Perfection

There’s no such thing as a perfect meal. No sunshiny afternoons strolling along red bricks sidewalks, seeing the glitter of the Puget Sound peeking through the buildings, laughing at nothing and everything, and enjoying yourself – completely, immensely. Drinks that are fizzy and delicious, polenta flatbread that tastes like nothing you’ve ever tasted, and chips and dips that are the perfect blend of salty and creamy.

Polenta flatbread, spiced chickpeas, and french onion chips and dip

Polenta flatbread, spiced chickpeas, and french onion chips and dip

Hard-boiled eggs and french onion chips and dip

Hard-boiled eggs and french onion chips and dip

Likewise, there is no such thing as a perfect Friday evening by the lake – tasting blood orange gelato that transports you to another place, far far away from the rainy, wet Pacific Northwest.

Blood orange and raspberry gelato

Blood orange and raspberry gelato

Having the time to sit on the deck, watch the sun set, and read the NY Times, all while eating blueberries just harvested – that’s impossible, right?

Sunshiny afternoon

Sunshiny afternoon

Maybe not.

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Springtime in the Emerald City

Is pretty darn gorgeous. A dear friend of mine told me that if you only publish pictures of landscapes and food that means you are devoid of actual friendships. I am happy to say this is not true for me – but this is a lot of gratuitous shots of buildings, landscapes, AND food!


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Lately.

I said goodbye to summer with a lot of walks around the lake. Lately-0048

I found candy stashes in my office. Dang the people that bring in old Halloween candy. Dang. YOU. Lately-0099

I indulge in the British snacks aisle at my local Metro Market way too much. Lately-0081I have been exploring neighborhood pretties. This picture comes from a delightful little macaroon and champagne shop, just a hop and a skip away from my apartment.

Lately-0118True to the caloric form of this blog post, I have taken a few cooking classes with new friends from my church. Hush puppies, fried chicken, spicy orange sauce, and a ginger and Jameson old-fashioned? Yes, please.

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Quickly approaching six months at my new home and job – and it has flown by. Looking forward to a winter of even more fun! : )

Airports

I love traveling. The thought of heading somewhere new just intrigued me, every time. Vintage pictures – Mad Men-style – make me smile. (Wish I could say I look this polished – rocking the Lululemon slouchy pants today!)

Right now, I am sitting on the plane, heading eastward – quiet flight, aisle seat (YES) – and thinking about my morning. I really haven’t had that eventful of a day – no traffic, found a parking spot easily, checked my bag with no issues, and only three people ahead of me at Starbucks. I was feeling pretty decent about life, to be honest.

But earlier, as I was sitting at the gate, waiting for my zone to be called, I found myself watching CNN on one of those big screens that they have throughout the terminal. I watched our president talking about the journalist, James Foley, that was killed yesterday. And no one around me was paying attention.

I felt a little sick. This man was killed in such a horrific way – and it was FILMED and distributed as propaganda. I can’t even type out how he was killed. It’s horrible. And no one was watching the president talk about this. Not a soul.

My immediate family and friends don’t get worked up about freedom of the press. It just doesn’t affect them. For that matter – it shouldn’t affect me. I don’t work in any capacity as a journalist anymore. I don’t write daily, I don’t report on community events, I don’t keep my ears perked up for freedom of speech…but yet, I am still affected.

Praying hard for the safety of brave men and women who are telling the world about the wrongs AND the rights that they see.

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Gritty women

Aunt Martha

My Aunt Martha – those eyes!

I come from a long line of headstrong Texas women – the kind of women who think people who don’t like Dr. Pepper are not trustworthy, knows that the way to a man’s heart is to keep him well-fed, and most of all, to get yourself a degree, for goodness sakes.

My Aunt Martha was one of those women. She had twinkling eyes, and always seemed like a joke was on the tip of her tongue, if you would only get her to sit still long enough to tell it. She died when I was 22.

She brought 5,000-plus acres of dry Texas ranch land to her marriage with my Uncle JE – Montell, the ranch where I will never forget my father saying that was the place where you didn’t have to grow up. After they got married in the late 1940’s, Uncle JE took her around the world – Libya, England, all over the Middle East – he worked on the oil fields of Khadaffi. When he finally brought her back home to Texas, she stayed there till cancer took her – living the rest of her days with laughter, good food, and prayer – pausing only to shoot the occasional rattlesnake that dared to cross over her limestone patio.

She made many wonderful meals at Montell – small meals with just the immediate family and plenty of chocolate cake, massive family reunions with fried chicken – fried EVERYTHING – and lots of love.

One of her dishes was Cheesy Grits. I like to imagine her making this humble little dish while she lived overseas – thinking of a little bit of Texas while she made it.

Looking out over Texas Hill Country.

Looking out over pretty Texas Hill Country.

Cheese Grits

6 cups water
1 1/2 cups grits (the Blue Box quick grits)
Stir them till thick.
1 stick butter
1 lb. Velveeta Mexican Mild
3 eggs, beaten

When all melted, put in greased pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes – do not cover.

Snowy evenings…

Make me feel terribly lonely. I think it also has something to do with that achy, icky, uncomfortable feeling of just finishing the holidays alone – yet again.

Watching You’ve Got Mail and making fruit crisps out of frozen peaches and berries from last summer’s markets and wishing for warm weather and sunshine.

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2014 Agenda Items.

2014 is here. Much as I try to ignore it, it happens. Time passes. I get older. Friends come and go. Changes happen.

Did you know that I hate change – with every bone in my body?

2012 to 2013I don’t really hate this change, though. This picture on the right is the only one (that I know of)  from 2012 that shows anything below my neck. I was overweight, tired all the time, and just generally unhappy. I still have a bit to go, but the picture on the left shows a lot of hard work in 2013.

A few things that I am going to focus on in 2014. If they don’t become reality, that’s ok. They aren’t resolutions – just agenda items. (Agenda items in a cute Kate Spade notebook, of course)

Take more pictures. Blog more. Run more. Ask a guy out without fear. Practice my long-dormant Russian. Run a LOT more. Concentrate on my career and define where I want to go. Plan another trip to Europe. Be a better bible study leader, both at church and at Bible Study Fellowship. Trust more. 

Most of all, have fun. 2013 was fun. 2014 can be a blast.

Farmers market shopping…with farmers.

I went to the market on Saturday. It was filled with people who were all from somewhere else – looking for a little piece of the big city life of hipster markets, lavender stands, and overpriced cut flowers. As I was taking pictures and laughing with my friends (who are farmers themselves, they are a late season crop and will be there as sellers in July) I had an overwhelming feeling of…sadness? Dread? Wishing for something that isn’t going to happen? I don’t want to get too dramatic. I didn’t have the same feeling of dread that I had on Sunday night while watching Catelyn and Rob Stark (are you KIDDING me Game of Thrones??) – but I still had that unsettled feeling.

When I realized that this feeling very likely just was a result of my own insecurities of being the only single girl in a big group of couples, I settled down. This has become my identity now – much as I try to deny it.

I need to create a new identity.

I have no idea what that identity is yet. I’ll start with the girl who is learning how to take pretty pictures.  

Mustard Greens Flowers Flowers Onions