Monday, April 27, 2009

Dear Lucky Stars, Thanks. Love, Megs

Losing your camera and license in a cab is never a good idea, but it’s an especially terrible idea when you’re headed out of the country the next day. This is exactly what happened to me on my wedding night. After we were kicked out of our reception sight, the revelers from our party relocated to Foothills Brewery, and then eventually to Burke St Pizza. (Yes, wedding dress, bar sludge, pizza grease? Don’t know what I was thinking. Hey, you only wear it once, who cares what you get on it at 2 a.m.!) Somewhere in the midst of all this, I left a wristlet containing my driver’s license and camera in the backseat of a cab. Fortunately I did not have any credit cards – I guess I assumed the white dress would sort of be a “free pass” for having to pay for anything. (It was. NTS: wear more often?)

Just going for a stroll up Burke St.

The next day I frantically called around to the different cab companies. “Can you remember what cab you were in?” Um, no, they all sort of look the same from inside, BUT I’m willing to guess if you put out an APB to your cabbies and ask which one shuttled around the BRIDE last night, you’ll narrow it down to one or two. After three or four cab companies said no one could recall having an adorably sweet woman in a poufy white dress in their backseat, we gave up. My passport would suffice for my airport ID and my mom lent me her camera for our honeymoon. I wasn’t too frustrated about my ID, since I had to replace it upon returning anyway – new last name and all. And, although I was upset to lose my camera, to me the priceless part of a camera would be the pictures – so, considering I had paid someone to walk around shooting pictures of the last 10 hours of my day, I felt confident that those would be replaced. Mostly I was just mad at myself and embarrassed – I was sober after all, and who leaves things in cabs when they’re sober? I pride myself on being someone who rarely misplaces thing (one cell phone, ONE… I know Matt is going to remind me of this, so I might as well “out” myself)… so I was just super annoyed at myself for losing it. We took off the next morning for Greece , and while I had plenty of other things on my mind that week (Ancient ruins!! Jeep tours of volcanoes!! New husband!!!!!) in the back of my mind was the nagging annoyance at losing my stuff.

Judging from my happy expression, this might be right about the time I realized it was missing.

Our return trip was exhausting and after nearly 24 hours of travel, including connections from Venice to Frankfurt to Newark to Charlotte (oh my!), and then driving from Charlotte to Winston, we walked into our house at 2 a.m. There, sitting on the corner of my coffee table in full view, was MY CAMERA AND LICENSE. I literally fell to my knees in shock and gratitude and a little bit of delirium and just kept going “What the! What the!” Part of me thought it was a dream, and when I woke up the next day I had to check it was still there.

The next day when I checked my email I found out one of my sorority sisters (who I had no idea was even living in Winston) got in the cab RIGHT AFTER ME and found my wristlet. When she saw the ID inside was me, she decided to hold on to it rather than turn it into the “lost and found” of the cabbie . Thank you, thank you, thank you brilliant Chi O sister. The next day she promptly drove out to my house (conveniently listed on my ID) and delivered it to my other friend who was house-sitting, who left it on the coffee table for me to find when I returned. I could not believe my good fortune that someone I knew would get into a cab right after me! It was almost too good to be true. I still think about that day as one of the greatest “gifts” of good fortune I have ever received.

What is the luckiest things that has ever happened to you?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ready, Set, MOVE!

So hey internets, guess what... we are MOVING!

After about a bajillion saved entries on listingbook, endless Sundays spent going to open house after open house and creating price per square foot excel sheets like it was my job (or, you know, at my job), we finally found "The One." Kids, here's a tip you should know about house hunting: it is nothing like the HGTV show. You do not go to 3 nearly-perfect homes in one afternoon with your endlessly perky relator, you do not have to narrow down your decision going "hmm, do I want the granite countertops or do I prefer the extra big garden tub?" and you do not sit patiently in a coffee shop and wait for the counter offer to come after one commercial break. In fact, if you just take all those things and apply the opposite rule to them, you would have home buying.

(Although, we did have a very patient and wonderful realtor. And I'm not just saying that because she might follow my blog.)

Once we settled on the house, the process of mortgage application simply required turning over every piece of information about yourself including a DNA sample, your childhood pet's name, and how many visits to Starbucks you make each month (too many!! i'm sorry!! I'll stop if you'll give me a mortage.) via fax machines to strangers. So you know, just more FUN. I suppose this is the backlash of the former free for all mortgage industry, and I am thankful that change is so very transparent, but SHEESH....

While we were at the beach we got word that our mortgage was approved. We are all set to close on WEDNESDAY and move next weekend. NEXT WEEKEND! Holy crapballs.

So I came home Thursday from the beach, and I had already taken yesterday off to do a wellness workshop at a staff retreat for a company here. I'm glad I had that day off, because we started packing yesterday. It's been a whirlwind.... but we should be in our new house next weekend! We've got friends and some family members coming to help lift heavy things and unpack next weekend; then another friend arrives the weekend after that to stay for the week ---> graduation. Graduation Saturday we should have approximately ~15 people here for Matt's grad party. So you know... nothing like hosting a party in your house 2 weeks after moving in to force you to figure out what box you packed the napkin rings in. NTS: LABEL THINGS!!

Welcome back from vacay. Time to get moving. Literally.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

F-Stop Sunrise

In other news, I haven't been up this early all week, and I took advantage of the quiet of the morning to play with my camera settings and capture the sunset. I'm still getting mixed up between F-stops and apertures, and I should probably just RTFM, but I've been going more along the lines of just mash buttons and twirl settings until I get it right. Here's what I gots.

Just peeking.

A front row show to His glorious creation.

In the neighbor's windows.

Compliments of my mom: caught in the act, snuggie & all.

Reality Check: The Beach Version

So after the initial excitement of family beach week, one would hope that the week had had it's quotas of OMG moments. The next couple days of beach week passed by in a blur of SPF 30, which library book should I read?, carrying squirmy beach towel wrapped burrito babies back to the house, and rapid fire rounds of Pictionary around the table after dinner.

Then yesterday, we were lying on the beach when my uncle, looking up at the sky, said “Hey look at those weird clouds…they look more like smoke.” Sure enough, it turns out about 3,000 acres of land to the north of us, including a bunch of houses, 2 golf courses and some forest areas, ended up burning in 3 massive wildfires that burned from about noon until early this morning.

Standing on the walkway from our house to the beach we could see the flames licking up in the air behind all the high rise hotels up in Myrtle.
(We’re south, closer to Murrells Inlet)

My friend, who lives down here, was visiting for dinner and as we’re watching the news she’s all, "Hmm, that's near my house... weird." Sure enough she goes home after dinner and there’s a sign on her apartment door that says something along the lines of “well you don’t have to leave, but you probably should.” (Funny, I remember the same quote being said towards the end of most of the frat parties I attended in college.) The fires were about a 1/2 a mile in the woods behind her apartment, so about midnight last night she and her 5 lb Yorkie returned and bunked up with me. It was a rather sleepless night as the little pup was all :::Timmy down the well::: whine whine whine all night.

I woke up at 5 with her this morning so she could go back and check her apartment – fortunately it’s still there and I think the fires are finally out. No word on how they get started, and I'm sad for all the people who have lost homes or businesses in the blazes.

What a week. I’m about to go have my fourth cup of coffee and there’s a 3 yo hovering over my shoulder going “CAN I SEE THE PINK PHONE AGAIN???” and a the 2 yo is hollering from the other room “COME FIND ME MEGGY COME FIND ME.”

I should take vacations more often. They make me miss the relative calmness of the life I was just declaring INSANELY CHAOTIC a week ago. NTS: Children, head injuries and natural disasters most DEFINITELY trump balancing working, wife-ing, running, softball, blogging and wine drinking.

Dear Self, You Have It Easy. Love, Your Life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Big Family. THANKFULLY, Even Bigger House.

It's been a little windy the last two days, so we've been at our pool rather than on the beach but hey, turns out you can still get a wicked sunburn without getting any sand in your swim suit. I SWEAR I USED SPF 30. Small children clambering on you = stealthy sunscreen removal process.

The fam that eats clams together stays together.
(Because there's only one butter dish, so you have to huddle together real close.)

There are 20 of us here in one house - but the house is huge, and there's these little nooks (i.e. where I am hiding with my computer, although the 4 yo found me hiding a minute ago and asked me to play.) There are 5 children under the age of 5 -like little stair steps they go 5 yo, 4 yo, 3 yo, 2 yo, 7 mo. If there was ever a "are you ready for parenthood?" boot camp, this is it. (Answer: I better get a dog.)* The smallest one is the snuggliest sweetest girl ever.... DANGEROUS. If I could get a guarantee my first would be like that, I'd pop one out tomorrow.

Who know drool was the secret potion of love?
And also, sunburned, I know.

*Family factoid: At the age of 25, this was my Grandma's life. 5 children under the age of 5. Oh, and she couldn't drive a car. Suddenly, the biting sarcasm and penchant for Dewar's is much, much better understood.

Just five of the seven siblings. (#'s 1, 3, 5, 7 & 4.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blog: The Beach Version

We are at the beach. We are happy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Things that Go Bump Down the Stairs

Our first night was pretty much TMZ-worthy. Every year when we get here we have a big clambake and there's an astonishing amount of beer consumed and then we all play Kings. This is a great recipe for someone to do something embarrassing and be added in to the stories that will be retold at Christmas, Thanksgiving and the next decade's worth of beach trips. This year my sister's boyfriend looked like he was itching for that title - by the 3rd round, he had instituted a rule that whenever anyone wanted to address him they had to call him "Mister Master" only it came out "Mishter Mashter." Katie was pretty thrilled. The next 2 rounds he would interject with random outbursts like "I didn't work hard all week to act like your sister!" or "Positive Mental Attitude Katie, Positive Mental Attitude!" After round 5, Katie put him to bed.

One would THINK Dylan would enjoy the embarrassment of the next day. But oh no, it got worse. We all went to bed around 2. Katie & boyfriend, husband & I were sleeping in a downstairs room right near the stairs to the kitchen. Around 4 am, Matt said he woke up to a noise that sounded like "Shelves holding a 100 lb of stuff collapsing." Only he did not investigate. (Matt & Meghan: Not Ready for Parenthood. I don't wake to loud noises, he wakes but assumes "eh... must have been nothing.") Turns out that nothing was my aunt taking a nosedive down the stairs. She went to the powder room next to our room and tried to clean up...then finally gave up and went and got her sister. Her sister, alarmed by the SKULL she could see through her gaping head wound, called 9-1-1. Matt awoke again to the noise of the paramedics hollering "Hello!" into the hallway next to our room, and finally went out to investigate. (Me: still sleeping.) She had a huge gash in her head, and they ended up taking her to the hospital. (I did finally wake up when Matt came back in our room and started rifling through my purse to get my keys.) She ended up having stitches down from about the middle of her forehead back to behind her ear. (And apparently the doctor's demeanor towards her changed drastically when she pointed out she was here with "her nephew, the doctor.") *Um, he's not a doctor just a student doctor, but that can be a moot point when you want someone to stop explaining things to you in "poor stupid drunk lady" terms. She's okay now, and in fact the stitches come out today.

Yesterday I was uploading pictures to my computer and her daughter (the 5 yo) came to sit on my lap. We were flipping through pictures and she looked at one and said "That's before Mommy bumped her head!" so she clearly gets the concept of where the stitches come from. (Another great comment as we flipped through pictures.... "Lets count the beer cans in this! 1....2....3....10...11....12....12 beer cans! How many people drank those beers?" Can you do long division, sweet child?)

We are happy to know that for all future family vacays the answer to "Is there a doctor in the house?!" will always be a resounding "Yes!" (And by resounding, I might mean resigned. He's kind of stuck with us.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Charleston: Easter Weekend 2009

Pictures trump words. Wonderful weekend, beautiful city.
(If you want the play-by-play, get it here).

My To Do List: The Beach Version

Today I woke up in Myrtle Beach, SC. *Cue the Hallelujah chorus.*

Myrtle Beach has been my family's traditional vacation forever - starting with my mom going with HER parents. (Then: camper. Now: 3 story house on the beach with kegerator by the pool. I like my version better.) It is so much a part of our family's tradition that I threw an all out fit when I was in 3rd grade because my parents planned a family trip to Hawaii instead of our usual MB vacay.

Yes, that's right, I was enraged at the idea of going to Maui over the Redneck Riviera. What can I say, I'm a suckah for tradition. And oh yea, I was 7. What did I care about volcanoes and mai tai's?

In the last 8 years, other members of my extended family starting joining us, until gradually we grew from a family of 5 in one house to last year's grand total of 20 in two side-by-side houses. This year we're going for a major dice roll: 19 family members. One house.

Since college and this little thing called "employment", I've only been able to come down and stay with my family at the beach for a long weekend. This year, the stars collided (i.e. I rearranged my teaching schedule) and lo and behold, I was able to get the whole week off. Pretty much, I could not be more tickled. I'd probably still at 26 years old, take an entire week at Myrtle with my fam over a few days in Maui. Although I do anticipate needing those mai tai's with that many family members in close proximity.

My plans for the beach week include: reading approximately 7 books and 4 magazines, revisiting my neglected journal, using up an entire bottle of SPF 50, getting sand in my running sneakers, teaching my 5 year old cousin Amelia how to use my (old) digital camera, playing race cars with my 4 year old cousin William, playing princess with my 3 year old cousin Mae, getting sand dumped on my head by 2 year old Scott and trying to figure out a way to bottle up the precious new baby smell of 6 month old Charlie.

As you can see, I will be very busy this week.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

You Mean to Tell Me Some People Eat That Part of the Chicken?

On Tuesday night, I attempted cooking my first WHOLE chicken. I knew that cooking a chicken required the removal of the disgustingly named "giblets," but I was under the assumption that said gibs were in a handy plastic bag that just required the simple removal of from bird cavity. No, my friends, this was not the case. MY giblets were about as neat and tidy as 9th grade biology class, minus my lab partner jabbing at things with a scapel. (I did not need to see the fetal pig's BIRTH CANAL. Ever, ever ever.) No, no, my giblets were just hanging out inside the bird waiting to be removed by someone with a stomach of steel. "MATTTHEWWWWW!"

Nope. My dear, sweet wonderful husband made ME remove the giblets. Apparently this was a lesson in "stop being a wuss." Simultaneously holding back tears and vomit (ok, a bit much), I alternated spraying the nozzle from the faucet into the body cavity and then shaking the chicken over the garbage disposal. Post-dinner clean up involved a Lysol-ing of the sink, my arms, the cabinets, the coffee maker... pretty much everything in a 5 mile radius. The neck finally fell out, followed by the liver (gag) and then the heart (double gag.) I deftly removed the neck bone with my hands securely ensconced in a Wal-mart grocery bag and ground up the liver in my garbage dispoal. Yes, friends, I just ground up some organs in my disposal. Good to know the insinkerator can handle that.

Once I got over taking out the gizzards, the rest was reaaaaaaaaaaally easy. I just smushed some lemon slices, rosemary and thyme up under the skin and gave that sucker a little olive oil bath. I put it on top of potatos in a pan and baked the whole thing at 350 for 1:40 min. SO EASY. From it I got: 2 chicken breasts, 2 drums, 2 wingies, and some meat I pulled off the bone and made a chicken salad out of. The whole chicken cost $4. So that's like easily 4 meals (or feeding maybe ~3 people) for el cheapo. Definitely worth doing BUT buy the chicken where the giblets are in the bag you just pull out.

In other cooking news, last night I wanted to make these sweet potato gnocchi I had bought on sale at Teeter. I asked a "graduate" of mine, who is a super duper talented chef (ie. has his own restaraunt, cooking store and his own tv show once) what kind of a sauce to make. He suggested I take apple juice and simmer it on the stove top while slowly adding ground walnuts to thicken it. Sounds amazing right?

I'm sure it would have been if he cooked it, and maybe I was missing something obvious, but it was muy ter-rible in my version. It tasted like baby food. Mushy pasta with applesauce on top. GOURMET COOK FAIL.

Sigh. Being chez gourmez is so hard. There are organs to deal with and sauces that don't turn out right. No wonder Shake'n'Bake and Prego make bajillion dollahs.

Sweet potato disaster.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Best Case Scenario: Wednesday Staff Meetings.

Today is Wednesday. I had a staff meeting, as I always do on Wednesday. I play this game with myself called "best case scenario." As I am en route to something - be it a meeting, a run, an open wine bar, or a small jumper plane to Ambergis Caye, Belize where you had to declare your weight in order to determine the proper number of passengers, I run through in my head what I imagine the best case scenario to be. (If you're wondering it's "short, long, as many as I can without resorting to my LOUD VOICE, and no crashing omgmaybe I'll lie about my weight?) Best case scenario often times shifts me from the kind of worrisome "what if" thinking that can drive a gal to get on the highway going the wrong way, to imagining what could possibly go RIGHT and how great it'll feel.

Point of all this is to say every Wednesday I'm always doing something hard-core BCS prep work on the way to my staff meeting, as I'm pretty guaranteed to be under scrutiny for that previous week's weight loss.

"Why did this group not lose more weight?"
"Well, um, they ate too much."
"Why are they eating more?"

Unless this was a clinical trial run on hamsters trying to lose weight, I'm prrrrretty sure we're going to be faced with what I like to call the "real life" effect. As in, in real life, people don't always lose weight. Nonetheless, I get grilled on this every Wednesday.

Why does it bother me so much? I guess I feel as if the weight loss is the most tangible expression of my success. Or at least the one my direct supervisor (i.e. signs my paycheck? approves vacation? sends me to Tampa for amazing conferences?) sees and dispenses his approval in a direct dose response. They skinnier they get, the more praise I get. Which, y'know, praise is nice. But the freaking rub is, at the end of the day, I have VERY minimal control over how much weight people do. So every Wednesday morning, I find myself waiting to be either chewed out or patted on the head, based on whether or not 160 other autonomous individuals decided to have a 2nd helping. Makes sense right?? If I spent some free time in therapy, I'd probably find a way to blame my dad for this -i.e. daddy approval now transferred upon boss??

Best case scenario thinking as I drive to work on Wednesday mornings: I am calm and unwavering when he asks me why that class gained a pound. I am emotionally unattached to the poor attendance in that group. I am confident that individuals missing will soon return having lost zillions of pounds in their absence. AM WONDERFUL, SELF-ASSURED, INTRINSICALLY REWARDED ZEN-LIKE SELF.


Best Case Scenario: I don't cry until I get to the car, I don't cry until I get to the car, I don't cry until I get to the car. I abhor Wednesday mornings. Sigh.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ten Freaking Miles

The idea of actually going out and running the race that I signed up for, the Charlottesville 10-Miler, scared the beejeezus out of me since I didn't train for it. AT ALL. As in, I ran once from January 1st to April 4th. And I got a cramp. Physically I assumed I was capable - I have run that distance before in my life, but I had always been training and running regularly up before those runs. So up until the night before, I still wasn't sure about whether or not I wanted to run. I was afraid: afraid I'd get out there and not be able to finish (omg, 5 miles to the finish line.... I'm stranded, AYEEEE), or it'd hurt (umm, yes, for real), or I'd just really not enjoy it and the last thing I wanted was to start disliking running. It's hard enough to fit it into my week, and I enjoy it so much!

I woke up the morning of the race and decided WTH. The don't-do-it reasons were pretty arguable (especially the not finishing... hello... I can WALK.) My plan was to wear my watch that paces me and walk a mile, run a mile. Considering my run pace is just mere milliseconds faster than a walk pace, I didn't imagine this would take me too much longer than the running (sprinting) winos.

After the first few miles, I knew I physically didn’t need to switch to a walk pace. Mentally was another question. I was fine until 7, and then the wall hit. Miles 7-8 I distracted myself with my usual reverie (one that almost always involves envisioning myself on Oprah, and/or working on the Biggest Loser… yep, that’s how I get through my mileage.) Mile 9 hit hard. I kept looking down at my watch, and the tenths of a mile ticked... on... by. Around 9.3, I started praying. “God, you pick up my legs, I’ll put ‘em down.” As my running shuffle came to an end, I put on a Jars of Clay song “Carry Me.” CHEESY. Whatever - I needed it. At 9.4, we hit a hill. A big freaking hill. Whose grand gesture was that? Thanks, Charlottesville. I prayed feverently, knowing it was not going to be me that got up this hill. Amazingly, I hit a stride and my legs became light as air. Tears pricked at my eyes as I became overwhelmed with this feeling of ceding control, yet feeling totally in control. At 9.8, Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine” came on (on shuffle). Not exactly the tempo of my usual pick-me-up songs (generally Cascada and DHT are my booster songs) but I felt my speed pick up as the chorus line swelled, and the finish came into sight. As the line of those waiting came into view, I saw Jess, Jenny, Emily and Shelby jumping up and down screaming my name. I ran by yelling “I didn’t walk! I didn’t walk!” and collapsed into their arms at the finish line, overcome with surprise that my legs had kept moving the whole time.

I was way surprised at myself – I think I often times underestimate my mental toughness. Maybe it’s because I quit a few things early in life – I quit JV softball after Coach Hans yelled at me for missing a crucial pop up in right field, and I quit my job at Pontillo’s on my 2nd day after my boss got mad at me for forgetting to ask an order with “peppers” wanted sweet or hot. This idea that I don’t have stick-to-it-veness has stuck with me for a long time, despite many other scenarios in my life to the contrary. I’ve often told my coaching clients that they always have the opportunity to change the story that they tell themselves about themselves – to rewrite their character descriptions of their life. When I hear someone say “I’m soooo disorganized”, or “I’m addicted to sweets,” or “I'm a magnet for craptastic relationships” … I think to myself “Offfff course you are. Because you tell yourself you are, you find the evidence that supports this and ignore the evidence to the contrary.”

So *cue the life coach moral of the story part*.... maybe it’s time for me to start ignoring the evidence to the contrary – forget the peppers and JV softball. I ran a 10 mile race I didn’t train for WITHOUT quitting. In fact, I bet if I stopped to think of it, there are probably just as many “keep going” scenarios in my life as there are quitting scenarios. Soooo, why not make the choice today to believe that I’m way more mentally tough than I’ve given myself credit for? I just might try that, thanks. Watch out – who knows what this tough chick will do now.

Finish line. BooYAH.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Truth & Friendship

I am sitting on the railing of a light pine colored porch, with the camera lens zoomed out. Focused in my viewfinder are four beautiful girls, 2 half-empty bottles of wine, and a cheese plate with some rinds and the remains of an apple compote. The sun is baking down, melting the cheese rinds and slowly bronzing the girls. If my camera could capture laughter, I'm sure the memory card would be full within seconds. I snap the picture, hoping to catch one of the more perfect moments in my life, almost as if I don't trust my own memory to bring me back to this moments. I couldn't have designed a more picture-perfect day.

My view.

The day started off early - at 6:00 am, the alarm clock went off. As I ate my banana in the kitchen, slowly four sleepy eyed girls joined me in various degrees of workout gear and alertness. In January, four of us decided to sign up for the notoriously hilly Charlottesville Ten Miler. My girlfriends, the winos, make it a point to gather at least four times a year. Sometimes it's for an occasion - a bachelorette party, a wedding, a b
irthday - but more often than not, it's just to be with each other. This was somewhere in the middle, a ten mile race being used our excuse for a get together. We were in various stages of preparedness - Jenny came out of the womb running and was bouncing off the walls, as if a ten mile run was a walk in the park. Shelby had done a regular training plan, and was calm and ready. Jess, although not on a regular training schedule, had paced herself through long runs many times before and felt confident she could pull it off. I, on the other hand, had hit training plan FAIL. I had every good intention to train, but a colder, rainier spring and a totally wussy personality found me crossing off week after week without a run. At the last minute, I decided to run anyways, assuming I'd run half and walk half. With our "coach" and photographer, Emily, we set off. (I’ll blog about the run in a separate entry, because I had a big a-ha moment in the midst of my run. And you may have noticed, but I don’t exactly describe my thought processes with great brevity.) I did finish the run though – in 1:58. The rest of the girls finished in extremely respectable times, starting with Shelby finishing at 1:22 and the rest coming in at exactly 10 minute intervals (and thus, one minute less per mile).

Pre-run, sleepy pic.

After the run, which was as hilly AND gorgeous as had been promised by our host, we set out to embark on a breakfast of champions. We gobbled down omelettes and bottomless cups of coffee and planned out our day. Let me just say this: when your big decision of the day is “nap or no nap before vineyards”…. LIFE IS GOOD. Can I just have a DVR of my life and revisit this day again and again and again? Sigh. We voted no-nap (perhaps the bottomless coffee was speaking for us) and went back to Jessie’s house to get spruced up.

Veritas was beaaaautiful. I thought about inquiring if they would let me put a tent up in the vineyard and just hang out there, you know, forever. Maybe it was the comfortable, sunny weather, maybe it was the heart warming company, or maybe it was the deliciously crisp Sauvignon Blanc but I was in such a perfect state of nirvana. We stayed at the vineyard for a couple of hours, long past the bottles being empty and the rind of our manchego started to melt in the sun. The only motivation we had to finally get up and leave was a short trip down the road: a brewery.


Same gorgeous mountains and green grass views. Same warm sun to bask in. Same wonderful company. Subtract 2 empty wine bottles; add in a sampler of local brewed beers and level 2 of friendship nirvana kicked in. We stayed at the brewery for another hour or so, and as the sun set, so did our fatigue set in.

More yum.

Back home to Charlottesville, we headed out for dinner at a place called The Local. Their claim to fame was that all their food came from places local to Charlottesville. I couldn’t imagine that a locally raised cattle burger would taste any different, but um yea… I was totally wrong. It was delicious (even though it wasn’t actually my plate, I swear I ate at least a third of Shelby’s.) I had a salad that, truth be told, kind of looked like lawn clippings, and in fact, I may have eaten a dandelion but it was so fresh and delicious I didn’t care. I will confess my gnocchi tasted a bit Chef Boyardee, but I’m not sure there’s a lot you can do to make gnocchi taste like anything other than the carbolicious pasta/potato combo that it is. After dinner, we convened for one drink in downtown Charlottesville before concluding that we were either way old/boring or that running ten miles and then sitting out in the sun drinking wine is an activity that does not well prepares you for a night on the town. We hope it’s the latter.

Winos. (Minus one.)

Our wonderful day concluded, we all fall asleep with well worn out bodies and hearts drunk on friendship and delicious food.
Could I have dreamt up a better day with my girlfriends? Absolutely… but only by transporting our one missing wino, Pam, down here, as the missing piece. Other than that, I’m not sure I could have designed a better weekend - running, wine, music, photography, friendship… preeeeetty sure that hits all the high points on the happy-o-meter.