September 2014 archive

The Truest Companion

By Natalie

First lets take a little advice from Charlie Brown

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You got me! It’s a doggie post today, because Bingley is curled up in the corner on this rainy evening in Charlotte, looking ever so sweet. And I am not ashamed to tell you that he’s my inspiration for the day. Hey, I’ll take it.

I continue to be amazed at what a wonderful addition he makes to our little family. Who else is going to literally jump in the air with joy that you are home? Better yet who is going to remind you to greet your husband excitedly with kisses when he walks in the door from a long day? Who else will crave your attention and love, and put a smile on your face all at once? Snuggle up to you and sigh when they sense you are sad? I wrote a little bit about how Bingley has helped mold me into a better person here.

Bingley, my friend, and companion how on earth did you find a way to so lovingly nuzzle your wet nose right into our hearts? If this doesn’t make you want a puppy people, I don’t know what will.

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Oh the wet puppy paw prints. They get me every time.

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Do you see now why I can’t help but call him handsome? He may actually believe that’s his name, considering once I told B he was handsome, and Bingley looked up at me. As if he wished to say “Yes, I’m listening.”

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Family walk time. Oh gosh, it melts my heart.


Soul Crusher

By Natalie

If I never had to job hunt again my heart would be content.. It is an absolute soul crusher. Each day I focus my efforts into applying for positions I’m not even sure I qualify for. I leave it for them to decide. Spending hours and hours sifting through positions, searching for their locations only to be responded to with a sorry not sorry We’ve filled the position email. The other day I found myself 60% of the way through an application. Too far to let that time go to waste, and too much time has passed on previous applications to lean on their dependency. But there I sat, eyes peering in a confused manor at the screen. 60% of the way through said application listed a number of items to be placed in order. These things were to be placed in the order of your importance. Or rather that you felt were morally correct. I don’t even remember I was so stunned.

I looked to my left and the first line read Wedding Vows. Alright, perfect, that’ll go on top. Next was Baby. I placed that on the second line. The items that proceeded were a random assortment of things including:

  • Trash
  • A Mathematician
  • A Scientist
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Slavery
  • Torture 

Okayyy.. I must be mistaken. I was under the impression that I was applying to be a receptionist in a retirement community. Is this really necessary? Did I click the wrong link? It was the most ridiculous waste of time. But needless to say I did finish the application because how could I not? I’m in search of work. One can only hold but so many conversations with her dog. I’m in need of some human interaction during the day time, so I go on searching, and searching. Because what if The Job was just on the next page? What if it was the one that I didn’t finish the application to because I’m so tired of filling out my 100th  40 page personality questionnaire? Yes, yes, I strongly agree. I strongly agree that I am just tired of searching, and am growing rather disappointed. I just want to meet you, and tell you how hard I’d work! How organized I am, and how perfect I’d be for the job!

These are the things that haunt me at night.

I loved my last position as a rehab tech. I had the opportunity to work with so many great therapists, who taught me so much. I got to be with kiddos all day which was just perfect, because who doesn’t want to just sit on a mat table after lunch and play Candy Land with a 6 year old? Blow bubbles until your cheeks hurt? Or shoot hot wheels cars off of a ramp to make a crying boy smile in amazement? I could go on… I miss it, I really kinda do. All I was hoping for was something sort of similar down here in Charlotte. Something I enjoy.

Just the other night I had this dream, and I know that dream stories can be a drag, but bare with me this one was vivid..

So I’m sitting in this circle of people. They’re having a meeting in the center of a gym, and for some reason I’m attending although I don’t work there. Don’t ask how I got there. One woman talks about how employees need to clean up the area they’ve used when they’re finished. Another woman says she’s tired of taking the dirty toy bin home to sanitize the toys each night. I look off to the left and I see an exercise ball. Off to the right, and there’s a stationary bike. I’m sitting somewhere that feels familiar, when I’ve found that I’m living in a place that is so different. “I could help with that.” I say. “I’m a rehab technician, I can keep the place organized for you, and even help with patients if you need. I have lots of experience.”

Can you believe this??

Then I find myself in room full of PTs observing my form while demonstrating pulleys for benefits of the shoulder. They all nod in surprise, and continue to observe as I demonstrate a perfect squat with steady knees, and perfect form.

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It’s hilarious right? I seriously had a dream I was doing PT. You better believe Brandon and I had a laugh when I awoke and told him of my nightly adventures. Therapy is in my blood apparently. It must be.

From the Inspiration Board

By Natalie

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Every now and then as it is with most hobbies I hit a bit of a wall. Almost overwhelmed with stories, and opinions to share that I don’t even know where to begin.

Sometimes it takes a cup of hot coffee, sweetened with cream to get me going…

Sometimes it takes me reading a chapter or two in my latest engrossed novel…

Sometimes it takes a lit sweet scented candle or two…

Sometimes it takes sitting in the sunlight, and observing my surroundings…

Sometimes it takes silence, sometimes it takes ambience…

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Sometimes it takes a little searching for things that inspire me.

Most times that’s found in photos that hold stories behind them. Photos of pretty things, and happy places. Even words that I desire to live by. You can find most of my Inspiration for writing on my Pinterest Inspiration Board.

Shall We Take a Look?


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suitcase

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cup and book

lucille ball

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Feel free to follow!

Flying Standby

By Natalie

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There  once was a time when Brandon and I had the silly notion that flying standby on a weekend in August would be an adventure. Do you know what it’s like to open your eyes and stretch your arms out with a yawn while you look out airport windows? To look out at the sunrise while you rub your sore side from laying out on airport gate seating. I do. All too well.

I have this love for airports. The second you step inside you’ve submerged yourself into a melting pot of people. The air drips with foreign languages, and people. I still share a love of airports, but there was a time where that love was tested.

August 9th 2012

We rubbed our tired eyes and carried our bags from the metro to Reagan National Airport. Here’s how our itinerary began:

  • Reagan, D.C. → Phoenix, AZ
  • Phoenix, AZ → Salt Lake City, UT

We sat anxiously awaiting to find out if the first flight to Phoenix held open seats. After boarding each class the attendant informed us that we were out of luck. Brandon quickly ran over to customer service to find out what our options were. Now imagine the equivalent to a rude DMV employee at the end of their shift who has no desire to help you. This woman told us that we were crazy for trying to fly standby during such a busy time which we were already realizing. But what was a young broke couple to do when there was a small family reunion on the other side of the country?

“Here’s your options.” She said.

  • Reagan, D.C. → Charlotte, NC → Phoenix, AZ
  • Reagan, D.C. → Philadelphia, PA → Phoenix, AZ

The two men standing next to us in line where trying to accomplish the same thing, and were choosing Charlotte. So we said “We’ll take Philadelphia.” Granting us better odds of making a flight out of Reagan. The woman mentioned that the gate was on the other side of the airport, and we would need to exit, and reenter security. Brandon looked at the tickets in his hand, then the time. “This flight leaves in less than 10 minutes.” he said. “Are we going to make it?”

This woman’s eyes rolled so far, I didn’t think they were coming back around. Her lips pursed as she rudely responded. “You’re going to have to run.”

If I remember correctly I thought “Oh she can’t be serious. I’m not running.” But before I could even gather my thoughts Brandon grabbed my arm, and pulled me into a brisk walk, which broke out into a full on movie-esque run through the airport. Luckily for us Brandon’s peripherals spotted a shuttle bus that was boarding, and about to head to the other side of the airport. Allowing us to bypass going through security again.

We made it to the gate with minutes to spare, and even made it onto that very flight to Philly. This was a point where we still had smiles on our faces. Unfortunately for us that was just the beginning.

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When we landed in Philly we rushed over to our next flight. The gate was packed and it was apparent that the chances of there being two open seats were slim. To save ourselves some time Brandon approached the attendant at the gate simply to ask where we stood on the list. The woman put her hand up in a flustered manner, and in a sharp tone spit, “Sir, you need to step back.”

Taken by surprise Brandon said “Forget it.” And pulled me once again this time in the direction of customer service to change our flight. Our updated itinerary read:

  • Philadelphia, PA → Houston, TX
  • Houston, TX → Phoenix, AZ
  • Phoenix, AZ → Salt Lake City UT

We were reassured that to keep moving was the best bet. So we flew to Houston, grabbed as quick of a lunch as possible, scarfed it down, and rushed to the gate. Can you guess? No two available seats. Back to customer service we went to find another flight to Phoenix. The further west we got the kinder the employees were. Just an observation. Thoroughly disappointed that we swallowed our lunch and now had hours to kill we sat at a bench in the center of the Houston airport. Brandon ventured off to purchase an overpriced phone charger, because amateur standby flyer Natalie packed them in the checked bag. Rookie mistake. I sat for I don’t know how long watching a cheery shoe shine man coaxing business men to his chair for a shoe shine. A shoe shine, somewhat of a lost art, but goodness what a luxury. Could it be compared to the male equivalent of a pedicure?

Sometime that afternoon we were the last ones to make it onto the last flight to Phoenix. Leaving behind a young man with nothing but his backpack. Two of the four flights we took on this trip B and I sat separately. “Look.” B held up the boarding passes to me. “These are both middle seats. One is in the front, one is toward the back. You walk ahead of me, and see if you want the first choice. If not then you can take your chances in the back.” I boarded the plane not liking the sound of taking chances, but the first middle seat was in between two larger nerdy looking younger guys. I looked back toward B and shook my head… He slipped into the seat, as I continued my way toward the back of the plane. The very back. The last row to be exact. My shoulders dropped, my eyes looked droopily downward and I sighed a deep sigh as if I thought that this was a trip of positive encounters. I pointed to the center seat, “Scuse me.” I managed to get out. “That’s my lucky seat there.” I wanted to say. These two large older men thought they had it made with tons of leg room, until I showed up. There I sat for the next few hours arms squished inward, and knees pressed together, feeling rather short, and small. We made it to Phoenix. Almost there right? WRONG! Have you learned nothing from this story?

We were seconds away from the attendant letting us on the flight. Seconds! Until some chump came running out of nowhere with a death grip on his boarding pass. “You’ll need to get to the gate earlier next time.” The attendant said. “I almost gave your seat away.” Then he looked over at us while they shut the door and said “I’m sorry, that was the last flight to Salt Lake City for the night.”

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My eyes wandered over to the window as the plane pulled away. The sun began to lower itself behind the Arizona mountains. The clock read around 7:30pm. “Well that’s it I guess.” B said. He plopped down in a seat, and phoned his family to inform them we wouldn’t make it until the next day. It took me a minute to process. “But where will we sleep? We’ve been up since 4am, and we’re exhausted. What about my toothbrush in the checked bag? What about pjs and a blanket? I was wearing a tank top with leggings, and flip flops, and Phoenix likes it cold indoors. The answers were that we’d be sleeping right there on the gate seats, using Brandon’s T-shirts he had packed in his carry on to keep warm. Sleep is well… not quite the right word. It was more like drifting in and out of half hour naps. Until about 5am when a man stormed through with a painfully loud vacuum cleaner attached to his back. He shoved the floor hose in between each individual seat, not minding that he was knocking into each leg of the seats startling a bunch of sleeping weirdos awake.

Then he went to empty out the vacuum and a giant dust cloud spilled out all over the floor. haha. Misery loves company, and we were miserable. So yes, B and I may or may not have looked at each other and shamefully chuckled at the man who awoke us from our joke of a night’s sleep.

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To keep up with our poor airport diet we began the day with giant rolls from Cinnabon. We set our bags down to wait for the first flight out to Salt Lake City. The airport was deserted, and peaceful as we watched the sunrise. “What a story to tell.” We thought, as we finally sat on our last flight.

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Exploring Freedom Park

By Natalie

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Just to the side of Uptown there lies a 98 acre haven by the name of Freedom Park.

It’s a place where Charlotteans can come and escape the day to day demands, or in my case it was a place to kill some time, and a chance to tire out a puppy.

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Bingley and I took a stroll around the pond on our visit and quickly found out that we were not the only human canine pair spending time together, because Freedom Park is one of the most dog friendly places I’ve seen. It’s been a great place for Bingley to be around other dogs of all shapes, and sizes. And a great place for him to be around children as well. Once we had walked for a bit I took refuge on a shaded bench. That’s where Bingley noticed them. A family of ducks dunking themselves into the water one by one. Instinctively Bingley sat perfectly still observing the synchronized birds. He huffed, and sighed once they swam away, the show was over.

We kept walking much to Bingley’s surprise, because it’s still summer and I figure we might as well take advantage of the warm weather. We passed two men fishing by the bridge. One photographer capturing the last days in a woman’s pregnancy. One mother adjusting her daughter’s bicycle helmet. Two friends laying in the grass reading, and lots and lots of other puppies, and kiddos. Life is good at freedom park. Life is good when you’ve got a worn out puppy. Especially the kind that are so worn out and happy that their tongue limply hangs out to the side.

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The Poes Take Charlotte

By Natalie

Things are getting to be more familiar, but this town is still so very new to me. Naturally, Siri and I have become well aquatinted because it’s a new place, and she knows the way home. There’s got to be an Apple ad in there somewhere. I’ve thought of this many times while she’s telling me to stay left to merge onto the highway. Seriously, I’d literally be lost without her. And Bingley, he’s been going everywhere with me that he’s allowed. You wouldn’t believe how incredibly grateful I am for both. Did I just confess to you that my phone’s GPS, and my dog have been my best friends down here? I told you, I’m a believer in honesty.

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A couple weekends ago we decided to do some exploring Uptown. There is something romantic about discovering ourselves in a new town. A new found independence that is now at our fingertips.

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We marveled at the unfamiliar, until around lunchtime when we took shelter in a small restaurant. There it was on a quiet street, the menu posted in the window beckoning us to come inside.

Discovering a new area through it’s culture and food, really are the best ways to get to know it don’t you think?

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Just this last weekend we visited the lake. It may have been around 80º with a heat index of about 200. But that didn’t stop us! Because I packed cold ice water, apples, and sandwiches with fresh tomato.

We managed to find a spot to picnic in the shade with the help of a sweet park ranger who welcomed us to the area, equipped us with a map of the park, and suggested in his words. “A spot for the pup to take a dip.”

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Can you tell he had the time of his life? It was his first swim, and saying he loved it would be an understatement.

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Oh Boys…

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In other news Brandon is turning 25 tomorrow. I said 25!! Where did the time go? He’s at the age where I’m more excited about his birthday than he is! “Want to go up to Lake Norman next Saturday to celebrate?” I asked. “What for?” he said. He doesn’t even remember his own birthday, and then chuckled after I reminded him! At this point I have a stinking suspicion that he’s just in it for the cake. I first met my handsome husband when he was 18. How lucky am I to have seen how much he’s grown? Happy early birthday Babes!

The Ace Hotel

By Natalie

Today is one of those days. I’ve got a mean case of the Post Vacation Woes. Still? I know right?

One day we’re living lavishly, and the next it’s back to the grind.

In order to cope with my post vacation sadness I decided that perhaps I should give you a hotel review in the event that perhaps you’d have the opportunity to visit. Because trust me, this hotel is deserving of my praise.

My Goodness the Ace Hotel. It’s as Hipster as they come.

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The Ace Hotel is a collection of hotels with locations in:

  • London
  • Los Angeles [Where we stayed]
  • New York
  • Palm Springs
  • Portland
  • Seattle
  • Panama

This hotel was every thing that is manly. And everything a woman could appreciate all in one package. Concierge dressed in white button downs with rolled up sleeves, and skinny ties. Bellhops with dreads, and v-necks, and blue jeans. Barn doors to the bathroom. Checkered floors. Sketches of palm trees scattered along the walls. Concrete ceilings. Deep, dark color palettes. Record players. The works.

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Soap, Shampoo, and Conditioner that smelled of the most enticing citrus fruits.

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After we settled into our room we decided to head down to the restaurant for dinner. We were seated at a small table in the corner, and greeted by our friendly waiter dressed casually with class.

photo 1 Dinner was perfect. Conversation with my husband was perfect, as we discussed the places we’d be visiting during our stay in LA.

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In the morning after we woke and gathered our things for the day we stepped out into the lobby to be greeted by baristas at this little cafe just off of the restaurant. We stopped here every morning because the coffee was fresh, and the breakfast bakery items were melt in your mouth good.

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If you’re in for a treat, if you’re looking for something different, if you wish to have a great stay… you should really go and visit.

Thanks for the amazing stay Ace, you were so good to us.

 

Be Still & Know

By Natalie

This is an admiration letter from me to my creator. Just so you know. I had one of those moments on a plane recently. One where I felt so small, in such a massive world.

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Oh God, how can anyone deny your existence when they see beautiful earth? You’ve so delicately placed every field of wildflowers. So tremendously raised every mountain. Yet we believe the earth to be ours. But, God I am not so selfish. I am not so fooled. I’ve flown over this land. I’ve seen your painting, and it’s gorgeous. Your widespread oceans, your fields of green. Then, if you look hard enough, there’s us. Teeny tiny little people in the center of all your creation. There we are trying to figure it all out on our own. How silly that seems from above. You alone are the one to put our trust in. You alone are the great artist. If only we would be still and know.

Natalie