Here to Stay

Somehow, I have lived in Tennessee for a year.  How did that happen?

This past Saturday marked the anniversary of completely uncharacteristic move 1100 miles south.  In a way, it seems this year flew by, and yet living in Boston seems a long way back.  I didn’t know a soul when I moved here, but of course I received a warm welcome.  It is the south after all.

I’ve made many wonderful friends in the last 12 months.  I’ve gotten to see my grandparents and extended family more than ever.  I’ve discovered I like bluegrass.  I’ve put 17,000 miles on my car. I’ve experienced a tornado warning.  I’ve taken thousands of pictures of the sky.  I haven’t done yoga once.

Words like “you’re fine” and “y’all” have become fixtures in my vocabulary.  My style has become more eclectic and less preppy.   Though it would be a serious stretch to call me an extrovert, I’m more outgoing and chatty than I used to be.  I like to get out more.

I don’t have a TV in my room and I don’t miss it. I still haven’t bought bar stools so I don’t have a proper place to eat a meal.  I cook maybe once or twice a week.

I’ve decided I’m not over the city living as much as I thought. I’ve stopped drinking soda. I like dogs more than I used to.  I’ve been to the movie theater 3 times.  I’ve canned jam.

I’ve learned more about what’s important to me and what’s not.

It feels like home here.

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I think it’s time to take down this wreath.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

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One Year Sweeter

Today is the one year anniversary of the Sugarlump, which means I have lived in Nashville for almost one year.  Man, does time fly.  I have a few reflections to share on this momentous day:

While I started this blog mainly to capture moments of my life that I never want to forget, it has proven to be so much more.  It eased me through the transition to my new home.  It has kept me connected to my family and friends who regularly read the Sugarlump and comment.  In turn, it assures them that I am alive and well.  Some of my extended family members and family friends have probably learned more about me through reading my blog this past year than they had learned about me in all the years they’ve known me combined.  Whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know.  I’m just putting it all out there.

Most surprisingly, The Sugarlump has connected me to new friends who I know only because they have found my blog or I have found theirs.  Who knew complete strangers would take the time to leave a kind note or helpful tips?  This blog regularly reassures me that this world is indeed full of good people.

This blog has given me the motivation to learn more about photography as it provides a great outlet through which to share the thousands of photographs I have taken since moving to Nashville.  I apologize to my readers who don’t care for cats or weather reporting.   I hope to get out more this summer.

Though I am generally journaling-averse, writing posts has been a kind of therapy for me.   It helps me to find joy in the little things as I reflect on my day.  It puts things into perspective.  It keeps me connected in a more meaningful way.  I never would have thought I’d call myself a blogger, but a blogger I have become.

And even though I have slacked off on the blogging as my life has become busier in Nashville, I hope to continue celebrating blog anniversaries.

Thanks to my faithful readers for all of your “likes” and comments.  You make my day.

Love y’all,

Sugarlump

Rainy Day Reflections

Rainy days inspire in me a spirit of reflection.   Today, I found myself deep in thought about recent events in my life and those coming up.  Rainy days also provide me with great clarity on the things right before my eyes.  Here are the thoughts that came to mind while sitting at a traffic light on my way home:

  1. I think it’s time for new windshield wipers.
  2. I love October.  There is relief from the heat of summer and the holiday season is just around the corner.
  3. I survived big girl Sunday school yesterday.  I had been talking about going for weeks, but had some irrational fear that I would be put on the spot to recite the bible in its entirety.  When I told Grandmother I was a little scared to go, she reminded me that this year I moved 1000 miles away from my home of 13 years on my own to a city where I knew no one.  She thought I could manage a new Sunday school class.  She was right.
  4. I can’t wait to wear boots.
  5. The new season of Dexter began last night.  Per usual, I had nightmares after watching it, even though I love it and subject myself to it willingly.  I woke up at 6:23AM in a panic and almost got up out of bed to make sure my deadbolts were locked.  My alarm clock was due to go off in 37 minutes and the sun was going to rise momentarily, so I decided I was probably safe and rolled over.
  6. I wore a sweater to work today and I didn’t sweat.   I guess Fall is actually here.
  7. I was asking one of my clients today if she had any pets other than her golden retriever.  She said, “Only peeves.”  For a moment, I racked my brain, trying to recall if that is a type of fish or rodent, and then I burst out laughing.  People are funny.
  8. I’m hosting Christmas at my apartment this year for my immediate family.   I’m so excited that I can hardly keep it together.
  9. I think I’m going to grow my hair out.  It’s currently just below my shoulders and I’m at that crossroads where I need to decide if I’m going to have it shaped to my normal just –above-the-shoulders-do or if I’m going to grow it out and become dangerous with a curling iron.
  10. My clients’ almost-two-year-old daughter said my name today.  She was also calling her overalls her “backpack,” so this was a pretty big deal.

Y’all stay dry,

Sugarlump

The Addictive Blog Award

Thank you to Peggy Isaacs for nominating me for the Addictive Blog award.  I’m so glad someone else enjoys my little furballs as much as I do!

Award Rules:

  1. Thank the person awarding you.
  2. Share a little about why you blog and how the journey started.
  3. Paste the blog award on your page.
  4. Nominate 10 other bloggers you feel deserve the award.

Why I blog:

I started this blog as a way to capture sweet memories and experiences in my life and share them with my family and friends.  I was inspired by the Pioneer Woman, who I first discovered on the Food Network and whose blog I now read religiously.  Even though I’m not a huge fan of writing, somehow writing posts (to go along with the absurd amount of pictures I now take) has turned into a sort of ritual of reflection through storytelling.  It makes me feel more connected and appreciative.

Somewhat coincidentally, I started this blog just before I moved to a new place on my own and it has been a great way for my family and friends to keep tabs on me and see what I’m up to in my new hometown of Nashville.

Unexpectedly, I have met some wonderful bloggers through this journey, who make my day when they “like” my post or leave a kind comment.

I don’t know where I’d be without this blog.

Blogs I find Addicting:

  1. http://thesimplecountrylife.com/
  2. http://annewheaton.co.uk/about/
  3. http://auburnmeadowfarm.com/blog/
  4. http://thehappyfiles.wordpress.com/
  5. http://texascatny.wordpress.com/
  6. http://icanhas.cheezburger.com/
  7. http://thecatniptimes.wordpress.com/
  8. http://littlemiao.wordpress.com/
  9. http://mecookyummyoneday.wordpress.com/
  10. http://homestead101.wordpress.com/

Thank you to my nominees for making me smile, laugh, scratch my head and reevaluate my life on a regular basis.  I’m hooked.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump

Hello, Nashville!

Hello, Nashville!

19 driving hours, 1150 miles and 8 states later, Amarillo, my mom, my dad, Gus, Scarlett and I arrived in my new hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.   My dear mom and dad, as well as Amarillo (my moving truck that I grew attached to) were along for the journey to help me move.

Although my cat Gus meowed constantly for about an hour straight after we left, the cats traveled much better than I thought they would.  I think their pleasantness had a lot to do with my ingenious set-up for them in the back of my car.  I purchased the largest animal crate that would fit into the back of my Jeep and used the divider (intended to be used vertically) to create a mezzanine level so the cats wouldn’t be on top of each other.  Scarlett took the main floor and stretched out in the camper while Gus opted for the upper deck and was able to see out the windows and enjoy the scenery.  I realized about an hour into the trip that Gus’ blanket (“the mommy”) was outside the cage so at our first rest stop I put the blanket in his bed in the cage.  He snuggled right in and the meowing abruptly ceased.  What a weird cat.

They were much more relaxed when we were moving at a steady pace than when we were stopped.  I think the might have thought that a stop meant we had arrived at the vet’s office.   They do not like the vet.

The drive was especially beautiful in some of the states we passed through, particularly Virginia and eastern Tennessee.  This was my view for about 500 miles.  Not too shabby.

I love me some hills.

This was a very pretty sky.  I can’t remember if this was late Thursday or very early Friday.  It’s all a blur.

Here is my naked apartment right after I signed my lease and my life away.

Love the pale pink counter tops. Not.

I will be painting as soon as I have some energy after packing up, driving across the country and then unpacking my life.  Maybe I’ll feel up to it by the time my lease is up.

My seeeester, Eugene, and my cousin Lauren drove down from Lexington, Kentucky (where they both go to school with the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions.  No big deal).

They were such great helpers and I really don’t think I could have gotten everything carried up into my 3rd floor apartment and pretty close to set up without them.  I think I’ll keep them around.  I tried to get them to stay at my apartment but they gave me some spiel about having to get back to school for class.  Lame.

Who could say no to this?

After a few hours of unpacking the truck and carrying my ridiculous amount of stuff up to my apartment on Friday, we were all starving and we went to one of my new favorite spots in Franklin called Sol.  It’s kind of funky Mexican or Mexico meets the South or something like that.   Whatever you want to call it, it is obnoxiously delicious.  We started out with some freshly made table-side guacamole.   YUM.   As our entrees were ready to be served, our waiter took the guacamole bowl and I was very displeased because I had not yet scraped the bowl clean with the homemade tortilla chips so as not to leave a morsel of deliciousness behind.

I quickly got over my outrage as soon as my dinner arrived.  I ordered one of the evening’s specials: chipotle honey pan seared salmon with herb and parmesan polenta (and some sautéed spinach that I ignored).  This was heaven on a plate.  I have a picture that will surely make you hop in your car and drive however many miles (it doesn’t matter how many) to taste a bit of this wonderfulness.

After dinner, we were all drifting off into food comas and wanted to pass out.  Eugene, Lauren and I had to make a quick trip to Walmart, however, because I had no food in the house and no couch for my sister or cousin to sleep on.  As with all Dyer Walmart trips, this was an adventure.  We were delirious at this point and must have circled the bedding department 43 times before I made up my mind on which sheet set and blanket would coordinate best with my décor (even though they were going on an air mattress).

I expected to find an air mattress in this section also, but I was informed by my cousin Lauren that such an item would actually be found in the “camping and recreation” section.  I mentioned to her that I was impressed by how well she knew the departments and that I was grateful to have her along because I never would have found it on my own.  Her response:

“Honey, I was practically raised in Walmart.”

Her parents might find this statement troubling, but I thought it was hilarious.

We got back to my apartment and Lauren blew up the air mattress (inflated it, rather.  She didn’t explode it.  That would have been real bad).  And then we all passed out at the thought of more unpacking the next day.

More to come.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump

Boston

I’ve spent 13 years, the majority of my life, in Boston.

I went to middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate school here.  It’s where I learned to drive and where I started my business.  It’s where I have met people who have been very important in my life.  In large part, it’s where I became who I am.

But there’s always been a part of me that belonged to the South.  It’s where my family is from and it has always felt like home. I have visited my extended family in Kentucky at least twice a year for my entire life.  I used to cry on the way back from visiting Kentucky when I was little because I wanted to live there so badly.

I guess as I was planning my move to Nashville I was thinking mostly of the excitement of living in a new city, in the South, within an easy car-ride of my extended family.  I knew that would mean leaving behind some great people, but it didn’t really sink in until this week as I said goodbye to my clients, my friends and people who have become like family to me.  I always loved the South because of the genuine people, but it turns out I have found some really wonderful people in these Northern parts, too.

I will miss my friends.  Even though most of them are dispersed throughout the country (and even the globe), there were a few good friends who stayed in Boston that I saw regularly after we graduated.  I will certainly miss our get-togethers and those last remnants of college.  I guess we are officially grown-ups now as all of us start new phases in our lives with new jobs and new homes.

I will miss my neighbors. The kids I once babysat are now driving, but they’ll always be those cute little kiddoes in my mind who kept it real.

I will miss my clients.  When people invite you into their homes, even though it’s for business, there’s no getting around the fact that you will learn about their lives and often develop a friendship.  I have had many wonderful clients that I have gotten to know well and I will certainly miss our meetings.

I will miss my trade network.  Working alongside people in the design and building trades, you make small talk to make the day more pleasant, you see how hard they work and how they are just good, down to earth people.

And then there are people who don’t fit into just one category, but span many.  Although we are certainly an unlikely pair as she is 44 years my senior, I will greatly miss a woman I have known for over a decade, who has made window treatments and pillows for my parents and then for my clients after I started my interior design business.  She gave me great support and advice as I was starting my business and she has become a very close friend and mentor.  Whenever I would bring fabrics over for a job, we would quickly go through the details and then just talk.  Sometimes we would be so deep in conversation that an hour would go by before we knew it.  Even though for most of my day I am in a hurry, I’ve always cherished my talks with her.

It goes without saying that I will of course miss my parents terribly, but my hope is that they will move back to the South to be near me and my sister in the very near future.  So I’m just thinking of this separation as temporary because that’s the only way I can get through it.

I’ve had some great times here with some really great people, but I am excited to finally get my wish to live in the South.  Just like the best chocolate, it’s bittersweet.

Thank you for everything, Boston.  I will miss you.

(But don’t worry, I’ll be back to visit 🙂 )

Sugarlump

Packed

This is Amarillo, my moving truck.  The name just came to me and I think it suits him.  This is his best angle.

My dad and I packed up Amarillo all day today and I am pooped.  My back is broke.  On the bright side, my biceps are now bulging.  Kinda.

We started out filling up the truck with all of the boxes I had ready to go.  Things were going swimmingly and it seemed like I was going to have a ton of room in the truck.  My apartment is not a whole lot bigger than Amarillo so this was good news.

I finished packing up boxes and then we put in my colossal disassembled work desk.

Satisfied with our progress and how much room we had left, my dad and I went to lunch.  I had to have one last fix of Mexican at one of our favorite lunch spots (more like one of my favorite lunch spots, but my dad is a good sport and went with it (for the second time in a week)).

When we got back, we decided we should go ahead and put all of the pieces of my bed in the truck.  Moving a queen-size mattress without handles is like trying to move an enormous piece of Jell-o (as my dad put it) or trying to give my cat Scarlett a bath (the first comparison that came to mind for me).  It just ain’t happenin’.

I would also like to note at this point in time that shrink wrap is not my friend.

After many nearly fatal moments, my dad and I wrestled the mattress into the truck.  Although I did not enjoy moving my bed components, I did learn a new trick from my dad.

As he was tying up my mattress, headboard and box springs to secure them to the truck, he showed me a way to pull the rope really tight.

“This here is a hay-hauling knot.”  -my dad

I had not seen this technique or heard of the abovementioned application before, even in all my time as a farm hand.

I hope you enjoyed that farming/physics lesson.

Somehow, I managed to fill Amarillo completely.  I’m not really sure how that happened or where all of this stuff came from or how I am going to have any room to circulate in my apartment after I unload all of these things…

…or why I need all of this stuff.

…or how I am going to transport these things up two flights of stairs.

…or how to haul hay.

Wish me luck.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump

Packing

I have a lot of stuff.

I don’t really know how I accumulated so much in the last few years of my adult life, but things seem to be coming out of the woodwork as I try to pack for my move.

Do you know what this is?

No?

It’s a canner.  As in food preservation.  I purchased this a few years back with the intention of making my own jams and fruit preserves.  Due to my status as a full-time student and working professional, that did not happen.

I have high hopes that this year I will take off the sticker, learn how to use this sucker and preserve some things.

For now, I plan to pack it full of kitchen utensils to maximize space because even though I am renting a 16’ moving truck, I am a little concerned about the volume of things I am taking with me.

This is my garage bay that is currently acting as the staging area:

And this is what my bedroom looks like at the moment:

All of this stuff (including the furniture) will need to be added to the garage bay pictured above to ensure it will fit in the moving truck.

Gulp.

Luckily, most of my office (including my 8’x4’ desk) is already in the packing zone.  While this is good for the progress of my packing, it makes for a somewhat challenging work environment:

It’s been a lot of work to get this far although these pictures portray a state of disorder.

Thankfully, I have some helpers.  My resident customs officials have inspected and tested out every box for safety and compliance with federal regulations.

Little do my furry friends know that they will be the final items to be packed into my car.

Oh boy is that going to be a fun 19 hour drive.

I can’t wait………………to have arrived in Tennessee.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump