Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I've been eating a lot, a lot of unhealthy things, and my body started begging me for freshness.

Listening to my body is lifesaving, so I paid attention and yesterday I bought as many fresh fruits and veggies as I could.

Last night, I steamed cabbage, onions, mushrooms and 93/7 lean ground beef in the crockpot. I also combined a ginormous amount of fresh greens (and reds and yellows) and steamed them. Today I steamed apples and cinnamon, and ate a dinner of veggies in a variety of forms.

It's my way of giving back to myself.

Monday, November 28, 2011

pure spirituality

Pure religion is, according to the Bible, taking care of the fatherless and the widows.

Pure spirituality is, according to me, the enriching current of conversation that flows between friends.

It's discourse, exchange of information and ideas, melding passions and differing opinions without the threat of domination. It's laughing, and drinking coffee in a cafe unfamiliar to both of us. It's spending five hours there, poring over maps and calendars and notepads.

Seven years and six months ago, I met Christina during a journalism training course in Washington, D.C. We were young and ambitious and we stayed friends.

(I'm in the purple shirt standing in the back row; Christina is third from the left sitting down)

Seven and a half years later, we've traversed a lot of life (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) as we've journeyed from our barely-twenties through our early twenties, and now mid-to-late twenties.

When she told me last week she was in Dallas for the week, it wasn't a question of if we would see each other, it was what day, and am I going there or are you coming here?

I went there yesterday, an 8-hour road trip, and there was this great moment of me in my car texting her to tell her I was there, and then she was ripping open my door and I couldn't get out fast enough.

Who cares that it'd been 2,737.5 days since our last meeting.

"This just feels natural," is what she said as we were driving in an unknown Texas town. True to form, for both of us, we got lost, turned around and back tracked a couple times, but we made it to our destination - not that we really cared where we were going. We just wanted a space to talk for as long as we wanted, face-to-face.

We holed up in a booth in a far back corner and we stayed there for a long time...women, friends, dreamers, planners, adventurers.

I'm thankful for her friendship, for her inspiration, for her life that scarily parallels mine, for her perspective, for her infectious desire to change the world, and our shared belief that we still can.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

because one streak is just not enough.

You just can't get away from the coloration journey of my hair, can you?

It started with Pinterest, so if blame has to be laid somewhere, we can lay it there.

Tonight, I wanted another streak. A blue one, to be exact.

So I did.

To be honest, I temporarily freaked out when I first applied the cobalt blue oil pastel. It was very blue. But I took deep breaths and repeated, "It's just hair; it'll grow out," and then continued applying.

I'm happy with the results.

Oh, and the green isn't going anywhere. I showered tonight. It's still here.

So, if you're interested, here's how I did it:

I separated a strand of hair, chose the oil pastel paint I wanted, and then thoroughly applied it. I would advise using gloves; the paint inevitably gets everywhere. Or maybe that's just because I'm *slightly* clumsy.

The paint goes on a little thick so take your time in making sure each hair is covered. From there, I took a comb (my now special oil pastel paint comb) and combed through the painted strands while blow drying it. For the blue, I also took a paper towel and wiped the strands through the towel just to get the heavy excess paint off.

I let it air dry for awhile and then went back to combing and blow drying it. This seemed to help it appear more natural when it fell with the rest of my hair.

And that's it.

Now you can have streaks and smell like an oil painting.

scenes from my next episode

I'm a picker.








green hair

I can't really explain the green streak in my hair, except to say that I wanted to try it and so I did.

It was not the result of alcohol on Thanksgiving Day, or teenage rebellion, which wouldn't make sense anyway since I'm not a teenager.

It doesn't have any significance.

I just wanted a green streak in my hair.

our Thanksgiving

People are always curious about our Thanksgivings.

I think it's a mixture of knowing me, knowing the other individuals in my family and then imagining us all together. And our sheer number guarantees that there's some form of entertainment.

On the crazy family spectrum, I am the loud drunk aunt. Perhaps not literally, because I'm loud enough at times to solicit a "Have you been drinking?" during regular conversation. No, no, I haven't been drinking...this is just how I talk.

So, Thanksgiving night before dinner, we all held hands in a circle, gathered around Evalyn and her chair, and we went around to say something we're thankful for.

There are rules, though, to our thanks giving circle. You can't say anything that would solicit a "no shit" reaction, like "family," "friends," "breathing." Be original. And if you're not, you'll be asked to re-state your thing of thankfulnes.

We started with Micah, who said something suitable from a 14-year-old. I asked him today to remind me what it was he was thankful for, for the sake of this blog. He texted me what he'd said, and I responded with "I can't blog that!" and he called me a pussy, and I admitted that yes, indeed, I am. So, I will protect you from Micah's object of gratitude, but will assure you that we moved on in the circle.

One sister was thankful for new friends, another was thankful for a raise, my brother was thankful for opportunities and blessings in his life (that barely squeaked by), my sister's boyfriend was thankful for new opportunities, mom was thankful for Discovery!, and then it was my turn, the last one.

I said I was thankful for Pinterest, and I was met with many boos and a call for a re-do.

So then I had to explain.

My thankfulness revolved around the fact that Pinterest was saving me money by giving me ideas for home decor, it was reducing my stress level because it was helping me be creative, and I was getting good gift ideas for Christmas.

I rested my case, and after a few thoughtful nods and grunts from the circle, I was let off the hook, probably because we'd been holding hands for a creepily long time and we were hungry.

My brother prayed, we rated it, and then we ate, played traditional card games and watched football. The majority of the crowd cleared out shortly after and my little brother, sister and I played more games and lounged on the couch, Skye and them fighting over who would lay next to me while we watched football.

It was what a Thanksgiving should be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

mechanic heaven.

My mechanic is programmed in my phone, but most noteworthy is that I have one.

Finding and keeping a good one is more important to me than finding a doctor, or a hair dresser.

If you've read here very long, you'll remember why.

When I lived in Kentucky, I had a mechanic, but then I've moved a lot and a sacrifice of moving is never finding a shop my car can call its own.

Well, now it can.

The deal was sealed when the mechanics, after serving coffee and visiting with me during the diagnostic, brought me the estimate, but only after he had categorized them according to priority and stapled them together, from most urgent to need-to-get-this-done-next to this-can-wait-the-longest.

And then he handed it to me and the angels that inhabit only good mechanic's shops sang, and I heard them.

It felt like a cup of steaming hot chocolate with marshmallows on top. That good.

It's a list. It's categorized. The shop promotes savings through online deals, and they gave me a 10 percent discount, just because.

It's mechanic heaven.

creative energy

I've been wondering about myself and this aura I'm currently living under.

I'm a little confused, to be honest. At first, I thought sleep deprivation had a hand in it, but I've made conscious efforts to get more of that necessary stuff and the feeling remains.

This feeling of creative energy.

That's putting it mildly. I've been calling it creative aggression, but that sounds like I'm about to go postal.

It's not rage-aggression.

It's like I could run a marathon. I want to feel the punishment of pounding pavement combined with the surreal knowledge that I just did that.

Before you start thinking what I'm not thinking, a marathon is not in my (near) future.

It's just how I've been feeling.

So I've been creating things, cutting tee-shirts up, and exploring new places with my dog. And planning trips to Africa and trying to recruit friends to go with me. And planning road trips.

I want to explore, I want to experience, I want to do something that scares me, I want to make a difference, I want to touch, feel, smell, hear the world around me.

Come to think of it, I don't want to. I need to.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I feel...


I feel alive.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

renovated hen house

What is the proper protocol?

I ask myself that a lot about random shit that probably doesn't even have protocols.

Like, what's the proper protocol for introducing yourself to the new neighbor? Do you wait until after they've moved in? During? Is 9 p.m. too late? Is 8:30 a.m. too early? Do you have to take a gift? What if you don't? And what if you never do - does that mean you never introduce yourself?

The Cottage and I are literally a stone's throw from the Big House where a young couple moved in shortly after I did, and we are the only two inhabitants on the land. We're like a compound.

Avoiding each other is pointless, and I didn't have a desire to avoid anyone, despite my rogue tendencies to be anti-social. I was just getting home late every night last week and didn't want to scare anyone by knocking on the door.

Finally, yesterday, it happened. I came home from work early in the afternoon and Kacey was outside with their puppy. I carried some stuff from my car into the Cottage and then it happened.

We halved the distance between the Cottage and the Big House, and introduced ourselves.

And then she told me the Cottage is a renovated chicken house.

My beautiful sanctuary was a chicken coop.

I laughed, because oddly, it's fitting. I like chickens, I think they're an oft-misunderstood animal, and let's face it, in my soul, I am half chicken.

We visited for awhile and then parted our not-so-distant ways. Later, I was fixing a wooden shelf outside and she was having trouble starting her vehicle. With nails in my mouth, and a cigarette in her hand, we talked about what we needed to do to get her truck running. She invited me to eat frozen lasagna and I took Diet Pepsi with me - by far, the worst "welcome to the neighborhood" present EVER.

I introduced her to Pinterest, she told me her life story, and I felt strangely old compared to her 20 years.

I have a neighbor and her name is Kacey, and the Cottage is a chicken house.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

the Cottage

She is mine and she is everything I want in a sanctuary.

Large enough to dance in the kitchen.

Small enough to foster simplicity.

Friday, November 18, 2011

because we're awesome like this

She worships the ground I walk on...
...or the couch I'm sitting on...
...or the bed I'm laying in...

The day after our all-nighter, she grounded me to the couch by falling asleep in my lap.

She knew I wouldn't wake her up by moving to flit about the house in what's been called "frantic energy" so she camped out there for as long as I could possibly ignore the laundry.

She's always been an independent sleeper until recently when she's decided that laying as close to me as possible while we both fall asleep is ideal. At some point in the night, she moves to the floor next to me.

And then in the morning, after my alarm goes off for the first time, she climbs back in and makes sure I'm awake.

I love her.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

cannot forget these moments

My best friend has a baby and I took him to a winery, because that's what best friends do.

The complete story, if you must know, is I was watching him in an unfamiliar town where I did not know where parks were located. Since we wanted to play, I needed grass so it was either the winery or a cemetery. And as I suspected, there was lots of ground for him to play on at the winery, and even corn hole boards and a black lab.


Much like my friendship with his mother.

We laugh, we cry, we road trip, we sleep in the king-size bed, we drink, we read, we watch TV. She reminds me to take my glasses off before I fall asleep and gives me gifts, like a journal that says "unload" on the front, because she knows I often need to, or a book of short stories with the title, "Cowboys are my Weakness." She inspires me, strengthens me, she's got my back.

I wish we were neighbors.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

some sentences strung together

It's late, early, whatever we call it at this hour. My dog's laying on the couch across from me wondering why we're still awake. Yes, she's on the couch...looking at me and dozing off.

Usually at this hour I watch re-runs of previously aired college football games, but tonight I'm watching DVR'd Tosh.0.

When I'm stressed, I pace a lot. I did a lot of pacing tonight. And laundry. Laundry is good therapy, and so is a hot shower.

I made my first Craigslist purchase Friday and on my way to the house in a shady-ish neighborhood, I started to worry that I wouldn't survive it. I did.

This morning Skye and I enjoyed the river with a tennis ball that sank. She swam in the deep end looking for it until I called her back, worried that she'd tire and drown. I over-dramatize certain situations, but I had flashes of me having to jump in and save her. And then us both drowning.

I'm writing a wellness column once a month for our wellness page. This week was my week and I wrote it about how important sleep is, and how we have a sleep debt that can be repaid over time. I'd post the link to it, but it's not on our website.

Website is a word that I wonder if it's one or two words. I think it's one.

I'm going to try and sleep now.

Good night, world.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

these moments especially

Some people are destined to change your life.

Josey Ann changed mine over and over again.

I can’t remember the first time I met her – my memory tells we were just always a team. Me, her nanny; her, my sidekick.

I’ve written about her many times here, and the last time I saw her was in February 2010.

I was worried driving over to her last Thursday. Worried that she’d have forgotten about me, worried that she’d not like me, worried that she’d be mad, or afraid, or shy.

But when I walked in her grandparent’s house, she jumped into my arms and kept yelling, “Holly, I’ve missed you so much!” It was as if I’d left to run an errand and returned.

That’s notable for us.

I taught her that people return – that the door might close behind me, but that shortly, it would reopen and I would appear. Even if it was 18 months later.

We spent the entire evening together in what was a highlight of my trip. Her mother and I talked and I got to see her, the reinvented person she is now. I was ecstatic to find out she got the help she needed and that her eyes were alive.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

these moments

Friends who don't usually stay up late, waited up for me last Saturday night and met me in their driveway when I rolled in at nearly midnight.

My moments with them are strangely normal. We don't do anything fancy. We play cards when the kids go to bed, we watch TV, we move around in the kitchen at the same time, I tag along during chores and errands, and sit in the nursery with them during church.

Their kids know me. One remembers me, one had no reason to, but repeated my name throughout the house and wanted me to "hold you" every chance he got.

Our friendship has spanned a few years now and many miles. They've stayed rooted in one town; I've floated around in a few states and they've patiently kept up with me. I was worried, you know, the first time I left. Some friends let you fade.

They did not.

Our greatest ally is technology. Kristin and I email almost every day, strings of conversation that encompasses our respective drama, mundane daily activities, gossip and stories. We rarely talk on the phone, but text often. And, of course, utilize Gchat and Facebook.

On Monday evening, I said I was going to take a walk in the park across their house. My legs were still stiff from my 14-hour drive and I needed to move around.

Kristin said she would go with me and before long, Greg and the kids had their shoes on and we all went.

It's a good example of our friendship. Simple...rich...small moments that beg to be remembered and conversations that can't be forgotten.

where have I been?

I'm glad you asked.

I've been a lot of good places in more ways than one.

I've been here and there and over there.

I've been to my favorite kitchen table, and my favorite farmhouse.

I've been kissed by dogs who aren't mine.

I've talked and laughed and contemplated and thought.

I've been high and low, relaxed and stressed.

I've been in pain and in revelation.

I've lived in the moment, which brings me to my point....

...I have many wonderful moments to share with you, to document for myself here, so I'll do that this week before they escape me.

Together, we will "enjoy these moments for these moments were my life."