we tried it after moving in- the landlady made a big show of staying at the house before we moved in and assuring us everything was good and we arrived to a horrific cockroach infestation, two leaking faucets, and a broken dryer- lovely). Tomorrow is August 1st, and finally someone is coming to LOOK at it. ANYWAY.

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Here’s another cute picture of the cat, to show that I have a happy life and really have no cause for complaint whatsoever.

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And good news for my sister- she has a new house and it has the cutest porch in the land! Here is her boyfriend’s dog, Billie Jean, on squirrel patrol.

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That weekend I was up in Carrboro, I went to a cookout with some of my classmates that Zach and Jaclyn were nice enough to host.

As usual, it was a feast. I brought chocolate chip oatmeal bars, in the right foreground.

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This is a thing: jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon, then grilled. Whoooooa.

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I had about 1/2 a pound of guacamole and 1/2 a pan of chocolate chip oatmeal bars as we were chatting, but I still put away most of this too:
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And then of course I had to have dessert. Nate, someone I hope the world never changes, is a boss baker, and kind of improvised this tart based on one from his favorite thing ever, the Great British Baking Show.

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It had poppy seed crust (!) lemon filling and fresh blueberries. MMMMM.

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Then I went back to Wilmington and wrapped up my adventures. More to come!

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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 ❤

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Sam showed off some gymnastics

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

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

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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!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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?!)

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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.

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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:

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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?

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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.

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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And lovely sunsets over where the wild birdies nest.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Clyde has a VERY IMPORTANT TASK.

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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!

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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.

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

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Two of my favorites, jellies and seahorses.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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VERY EXCITING. Sea turtle nest!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!
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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.

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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?

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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!!!!!)

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