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29 April 2012

New flowers to delight the senses

After hiking with The Beast, we stopped off at a local flower spot to pick up a little color for the porch. My tomatoes and basil and rosemary and chives and lilies are in full force, but that's an awful lot of green. A little color was desperately needed to add a little liveliness. I found a beautiful succulent and a pot of gerberas to add to the plant family. More to come, but all in good time. 
Daisy after watering
My English Garden ... porch-sized. I like all my plants clustered together
in a controlled chaos. 
The pink on this succulent is so vibrant!
Red gerbera

A new hike to enjoy

Summer has arrived here in NC, and that means all sorts of fun outdoor activities await! The Beast and I drove out to Jordan Lake for the first time and hit one of the longer trails. It was an absolutely beautiful day, and we hiked for just over two hours and covered 6 miles. We were both pretty beat afterwards, but it was all-in-all a wonderful day. Aside from the massive tick I found crawling on The Beast when we got home. Man, those things totally skeeve me out!

I brought the camera out of hiding (I feel miserable that I haven't been doing as much photography as I would like to recently), and I'll share more shots when I actually offload them from the device. But, for now, my iPhone pics will have to suffice ...

Jordan Lake
More of the lake
What are these flowers? They are pretty cool.
My obligatory "looking up" shot.

I forgot to mention that a good friend recommend this hike, and I'm super glad she did!! I love having smart  and savvy friends!

26 April 2012

Getting in touch with my inner child

Today I got to hang out with one of my all-time favorite three-year-olds, Q. I met up with her and her momma after school and went out for pizza. After pizza, Q didn't want the party to end, so we went back to their house and played on the driveway with "chalk." I say "chalk" because it wasn't really chalk. It was better! Q's Momma found a recipe on Pinterest for making really easy chalk that washes clean and comes in every color (Kik, you should TOTALLY do this with your boys!). All it is is equal parts corn starch  and water with food coloring added. It makes a liquid "chalk" that can be used on pavement with paint brushes. It's pretty cool. And especially cool is that you can combine colors and even make color "rivers." 

I always love hanging out with Q and her momma, and today as certainly no exception. Sitting on the pavement with my chalky paintbrush in hand, turning the grey canvas colorful was therapeutic and relaxing. I forget too easily what it's like to just enjoy the simple things. The easy pleasures that I too often rush right by. 

Polka dots, rainbows, and flowers
Rivers of color
Isn't it cool how they blend?
My favorite little artist
Q's Momma's rainbow

25 April 2012

Now I remember why I hate dating ...

Being a serial monogamist means I haven't actively dated seriously (present situation excluded) in a long time. I don't see being in a long-term relationship as "dating." Once you pass the 6-month mark, you move from "dating" to something else. I'm not sure what to call that something else, but it is definitely different from actively dating. I'm REALLY good at being in long-term relationships. Dating, I'm discovering, is less natural for me.

Since things between The Beau and I have been going smoothly, I'd forgotten how much I hate the whole dating process. Lulled into passivity, I guess. But last night it all came back to me. I hate the vulnerability and tip-toeing around feelings and all the other "newness" that happens in a new relationship. While the "honeymoon" period is nice, I much prefer the "comfortable and natural" stage of relationships. Because the rules and nature of dating is so damn bizarre and I'm much more of a long-term relationship person, I think that I too easily invest myself into relationships and people. When I'm in a relationship, I invest myself 100% into it (not losing myself, of course, but making the other person a priority). If I don't like the person enough to do so, I won't bother wasting my time in a relationship. I think my age, experience, and personality all contribute to this condition.

After the trip to Florida, I'd been feeling a little "off" towards The Beau. I couldn't really figure it out, so I did what I normally do when processes through thoughts and emotions. I made a list. I realized that, as per my normal, I was fully invested in the relationship and wasn't feeling the same level of investment in return. (My mom gave me some great advice when I was younger, and it's something that I've always held central in my relationship. When I got married, she pulled me aside and told me, "If both people in a relationship makes the other person's happiness their greatest priority, then you both will be happy and have all of your needs met." At first, my young mind thought that was ridiculous, but it has been my reigning philosophy for relationships since I processed it and understood it. It took me time to realize that being selfless was more important than being selfish.) Since I'm not willing to put more into a relationship than I am getting back, I decided that The Beau and I needed to have a talk. I made the mistake of telling him a few days before that I wanted to talk. Looking back, I realize that was a juvenile move, and I regret making him anxious about it unnecessarily.

Anyway, we had dinner last night and talked afterwards. I dread those kinds of conversations because they make me feel vulnerable and exposed, and, if you know anything about me, I HATE those feelings. I like to be seen as strong and rational and impervious to all things, and sharing what I truly feel completely shatters that illusion. But I powered through (with the help of my list!) and shared my feelings. I told him what I was feeling, and we had a good conversation. He was open and honest with me about his feelings as well, sharing that he indeed wasn't as invested as I was. I was less upset by this revelation that I expected to be. He also shared that this has been something that has come up in previous relationships as well. He has a much more narrow dating experience and is younger (but only by three years! Don't judge me!), so this may all contribute to the current state of things. I'm not sure how I feel about it all, and I'm still processing through it.

For now, nothing has changed between us, and we are moving along as we were previously. Knowing that he and I aren't on the same page causes me to pull back a bit and put less of myself out there. I certainly don't want to be the needy girl who suffocates her partner. I'm not trying to be standoffish and distant, but I'm definitely working to preserve my feelings and decrease my vulnerability. We'll see what the future brings, but the uncertainty and flux drives me crazy and makes me uncomfortable.

It's the control freak in me.

Maybe that's why I hate dating so much ...

21 April 2012

Escape to the Gulf 2012

It's the annual Florida trip, and LL actually made it this year!! I haven't seen her for TWO WHOLE YEARS, and it's been so very awesome to hang out with her (and the parents, of course!) for the last two days. Despite stormy and gross weather all day today, we've had an awesome time. It's hard to believe that I already have to leave tomorrow. Sad face. :(
Family portrait in the Reserve. 

I pretty much adore these little birds. 

So damn cute!

Waves crashing could possibly be the most soothing sound in life. 

The lizards were EVERYWHERE!!

Me, doing what I do best. Texting on the beach. (Most likely texting The Beau.)

There were even crabs in the trees! 

And horseshoe crabs and bait fish in the water ... where they belong.

Note the little bird AND the waves crashing ...

I love how the one in the center looks like he's doing a jig ...

A few of my favorite peeps ... LL and Jenn. I'm the giant on the left. ;)

Easter Flowers

I've finally offloaded all of my pics from the camera, and I realized that I still had stuff on there from Easter. And it turns out I took A LOT of pics of flowers while in DC. The flowers on mall were in bloom, and they were just beautiful!! And, given the beautiful backdrop of a gorgeous April day, the photographs turned out quite well. 

I need to go to Holland. I love tulips. 

Their beauty and fragility is so lovely. 

You know I love my color filters ...
Purple ...

And some yellow ...

Annapolis (This one is out of order. My apologies.)

Catching up ...

It's been a while since I've posted. Again, I'll blame it on being busy and leading a hectic life. Which is all true. But. while I've been busy, I've had time to blog. I've just chosen not to. But here's a quick rundown if you haven't been paying attention to my tweets or my Fb posts. I've even divided it into sections to make it easy for you. ;)

The Love Life - 

Things are going swimmingly (yes, I said "swimmingly") between The Beau and I. Interestingly, I'm currently blogging while on vacation with Mom, Pops, and LL in Florida. It's the first time that he and I have been apart for more than a day since we started seeing each other. We've been seeing each other for over a month, and we finally made it "official" by changing our relationship status on Fb. That was weird given that it is the first time in my life that my Fb has said anything about my relationship status. Especially being directly connected to another person. But it's nice. He's a sweet guy who makes me laugh, enjoys my cooking (and thinks it's amazing!), and really challenges me to get out of my safe little box of life. While I'm a big fan of my comfort zone, I'm appreciative of his efforts to move me beyond that. I definitely resist at times, but he keeps at it. Which is a good thing.

The Diss Life - 

I've submitted another chapter of the diss. That makes two whole chapters submitted. Of course, the first chapter needs editing, and the most recent submit is quite skeletal. I'm at the point where I've written everything that I'm super confident about and now I'm starting to tread water through the more murky and less easy stuff. I'll continue to work and submit and make edits for about a year (although the basic draft of the whole thing will be done by the end of August), and, hopefully, I'll be getting ready to defend in about a year from now. We'll see how that goes.

I've also got to figure out a better balance between The Beau and The Diss. I obviously prefer spending time with him, but The Diss is requiring more and more attention from me. My typical work-best-under-a-short-deadline approach to writing and research doesn't quite work for this kind of writing, and the last chapter about killed me. I desperately need to create a better balance and actually work ahead of time.

The Family Life - 

Everyone back home is quite happy and healthy. There have been some hard time (when are there not), but good times are always close behind them. My big brother graduates from undergrad with his elementary education teaching degree in May, and I couldn't be more excited and proud. I am not, however, excited about the rive north and the too-short weekend that will accompany it. I'll drive up on a Thursday afternoon immediately after school, stay through Sunday, and drive home Monday. It'll be a short trip, but I'm eager to celebrate his achievements with him. And The Beau may travel north with me to meet the family, so that will be interesting as well.

So that's that. A few random photo posts are to follow, and then I'll be all caught up! :)

09 April 2012

Easter in Annapolis

Easter was a rousing success! The weather was gorgeous, the company was fun, and the food was fantastic. 

The Beau and I drove north into DC and arrived around noon. We hit a few museums and enjoyed the warm sunshine before driving the rest of the way into Annapolis. I didn't take nearly as many photographs as usual, but the ones I did take will appear in a future blog post. I'm too swamped with other things right now to get them offloaded and taken care of. 

Saturday was CREPES! and the Naval Academy and Sunday was just hanging out and relaxing with the family and The Beau. Jess made an awesome Easter dinner that we got to enjoy outdoors in the sunshine. It was a pretty fantastic day. 

But, of course, I did snap a few Instagrams at Easter dinner. You know me, the iPhone is never too far away!

Jess's outstanding Easter dinner

Indy, enjoying the hambone

05 April 2012

Easter weekend plans

This weekend I am driving up to Annapolis to visit the cousin and his lovely bride (although I'm not sure I can call her a "bride" anymore given that they've been married for over a year now ...). It should be a good weekend because, let's be honest, anytime we all get together is a good time. But this time will be a little different. Why?

The Beau is going. We were going to go camping, but, given the fact that neither of us have been getting decent sleep these past few weeks, we decided that going someplace with actual beds might be more relaxing for a mini-vacation. So, we're headed to Annapolis (with a small jaunt into DC) to hang with the cousins.

Which, of course, makes me a little nervous. The Beau has met only one of my friends thus far (db at the Saucer on a Saturday night), and meeting the cousin and his wife is a bit like meeting the parents. The Annapolis family is pretty important to me (despite of - or because of - our awesomely acrimonious banter), so B meeting them feels like a big step. Hopefully all will go well.

If it doesn't go well, at least there will be crepes and lemoncello shots and cigars ...

And, hopefully, spending three solid days together won't result in us realizing that we want to kill each other. I don't think that will happen, but, hey, you never know till you try it!

02 April 2012

More from Lake Crabtree

Sunday, B and I attempted to rent kayaks and go out on Lake Crabtree, but, alas, the rentals are closed until May. What is that about?! Instead we just walked around the lake. It was a beautiful day which was surprising given the wicked hail storm from the night before. 

I love the vine on this tree. 
The close-up of the vine above. So damn pretty!
A lizard!! On a tree!!
You all know I like to look up ...

01 April 2012

Out like a lion

Saturday night brought a wicked hail storm. Seriously, the hail pelting the windows woke me up. It was gumball-sized and sent The Beast far under the bed for protection. It was bad. And, in the morning, there was a cute little pile of snow as a momento. 

I guess the old adage - In like a lion and out like a lamb - is horribly incorrect. 

Such a sad little snow pile. 


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