January 1, 2017

2017 & An Announcement

As others share their 2016 recaps, I'm antsy to look towards the possibilities of this tabula rasa of a new year. But I don't want to entirely ignore all of the many wonderful things that did occur during the Year Who Must Not Be Named, so I'll take a few moments to reflect on a few of those:

  • Left my life-sucking job for a far more fulfilling one (that also happened to pay better!)
  • Went on many trips: from NYC to Asheville & the Smokies to Kansas City to Colorado to New Orleans & Orlando, as I sat envious next to a co-worker who went on multiple international trips, I have to admit it's been a decent year of travel for this little social worker, too. 
  • Went on many hikes! Can't wait to revisit them and find new ones to add to the list this year as well as utilize my camping gear and kayak more often. 
  • Made new friends and rekindled old relationships as well - 2016 may have been a downer, but I had the most thoughtful friends a gal could ask for to help me through it. 
  • Spent invaluable, substantial family time; though still not as much as I would have liked, I visited with my grandmother multiple times and have strengthened a weakened relationship with my eldest brother - not to mention my other brother visiting me here in Fayetteville or how I spent winter break almost solely with my mother (both a test ;) as well as a cherished reward). 
  • Was told my Crohn's was not currently in a state of inflammation (no moon face in my immediate future!) after the hiccup this time last year. 
  • Brewed my first beer on my own without another brewer physically present (well, sort of, I did get a little help after the initial brew day, which was much appreciated). Also tried many other new kitchen endeavors, and rekindled my love with fermentations and from-scratch cooking. 
  • Attended local events like Last Night Fayetteville, Frost/Foam Fest, the Little Craft Show, Wampus Wonderland, themed parties at my favorite brewery, etc., which others had previously held me back from - no more depending on other people to go with me to events - I'm buying tickets regardless!
  • Continued to have the best dog a human can be #blessed with (someone's got a birthday coming up...).
  • Started living on my own, sans roommates, which has been so relieving (though I miss the bucks). 
  • Tried new things, like bouldering gyms (which was ultimately embarrassing after an early hard fall but also cool).
  • Attended a Bernie Sanders rally, transitioning from someone who once thought politics were boring and irrelevant to stepping on the path of becoming an informed and participating citizen.

December 6, 2016


You've noticed I've taken a break from blogging. 

The reason may be obvious to some. 

I'm trying to take this experience as a positive one, instead of heartbreak, because despite forced positivity here, things were not always so positive behind closed doors, and this shall be a blessing in disguise. I have a difficult time writing here now because I have to see past posts, and I don't have the heart to delete the memories pertaining to the last four years of my life. 

But I'll be back, don't you worry. Until then, the Ozarks call. 

October 11, 2016

Wrap-Up for the Week

So I literally have 10+ post drafts right now ready to finish & publish (some may make the cut, some may not), but I just wanted to assure everyone I'm still here and fine. It's been a week or so since my last post, but things have been hectic...

I had literally never gone to a college football game.

1. My brother visited and it was a (mildly awkward) success! The Razorbacks lost the big Alabama game (as predicted) but I called the Hogs for the first time and stayed out at Willie D's Piano Bar until two(ish?) in the morning... I can't remember the last time I partied on Dickson, much less stayed up that late or went into that bar. My brother may have 10 years on me but you wouldn't know it. 

2. Because of #1, I had to spend Sunday laying around on the couch eating Cuban pork nachos and watching Doctor Who (I know, "had to," right?). After I felt like eating, that is. 

September 22, 2016

Autumnal Equinox

If you're not familiar with Couchsurfing, it's kind of like the free version of Airbnb... but its mission is a little different - with the focus being less on finding a place to sleep and more on community! When you stay with a CS host you receive a local's insight (unless your host simply wants to help you out but doesn't have the time to chat or show you around) - you can stay up late discussing cultural differences, learn about their life, or have them show you to the best Belgium Waffles shop. I used Couchsurfing when I backpacked France, and in Chicago prior to that. I unfortunately haven't been able to truly host on my own, but I was always as involved as possible when an ex and his roommates hosted guests at the infamous Wet House in college.

Even if you don't surf or host, you can still be a part of your local Couchsurfing community if it's active... and while it's died down in Northwest Arkansas, when I first moved to Fayetteville, there were monthly potlucks, often with a theme, that each member took turns hosting. I loved having that sense of community and I feel like I'm missing out on that these days...

Point being, one of our get togethers I recall was for the Summer Solstice, when we had a Swede-style Midsommar potluck. We celebrated the longest day of the year by eating Scandinavian dishes at an outdoor art installation, "Under the Stars" - wearing bright clothes and talking about life.

You might recall from a science class back in the day that there are Summer and Winter Solstices (longest and shortest days of the year, respectively) and Spring and Autumn Equinoxes - where the length of day and night are about the same. They mark the beginning of each season and are reversed in the southern hemisphere.

September 19, 2016

Toil - Boil - Bubble: Fermented Drinks

It may not quite be October, but as I mentioned before, I can feel Fall crisping its way in and I'm super excited about some bubbling fermentations in my future.

I've only had one or two Cokes over the last couple of weeks and if you know me at all, you know I can't hardly stand to go even one day without at least one for a little pick-me-up at some point. They're my weakness and I'd blame my mother but I'm an adult now. I've been drinking a lot more hot tea throughout my work day as a replacement, and some fizzy store-bought probiotic drinks (or an occasional alcoholic beverage) or lemonade at home. I have this problem with not really drinking much water, even if it's sitting in front of me - if something has flavor I'm more likely to pick it up and take a sip without thinking about it. My point being I can't just replace Coke with water, but I can replace it with my own flavored, fuzzy drinks - ones that are actually good for your gut.

What's Kombucha? 

If you're not familiar with Kombucha, it's a fermented black or green tea that, legend has it, originated in the far east centuries ago. To brew it, one must obtain a SCOBY (I've never tried making my own SCOBY but it's supposed to be possible - but not exactly fool-proof and the consensus is that it's far easier to slice a piece off of someone else's).

SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts - it is also called a "Mother" or even a "mushroom" - but while similar, it is not technically a mushroom. I will warn you: if you've never seen one, they're kind of gross to newbies. They're slimy little pancakes that don't particularly smell the best. And when your tea begins to ferment, your virgin eyes may have difficulties deciphering between what looks healthy and what could be a sign your SCOBY's gone wrong. They're not particularly pretty unless you're one of those free love folks. And SCOBY's, when given love, grow more SCOBY's - to share with friends, to put in a SCOBY hotel, or if you're feeling really adventurous, to make some nutritious jerky.
Kombucha with painted plastic spigot on the far left. In the middle I'm hydrating some water kefir grains and getting my sourdough starter ready on the right - stay tuned for posts on both of those items! I love the cloth cover that came with my sourdough starter from Yemoos so much that I plan on it being my first project with the sewing machine I bought myself... I bought those ridiculous huge hipster head-sized hair bands a while back and never wore them. Reduce, reuse, recycle!