May 28, 2015

not 2%... not whole...

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skimm'd while on hold with capital one FOR.EV.ER.  (send me my new card, dammit)  (also go bernie sanders)

so i am not the most news-savvy person out there.  my mom didn't like having the news on in the house when i was a kid - too depressing - and the only section of the newspaper our family fought over was the funnies (i mean, duh).  but now that i'm a real live adult out in the real live world, i try to stay in touch with what's going on.  for a while i was relying exclusively on the facebook news sidebar for stories, but that honestly focuses a little too much on celebrities, missing children, and attention-grabbing headlines for me to feel like i'm actually being a responsible citizen of the united states and of the world.

enter skimm.  i'm not suddenly brilliant, i still don't entirely grasp what's going on in china or with isis or whether i like what obama's been up to.  but i'm a little more informed.  i get an email every weekday that i can read through while i settle into work.  it's interesting, it's easy to read, it doesn't overwhelm, and they have handy guides about some of the more complex topics (hellooooo middle east).  not to mention i kind of want to be bff with the writers.  if this sounds like something that'd be up your alley, you can sign up right here.  10/10, do recommend.

May 27, 2015

hammocks & chacos

Yesterday I was given the incredibly generous going away trail present of a gift card to Great Outdoor Provision Company. I've been tumbling the idea of sleeping in my new Eno hammock instead of my tent around in my head, and the gift card would make this a possibility - I wouldn't be able to justify spending the money on a nice, lightweight, Eno brand tarp otherwise. I'd save 2.5 pounds, and, I mean, I'd get to sleep in a hammock. Part of me is scared of the idea, a la The Roly-Poly Pudding (right??), but most of me thinks it be cozy, and I'd get that air conditioner hammock effect that Enos have instead of the stuffy tent effect. I could string Bix's cable underneath me and hook his leash up to it so he'd have movement but still be protected from rain, and animals (raccoons and possums and the like, anyway) would probably be more inclined to stay away.

The other thing I've been considering is leaving my boots behind and hiking in Chacos. It'd save me another pound and a half, and between that and the hammock idea, I'd bring my pack weight (sans food and water) down from 20.5 pounds to 16.5 pounds. I want to bring my Chacos for when I need to cross creeks and rivers that don't have bridges or handy rocks and to wear at camp when I've spent all day in my boots - but then why bring the boots at all, if the Chacos will do? The arch support is great, I've been breaking them in nicely, and they're made to be sturdy.  I have a friend who hiked the Appalachian Trail with an 11-pound pack and Tevas, he told me about it when I was 17 and wide-eyed about all things backpacking, and it stuck with me. If you can hike the AT in Tevas, you can hike the MST in Chacos... right?

May 22, 2015

live irl

chapel hill's graffiti artists are sweet.

other gems:
fight wars not war
boobs nah dude
i solemnly swear i am up to no good
dead men don't catcall
and a clever little anti-friend-zone-concept rant about how women are not machines men can put kindness coins into until sex comes out
(sorry for the phrase "sex comes out")

AND the town of chapel hill actually does this really cute thing where they plant seeds in the shape of words like "grow" and "look up" etc and then the words come out of the earth all leafy and green.

ps i recognize the irony of this being posted online (in multiple places now, hi instagram) but i found it after bix and i had spent an hour or so in the botanical gardens on unc's campus, me in my new hammock with gone girl, him in the dirt with a stick.

May 18, 2015


this weekend i took bixby backpacking, just me and him and uwharrie national forest.  i found a 20-ish-mile figure eight online, uwharrie trail to dutchman's creek trail, which seemed reasonable for two days, and saturday morning we set out, clear eyes, full packs, can't lose.

uwharrie is fine.  it's fine, it's sweet, it doesn't have any switchbacks or overlooks or waterfalls but it's a good little place to go practice backpacking.  i saw next to no wildlife, aside from the zillion monster ants that were really intent on climbing my legs whenever i sat down anywhere.  there was a tiny green snake that wriggled under some leaves, and a black frog with a brown belly that hopped directly into my boot and fell over.  we heard a godawful screaming noise, something like a very loudly dying goose, saturday night right before dark, that had bixby barking his guts out.  apart from that, there were a couple of lizards, a blue tailed skink, some birds, and a disgustingly large toad that splashed into a creek when we walked up.  i'm not one of those people who goes out hoping to see a bear, so i was alright with the distinct lack of critters.  there weren't many people either - a couple of boy scout troops, what looked like maybe a family reunion, several pairs of hikers, and just three other solo hikers.  i counted four women total, myself not included.
the trail: mostly pleasant, i guess is the best way to put it.  it was startlingly hilly, and i haven't decided if i dislike going up or down more, but i will say that i don't regret my long term choice of a trail that isn't entirely mountainous.  a lot of the area had been burned, apparently recently, since the standing trees were still blackened and the undergrowth wasn't very high.  there were blueberry bushes all along dutchman's creek trail with just a few tiny green blueberries on them.  my favorite places were the creeks, which were easy to find and cross and filter water from.  the rhododendrons loved them too, so not only were the creeks cooler, shadier, and altogether nicer than the burned areas and the rock cliffs and the up and down ridges, but they also smelled sweet and looked angelic.

i camped by a creek, not the one in the picture, one with a bridge and a campfire and two little trees i strung bix's cable between so he could run back and forth on his leash.  the routine of camping was nice.  there were certain things i needed to do - set up my tent, filter water, make dinner, wash the dishes, hang the bear bags - and when i'd done all these and it still wasn't dark, bix and i went for a walk, which seems silly but what else is there to do?  we cozied up into the tent when i got back, and bix was very well behaved and only barked at the goose noise and growled a tiny bit when two hikers walked past after dark.  i couldn't sleep, of course, because the forest noises and my pillow was weird and i think i was on an incline with my head on the lower end, but once i'd turned myself around and managed to fall back asleep for the fourth time or something, i stayed asleep until dawn.

all in all it was a comforting trip.  the MST is going to be hard as hell, i know, but it's also doable, as long as i pace myself and don't try going nearly fifteen miles in one day at the beginning - eight to ten (or maybe twelve with a good long break in between) is plenty.  i've got to make sure i have plenty of water (which i ran out of twice but was fortunately near enough creeks that it wasn't any kind of disaster).  i've got to teach bix once and for all not to pull, especially when we're going downhill.  and i've got to just put one foot in front of the other, because when you boil backpacking down to its essence, it's as simple as just that.

and with this myspace-esque picture, i bid you all adieu.  happy hiking!

May 14, 2015

no-poo update pt. 2

i gave up.

i've been washing my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar for the past three months and one day last week my hair felt oily and gross and i just couldn't take it one more second and i finally threw in the towel (get it?) and washed my hair with some $3 suave shampoo and my hair has never felt so clean in my life.  in my life, guys.  it was fluffy and smelled good and took way longer to straighten but that's probably because it wasn't so straw-like when i started.  and i know that i'm murdering my little hair strands one at a time and stripping them of their natural oils and generally being a Very Bad hair owner but my curls are back and i feel like singing.

so: because the reason i did this to even begin with was the trail and the part after the trail and to make the transition to actually no-poo (or any kind of cleaning mechanism besides lake water) easier, but my hair is going to be full of lake water and so it's kinda gonna be gross period.  and this is the first time i have liked my hair without straightening it in three months.  so we're just going to full steam ahead this one and see what my hair decides to do.  i will say that i've been using the tiniest amount of shampoo (low-poo?), which, in theory, is a good and helpful thing and will hopefully be a better way to transition to extremely-rare-poo than what i've been doing.

May 12, 2015

quietly, so i don't jinx it:
(we may have found a groove)

you know?  he has his moments, and i do too, but it just seems like bixby has been trying SO HARD lately.  he's attentive and sweet and still barks like a mad man at other dogs but for the most part really wants to be good.  yesterday morning he dug up a snake but didn't realize it, the oblivious dude.  it was just a little brown snake that got scooped up and put in the woods, but one minute he was digging and the next this snake flew through the air.

this weekend was pretty top notch, to be honest.  the picture is from friday, when sarah and i ate melty locopops and went to the carolina inn for free outdoor music.  happy summer!  happy happy summer!  saturday chris and i ran a 5k ("ran" in my case, there was some walking involved) and went to nordstrom rack and generally had a good old saturday morning-y time.  then zip zap zop back to cary for me for graduation lunch with kaitlin's family, who are just the sweetest people.  i specifically want to be her grandmother when i grow up, who made a "well he's not going STRAIGHT to grad school" joke about one of kaitlin's gay roommates and did some hardcore west coast exploring on her own, complete with tent camping and a singing gig on an alaskan cruise ship??  or something.  that night i was going to go to a party but i would have had to go BACK to dumb old cary for the third time in one day, and i said no thanks, and kaitlin and i did our usual franklin street thing followed by a wall sit competition and pupusas from a taco truck.  sunday involved a butt ton of sleeping followed by a really lovely afternoon with sandwiches at tru, a fantastic shoe find ($20 emerald-and-gold new balances, please & thank you), ex machina and popcorn, and planning this weekend's backpacking trip - shenandoah valley here we come!!  it was a great great great time and if every weekend could be that happy-busy-cozy i'd be one happy camper.

May 7, 2015

the dog who cried woof

Bix's latest thing is waking me up in the middle of the night yelling at what I assume is an animal somewhere outside of our house. I've only seen one of them, and it was this very large raccoon eating the cat food my neighbor had left out, but it's happened a few times outside of that. Part of me feels grateful that I have this big defensive dog who will scare off robbers and what have you with his ferocious bark, but a much bigger part of me is terrified of how this means he'll behave when we're living in a one-person tent. If I've already slept a good number of hours, my chances of falling back asleep in a reasonable amount of time are very slim, and even slimmer in the great out-of-doors because as of now, I don't sleep so well there period. So I alternate between turning on the porch light and letting Bixby hop his front paws up on the windowsill and saying, "Loook, Bix, it's fiiine, there's nothing there, it's all gooood" and then putting on my stern voice to tell him "NO SIR, go in your CRATE, that is ENOUGH, good NIGHT." If it happens again tonight, you can bet I'll be whipping out the dreaded spray bottle, which he cowers away from so pathetically that I feel abusive. And then that smaller part of me pops up obnoxiously and suggests that if I punish him for barking at things, he won't bark at things when it matters, which makes me wish that dogs understood stuff like reasoning and English. Last night after our walk, I was on cloud nine. He had been an angel, stuck by my side, hadn't even barked at the dog who barked at him, etc, but then this morning, after the 3 a.m. episode and a godawful walk that would have frustrated anybody, let alone a sleep deprived person, I felt like taking him on the hike was a terrible idea. Don't get me wrong - I'm going to do it, he's coming with, but dear LORD here's hoping these witching hour barking sessions stop immediately.

May 6, 2015

weekend happenings

hi guys, and happy wednesday!  it's payday!

so it's getting to be that time of year when weekends are great and exciting and there's always something to do, and this weekend was one of them.  friday night kaitlin and i went out for the first time in  it was her friend's birthday, so we went to his house and i learned how to play slapcup, which, by the way, is extraordinarily satisfying.  we did goodfellows, because what else do we do, and it was awesome because i didn't pay for any drinks but still managed to get nice and buzzy without feeling sick the next day.  and also cookies!  win-win-win-win!

saturday i slept like a log.  and then i woke up and went and saw home with jessi, which was absolutely adorable and i highly recommend it and also rihanna??

and then - derby!
any excuse to wear my chacha dress and a big ass hat, amirite?  and there's vinny with the winning photobomb - hi vinny!
this is why we can't have nice things.

and then it was sunday and i got my childcare shift switched and rachel and i bopped out to the BEACH for the day!  she's from nebraska, where they don't have beaches, and now that she lives in north carolina, there's one like two hours away and i forget this but she doesn't and it's the best thing ever.  so hello beach!!  we did wrightsville, which is arguably one of the best ones north carolina has to offer, and it couldn't have been more perfect.  cloudless skies, clear water, can't lose.

added bonus - cinco de mayo!  i don't know if you're sensing a friend theme here or what... but a few of us have decided to make a dedicated effort in, you know, hanging out, so we got together last night for margaritas and bean dip (REVOLUTIONARY) in honor of the great mexican holiday and also ladies.

also - aren't emerson levi and harbor grace the sweetest little baby names?

May 1, 2015

more links!

cabin porn.  ya dig?

dudes complimenting dudes is funny but also kinda super sad at the same time.  guys should feel able to honestly say kind things to each other.

i just wanna be best friends with mallory ortberg, except she's way too cool and funny for me.

when i was young i got super into this YA british author, anne fine, and in particular one of her books called the tulip touch.  i have no idea how many times i read that book but it was a lot, sympathizing always with tulip's best friend, the victim character, and this article on women stealing from each other sparked the same part of my brain.  i've never been stolen from (that i noticed or remember) but this idea that women can and do steal each other's self-esteem is something i've absolutely witnessed, experienced, and - yes - done.  and it's not okay, and i love that this article addresses it head on, not to mention it's beautifully written.

moving on - a different kind of subway map.  to revisit next time i go to new york.

beautiful, beautiful look on aging.

these mri scans are cool as hell.

i died laughing, a lot.  TWAS I!