Friday Nights Home Alone

Sometimes I question my decisions to repeatedly leave behind everyone I know, my hard-won friends and move to a new place for no reason in particular. Not that I questio it for no reason in particular, but I do it for no reason in particular. I am still friendless in Virginia, but that doesn’t seem weird to me since it took me years, plural years for real, to make good friends in Louisiana. It’s odd, having a group of friends in Louisiana, a single solid friend left in Maine, one in New York… I guess the thing is that people started moving on from Louisiana and those who were left I saw about once a month and it was great, but once a month is not enough to make the other days spent in a place that had never quite grown on me bearable. I could grin and bear it but I felt I’d done enough of that. I still feel like moving was the right decision and it has made visiting with my friends and family in Maine and New York much easier. Or, it did before I started working days a week, which by the way, I’m still waiting on HR to decide if it’s permanent.

As the weather cools off there are less things to keep me occupied in my off-time, not that I am ever that great about actually leaving the house and doing things. I was hitting the beach a couple of times a week for a run and going to the patio of Park Lane Tavern about once a week, but now it’s kind of cold for both of those, The tavern will probably not be an option anytimme soon, but I should bundle up and get to the beach again soon. i say bundle up and it’s like 50, so I’m a baby, but that’s four years of Deep South for ya.

Anyway, C. is finally coming home for a few days next week and even though I’m working we’ll have the weekend.It will be nice to have someone to do things with for a change. End ramble post.

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Noland Trail and a Meet-up Mishap

Saturday morning I went to What was supposed to be a meetup at Noland Trail in Newport News. Unfortunately, the organizer decided not to show up or update the event to reflect that fact which was a real dick move. She answered her phone and told me as much and that she was stuck in Williamsburg with no internet. As if she wasn’t talking to me on a smartphone, not unlike the one I had just used to go to the website and get her number. People.
Anyway, I was there, it had taken me twenty minutes to get there and I was dressed to hike or run so I just went out on my own and did both for a little over 3 miles. Turns out the organizer also didn’t research at all and there was a breast cancer walk at that very time, the after party for which let out just as I attempted to leave an hour after arriving. So, that sucked, but it sucked a lot less than breast cancer so I tried not to be too annoyed as it took me over half an hour to get out of the parking lot and onto the main road.
It was a really nice trail with a lot of hills and it was all along a big lake and the James River so I’ll likely be back. And I took pictures since I was taking it slow for two of the three miles.
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Our Apartment: The Settling in Edition

The last time I posted about our Virginia apartment, it was still an unpacked mess, so I thought I’d update with a few new pictures since we are more settled in now. Also I finally got the hutch I’ve had my eye on for over a month that I didn’t think I’d actually get. It is THE FIRST piece of furniture I’ve ever gotten to pick out for our home, as C. holds the purse springs and has chosen, without my even seeing them, the couch, coffee tables, end tables, bed frame, washer/dryer and etc. He did a great job choosing everything and mostly it’s bargain stuff anyway, aside from the  bed frame and washer dryer (which I loooove), but it was high time I got a little say in our decorating choices, and that’s why I’m so ridiculously excited about this new addition to our house. It’s just so pretty, and we don’t have a lot of pretty things as they are obviously mostly pretty masculine or neutral.

So, yeah, pictures.

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The First Day of Fall at Fort Monroe

When I woke up this morning and stepped outside, it was obvious that the weather had perfectly aligned itself with the autumnal equinox. I mean, it was suddenly, obviously fall. The air was a cool 60-something degrees, the leaves rustled in the breeze, some guys with huge power tillers or something yelled to each other from the lawn below. Aside from the loud machines and yelling it was the perfect fall morning and, magically, it actually came when it was supposed to. I decided it was the perfect day for a run at Fort Monroe, which I think is still my favorite place in Hampton.

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I discovered a new path at the end of the boardwalk and some as-yet-unseen fortifications. I had to take a couple pictures of what I lovingly refer to as the moat, as well, because I am still awed by the fact that there are actual moats, not just around fairy tale castles, but around real forts in the good ol’ USA. The general consensus is that my reaction to this is over the top, but whatever. I think it’s awesome and I want to live on the hill surrounded by this moat and pretend to be a princess. Basically, this moat makes me feel like Amy Farrah Fowler when Sheldon gave her a tiara. If you don’t watch The Big Bang Theory you have no idea what I’m talking about, but doesn’t everyone watch it? I’ve even looked up that specific clip on you-tube just to watch her flip out over and over. It’s great.

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Well, now that I’ve reached the limit on how many times one can say “moat” in a blog post, I’ll quickly sum up my run. It was my fastest pace yet despite a heavy wind that made me feel like I was barely moving. I ran 1.8 miles in 17:42, making for an average pace of 9:51/mi. Mile one pace 9:46, mile two pace was 9:57. I would feel a lot better about this is my 5k wasn’t in less than two weeks, shit!!! I still have only gotten as far as running 2 miles in a row, so I’m still 1.2 short of where I need to be I guess I shouldn’t have slacked off in the beginning of September. I’m kind of stressed about the race anyway because I’ll have to go really early, figure out where to park, and it’s going ot be very very crowded and I hate crowds and hate things where I don’t know where to park or where I’m going, etc, so this is way out of my comfort zone. I’m definitely going to have to pep talk myself into actually showing up, but I will! I will!

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 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.

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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