Friday, April 24, 2015

Responsibility, Schmonsibility

The last week before finals was upon us, and it was going to be a little busier than most weeks have been. Carson planned to stay later every night to finish grading, studying and writing. He had follow-up meetings and end-of-semester stuff. He teaches a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class and decided that Wednesday would be the last meeting, a decision I'm certain was appreciated by everyone (chiefly by him). So after the class, I picked him up, as I often do when I get out of work. It was only 11am and a beautiful day, and I realized that I'd really like to have the car so I could drive to a park and enjoy the sunshine (it had been raining most of the week - April showers and all that).

As luck would have it, Carson had to meet a professor at a coffee shop near a park, so I went with him and he dropped me off at this random park. I did enjoy my walk in the sunshine (for two hours, which I was not anticipating), calling people to catch up with them and enjoying sun. I met Carson outside the coffee shop and he immediately said "Let's go to the beach!" which is not a rare suggestion on the weekend but certainly is during the week because he's so disciplined.  So... we went to the beach on a weekday. Monumental enough to write a blog post about? Well yeah, apparently. We didn't stay for too long because I had to work early and Carson had to get back to responsibility, but it was great to take a little break before the big semester finish. And now, the first year of PhD is over... only four to go!

Do you see Carson in this one? 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

In Which Cleveland Visits Tallahassee

Our friend Deanna came down from Cleveland to see us for a weekend! She arrived late on a Thursday evening, and due to some disagreement about times it would take for her plane to arrive from Atlanta and times it took to get to the airport, we weren't there to meet her at baggage claim. 

On Friday morning, Deanna and I hit the beach, which isn't really hilly at all, I just wasn't so good at using the panorama on my phone. 

It had snowed in Cleveland just a few days before... and it was 80 degrees at the beach. Florida's not so bad. 

We drove a few miles further and went to Apalachicola because Deanna wanted seafood and it seemed to make more sense to go to a place that's actually on the coast. We went to the Seafood Grill where Carson and I have been before because it's just so good. Deanna ordered "tea" and I think the waitress could tell she wasn't from the south because she asked if she wanted sweet or unsweet. Deanna had the "largest fish sandwich ever" and fried oysters and I had the shrimp po'boy. Due to an experience I've had in the past with non-southern people, I asked if she knew how to peel a shrimp. She didn't and our conversation made me laugh. 

We walked all over the tiny little town, and found this funny garden store outside. Isn't it so pretty?

We arrived back in Tallahassee just in time to meet up with Carson on campus. Traffic was rerouted for some unknown reason so getting there was a miserable experience, but we walked that off by exploring a little bit. 

We returned home and I introduced Deanna to boiled peanuts. During our conversation at lunch, I'd informed her that one didn't just order tea in the south... one specified if they didn't want to get super sweet tea. That got us talking about differences in places we grew up and I asked if she'd tried boiled peanuts, so when we saw a place that sold them on the side of the road, we stopped and bought some to try later. She asked a question I hadn't thought of which was "Do you eat the shells too?" (the answer was no... and laughter). The verdict: "They kind of taste like chickpeas"

On Saturday, we had breakfast at Chic-fil-A because Deanna hadn't been there for breakfast before. 

From there, we went thrifting. We found some great stuff and Deanna especially found some pretty great things that made her bags bursting to the brim on the way home. Worth it though. 

That night's dinner was a little cookout. Carson made steaks, kebabs and corn on the grill and our neighbor Matt came down with some of the best macaroni salad I've ever had. We played Wits and Wagers, Balderdash and Scattergories after eating, and then I brought out the ice cream we made in the ice cream maker we got for Christmas - yummy.

We went to our new church on Sunday and then to lunch. We went to Monk's, which Carson and I have been to before and is apparently rated pretty high on TripAdvisor as a place you must go in Tallahassee. Deanna went for the burger that was most highly recommended: one with peanut butter and jelly. I had a bite and it wasn't my favorite, but I think for the right tastebuds, it would probably be terrific. 

Another place we've driven by but never researched is Mission San Luis. Deanna had looked up things to do in Tallahassee and it looked pretty neat so we went for it. It was all but deserted on a Sunday afternoon and it felt like we were transported to an entirely different place. It's a Spanish Mission built in the 1600s. It appears that sometimes there are people around doing demonstrations in the different buildings and shops, but that wasn't happening that Sunday afternoon. It was fun walking around and learning about a piece of local history at our own pace.

Here's the council house

The fort

Inside the fort

Walking from the kitchen to the friary

We went in the church last. As soon as I walked in, I smelled something bad and heard squeaking and little feet in the rafters... mice. Nope. So Carson and Deanna ventured in and I stayed outside.

Another highly rated Tallahassee place? Donut Kingdom. We'd never been so we made that stop after the mission. Carson had an apple fritter, Deanna had a red velvet one with cream cheese, and I had part of a custard one before I realized I don't like custard. 

We went back to the house for Deanna to pack, and then the two of us headed to the airport. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Friends In Many Seasons

We've had the great gift of having wonderful friends in every place we've lived in the past (still working on that here, but I'm sure friends will come!). On the first day of class in Spokane, I headed up to explore the student lounge with classmates from my writing class. In that lounge, I met two girls: Erica and Maila. They were roommates who lived nearish to my apartment, and we chatted and got to know each other while others played pool and had that awkward first-week-of-school conversation. They became friends with my roommates and we all went apple picking sometime in the first few weeks of school (picture here). We went to Phantom of the Opera together (here), went ice skating (here), and had a few adventures over the semester.

My second semester in Spokane, one of my roommates transferred to Moody's main campus in Chicago, so she was replaced by Erica, whose own roommate situation from the first semester was changing up. Maila went to live with some girls by the school (we used to go over there and watch Steel Magnolias basically all the time) and she got married just before Christmas in 2011 (here). But during the spring of 2009, Erica and I hung out together quite a lot. We basically bonded over the fact that both of us were really terrible about going to bed at a decent time, which meant essentially that we did absolutely nothing just about every night until like two in the morning. We watched LOST over Spring Break, had heartfelt conversations about I can't remember what, and laughed way too loud way too late.

I only lived with Erica for that one semester, but she is one of my greatest friends from Spokane (for the record I feel funny saying that because basically all my friends in Spokane feel like the greatest friends ever). And for some reason, our paths have kept crossing since we've moved away. In 2012, we moved to Ohio just in time for her wedding... in Ohio (here). And since she's from Akron which isn't far from Cleveland, any time she came to visit, we got to see her (Christmas, Fourth of July, Christmas again, Spring Break, just before we moved). And then she and Zack moved to Michigan in 2013 so they were closer... score. And then we moved away in 2014, which should have meant that we wouldn't see each other for awhile... and they moved to Kentucky which was closer to Florida but still over 10 hours away. We would never see each other right? But we were wrong. It worked out to make a detour up to Louisville where they moved last year to spend a day exploring. And just this week, they were able to make a detour to see us on their way down to Destin.

All that to say "our friends came to visit"? Why yes. Because I think it's neat how paths cross and how things come together and even though you're from South Carolina and Ohio you go to school in eastern Washington and somehow when you move from there you end up a few hours apart in Michigan and Ohio, and then somehow keep being able to meet up even though you move to Kentucky and Florida. It's neat. And I think it's ordained. Ordained when you can't see your friends but for one season, and ordained when you get to keep seeing people through different seasons moves, changes. I've known Erica since our sophomore year of Moody almost seven years ago and I'm so thankful for all the times we've had... the up-till-3am seasons and the yeah-its-9:45-and-I'm-tired-and-have-to-work-tomorrow seasons (that was how it was as they visited us). It's so good having people to travel with you through life, even if they aren't right there all the time.

So... do I have as many pictures as I've had words? No. And you're probably thankful for that.

They arrived Monday night at 7:45, we chatted for two hours and went to bed. I left for work at 4am, got home at 11am (it still felt very lengthy I assure you) and then we explored just a little. We walked all over the Florida State campus in 85 degree weather with some wicked humidity (probably the first really humid day this year... and it's just April) and then had lunch at Newks. Carson was conveniently in between obligations and got to explore with us. They had to leave right after lunch, but I'm thankful for the time, as short as it was.

Classics library - Carson's favorite spot on campus.  

Setting up the tripod

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter 2015

Will we spend all our holidays with my family from now on? No, but the thought occurred to us that we are close enough to spend Easter with family, so... we did.
We drove up on Friday afternoon and arrived just in time for the Good Friday service at my parents' church. Afterward we hung out at the house and gave the dogs the attention they obviously (thought they) deserved. 

On Saturday, Carson and I joined Mom and Dad in a jaunt to Charleston, after a lazy early morning at home. Dad rarely has weekends off, so it was fun to be visiting family AND spending time with dad at the same time. We went to the Charleston Farmer's Market, ate lunch at Mellow Mushroom on King Street, and walked on the Battery and around Battery Park a little before heading back.

Lots of people were there to witness this couple we didn't know get married in the gazebo. When they kissed you could hear clapping all over the park. 

Sunday, we joined the family for church, where we enjoyed celebrating the resurrection! It was also so great to see old friends. We didn't have much time between services so I didn't get to see a ton of people, but I got to connect with Jillian (and baby Wren!) and to see Brooke, Levi and baby Clayton who are spending time in the South this summer before moving up to the Northwest! Connecting with old friends makes me feel, well, old... but it's so fun to see and connect with people even though it's often for a hug and a picture in between services.

And here's a throwback to us in the same spot in 2008, the last time we were home for Easter:

And now here we are with husbands and a baby.

After the service, we rushed home and began prep for a family Easter lunch. We'd planned it all just a few days before, but it came together wonderfully and there was more than enough food. I claimed to enjoy Easter food more than Thanksgiving food and that news was not well-received. I still stand by my unpopular claim, even if it is based solely on the fact that Grandmama's potato salad (one of my favorite foods) is seasonally appropriate for Easter and not Thanksgiving. Also, there was quite the abundance of delicious desserts, and I much prefer cheesecake to pumpkin pie. I will likely be disowned for that claim, but it's true.

We had to leave the gathering much too soon because we had to get back so that I could go to bed and open the next morning. Unfortunately, my work doesn't look kindly on skipping shifts. What are the odds? Also, there was rerouting due to road work they weren't doing, so that was fun. 

It was lovely being home for Easter!
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