Friday, October 24, 2014

It's Like Nutella, But For Fall

Just for the record? Apple butter is delicious.

Apparently that's a big deal up here. I've seen signs for street markets selling apple butter along the highway, and I commented to Matt as we passed one of the signs that I had never tried apple butter before.

Last weekend, we went to explore a new church, and the pastor talked for quite a while about how the church family had made dozens and dozens of jars of apple butter that weekend. And then after the service they fed us apple cake and sent us home with a pint of apple butter, which we ate slathered on graham crackers.

I've only been in this state a little while, but boy do people know the way to my heart. Bonus points to that church.

Have you tried apple butter? If so, what's your favorite way to eat it? If not, what new food have you tried lately that you've enjoyed?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Don't Believe We're In Texas Anymore, Toto

In Texas, it's hotter'n hell ten months out of the year. Ceiling fans are basically mandatory for any room in any building, commercial or residential.

It wasn't entirely surprising that none of the rooms in our new place have fans — I've heard that a general lack of fans is common in the northern and eastern parts of the U.S. — but what did surprise me is how much I'd miss those seldom-considered ceiling fixtures.  I like having moving air, especially when I'm sleeping, so in Texas we often had our bedroom fan spinning all year long. It was weird on that first night in Virginia, to kick the covers off in the middle of the night and not immediately get cold again.

My mother-in-law commented on this too, as my in-laws stayed the night with us after helping me move all my crap across the country. My first thought was to turn up the air conditioning; hers was to open windows. (Obviously she'd lived in the northeast before.) And that was like, revolutionary to me. Open the windows?! Say whaaaat.

(All you people who live in the north are rolling your eyes and laughing at my ignorance/silliness. But seriously, this can't be a year-round thing, can it? What do you do when it's too warm inside in the middle of winter? I can't imagine you open the windows when it's snowing.)

So that's been a weird thing. Every time it gets kind of warm, I open a (screened) window or the (screened) sliding glass door. Elliott is having a field day.

Plus! It's legitimately fall here. In Texas, all the trees will be green one day, and the next day they're all bald. There's no pretty colors or crisp air, and most of the time it gets warm again after all the leaves fall.

But while Elliott was looking out the open back door with her whiskers pressed up against the screen, she jumped as leaves came streaming onto our patio, and looked over at me like she had no idea what was happening.

We'll get used to it, though. :)

Scenic overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Gorgeous, gorgeous place to see the fall colors! Pics don't do it justice.

Already scarf weather! Finally getting to put my enormous collection to use.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Night in Jackson, Tennessee

You know how it's on my Life List to visit every state in the U.S.? Well, usually I don't consider just driving through a state as having "visited." Like, on this trip to Virginia? We stopped at a McDonald's in Arkansas to use the bathroom, but I don't think that counts as having "been" to Arkansas, because I didn't actually do anything there.

So I'm not sure if traveling through Tennessee counts either, but I've got a good story for you anyway.

My dad and I had just crossed the Tennessee border, just passed through Memphis, and it was getting dark and pouring rain, and we were about ready to call it a day. I had gotten several recommendations from friends who had traveled with pets before to stop at a La Quinta Inn, because they don't charge fees for animals. The next La Quinta past Memphis was in Jackson, so I made a reservation for us. Once we got the cat and all our bags unloaded, we looked for a place to get dinner.

Now, neither my dad nor I are the type to stick with chain restaurants if we have the option of local places. We looked on Yelp to see what was close and had decent reviews, and ended up at this little fast-casual, beach-themed Mexican food place called Tulum's. It was fine; we were hungry. My burrito was the size of my head.

By the time we got back to the motel, it was only like, 8 p.m., and we were all, "What do you want to do?" "I dunno, what do you want to do?"

There was a bench in front of the La Quinta where people had been sitting and smoking while we had been unloading my truck, so my dad decided that we would go to the Exxon station across the street and get some beer. And then drink it on the bench in front of the La Quinta.

So we did.

So you tell me — do you think this counts as having visited Tennessee?

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Remarkaballs

My first week of work, I found out that our office had its own community kickball team.

(That's because I was asked to design the T-shirts for the team. I told you my job was awesome!)

The season started in September, so I only got to play in a few games before our planned move, but it was a lot of fun, throwing back to elementary school! (I'm pretty sure that the fifth or sixth grade was the last time I played organized kickball.)

We won some of our games, and we lost some, too. We played other teams in the community, and some of them were like, crazy good. The highlight for me was during game three of the season: I made it onto second base during that game, which is basically a miracle because I almost always get tagged on the sprint to first base!

Most of the time, while our team was on the field, I ended up playing outfield. Which was perfectly fine with me, because the ball rarely made it as far out as I was. I am not particularly good at throwing, or catching! I'm always afraid the ball will hurt if it hits me!

When was the last time you played kickball? What games did you like when you were a kid? And does your office have any fun extracurricular activities?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's "real" in that I really can't mow my own lawn

This post originally written on 9-14-14, with edits.

When Matt left for Virginia, he left behind most of the things in our shed, including one of those reel lawnmowers. You know, the kind that you're supposed to be able to just push around the yard, and the blades spin as you're pushing, and it chops all the grass down.

(I say this, but I didn't know what a "reel mower" was. I kept thinking he was saying "real mower" and I was like, dude, all lawnmowers are real! So there's that.)

I think it's obvious from the above statements that I had never mowed my own lawn before. But with Matt gone, and the photographer coming to take house photos the next day, I thought the lawn was looking a tiny bit shaggy and decided to try my hand at mowing for the first time.

Oh, those reel mowers are AWFUL! I spent maybe 20 minutes struggling to get the thing to go, and in that time I got maybe, maybe a third of the lawn mowed. And I also got the beginnings of some thumb blisters, and about 30 mosquito bites, because it rained the last two days.

When I noticed the mosquitoes swarming around me, I said screw it, threw the push mower back in the shed, and texted a dude friend to come mow my lawn for me.

I tried, ya'll.

My friend came and mowed the lawn the next morning, and he likes to tell people that his yardwork is the reason our house sold on the first day. Curb appeal, man.
I mean, who WOULDN'T want to live here?

Do you do your own yardwork? What chores are you the worst at?