Friday, July 22, 2011

So homesick & longing to escape

It is no secret that I do not like living in south central PA.  There are many reasons, some of which I freely share, and then those reasons I choose not to share.  I have tried many times to like it here, I really have.  I have failed.  Which, in all honestly, makes having to stay that much harder.

To be fair, I have found things, people, and places that I do adore.  Utterly in some cases.  However, they are just not enough to soothe the incessant pull in my soul to leave here and flutter away back home.  Any where back home beats being here.  Hands down.

I love C&C Coffee.  Especially their white chocolate freeze, which caused me to fall in love with coffee after all, thus allowing this homegrown Washingtonian to save face and no longer feel ashamed to be such, having only loved tea and not the java juice we Washingtonians are known to profess true love for.  I was 41 years old before I fell in love with a cup o' joe, and it had to be a frozen concoction involving espresso, white chocolate syrup, ice, and a secret they refuse to name.  It is joy in a cup enjoyed via straw, and I partake year around.  And no, I'm not embarrassed to order it in January whilst wrapped in my scarf and wearing my wool coat thank you very much.  So there.

I adore Molly's Restaurant, and owe them my eternal thanks and gratitude for introducing me to chicken waffles.  OMG y'all!  Buttermilk waffle in crispy, yet tender perfection, with shredded, juicy chicken piled on top, and then crowned with golden, yummy chicken gravy.  On the side is a bowl of redskin smashed potatoes also crowned in that gravy.  To die for I tell you.

I like Cowan's Gap with it's shimmering lake and strands of pine trees peeking from amongst the hardwood forest.  It is lovely and at times smells of home, and you can't beat that when you're homesick to the degree I find myself.  It is best enjoyed sans summer crowds and I tend to go in early spring and all through the autumn.

On the way to or from Cowan's Gap we, or I as the case may be, almost always find a reason to stop at a little local place called The Milky Way.  Their homemade ice cream is good, the chicken sandwich delicious, and the cookies they sell for Teatime Pastries are yummy to the nth degree.  Then there are their chips, which are almost like a fried potato mated with a french fry, and the resulting bastard child is just truly fantabulous.

To say I love my friend Jack's restaurant is to put it mildly.  He is a gifted chef who has taken a pizza & sub shop out on the edges of the boonies and turned it into a tiny Italian haven worth the long drive to get there.  His cream of crab soup is my downfall, and there are times I have that with some of the fresh, hot breadsticks and nothing else.  It is truly divine I must say.  Truly.  I am waiting on him to rename the place using his name, but his is presently still using the one it came with.  His wife Shelly is also someone I adore, she is just a ray of sunshine and I so love talking with her!

Then there is Jack's brother Vinnie, who owns a restaurant a lot closer to us, and whom we love to chat with as well.  Vinnie has stories of all kinds and shares them like a modern day wise man when he feels there is need.  I don't get in there often, but when I do the chicken cheesesteak or a pretzel melt is on the order.

Back in town, just off the square, and very close to Molly's is a little boutique named Here's Looking At You.  I have yet to be disappointed going in as she really does an amazing job of having unique, interesting, and nice things to peruse as one strolls around the shop.  I love her Curly Girl Design offerings and let's not forget The Thymes Lotion collections, oh my my.

Of course life here these past 11 years would have been utterly devastating without my amazing and crazy chosen family.  They are a gift from the universe to sustain me, help me grow, heal, and who have made me laugh, helped me cry, and educate me in my continuing education at this course called Life.  The journey would have been one of desolate misery without them in it.  I love you all so much and I know you know that, but it never hurts to hear it again and again.  So, to Wendy & Holly, my sisters of the heart, I thank you for the place in your lives you've given me, I wouldn't be me without you in my heart sharing my walk along this part of my journey.  To Lindsay & Casey, two more lovely daughters to love and learn from, and who give hugs when a mama needs them the most.  I love you girls so much!  The friends I choose as family: Lindsay, Lindsey (have you noticed how many Lindsays/Lindseys there are to be blessed with), Mo, Arnela, Korie, Danielle, Danielle, Ray, Billy, Ben, Shaun, Janelle, Will, guys make it possible every single day.  I heart you dearly!

Thank you most of all to my mom Nancy, my husband Erick, my daughter Beth, my son Matt, my daughter Liv, and my daughter Kait, without whom life would be colorless, bleak, and not worth living.  Because of y'all I can face each and every single day no matter what life throws at me, and I can keep on keeping on.  Thank you for the joy, the love, the smiles, the laughter, the tears, the fears, the lessons, the humor, the beauty that is each and every one of you.  I love you most of all!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Photo Journal

When I saw this I had to shoot it.  It just speaks to me in a way I can't explain. Near Yakima, WA.

Hibiscus we grew in south central PA

Hydrangea we had in south central PA

The pond at King's Gap State Park, PA

Mt. Adams in WA

Mt. Rainier in WA

Rimrock Lake in WA

Snowy Egrets on our pond in south central PA

Suki smelling the grapes

A baby shark at the visitor's center in Ventura, CA

Tall ship in Ventura Harbor

My niece Erika & I on top of the Ventura Bluffs

A biplane that flew over our farm

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dean's List Zwei

Straight A's and a 3.8 GPA, pretty darn psyched to have made Dean's List again!  Yeah!  Celebrating with organic French Vanilla yogurt w/ honey vanilla organic granola...mmm, tasty!  Oh, and let's not forget the java juice, gots to have muh coffee!

The coffee is organic, shade grown, fair trade, and delicious.  I get it from a local coffee shop, who get their bagged beans from a local roaster, who get their beans from all around the world, and who buy only fair trade and whom also try to buy only organic.  Gotta support that.

So, next quarter I have my 2 most favorite instructors for Anatomy & Physiology 2 and Intro to Massage, so incredibly giddy over that.  Then I have College Math & English 1 online...gonna be a'ight though, I love English and ain't skeered 'bout no mathmatics, no sir!

I will miss my friends though.  Wendy is finished and long home before I even arrive on campus, and Lindsay, Casey, Moe, and so many others aren't in my major.  I will have Holly in A&P 2 thank goodness.  Jess isn't coming back and neither is Ben.  Boo!

Mondays have to count.  I have a 2-3 class, then a 2.5 hr. break, then a 5:30-10:30 class.  Tuesdays thru Thursdays I only have the first class, then home.  Liv is on nearly the same scheduling, but different classes, so we're carpooling it, yeah.

Last Quarter Dean List...I'm middle column near bottom

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bit of a Break, Bit of a Dream

I'm between quarters at school and it's quiet, causing me to do too much deep thinking.  Which is giving me a throbbing headache.  I don't want to think this much.  What I want is to be sitting on a beach, listening to the waves rolling in, the gulls crying as they snatch up tidbits, watch the horizon all day as it changes colors slowly.

I just want to be and breathe.  That's it.  For a week or so.  No homework, no housework, no horsework.  Just relaxing and being, well, me.  I do have some things to figure out, no denying that, but there is too much noise in my head to make heads or tails of anything at all, let alone anything of importance.

To sit on the sand, umbrella overhead, sunglasses on, cold drink at hand, a good book; now that is a day right there.  A really fantastic day.  The occasional walker-by just strolling past, perhaps bending once and again for a piece of sea glass, a shell, or a some water smoothed driftwood piece that has caught their fancy.  Dogs here and there at times, not pulling against the leash, but contentedly brambling alongside their person, barking warnings at birds that come too close, and biting at the waves lapping at their sand gritty paws.

Smells of ocean, sunshine, and cocoa butter blend perfectly together, creating the backdrop for the orchestral presentation of water, bird calls, and the slight presence of breeze.  Gentle kisses of just right beams of light peeking under that umbrella, casting subtle stripes as they compete with the shade, warming just enough and never too much.

Looking out to sea, there pops up sudden triangles of dorsal fin as dolphins play tag amongst the kelp and zoom through the waves, daring one another to do better.  Seals also make themselves known, hopping up and then down again, soulful eyes ever so briefly meeting my own.

Bliss.  Dream.  Longed for with all my might, yet teasingly remaining unattainable for now.

*Copyright all photos to Michelle R. Wenger 2011.  All photos taken in various locations throughout southern California January 6th-15th, 2011.