18 7 / 2013

You’ll never find it on a registry, but the best wedding present we received was a rubber chicken.
And let me back up and say that I opened it at a bachelorette/lingerie/party-with-my-friends-where-we-played-no weird-games-or-anything-thank-goodness. My friends are awesome so I opened gifts of place settings, and then underwear, and then fancy Anthropologie napkins, and towels, and then…. a small rubber chicken. 
I do not want to steal this story, this awesomeness, from my dear friend Caley, so I recommend you get the full version, the lineage of the chicken you might say, from her. Here’s the gist, though: Caley and her husband hide a rubber chicken for each other to find. It’s been going on for the entirety of their marriage and it’s just kind of something fun they do. But here’s the part that she just casually threw out there… sometimes you find the chicken when you need it most.
You guys. This is a magical freaking chicken. THE CHICKEN KNOWS ALL. 
We’ve hid it for each other a few times. I put it in Tyler’s suit coat pocket before our wedding. It’s been folded into socks and tucked in the bottom of bags. But I’m going full honest here, last night was not our/my best. I don’t really know how it started, but I know that at some point in the evening I walked a little too loudly (resembling the stomp of a thirteen year old girl) to the bedroom, closed the door and watched New Girl alone because that seemed like a better option than talking it out. Four episodes later I got ready for bed…super hot newlywed sweatpants and an old college t-shirt I stole a long time ago from my husband. 
AND THE CHICKEN DROPPED OUT OF THE SHIRT. It’s the instant trump card. It trumps any resentment or hangups or ego that you have and makes you shrug it off and get over yourself. I walked into the living room, hugged Tyler and said, “I found the chicken.”
My friend was right, sometimes that crazy awesome rubber chicken just falls out of a crappy XL Weezer t-shirt when you need it most. Thank you, Caley.

You’ll never find it on a registry, but the best wedding present we received was a rubber chicken.

And let me back up and say that I opened it at a bachelorette/lingerie/party-with-my-friends-where-we-played-no weird-games-or-anything-thank-goodness. My friends are awesome so I opened gifts of place settings, and then underwear, and then fancy Anthropologie napkins, and towels, and then…. a small rubber chicken. 

I do not want to steal this story, this awesomeness, from my dear friend Caley, so I recommend you get the full version, the lineage of the chicken you might say, from her. Here’s the gist, though: Caley and her husband hide a rubber chicken for each other to find. It’s been going on for the entirety of their marriage and it’s just kind of something fun they do. But here’s the part that she just casually threw out there… sometimes you find the chicken when you need it most.

You guys. This is a magical freaking chicken. THE CHICKEN KNOWS ALL. 

We’ve hid it for each other a few times. I put it in Tyler’s suit coat pocket before our wedding. It’s been folded into socks and tucked in the bottom of bags. But I’m going full honest here, last night was not our/my best. I don’t really know how it started, but I know that at some point in the evening I walked a little too loudly (resembling the stomp of a thirteen year old girl) to the bedroom, closed the door and watched New Girl alone because that seemed like a better option than talking it out. Four episodes later I got ready for bed…super hot newlywed sweatpants and an old college t-shirt I stole a long time ago from my husband. 

AND THE CHICKEN DROPPED OUT OF THE SHIRT. It’s the instant trump card. It trumps any resentment or hangups or ego that you have and makes you shrug it off and get over yourself. I walked into the living room, hugged Tyler and said, “I found the chicken.”

My friend was right, sometimes that crazy awesome rubber chicken just falls out of a crappy XL Weezer t-shirt when you need it most. Thank you, Caley.

26 6 / 2013

What I’m Reading
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
This was one of those books that I would have never picked up on my own, except that it was being talked about and talked about and written about and posted about. 
As an elementary school teacher, I wasn’t really sure that there would be anything relatable for me in here. (Business meetings! Shareholders! Tech startups!) Sandberg turns out to be quite relatable. She cried at work. Her kids had lice. She’s checked email on her phone in the bathroom. You know, the norm. While, yes, she cried in front of Mark Zuckerberg and her kids had lice on the Google plane, she acknowledges her privilege throughout her writing. 
There are so many good things from her that I’d like to share, but I won’t. Just know that if you’re interested and you’ve been on the fence: I recommend you go for it. If it doesn’t sound like your thing, then it probably won’t be.
PS. So much nonfiction in my life. I don’t even know what’s going on with myself these days. Any other nonfiction I need to check in on?

What I’m Reading

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

This was one of those books that I would have never picked up on my own, except that it was being talked about and talked about and written about and posted about. 

As an elementary school teacher, I wasn’t really sure that there would be anything relatable for me in here. (Business meetings! Shareholders! Tech startups!) Sandberg turns out to be quite relatable. She cried at work. Her kids had lice. She’s checked email on her phone in the bathroom. You know, the norm. While, yes, she cried in front of Mark Zuckerberg and her kids had lice on the Google plane, she acknowledges her privilege throughout her writing. 

There are so many good things from her that I’d like to share, but I won’t. Just know that if you’re interested and you’ve been on the fence: I recommend you go for it. If it doesn’t sound like your thing, then it probably won’t be.

PS. So much nonfiction in my life. I don’t even know what’s going on with myself these days. Any other nonfiction I need to check in on?

25 6 / 2013

Yesterday, for the heck of it, I went to IKEA, bought a cinnamon roll for $1,  walked around just looking at everything. I put all kinds of stuff in a bag and talked myself out of every single one of those items and left empty-handed. (whatup, adulthood?)
Sam and I used to do the same exact thing back in Tampa in our less-affluent days of grad school. A trip to IKEA for a cinnamon roll was a perfectly affordable means of entertainment. I do and don’t miss those days. I definitely do miss that girl.

Yesterday, for the heck of it, I went to IKEA, bought a cinnamon roll for $1,  walked around just looking at everything. I put all kinds of stuff in a bag and talked myself out of every single one of those items and left empty-handed. (whatup, adulthood?)

Sam and I used to do the same exact thing back in Tampa in our less-affluent days of grad school. A trip to IKEA for a cinnamon roll was a perfectly affordable means of entertainment. I do and don’t miss those days. I definitely do miss that girl.

24 6 / 2013

If you were to stand behind Tyler and me in the grocery store, or hear one end of a phone conversation between us there is a good chance you will hear one of us say, “Yeah, well, Pangea.” It’s our mantra these days.

Pangea was the name of the one single supercontinent millions of years ago that slowly (soooooo slowly over those millions of years) broke apart into the seven continents. I’m not going to argue with you about the timeline and if dinosaurs were in the Bible or not and I’m not going there about how this was just a theory and never really happened. But the point is, it took millions of years for Pangea to get to what our earth looks like today. 

So when I haven’t figured out yet that I need to specifically ask for help when I want it…when Tyler is learning that I’d rather not be reminded to use my turn signal… when one of us ends up in the parking lot of our neighborhood grocery store eating Ben and Jerry’s in the car because sometimes an apartment in the city just feels too dang small: Pangea.

With every bite of that delicious ice cream, I told myself Pangea.

Learning to be married is a s u p e r  s l o w process not unlike the breaking apart of the continents over millions of years. And I heard this from Ira Glass in a This American Life episode (#457) that I loved a whole whole lot. It’s long, but worth a quick scan:

Because I think, actually, one of the things that’s a comfort in marriage is that there isn’t a door at seven years. And so if something is messed up in the short-term, there’s a comfort of knowing, well, we made this commitment. And so we’re just going to work this out. And even if tonight we’re not getting along or there’s something between us that doesn’t feel right, you have the comfort of knowing, we’ve got time. We’re going to figure this out. And that makes it so much easier. 

21 6 / 2013

Making friends as an adult is weird. It almost feels like dating. You see someone somewhere, they look normal, maybe they have some obvious similarities to you or a mutual friend. You think about maybe trying to find a non-awkward way to introduce yourself.

 It’s sounds weird, I know. But friends of mine have admitted to seeing the process in a similar way. One of the things Faith and I actually bonded over in LR was this whole friend-making-as-an-adult process and how awkward/challenging it could be.

I need to make friends here. I’m good at making small-talk but that might just be a southern thing. I haven’t had good results with it here yet. But, how many people make good friends in the salad dressing aisle? Light dressings are for pansies, am I right, potential new friend? Clearly people do not like to be bothered when salad-dressing shopping. I’ve been to yoga regularly several blocks from our apartment (thanks, groupon!) but when a girl looks at another girl in class and says, “You were wearing that same outfit the last time I saw you,” I know that this studio might not be my jam. Probably not even that neighborhood.

It’ll happen. I need to get out more, for sure, but I’m not worried about it so much his time around.

21 6 / 2013

T: They have less options for food on that street.

Me: You mean fewer?

T: Did I not use that correctly?

Me: Fewer is for things that are quantifiable, less for things that are not.

T: Oh good grief.

Me: For example, you have less patience with me now that I’ve annoyingly brought this up….

T: EXACTLY.

20 6 / 2013

I did not do a ton of wedding-y things when we got married. I bought a short white dress, I hired a photographer, I made a reservation at a restaurant. On a whim one Friday I thought it might be kind of fun to hold some flowers. I found a picture of something I liked and said to the sweet lady in a local shop, “I like funky and organic and I like this picture, but if you have some fun stuff lying around and you want to throw it in? Do it.” 

She did a fabulous job.

taken the day after…still looking pretty decent.

For the detail oriented, she used peonies, ranunculus, stock, succulents, some spiky things that kept poking Tyler the whole time, and some fun velvety leaf that I don’t know the name for (ideas?). 

What impressed me most was that it held up through a thunderstorm as well as being laid down on rocks because I couldn’t hold an umbrella, my shoes, jump over a puddle and hold that thing at the same time. I think I dropped it once, as well. A succulent or two lost a few petals. Not bad.

Flowers die. But succulents can be rooted! Huzzah! So I consulted twitter and the internet and found that succulents can be rooted by basically pulling off a few base leaves, letting it “callous” and then plopping it on some dirt and back off. 

I did all those things except for the last part… I don’t back off well. I potted three of them and so far they have all rooted very nicely. Know how I know they rooted nicely? Because I didn’t back off. I keep lifting them up to see that yes, those pinky-white roots are still there and shooting out all over the place. 

I’m crossing my fingers for these little guys. They make me happy.

19 6 / 2013

When I drove away from Tampa for the last time, I bawled. Ugly cried. I cried for several miles out of town because I had become so attached to that place and I felt like I had worked so hard to make it feel like home.

The transition to Arkansas was easier; I got comfortable faster. I knew what to expect when I moved there and didn’t spend so much time wondering when will I make solid friendships? At what point will I be able to navigate this city without yelling at my gps? when will I find the places that are My Places? I didn’t get all weepy when I drove away. Maybe I didn’t have to work so hard in Little Rock. I think I also had a lot more that I was driving towards this time.

So this transition to Philly should be a piece of cake, right? “HA!” said the universe! Because the universe don’t play, ya’ll. The universe is all “this is going to be not just a transition but a TRANSITION with the caps lock on and everything.’ 

It’s not enough just to move. I got married, moved, and gained a roommate with whom I have an invested and committed relationship (a whole different animal than having a friend/acquaintance roommate.) So, yes. I’m tired of circling blocks to find the post office. I’m saying things to Siri I’m not proud of. I’m searching online for gender neutral decorative pillows. I’m balancing the part of my brain that’s longing for my job to start with the part of my brain that says, take a nap, crazy person, that’s what a summer is for.

Speaking of naps. It’s on my schedule tomorrow. 

18 6 / 2013

Every host should have a sweet dog named Libra to greet you every morning.
By the way, how great is that shade of blue on the door?

Every host should have a sweet dog named Libra to greet you every morning.

By the way, how great is that shade of blue on the door?

17 6 / 2013

Several weeks ago Tyler and I talked about taking a weekend trip after I arrived in Philly. I thought maybe a bed and breakfast in somewhere like Connecticut or Vermont sounded fun. I mean, I have no idea what I would do in either of these states but a b&b in these places sounds like A Thing, right? I don’t know. People from Mississippi go to Gulf Shores for a vacation. YES, some Mississippians (not all of us) vacation in Alabama. It’s a sad state of affairs. In comparison, Vermont and Connecticut sound awesome.

I had heard good things about Airbnb…from the internet. So I felt that we would either be robbed and murdered, or we would have a fantastic time! Vermont sounded pretty and relaxing and has a very low murder rate, so I did some searching and found this:

This gorgeous place is in the middle of Beautiful Nowhere, Vermont with mountains all around and it is owned by the sweetest couple from Switzerland. We rented their upstairs, private-entrance apartment for the weekend and were welcomed with breakfast goodies and a bottle of something celebratory since I had said we’d just gotten married. Their hospitality was beyond what we could have ever expected and after a few conversations and being given a tour of their gorgeous farmhouse and downstairs artist studio, I secretly dreamed of being best friends with them.

You know what we did for fun in Vermont? We ate. Like champs. And, no, I do not regret all those blocks of cheese I ate at the creameries. Or the maple syrup I funneled down my throat at a sugarhouse. Or the caramel made from goat’s milk that I later ate with a spoon out of the jar I bought from that goat farm we visited. (ps. Who wouldn’t love a small goat farm with a strong social media presence? I’m looking at you, Fat Toad Farm)

My only regret of the whole trip was that I did not return to Philly with my own baby goat. Over the course of our married life, I think I can wear Tyler down on the goat issue. One of these days, people.

16 6 / 2013

T: Thank you for cleaning your closet tomorrow.
Me: What are you trying to say?

11 6 / 2013

Nursery worker: Do you garden a lot?
Me: I kill a lot. Right now I’m rooting some succulents.
NW: Those are impossible to kill, so that’s a good choice.
Me: Oh, I’ve killed a ton of succulents.
NW: You’re kidding right?
Me: Sadly, no.
NW: Let me see the blackest thumb on earth.

Nursery worker: Do you garden a lot?
Me: I kill a lot. Right now I’m rooting some succulents.
NW: Those are impossible to kill, so that’s a good choice.
Me: Oh, I’ve killed a ton of succulents.
NW: You’re kidding right?
Me: Sadly, no.
NW: Let me see the blackest thumb on earth.

08 6 / 2013

Leaving Arkansas today. It’s been a good two years. 

06 6 / 2013

Thursday night I tried really hard to play hostess at my apartment. The same apartment where all of my things were packed in cardboard so people walked around a pathway of boxes to get anywhere. A few hours after everyone left, the power went out. Tornadoes. Sirens.

We had no power all day Friday. All my stuff, my clothes, my kitchenaid mixer, my books I’ve collected for my students went on a padlocked trailer. Thought I would be sad, nope. Just hot. And wanted electricity. 

Saturday morning, the day Tyler and I planned to get married, it rained the hardest rain I had seen in a long time. I took a deep breath, bought umbrellas, borrowed a pair of rain boots,  booked a room in the case of a tornado, hoped for the best. Everyone I saw that day gave me the same raised-eyebrow are you really doing this outside look. Oh heck yes, salon ladies, I will wear rain boots if needed.

3:45 rolled around and I climbed in the passenger seat of my car and looked over at Tyler. Rain or shine or tornadoes or a plague of locusts, we were getting married in 15 minutes. It felt so good. And the most cliche thing happened, I tried to wrap my brain around the fact that all our hard work was bringing us to this point… and then I felt dizzy. It felt so much bigger than I had anticipated.

We stood in the rain, the pouring and thundering and lightning and can-barely-hear-the-person-next-to-you kind of rain. We read vows off of a wet sheet of paper Tyler had folded in his now wet suit pocket. We exchanged rings we had bought for ourselves and then kissed.

And then…we were married.

At this point, four days later, it feels like everything and kind of nothing at all has changed. Tyler is in Philadelphia back at work and I am finishing my last few days with students. Texts, phone calls, emails. Husband, wife, a whole lot more of the pronoun “we”. Everything and nothing has changed all at once. I couldn’t be happier.

photo by kayla raye photography

01 6 / 2013

After almost 8 years of friendship and 5 years of dating, countless flights, and way too many phone calls, we are getting married today. Whatever the weather today, we are going to roll with it. This is happening, people.

After almost 8 years of friendship and 5 years of dating, countless flights, and way too many phone calls, we are getting married today. Whatever the weather today, we are going to roll with it. This is happening, people.