Lemon Poppyseed Muffins (& the vet)

Seth agreed to a lot when he married me.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

He agreed to stick with me through good times and bad, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

I don’t think he realized it wasn’t just my sickness or my health. It was also Edgar’s.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Earlier last week we took Edgar to the vet to get his vaccines updated and to get a little check-up. We hadn’t been to the vet since last summer when he jumped out of a first story window…and then a second story one…and then ate an entire batch of oatmeal raisin cookies. We’d racked up enough frequent flyer miles for the year. And aside from a having a dog whisper visit the house, he hadn’t required much follow-up care.

While we were there, we asked the vet to examine what we thought to be a hernia. I was told the little nickel-sized protrusion on the center of his ribs was just that when I adopted Edgar. “Happens all the time. Lots of dogs get them. If it doesn’t grow and doesn’t get hard, don’t worry about it.” For two years, it neither grew nor hardened. All was well with his undercarriage.

Then, while Seth and I were away on our mini-moon and my mom watched Edgar, it got a little bigger and a little darker. Not too much cause for concern, but if we were going to be at the vet, we may as well get it checked out. So, she drew fluid. And informed us it wasn’t a hernia but, was in fact a xiphoid cyst. And still absolutely nothing to worry about. It was simply bigger and darker because he’d bruised it. Ok, cool.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Or so we thought.

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Breakfast Quesadillas (& a new job)

Aside from the very exciting announcement last week, it’s been quiet over here for the past two months. Some of that was due to planning a wedding in eight weeks instead of the remaining eight months, and some of that was because I’ve started a new job.

Breakfast Quesadilla Recipe

Kind of.

I’m still slinging beer and mopping floors, but now. NOW! Now I’m creating recipes, posts, and videos for Webster’s Marketplace, a local grocery store that pretty much feeds the entire town!

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Pumpkin Sourdough Waffles (& baseball)

It’s not news around these parts that I listen to podcasts. Most of them related to Gilmore Girls or true crime.

Pumpkin Sourdough Waffles

However, sometimes I listen to ones that are as inspiring and they are humorous, as insightful as they are heinous. One such podcast was Off Camera with Sam Jones, the episode featured Jason Isbell. I listened to it months ago – in early spring – walking Edgar along the damp sidewalk in the morning mist.

Pumpkin Sourdough Waffles

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Maple & Vanilla Bean Granola (& envy)

When I met Jen, I didn’t like her.

Maple & Vanilla Bean Granola

Not actually. But I didn’t like how she made me feel. Behind, inexperienced, and so uncool it was painful. Of course, this had nothing to do with her or her actions towards me, and everything to do with myself. And my insecurities. It was a new job, I was still unhappy in SC, everyone else in that kitchen knew the rhythm and how things worked. How they worked. I didn’t. And it killed me not knowing.

There were inside jokes I wasn’t a part of, techniques I’d never heard of before, a storage system in the fridge that was entirely new to me. Next to her – tall, blonde, round blue eyes behind the hippest glasses – I felt as if I could bathe in a thimble. And often wanted to hide under one during my shifts.

Maple & Vanilla Bean Granola

My dislike for her was solidified the day she showed me how to make gnocchi (something I’d never done before, phony food connoisseur that I was). Her technique was simple and quick and almost effortless. She was as fluid as the water simmering between us. I was green with envy at her abilities. During conversation, I found out she was a few years younger than me and turned the deepest shade of forest. I felt so behind, she seemed so ahead.

Maple & Vanilla Bean Granola

And then, one day, she messed up. She left granola in the oven too long. Way too long. It was burnt. Charred. Inedible. She’d ruined a dish.

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Cheesy Grit Breakfast Bowls

Museums are boring.

Cheesy Grit Breakfast Bowls

There, I said it.

When I’m visiting somewhere – either totally new or a place I used to call home – the last thing I want to do is be stuck in a giant building full of hallways staring at things I can’t touch or taste or buy.

I realize this may make me sound like an uneducated, classless plebian…well then, ok.

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Buttermilk Pancakes for Seth (& a proposal)

You held my hand. You didn’t have to. I’d been swimming for two decades, gone to this lake during summers growing up. There was no reason to be scared. But I was.

Scared and excited. And with you.

I shook and smiled. It was too dark to see the bottom. Your hand was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.

“Three.”

“Two.“

“One.”

We jumped. Feet pushing off the dock, metal leaving indentations in our skin.

The water was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.

And, unfortunately for you, shallower than you thought it would be. How is your ankle? Still sore?

We got acclimated to the water, the waves, the seaweed, the sand. Swimming. It had been one year for me. Two for you.

I dove under, came up for air. You swam out further, bobbed and buoyed. Floating apart and coming back together, over and over. Talking, playing, loving.

You held me, supported my back as I floated, your arms still in the moving water, palms flat on my back. I was nervous, unskilled. I’d never mastered this part in swim lessons. I didn’t want to sink. You steadied me, spun me. Slowly. We kissed. You didn’t let go until I was ready, certain.

I was free. For the first time in weeks. Happy to hear the sound of my own breath beneath the water. In, out. In, out.

I don’t know what it’s like to love someone with depression, I’m sorry you’ve had to learn.

The clouds came, your eyes turning grey with the sky. But it never opened up, never rained. You explained why. Why that lake saved us from so many storms. You were detailed, descriptive. Talking with your hands, you lifted your arms, opening up. My heart followed suit. Swallows swooped overhead, catching a late dinner.

I knew then what you had asked my dad. I knew what you were going to ask me. I knew what I was going to say.

Now, everyone else knows too.

Just like that day on the dock, you held my hand. Just like our time in the water, you steadied me. Just like the lake itself, you protected me from storms.

You asked.

I answered.

We shook and smiled.

The ring was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.

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