Moving, Adopting a Dog and Other Overdue Updates

I’ve been doing most of my writing off the internet these days. Some new freelance jobs and personal projects have me filling my bag with scribbled scrap paper and taking advantage of the voice recorder on my phone, an effort to make sense of all the thinking. Inspiration is coming from all directions and at the forefront are some self-discoveries (or perhaps “been-there-along-and-finally-paying-attentions”).

The more I learn about myself, the more I have made peace with being somehow an introvert and extrovert at once. My energy level and creativity are at their peaks when surrounded by happy, interesting, involved people. (Bethlehem Food Co-op meetings are wonderful for this. You should come, learn more HERE.) I start to feel a pang of urgency and even sadness when the meetings wrap up, please please please can we keep talking? 

The night I got the keys, my best friend came over and we sat on the floor talking until the wee hours. A christening, a new home full of love and ideas.

The night I got the keys, my best friend came over and we sat on the floor talking until the wee hours. A christening, a new home full of love and ideas.

But those days…the days off when duties are: go for a run in the woods (alone), to make a great big pot of soup from dried beans, just me in the kitchen moving slowly, when cooking becomes meditative again instead of a thing I have to blog about or a recipe that has to top another. (And that’s a lot of pressure as my cooking has become simpler over time. Most things are just incarnations of themselves, enhanced with fresh lemon juice and fresh herbs.) Surrounded by my books and my *furballs and the thickest knitted sweater to burrow inside of, I feel such peace.

A small percentage of my library, still inhabiting various corners of every room until I find the best way to organize them. This home didn't have a soul until they arrived.

A small percentage of my library, still inhabiting various corners of every room until I find the best way to organize them. This home didn’t have a soul until they arrived.

Today, this one last burst of snow before Spring completely takes over, and everything is quieter. I feel overwhelmed with projects to be completed by the week’s end, though it’s exactly the work I’d want to do if I could choose any work in the world. For that, I’m grateful.

AND!

We have a fuzzy new member of the family! *This is Chubby. He is a mini-Dashchund/Jack Russell Terrier mix, and just turned five. He was raised by an incredibly kind, loving family who came into circumstances and were no longer able to keep him and wanted to avoid sending him off to a shelter.

"Draw me like one of your French girls."

“Draw me like one of your French girls.”

Lazy mornings.

Lazy mornings.

He sleeps on my lap, and burrows under the covers, and loves roasted sweet potatoes and I’m just head-over-heels. A goner. Some Saturday mornings, Ryan and I walk him to Main Street for coffee and bagels, something I’ve dreamed about as a Perfect Weekend Morning for several years. It’s wonderful. My heart has expanded and carved out a special Chubby-shaped space.

AND!

We’ve moved, quickly and without much of a plan. Perhaps you can blame my love and bit of background in interior design, but I firmly believe (and can even physically feel) that our environments greatly affect the way we live and who we are. They can support our sense of self and creative exploration, or stifle them. The latter was happening for me and on a whim, I went to look at a new place and immediately it felt like home. It has so much character, more space, and is somehow cheaper than the old place. And we can paint. (!)

An incredibly offensive blue in the office becomes a bright white with the just the softest hint of warm gray. It looks like the room took a huge sigh of relief.

An incredibly offensive blue in the office becomes a bright white with the just the softest hint of warm gray. It looks like the room took a huge sigh of relief.

It’s so funny how people change, our influences and environments shift as we do. I used to ache for a super modern industrial loft space with lots of metal and concrete and square, angular furniture and now I want the softness of natural light, worn wood, space to wander through with a knitted blanket wrapped around me and mugs and mugs and mugs of coffee.

The living room has windows that begin at the ceiling and touch the floor, making it perfect for lounging cats, and dogs with tiny legs to fulfill their duties as impromptu Neighborhood Watch.

Snow silhouettes.

Snow silhouettes.

I’ve been working on a long post about why I’ve been so quiet here (as Allyson calls it, “going to bloggy sleep”), and look forward to finally – heaven help me, finally – feeling satisfied with the final edit.

“Basically, I realized I was living in that awful stage of life between twenty-six and thirty-seven known as stupidity. It’s when you don’t know anything, not even as much as you did when you were younger, and you don’t even have a philosophy about all the things you don’t know…” 

-Lorrie Moore

… Hibernation is good for a mind rest, but I’ve rubbed my eyes open and what I see is new and beautiful.

.

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Smushed-Up Cutie Pie Dog Faces

My appologies for lack of recipe posts, or posts in general this week. Between house-sitting and picking up some hours temping for an arts/music organization (I’m learning office skills!), I have barely gone grocery shopping let alone done much cooking. Ryan is in Utah for a work trip at a faux-Scandanavian resort, and I’ve been visiting family and finding excuses to try food at different establishments.

So, by “barely” grocery shopping, I mean I haven’t. It’s becoming a dire situation. Yesterday I ate half of a plain roll for breakfast. Woopsies. I’m going today and I promise content-heavy posts will come soon.

UNTIL THEN… I wanted to share with you one of my FAVORITE “I’m having a tough day and need some cheering up” websites. Or just a “I want to laugh and squeal with utter glee” websites. Or whatever. You need to go here. And if you have a dog, submit something. Or just send the photos to me.

I give you… UPSIDE DOWN DOGS.

Stella the Boxer.

 

I just had a heart attack and died.

 

A blob of dog with a tongue sticking out.

 

I just choked on my coffee.

 

There are HUNDREDS OF THESE PHOTOS.

Check out UpsideDownDogs.com … You’re welcome.

GETAWAY: Getting to the Good

I don’t for one moment take for granted the incredible weekend I got to spend in such a beautiful small town, and certainly not the accommodations, the friendly people, the animals, food or inspiring shops. This is something we’ve been planning for a while, and it was every bit as relaxing and blissful as I’d hoped. Join me for a trip to the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border.

There is way too much goodness to fit into one post, so today I’ll focus on FOOD and SHEEP. Enjoy!

VEGAN eggs Benedict and breakfast potatoes. (Tofu "eggs" and nondairy/non-egg hollandaise sauce!)

Our first stop was brunch at the super delicious Sprig and Vine in New Hope, PA. Brunch (best meal of the day) paired with an amazing all-vegan menu started the trip off right. If you don’t think it’s possible to make vegan versions of your favorite foods, this should prove you wrong.

Chicken Fried Oyster Mushrooms with biscuits and gravy!

Ryan got the “eggs Benedict”,  we split tempeh sausage, and I ordered the most incredible, soul-foodesque meal of chicken fried oyster mushrooms with buscuits and gravy. Ohhhh man. (*Note: “Chicken fried” doesn’t mean fried with chicken, it means it’s coated and cripsy the way fried chicken is. No animals harmed!)

Three wines for the price of one glass!

That night, after having drinks at a beautiful old bar with a tin ceiling and candles, we went to Lambertville Station for… well,  more drinks and I got this amazing WINE TREE. You pick the type of wine you want (in this case, Pinot Noir) and they bring you three different samples from various wineries. It was AWESOME. I later found out the wines, sold as a bottle, ranged in price from $60-100. Whoa! Thankfully the wine tree cost much, MUCH less than that.

A mere fraction of the wine cellar in Lambertville Station.

As much as I like modern architecture and crazy colors, the historic aspect of these  towns  was absolutely perfect. Everything was covered in snow and everyplace had candles and fireplaces. Certainly cozy, certainly relaxing and going during off season meant we were able to find little corners to have just for ourselves. Perfect.

Good morning indeed.

Mornings at the inn are amazing – they bring you coffee and tea, a copy  of the paper and the sheep are awake and Baa-ing outside the window. I felt completely spoiled and wish I could do it every weekend!

Speaking of the sheep… what beautiful creatures! They were so well cared for, happy to hang out in their sheep-house and roam around as they pleased.

Being around animals like this is a great reminder that ALL animals can think, feel and love. ALL have personalities and a desire to live happily and peacefully.

If you have a dog or cat, you already know this. You clearly have a big heart, too, to care for a being and love it so much! Consider that every other animal – a chicken, sheep, pig, etc… is just as capable of the great spirit we love within our companion animals.

If you are able to find a sanctuary to interact with animals that you may not have ever had a chance to meet in person, take that opportunity. Your heart will swell.

I can’t wait to do an update about the rest of our excursions on this most wonderful trip! But the things you can’t see in photos is the calm, the peace of mind, the restoration of mind and heart that it brought. Sometimes, to get away from what can seem overwhelming, we need to literally get away from our lives and our towns. It can be a vacation, or a single day trip to rejuvenate and restore our love for home.

Now go hug a pet or a friend and have an awesome day!