Let’s Explore

Let’s Explore

This weekend, Michael and I decided to visit North Carolina in pursuit of a classic car that he has had his eye on for a while. This particular vehicle is for sale and it meets every requirement for his next project car. And that’s a tall order!

Sure, it may sound a little crazy to drive a couple states away to check out a car, but we decided that this is one of those things that we can do in this stage of life!

We headed out Friday evening and spent the drive to Knoxville, TN – our destination for the night – with mouths agape as we took in our beautiful surroundings: green rolling hills, small ponds, grazing cattle, large rolls of hay and brick ranch-style homes dotting the landscape. It was serene and peaceful.

We made the long trek home on Saturday evening and the beauty of the landscape was just as entrancing the second time around. Here are just a few snapshots of the journey. Please excuse the fact that most of these were taken from the car, and I am certainly no photographer. 

The next day we drove through the Great Smoky Mountains to our destination in North Carolina, stopping only for a short time to see the famous Biltmore Estate and to enjoy what we could of the grounds prior to needing to pay the entrance fee – a hefty $60/person!
We made it to our final destination in the afternoon and Michael was in his element as he assessed the car and spoke with the man selling it. It takes a special person to see beauty and potential in a vehicle covered in algae and full of spider sacks! Although, I have to admit that familiarity with the subject does begin to bring with it the ability to recognize the strong points of a vehicle, and I’m learning!! 🙂






Ode to the Neighbors

It’s crazy how easy it is to take some of the simplest things for granted.

Our temporary living situation in Kentucky has been slightly eye opening to me when it comes to things I’ve taken for granted in previous living situations. For example: a sofa. When we move, having a sofa again will feel like such a luxury after months of camping-chair use. We’ll actually be able to sit together! What a happy, happy thought.

In addition to my impending delight in a comfy couch, I will also be a little too happy to escape the neighbor situation we have going on. I feel like I’m an eavesdropper even when I don’t want to overhear anything!

For one, the mother in the apartment below us has one powerful set of vocal chords. Really impressive. They’re used mostly for yelling at family members and sometimes the pets. Doors also seem to slam themselves in that apartment, in some cases so forcefully that the building shakes…for my part, I’m still trying to find a door in our apartment that is capable of being slammed so loudly. I’m assuming they’ve invested in solid oak plank doors or something?

One of our next door neighbors is a real gem. I simply love it when he smokes pot while I have the windows open to let in the cool fall breeze or when he plays his loud, bassy music all night long for back-to-back nights. While one night of very little sleep is tolerable, a second night makes for an extremely cranky Natalie who may or may not have filed a noise complaint. I do need to lighten up on the guy though, he’s had a really intense croopy cough for about three weeks. Because yes. I hear that too!
All-in-all my complaining is mostly bark and very little bite, and these experiences have served to help me to appreciate some of what I’ve had in the past (Comfy sofas! Quiet and friendly neighbors!). I plan to be thankful for every minute of such comforts in the not-so-distant future!


Still the Same Old Me


I keep learning a funny little lesson in each phase of life: I’m STILL me.  I know, earth shattering, right? But sometimes it is a little astonishing. As a child I remember daydreaming about how I would be and who I would be when I was a grown-up high-schooler, when I was a college student, when I was a professional embarking on my career as a killer-whale trainer {ha!}  and, of course, when I was married! And here I have hit all those milestones – okay, not the specific whale trainer one – and at each passing milestone I have had a rather big defining moment when I realize, “I’m still just me.”
I thought about this again this morning while I groggily prepped my french-press with coffee grounds and waited for the water to boil… this is such a typical morning.  My groggy pre-coffee morning-self who glares at the few dirty dishes in the sink in the hopes that they can be willed-away {apparently dishes can’t take a hint} has pretty much been consistent. Whether I’m in high school or college, employed full-time or job hunting, single or dating or engaged or married, regardless of any sort of status I’m pretty much just your basic Natalie.
In so many ways nothing about me has really changed since the days of the kid-Natalie who daydreamed about her future. Except that everything has changed.
Nothing has changed and everything has changed and somehow both those statements feel true. Life is so weird.
I guess I shouldn’t put too much stock in the thoughts of my pre-coffee morning-self. But there they are for your reading pleasure or amusement.


Let’s Meet for Coffee

If I were to sit down with you — an old friend — and sip a cup of coffee while talking to you about life, one of the biggest points I’d bring up is TRANSITION.
Transition is the weirdest, right? I have to admit, I’m not always very cool and adaptable when it comes to life’s transitions: sometimes I see them as thoroughly exciting adventures to embrace and love while in other instances I look at them as daunting mountains to climb while on crutches. It really just depends on the day. Or the hour, really.
But all that to say: life is extremely transitional right now! Half the time I’m rejoicing in the excitement of it all and the other half the time I mostly just want to curl up in bed with a good book and escape it.
“Why is your life such a transition-zone?” You might ask. And that’s a valid question, friend.
Here’s the scoop in brief! My husband landed an amazing new job about 6 months ago and moved from California to Kentucky where the company is based. Then we got married and I joined him! The entire company will be relocating, however, to Alabama where we will set up our home for the foreseeable future. For now though, we live in Kentucky with a small bundle of necessities: two camping chairs, a mattress, a decently well-stocked kitchen (thankfully!) and a rather large houseplant named George. 🙂
“What’s the story behind George!?”  is probably one of your first questions. So I shall tell you! George was a one-week anniversary gift from my husband’s parents. He showed up on our doorstep in the arms of a kindly old man who may or may not have been smaller than the plant. He was left in my hands with no instructions other than “You might wanna water it.” I honestly don’t even know for sure what kind of plant George is. Based on some research I *think* he might be a Peace Lilly? Anyway, George is still alive by some strange miracle and I hope to keep him that way!
But George has turned into a loveable digression at this point – sometimes that happens when talking with a friend over coffee, wouldn’t you agree? Back to the transitional life.
I think the thing about transition that’s getting to me the most is that I don’t want the impending change to be something that robs me of the joy and contentedness of now. Because life right now is both sweet and savory. I am blessed with a new marriage and all the encompassing newness of a cross-country move. It’s a pretty fun time to be Natalie and I don’t want to miss it.