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On Life and Traveling … Part 1

23 Jun

Seems as though I’m always coming back to my blog to ask for forgiveness for not being here. This time, I won’t ask for forgiveness. I think you’ll understand my absence.

So, where have I been? I guess the real question would be: Where haven’t I been?

My new life journey started back in February. The foodie bf and I cleaned house, sold a lot of stuff, packed our bags and headed out to explore the world without any set itinerary, time frame, set locations, or definite plans. Most thought we were crazy. Most didn’t understand. Most wanted to know when we were coming back “home.” Some even pressured us to stay. And few and far between, you would find the ones who said, “You’re only young once.” “You don’t have kids, go for it!” “If you can do it, do it!” or “I wish we could do that!” Despite the pressures and the butterflies … off we went.

Before we could leave a few “necessities” were in order. A high quality tent would be our new home. Sleeping pads and a very cool double sleeping bag became our new bed, and a fine selection of cooking utensils, pots and pans, and gas backpacking stoves became my kitchen. Conveniently, each pot and pan, plate, cup and utensil is made to pack inside the other and weighs literally nothing. These items would become my new favorite things. One thing that I personally overlooked was the headlamp, which turned out to be one of our biggest necessities. Thanks to the foodie bf, we had two! It gets dark quickly outside when you’re depending on natural light. Other important items … baby wipes, warm clothes, flip flops for showers, a cooler to serve as a refrigerator and granola. The foodie bf is also an avid rock climber and we had made “plans” to climb as much as possible on this journey. Needless to say, we had a good amount of climbing gear with us, too.

With the car packed, we headed out early in the morning mid-February set for Atlanta to get my brand new hiking backpack “fitted” at the REI. We visited with some friends and family along the way and eagerly anticipated heading west. I’m not too sure the foodie bf was confident in my promised camping skills so we made a three/four day pit-stop in Alabama to “practice.” I’m not sure if it was my excitement or my eagerness to be successful on this adventure, but even a night in the car and then three days of pouring rain in the tent didn’t stop me. In between the downpours, we made a camp fire, cooked spaghetti in our new “kitchen,” found time to chase a turkey down the road, learned you could steal wi-fi from neighboring lodges, and narrowly escaped a tornado. Yes, I said “narrowly escaped a tornado.” Sirens going off and everything. On our way out, we learned there was a “Jig” competition for St. Patrick’s Day at the park lodge. Dance the best jig and win a weekend stay in one of their cabins … if we could have only stayed until March 17th.

After Alabama we made a quick ride through Mississippi and found ourselves at a casino in Shreveport, LA. This would be my first casino. I found a great deal on a hotel on one of those daily deal websites, so we decided to have a bit of fun. Dinner proved to be costly and not nearly as good as my spaghetti cooked by camp fire and I quickly realized that the fresh air of my tent was far more appealing than the stuffiness of a casino/hotel. Needless to say, I enjoyed the gambling and did fairly well on the slot machines. It was a break even weekend.

Leaving Louisiana, we stopped off in Texas to have Bella’s oil changed at Park Place Porsche. These people were awesome and had one of the nicest service departments. After Bella was washed and ready to go we hit the road towards Santa Fe, MN. A couple nights sleeping in the car at rest stops, which by the way is actually pretty comfortable when you have the sleeping pads and sleeping bag, and we were finally there. We encountered our first snow of the trip in Santa Fe. Conveniently, I was driving. I’ve never driven in snow, so this was an adventure for me. Foodie bf is from Alaska and had to hold back laughter every time I would scream, “Look how big that flake is!” or “Look, the snow is sticking!” Poor guy, he’s a good sport! In Santa Fe, I found a really cute hotel that is made of about 30 different pueblos. Each one had its own wood burning fireplace, unique artifacts and colors. We spent one night in Santa Fe, but were able to explore the city, have lunch at a French Pastry Shop, tour the Santa Fe Art History Museum, shop at the Indian market and take an exorbitant amount of pictures. It was cold, I got to wear a scarf, and ended up taking home a huge french baguette.

After Santa Fe, I convinced the foodie bf that we really needed to visit Sedona, AZ. This would turn out to be one of my favorite spots. We drove into town from Flagstaff along a beautiful winding mountain road covered in snow and surrounded by unbelievable red rocks. The first night we were lucky to get one of the last available spots in the area’s campground. We paid about $15.00 for the night and bought a $6.00 bundle of wood from the camp host. We had a fire, cooked some dinner and headed to bed. We had seen lots of signs for off-road adventures, so the next morning decided we would stop in a shop to learn more. Come to find out, we can take Bella off-roading through some of these beautiful red rock areas and can even stop and tent camp for free! Who knew? So we packed a lunch and headed out to the trail. Simply put, this was probably my favorite day to that point. Bella performed wonderfully over some huge rocks! For the most part, the foodie bf drove but on some of the more simple areas, I took a turn and had a blast. We found an amazing camping spot along the trail overlooking some amazing rocks and decided to stay for a few days. I ran into town to grab some groceries and we were all set. The foodie bf made us a huge campfire and I got a considerable amount of computer work done sitting on a huge log next to the fire. That my friends is living.

We spent a few days in Sedona and then decided to get a move on towards California. Our goal was to get to Joshua Tree National Park, also known as rock climbing Mecca, and max out their two week maximum stay. Along the way, I experienced my first In and Out burger, slept in a few more rest areas, and drove through hundreds of miles of desert. Finally, we had arrived. Joshua Tree held a special place in the bf’s heart as he had spent a considerable amount of time here earlier in his life, and from the stories he had told me, I anticipated J-Tree to be like heaven on earth. So, when we arrived early evening to a 40+ mph sand storm and near freezing temperatures, I was a little confused. There are many different camping areas within the park, but “Hidden Valley” is the most popular with climbers because of the number of great climbs close by. We were lucky to find a spot in Hidden Valley. However, we should have slept in the car that night. Instead, we decided to try and pitch the tent in 40 mph winds. At one point, the tent actually picked me up while I was holding it … literally, off the ground. Once we had the tent standing and huge rocks placed on top of the stakes to ensure they didn’t come out of the ground, we quickly realized the wind was blowing so hard, sand was coming through the mesh and was creating a lovely sandbox inside our home. The foodie bf was a doll and slept in the tent to ensure it stayed with us, I on the other hand slept in the car!

We ended up staying in Joshua Tree for a little over two weeks. So much happened while we were there. There were days where we did nothing at all, days were we climbed multiple climbs a day, days were we took a bottle of wine and some snacks and found a rock in the middle of nowhere to relax on all day, so many different things. We had lots of sunshiny days, a few days of snow, and a couple nights where the wind rivaled the first night. It was certainly entertaining. We also met some really wonderful people in Joshua Tree.

I guess the biggest obstacle for me in Joshua Tree was overcoming the fear of climbing in front of other people who obviously are better climbers than me. Rock climbing is a scary thing and its definitely not easy. You have to place a lot of trust in your climbing partner and you have to be very aware of yourself and your surroundings. The simplest move or mistake could cause you to fall or die. Pair that with the fact that this is “climbing Mecca” and there are hundreds of climbers watching and waiting for their turn to climb the route you’re on … and my self consciousness was out in rare form. Shallowly, my only saving grace was that I loved my climbing clothes and climbing gear and really felt like I “looked the part.” In hindsight, I probably didn’t look the part at all … real climbers actually look like they’ve USED their gear! ha ha …

The other entertaining part to Joshua Tree is taking a shower. There is this adorable store in town where they sell all kinds of climbing gear, souvenirs, fire wood, and shower time. $6 bucks gets you about 8 minutes of hot water. Try sharing a shower with someone and only getting 8 minutes of hot water! The idea here is to wash everything as quickly as possible and then stand in the water until it runs out. The opposite of what I would do at home. The showers were super clean, but it did feel a little bit like what I would imagine summer camp to be like for a kid. The grocery store (and the showers) were about 20 minutes away from our camp, so we tried to only come into town once a week. All-in-all, I really enjoyed Joshua Tree but still think the climbers there are pretty intimidating.

By this point, we have been living in a tent for a little more than a month for the exception of our stay at the casino in Shreveport and the pueblo in Santa Fe. Surprisingly, living in a tent is pretty comfortable. You develop a routine of how you set up the tent, what you put in there so you’re not too crowded, how you arrange your shoes, wood and cooler in the vestibules, etc. You become accustomed to going to bed with the sun and waking up with the sun. Plus, we were active throughout the day, so when you come home to the tent you’re ready to eat, relax and sleep. There was very little cell phone service in the park and that made life very relaxing too. It’s incredible when you learn you don’t actually have to check Facebook every time you look at your phone … it’s all still there later. I really enjoyed our time in Joshua Tree.

So, that’s Part 1 …. considering I wrote a mini book here. Here’s a couple pictures from this leg of the journey.

I’m Gonna Let One Rip …. One of these days

14 May

Sometimes there are not enough minutes and hours in the day to gather all the thoughts in my head. They swirl around in there, but I can’t ever manage to get them out. Put me in front of a computer or a pen and paper and I can tell you exactly what I’m thinking … catch me off guard, ask me when I’m not ready, confront me, and I’ll mumble and stumble and spit out something that may not even resemble the thoughts in my head. And, I hate to offend people or make them unhappy or uncomfortable, so I watch my words and mold my sentences to fit what I think you want to hear and sometimes this prevents me from ever getting close to what I really wanted to say. What does this make me? How will I ever be heard?

Ever want to stand up and scream? Jump on the table and belt one out? Ugh…

How does one learn to speak their mind without feeling any kind of remorse for what they have said? How does one get so confident that they can say exactly what they are thinking without hesitation? I need to learn this ….

Hello Hairy Visitor

17 Apr

 

Dear Blog,

I’ve missed you.

Love,

Emerging Domesticity!

 

It’s sad when it takes a posting on Facebook to realize that you haven’t touched your blog in weeks. I thought that I would be a great “multi-blogger” .. but, my goodness .. I don’t want to send junk out into the blogosphere, I gotta put some thought into it … and that, my friends, takes time! Not to mention, I haven’t cooked anything new in weeks…

So, yesterday was a beautiful day. Perfect for riding around with the top down, sunglasses on, singing at the top of my lungs – also good for early dinners sitting on a deck enjoying the marshside view. Yes, we went to a tourist trap, seafood restaurant where we succumbed to crab legs and Corona. We also ordered a “Captains Plate” where you got a sampling of different seafood – unfortunately – we found a little curly hair of a visitor on our food and had to send it back. YUCK! Way to spoil a nice dinner…. Needless to say, I may have to stick to cooking at home for a little while. At least then if we found a hair in our food – it would be mine! Ugh…

Well… Thats all for this post. Lets see what I can come up with for dinner tomorrow. You may see a great post outta that!

 

Scattered – Smothered – Covered, Amen!

30 Mar

This was my dinner last night… Just thought I’d share!

Habitat for Humanity – A Wonderful Weekend

28 Mar

Just an FYI, this post will not be food related …. I have much more wonderful things to talk about today!

 

I am so excited to tell you that I participated in my first Habitat for Humanity House this past Saturday. I loved every single minute of the experience {including the pain in my out-of-shape legs} … I don’t know anyone that wants to get out of bed at 7am on a Saturday, but let me tell you – given the chance – I’d wake up every Saturday at 7am to help this great cause. We are participating through my office in building a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home for a lovely lady who is legally bind. She was being taken advantage of because of her disability and people were breaking into the family home where she was staying.

We woke up and headed to the job site early Saturday morning to find a simple concrete slab. When we left four hours later an entire house was framed – both exterior and interior walls. Now, I’ve never framed a house before and I’ve  barely used a hammer, but the gracious people who are there leading the way show you just what to do and are there if you have any questions. We literally built the walls out, raised them, braced them and got the whole home ready in about 4 hours with 10 volunteers. When all ten of us stood along side the first wall and lifted it upright – I was so overcome with excitement for this wonderful woman. She was there all day – sitting listening to the activity and periodically coming over to feel the walls, studs, and foundation of her new home. You could see her appreciation and happiness. It truly was beautiful.

 

Not only will it be personally rewarding to learn how to “build a house”, but to drive by that house a year from now and know that we were able to help a woman who really needed it … that we hammered the nails in the studs and lifted the walls of her home. It was amazing. If you are looking for a way to be involved in your community – I really suggest Habitat. And, women, don’t be discouraged – I was nervous when they said we would be framing the house. I though – surely there would be nothing for me to do – but I grabbed a hammer and some nails and carried some lumber and together with the other 9 volunteers … we got her home started! And, I can’t wait to do it again next weekend!

 

That’s all for tonight, Ya’ll! Hope you had a great weekend … bring on the summer!

God Sent a Lobster to Bite Me in the Face!

22 Mar

Woah! A whole ten days since I last posted. I swear it doesn’t feel like that long … I feel like I just sat down and ate those Dijon mustard pork chops yesterday. Things are crazy in my life right now.  I’m working a lot , but am not seeing the fruits of my labor as fast as I would like to .. and that is stressing me out. On top of that – I just haven’t had the time to cook. When I get home, I’m exhausted and there isn’t anything worth anything in the fridge. I’m trying to be better about looking into the fridge/cabinets and pulling some random dinner out .. but I’m not good at that. I’d much rather order something or go to the grocery store and buy a rotisserie chicken. {god, I sound so terribly lame} In the last week … We’ve had pizza {Dominos}, Sea Bass {that someone else cooked}, spaghetti {again}, Tacos {a pretty good meal}, followed by Taco Salad {to finish up the leftovers}, and Steak with Potatoes {also a repeat} …. Nothing exciting – nothing new – Just the same ‘ole again. 

  

Now … on a much funnier note. Saturday was the most gorgeous day of the year so far. After working until about 1:30pm, I ran  home and put on my bathing suit and headed straight to the beach. One of the amazing benefits of living only 5 minutes from the sand. I hate sunscreen, but I understand it’s necessity … so, I compromise and have a tanning lotion that has 6spf. I put it on my body… but seeing as how I had just come from work and had a full face of make-up on … I didn’t put any on my face. Two hours later… I feel wonderful and am ready to go  home. Several hours later, I check myself out …. LOBSTER. My face has never hurt so much in my life. The bf felt so sorry for me that he proceeded to slather my face with aloe, solarcane, and lotion .. gave me some benedryl and I slept the rest of the day. Sunday I felt so bad, I took some more benedryl, aloe and solarcane that I again slept the whole day. I think I had a little bit of sun posioning… not pretty. And, my face is going to look even more amazing when it all starts to peel off. Stamp DUMMY on my forehead. At twenty seven years old – you think I would have learned my lesson… but I promise I have learned it this time. Ouch. 

  

Well… that’s all ya’ll. More to come sooner than 10 days this time. Promise!

Momma Says “Red Meat and Chocolate!”

6 Mar

 

I may officially be turning into my mother. When we used to go on mini-vacations {every other month or so} our treat to each other would be red meat and chocolate… Tonight, that is exactly what I wanted! And, let me tell you, that is exactly what I got! Now, my mother and I differ on how we like our meat cooked. She will send a steak back if it even remotely “moo’s” at her … I on the other hand, like it to “moo” at me, I just don’t want it to run off the plate!

 

 

You’re viewing the best meal I’ve cooked in months!! Medium-Rare Filet {ok, the foodie bf grilled that for me}, creamed spinach, and garlic whipped potatoes. And, yes… I’m too lazy to wash wine glasses, so those are good ol’ juice glasses. Wine tastes the same no matter what glass it comes in!  And, further back is a nice basket of warm french bread. Who’s a good domestic goddess? Yes, that would be me! And, to top it all off .. I’ve got brownies baking in the oven with some Vanilla-Bean Ice Cream in the freezer waiting to be added to the bowl! Goodness… I deserve and award tonight! {ha ha}

 

Anyhow, I hope you all are enjoying your weekend. I have to tell you, it is so nice to relax and be lazy and enjoy this beautiful weather we are having right now. I can only hope that full-spring gets here soon, soon, soon! I’m ready to put the top down, put some big sunglasses on, turn the girly music up, and sing at the top of my lungs!! Night ya’ll

 

By the way … you can find recipes for the potatoes and spinach on my blog  HERE and HERE … Enjoy!