I’m a Little Sensitive About Animals

I spent the last 3 days in Maine celebrating my father’s birthday a few days early and paying quick visits to family. On the trip there, I stopped for the night in North Haven, CT after driving for 8-9 hours and the second day was only 4-5 hours. I’ll definitely  be posting about my visit in Maine a little and the trip up, but this is a story about the trip home. I decided to do it all in one day if Labor Day traffic wasn’t too bad, so that I could have a full day with C before he leaves fr Nebraska on Wednesday. I managed to make the trip in 13 hours (driving from 6am- 7pm) and never hit any bad traffic.

So, anyway, hour 11 I hit the eastern peninsula of Virginia, on 13 South and all of a sudden I’m behind this tractor trailer-sized truck just stacked with chickens. They were crammed in so closely that until I was quite close behind it and made out a little birdie’s moving head I didn’t know if they were alive or not. So, there I was behind this truck, bemoaning the poor conditions the chickens were subjected to, already 100% glad I went back to being pescatarian and the truck turns right. The truck turns right into Tyson. If you don’t know that Tyson is known for chicken products, well, they are quite a big purveyor of chicken. I couldn’t help it I started crying, not eyes-welled up, but full-on crying. I felt so horrible for those poor chickens, who already had seen no joy in their lives, kept in their cramped cages, but now were being delivered for salughter. Oh my God, I could hardly contain myself.

I called C. once I had composed myself a bit more to tell him about the horror I’d just witnessed. I started out by telling him that I was fine and nothing had happened to me or the car since I was still audibly upset, and then I told him. He thought it was THE funniest thing ever and I was like, “it’s not funny, they didn’t even have a good day first!” and that made him laugh harder, though he was kind of trying not to find it too uproariously funny. He just laughed the whole time and the more I tried to tell him about why it was so sad and not funny, the more he laughed, in the way you laugh at someone that is somehow tinged with regret about laughing and somehow sounds like they feel bad about it while laughing. He’s a huge animal lover, but also quite the carnivore and was raised in a farming and hunting family, so he tends ot think of these things differently. I let him go because I was probably going to start getting mad about his inability to feel for the chickens/stop laughing etc, but I spent the rest of the trip home trying not to think about the chickens and failing. There are literally tear-drop stains on my GPS which I hold in my lap. So, yeah, I guess I’m a little sensitive about things related to animal cruelty and it’s either quite ironic that I was the one right behind the truck or it was definitely meant to be a great reinforcement for me to continue with my not eating meat or poultry. I also now kind of hate route 13 through VA because I drove past a Purdue plant only half an hour or so later. I won’t turn this into some kind of PSA because it either acts as that or is funny, depending on your views, but yeah, that happened.

My Husband, the Gypsy

While I am the one with the cliche-ed “gypsy soul”, it is my husband who is ever in motion, mapping routes and setting up in a new spot. He was only here for three short days after we moved before heading off to NJ, then NY, for work. Those three days were spent unloading the moving van and then (on his part) never leaving the apartment in the hopes of feeling a little relaxed before jetting off to work again.

This past winter and spring, work wasn’t very busy for him and he was around almost always, but now it appears his job has turned him back into a traveller and he’s not been home much at all. I’ve been looking forward to his coming back to Virginia ever since he left. I’ve discovered so many cool things that I want to explore with him, and we’re quite behind on our “Shameless” dvd watching, which is best done with take-out. Anyway, I’m going to Maine this weekend to celebrate my father’s birthday and (quickly) visit family, and C is now coming home right in the middle of the time I’ll be gone. That would be fine if he were staying for a week, but apparently even staying a few days to watch the cats took some arranging on his part, and so, it seems, our visit will be very very brief. I was going to start driving monday and be home tuesday, but he’s going to somewhere as yet unknown to work on a wind project either tuesday or wednesday, so I’m going to try to cram that 15 hour drive into just one day so that maybe we get half a day together before he leaves again. Guys, this is not what I was expecting and I’m pretty bummed out about it at the moment, especially since he’s going to an island off Africa right after this next project. But… but maybe he’ll be able to get a cat-friendly hotel so I can drive out with the cats and visit (again, hugely depending on where he will be) or I’ll find a cat-sitter and fly out to see him for a weekend. We will make it work, as we always do, but I’m hoping this version of “making it work” means we actually see each other because sometimes we don’t for 3 months and that always sucks.

So, let’s hope he’s nearby-ish or I can find someone to look after the cats because this half-day visit is definitely not going to be enough time with him before he heads off to Africa. Life is pretty unpredictable with his job which is exactly why I’ avoiding getting a full-time gig of my own. Working weekends or as a sub definitely allows me more flexibility when it comes time to either fly off and see my husband or else not see him at all. 

I Used to Look Cheap, but Now I am Expensive.

My transformation, at least hair-wise, into a classy lady of Hampton Roads is complete. I guess it’s about time I stop trying to look like a my little pony who lost it’s plastic hairbrush because damn, guys, I’m gonna be 29 in October. Which also means that having my hair professionally died has the added bonus of covering grays. Because I have had those since I was 19, but they have multiplied tenfold since then. I tried at-home dyes and they wouldn’t quite take so now I have an excuse to get pampered every 6-8 weeks and try cool things like ombre balayage. I’m kind of lucky really, because while I may be too old for DIY rainbow hair (especially witht hose gray hairs popping out), I am not too old to experiment with some of those subtler , yet still fun, techniques. 

So anyway, since I already showed you the before/after from the cut, now here’s the before/after color. You know, it’s definitely true that looks that are considered “classy” are pretty much reserved for those with some cold hard cash to throw at their appearance because there is NO WAY I could ever achieve this look at home, it took 3 hours and way more mixtures than you’d expect. Meanwhile, I definitely achieved my randomly bleached rainbow hair all by myself and it cost like $20, but literally 0 people ever called that look “classy”.

after cut and color

after cut and color

in different lighting; its more of a natural blend of tones than a traditional highlight

in different lighting; its more of a natural blend of tones than a traditional highlight

after cut, before color

after cut, before color

My Awkward Saturday Night

I’m pretty new to this town or city or whatever you want to call it, but I thought this Saturday evening I would go out, order a beer and an appetizer and chat up some strangers. There’s this place, Park Lane Tavern, around here that has a nice outdoor section and a huge indoor bar, so I went there to work a little friendship magic. It worked a couple of weeks ago, I chatted with a biker for like 4 hours and it was pretty fun and he didn’t care that I was happily married, he was also just trying to hang out with people.

So. I go again. I decide to wear some nice dress shorts and a chunky heel and leave my yoga pants at home where they belong. I make a big mistake, I ask for a table outside. Guys, don’t do this unless you bring a book. I end up getting sat at a high top with chairs composed of metal in a huge grid of open spaces. Basically, as soon as I sat down my bare thighs were waffled into the nooks of this stupid chair, my cellulite at every one else’s damn eye-level. Great. I decide I can overcome. I  order a beer and a bavarian pretzel appetizer and look mostly out at the sky and sometimes at my phone, pretending that there’s something new on fb when there isn’t. If I ate or drank faster, it would have been fine, but it turned out to be about 40 minutes of this and I looked like a lonely weirdo. So, it was awkward enough having broadcast my cellulite and lack of friends for all to see, but then I go to pay my bill. It takes forever, I’m sitting there staring out at the horizon like it’s a cirque du soleil show until finally the waitress comes back and tells me my card was declined. And she ran it twice. Okay. I am now the most pathetic patron in this stupid restaurant/bar hybrid full of couples and groups of friends. The waitress looks at me when she says this like she’s afraid it’s the only card I have, but thank freaking god, I am in fact married and not the loneliest person on the planet and I do have my husband’s card which only gets turned off when I forget to tell them I’m travelling.

I decided to call it quits with the faux-socializing at that point, forgoing my plan to have another drink at the bar area. There are only so many pity glances I can take in one night, so I go home and call my credit card company. Apparently, despite my having already given them my updated address, they mailed something to my old address and it got returned. So they immediately put a hold on my account. Great, thanks credit card company, that’s never embarassing. Anyway, while I was on the phone with them I made sure to update them about my upcoming travel plans so that this won’t happen next week. The nice lady told me that it definitely would be fine unless I shopped at places that I don’t usually shop at online or a bunch of other scenarios. So, cool, this will be a repeating phenomenon. I told her,” I know this isn’t your thing, but if you have any sort of suggestion box, could you put a little feedback in for me?” and she said sure, so I then asked her if maybe they could consider doing that thing where they call you to confirm purchases before just shutting of your goddamn card. This has happened to me 4 or 5 times this year, starting when I did my christmas shopping online, I’m wondering when they will figure out that I just enjoy online shopping and variety in my life. Probably never.

A Real Haircut

I just went to Animare salon (its an Aveda salon) to get my first professional haircut in a decade. I can’t explain why it’s been that long aside from the fact that I kept trying to get layered cuts in my teens and kept getting those weird mullety cuts. You know, where the shortest layer is the thickest, so you have gross long tendrils. Who wants that? Why was this such a recurring thing? I was just done putting my trust in hair stylists only to end up with another sad mullet, so I’ve been cutting my own hair since. Usually it’s just a blunt shoulder cut, but occasionally I do a trim or try my hand at layers. But I’m almost 29, it was time to get my butt back into a salon. So, here are the before and afters (before is from last week because I never wear my hair down).

ew, scraggly.

ew, scraggly.

It reminds me of "the rachel"  and I love it.

It reminds me of “the rachel” and I love it.

I made an appointment for monday to have ombre balayage done, which is a subtle sun-kissed looking highlighting technique, as seen on Lauren Conrad and Jessica Biel.  I enjoyed my weird bleaching and colors when I had them, but now it’s time to make it less DIY and more adult. It’s pretty revolutionary to me to be trying for an actual hairstyle and color technique, I feel so fancy. I could hear the color drain out of C.’s face over the phone when I told him how much the coloring costs, but I informed him that we were obviously rich since he was supposed to come home today but is staying on in NY to work for at least another week. He said that I have a twisted view of how things work, which I took as approval since none of the words in that sentence were “no”. Fair enough, right? But listen, I’ve never had a cut or color in the 4+ years we’ve been together, so he can’t complain too much.

I applied to a company that subcontracts substitute teachers for Hampton schools and have an interview in a few weeks, so hopefully this will mean gainful employment. I expected to want a month to soak up life in this new city, but it took less than a week before I was dying for a part time job. I just really want to work 2 or 3 days a week. It’s hard (in a first world problem way) to be so aimless and unproductive, I need a little structure and hard work mixed in with my free time or it’s hard to appreciate the free time. Since my dream job is teaching at a college level I think substituting is the perfect fit for me right now; I get the experience of teaching, something besides retail to put on my resume and it’s something I am currently qualified for and will enjoy. I’m really hoping that I get this gig, but I will definitely look into temp agencies and weekend work if not.

Lindsay’s Visit Day 4 (the last day)

Day 4 was a Saturday and Lindsay was planning to leave in the early evening, so we decided to make it a nice relaxing beach day before her 8 hour trip home. We decided that it might be less crowded at the private beach, which had the added advantage of a restaurant. Paradise beach club is like a resort right here in town. There were a ton of people partying at the bar, live music, games on the sand and a dozen or more nice boats in the water that teenagers were taking turns jumping off of and swimming. These teenagers had the kind if life lindsay and I thought was made up for tv, but is apparently real. Who gets to spend summers partying at a beach club with their own boat?! Not us.

We sunned with our SPF 40 on, read magazines and then decided to go for a swim. Lindsay got sting by a jellyfish within minutes even though there were a bunch of people in the water who weren’t stalked by jellyfish. We promptly got back on land and decided it was lunch time. We quizzed the poor waitress about jellyfish stings and though they’re not dangerous, it looked like a cluster of burns, so we went to the lifeguard after lunch and she had vinegar on hand which she poured on Lindsay’s leg and I rubbed sand on it to remove the stingers. Apparently this really relieved the pain, so it’s probably best to do this right away if you are stung instead of trying to tough it out.

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We only stated for a couple of hours because the sting kind of took the relaxation out of the beach. Our next goal was to find a local coffee shop and we ended up finding one near my apartment. It was a cupcake shop with a full espresso bar and my Iced latte tasted 10x better than the ones I’d been buying at Starbucks. You could really tell the espresso shots were quality, timed just right, weren’t left to sit and die (they get bitter) and so it tasted all rich and dreamy like only the best local espresso drinks can.

We decided to share one of their gourmet cupcakes which came in its own little pink box (it was recyclable). It was a coconut custard concoction with a light whipped cream-like frosting. I took a picture but it’s on the iPad and I’m on my phone so I guess I won’t make you hungry with a photo.

Fort Monroe

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Today’s attempt at running took place at Fort Monroe, which L and I accidentally discovered on our way to Paradise Beach Club (that was day 4,which I haven’t covered yet). It’s no longer an active army base, but is now a historic site. All along the roads there are these really old forts which were constructed starting in 1609. Other than the old fortifications, it kind of looks like an abandoned college campus that butts right up against a great boardwalk along the Chesapeake.

It was slightly creepy because the parking lot I chose was almost entirely out of view of the road because it was behind a big fort. I parked towards the side that was in view of what appeared to be an active police station because it just seemed like the smart thing to do. Anyway, there were a lot of little tiny beaches along the way, and at one end there was a bigger beach with a lifeguard.

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I’m definitely looking forward to taking C there when he gets back from NY so we can take a nice walk and check out the old fortifications. It would also be a nice spot for a picnic or to sit and have coffee in the morning, but today my goal was to workout, and of course it was 1 pm and 84 degrees and super humid. I don’t learn, I just don’t.

I only got in 1.62 miles before I needed a water and rest break. I did it in 17 minutes, which was 4 minutes faster than my really slow workout of the same distance on Sunday. Not running for 4 days caught up to me quickly. I drove the 20 minutes home and then made myself do workout part 2 and jogged/walked another 1.03 miles in 11 minutes. It was broken up and not great, but I’m hoping to do better tomorrow. At least it was better than Sunday’s flop.

Lindsay’s Visit Day 3

Day three was pretty packed with plans (at least it was for two homebodies like us) and we were really doubting we’d do everything we’d planned, but the only thing we ended up skipping was cine bistro since watching a movie inside on such a nice day seemed like a waste.

We started at the nail salon where L got a mani pedi, while I got a pedi and eyebrow wax. I have weirdly shaped fingernails so I don’t bother with manis.

After getting pampered we walked a couple blocks to have sushi for lunch. The first place we went to didnt have public bathrooms, something I thought was required, so we boycotted them on principle and went to a different sushi restaurant. They had a lunch special of two maki rolls, miso soup and salad for $10.95 so we both got that. It was so filling that we needed a coffee break (again at the slowest starbucks on earth- they don’t even have a drive thru I don’t get what they are doing back there.)

Once caffeinated we headed back to Sandy Bottom Nature Park and rented a rowboat. We looked like absolute idiots at first as we each grabbed an oar and spun in circles until we learned to coordinate our rowing. We went to the middle of the small lake and read magazines, occasionally rowing as we drifted too far in one direction or the other. We were alone on the lake so it wasn’t as if we were bothering anyone. It’s only 3 dollars an hour to rent the boat, too, so we had no stress about time.

We made it back to the apartment in time to get ready for 6pm yoga, I’d even bought an extra mat for guests to use, so we were all dressed for yoga, carrying our mats through the pool area and, of course, arrived to an ominously empty studio. Apparently yoga was cancelled, which L had actually predicted would happen because that kind of thing always happens to us. We decided to make our own yoga and spent quite a while stretching before leaving.

That night we went downtown for a seafood dinner at Old Towne Tavern or something. The food was delicious- L had scallops and I had a grouper Reuben which was so messy and yummy. We were pretty sketched out by downtown overall so we didn’t linger after dinner as we’d planned. It was small, dive-y and a bit of a ghost town. We headed back to my neighborhood which is by far the nicest area we encountered in our explorations. C did a great job picking our apartment!

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I leave you with my adorable bestie on the rowboat! Sadly I only have one more day to recap now, as she left last night. I wanted to keep her forever and ever, but real life called!

Lindsay’s Visit: Days One and Two

My best friend of 16 years came to visit me in my new home and helped me explore this new town. We managed to fit a lot into 4 days.
Day one:
Took a walk around the trails at Sandy Bottom (is that where Spongebob lives?? Not the same one, if so). Briefly considered renting a yurt for a night but the no water, no electricity, no alcohol thing swayed us towards nopesville.
Grabbed coffee at the slowest Starbucks on earth and spent hours shopping for clothes, shoes and household supplies.
That night we headed out on the town for dinner and drinks. We came up with a plan to take progressively drunk selfies with a prop from each bar, but only managed at 2 of the 3 because the third bar was scary and we didn’t want to make ourselves look like dumb drunk girls (easy targets).

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We played a couple games of pool at the last bar and were told to be safe by both the bartender and security guard as we were leaving. We’d only had 3 drinks total at that point so it was definitely that the neighborhood was bad and not that we seemed drunk ( also we were on foot, not driving). We realized that W. Mercury Blvd. is the proverbial tracks here and we’d crossed to the “wrong side”. When we got back to the apartment we stayed up until past 5am talking over wine so day two involved delivery Chinese food, t.v. and a trip to the bookstore for magazines and coffee. Days 3 and 4 deserve their own post as they were jam packed, so I’ll leave off for now with a photo of my fish tacos from day one. They were delicious.

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What I Ate (Last Week)

This past week I ate some pretty delicious food, and a lot of delicious but terrible for me delivery chinese food.

C. and I ate dinner at Savor Cafe in Charlotte when we stopped there on our way to Virginia. I had a sweet chili glazed salmon filet with horseradish mashed potatoes and asian greens and C. had the meatloaf with the same potatoes and different vegetables. We both gave this restaurant 5 out of 5 stars.

at Savor on Morehead

at Savor on Morehead

On our second day in Virginia, I decided to try a local wine with crusty fresh baked french bread and little brie wedges. I think I ate leftover hunan shrimp later that night, so I ruined the french women don’t get fat part of that meal.

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And, finally, Saturday night I went to Park Lane Tavern for a post-run dinner and had the ahi tuna and tried a Pimm’s Cup, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I had no idea what it was, but it turned out to be sort of like a mojito. It was good and a nice chance to get out and socialize a bit with strangers since C. had already left town for NJ.

I refuse to take multiple pictures of my meal before eating it, so it's a bit blurry.

I refuse to take multiple pictures of my meal before eating it, so it’s a bit blurry.