Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Put Off

I love food. I mean, I really, really love food. I love cooking, I love chopping things, peeling things, and most of all, I love eating things.

Now this causes a problem. I’m also 24 and very susceptible to laziness. It totally sucks. Since I’ve been with Josh for the past month or so, he’s been getting me out. I’m becoming more and more active. But I’m also not working. So I sit at home a lot of the time, and while I try to keep myself busy, I often find myself eating more than I need to. It never fills me up, I could eat a triple lunch.

Sigh. Josh says I cook healthy really well. Some highlights were my stuffed Zucchinis with parmesan and jalapeños. I can also make one hell of a salad dressing, and I am getting good at using spices and getting good flavour with little calories.

But what I really want to eat, is gooey, cheesy, starchy casseroles, slabs of red meat, potatoes and chocolate. LOTS of chocolate.

Our so called trail. Maybe hitting Humpback Rocks in March was too early...

Our so called trail. Maybe hitting Humpback Rocks in March was too early…

The exercise has been wonderful. We hiked Humpback Rocks this weekend on our way to the Green Valley Book Fair.

I was a bit nervous to do this hike. Josh had done it before and he said it was pretty steep, but worth it at the top. We headed out with few people to crowd us in. Humpback Rocks is one of Central Virginia’s most popualr hikes, so we hoped doing it in March before the masses arrived would give us a wide open trail for me to drag my sorry ass up in peace.

We made a few stops for breaks and photos. I am absolutely fascinated by the forests here. I grew up completely in the Boreal Forest, which Josh pointed out. The type of forests in Virginia are foreign to me. They’re beautiful, and ancient, with twisting branches and rough bark. Some have fungus, others have holes drilled into them from insects and woodpeckers. I could have stood forever in the stillness, watching the squirrels forage and the birds flap their wings.

The trail got muddy, and at one point I ended up with a completely soaked foot, but I carried on. I slipped once, tried to scramble up a rock and gave up. I held Josh’s hand as we picked our way up.

We made it almost to the top, and then the damn trail turned into an icefall. We both had hikers on, but you would have needed a pair of crampons to get all the way up. I stared at the top, just 1,000 feet from where I stood, and I couldn’t get there. After huffing and puffing all the way up a steep trail, I was really disappointed. I did it! I’d done all the hard work, but now I was stymied. We took some sad photos, and turned back, warning others on the trail.

Later, we walked downtown for some St. Patrick’s Day revelry and I opted for the steep way to get to our first destination.

All this exercise is still complicated with self doubt. I’m happy to be out, but at the same time I can’t get rid of the craving for all the things that are bad for me.

Perching for safety.

Perching for safety.

Last night, I was finishing up the dishes in our tiny kitchen. I was setting down the last wine glass, when I knocked a small bowl loose from the pile. I scrambled to grab it but it slipped through my fingers and landed on the floor, shattering just inches from my bare feet. Josh ran to my rescue, but he too was in bare feet. He went and got a pair of shoes while I carefully slipped myself onto the counter beside the sink, letting my feet dangle against the cabinets. Josh cleaned up around me, and we laughed. He thought it was funny that I was trapped in the kitchen till he came to my aid. Rather than give me a pair of shoes, he grabbed my phone and started taking pictures of me, helpless on the counter.

I added the photos to Facebook, fretting about how I looked. But then I made a realization: my legs have shrunk since I got here. They look good, I mean as good as they have since high school. I’ve hiked, walked, speed walked, and I already see a difference over a month in a half. I also think the rest of me is looking better too, although the difference is less profound.

So maybe my obsession with cheese is not so bad? I mean I know for sure I need to cut down, I need to get out and do more. Right now, I should be walking down to the Red Box to return my movies. I put all exercise off. I think, I’ll start tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll walk. I should be doing it today.

When I let Josh in, let him take me hiking, not only do I always have a fabulous time, I feel 100 times better afterward. So why am I putting off that feeling of success, happiness and peace?

Because doing nothing at all is easier and more comfortable. But hey, my movies haven’t returned themselves since I started writing this, and this blog is done.

I think I’ve run out of dumb excuses.


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It’s new! It’s new!

Me in my office. And by that I mean the couch. Josh was playing around with my camera the other day while I video chatted with my Mom.

Me in my office. And by that I mean the couch. Josh was playing around with my camera the other day while I video chatted with my Mom.

I’ve been blogging up a storm today, and I think my little WordPress blog has a lot to show for it. I really want this site to be a place where I can showcase my photography and writing skills, and enjoy a little creative writing on the side. I have some pretty ridiculous adventures searching for the best shot sometimes, and I think people need to know more about the reporters and photographers that work their butts off every day to bring you the news. It’s a tough job, and someone has to do it.

I do it because I love every second of it. It’s not a high paying job, but if you’re born for it, you quickly realize straight out of J-School that you can’t live without it.

And so, the blog. I have a bit more time on my hands these days, so I’m getting the chance to do some extra curricular writing that I have been putting off for months and even years. I’m such a procrastinator when it comes to extra curriculars.

So today, I blogged up a storm. I added a new post about me and Josh’s wine adventures, got a few other ideas for new posts in the coming days, I added a new tasty recipe and most importantly, I fixed up my gallery and put things into categories. It was getting a bit too long there, so things are neater and easier to find.

I won’t promise that this new burst of activity will be sustained over the long term, because I always do that and then lose interest. I do however, want to show off the things I’m proud of, so here they are.



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Wine for Morons

One of my favourite things about America is the beer culture, and I don’t even like beer. But I certainly do like wine, and being in Charlottesville is like being in my own personal playground.

Josh and I have picked up a bit of a Sunday ritual: bundle up in warm clothes and head out to the nearest vineyard, of which there are many within a 50 mile radius of our Rose Hill home. We started vineyard touring when we first met in 2010. It was a first for both of us, and it quickly became our favourite thing to do together. It’s funny how quickly we learned the terminology, and figured out how to talk to the guides at every vineyard without sounding like idiots.

Hill Top Wines not only sell fabulous fruit wines, they also have an awesome Medieval theme and meads!

The truth is, we still know nothing, but that’s why it’s always so much fun. Last weekend we went to two vineyards. One I can’t particularly remember, but the second was a fruit and berry wine place that had a fun medieval theme called Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery. The lady with her Southern drawl proceeded to pour us six wines varying from blueberry to apple to my favourite, Cranberry. She warned us that the cranberry one would make you pucker: it did more than that, I described it as getting punched in the face by a handful of cranberries. But on the second sip it was smooth, crisp and tart like cranberry juice but jacked up. I let my mind slide to a month from then when I would be in Naples, Florida with my family. This wine had to make an appearance. Sold!

We then tasted a bunch of meads. I was not so sure about meads at first, I didn’t really know what made them special. I seemed to forget that they are essentially ale made from honey. As we were about to try them, I was worried I was going to get a big sip of hoppy, stale honey beer. But they were nothing like that. They were delicious! My favourite, and coincidentally, the most expensive, was a lavender mead. It was tasty! I would have brought one home if I hadn’t already picked up a bottle of cranberry. The lavender mead was an easy pick for me. I vivisted Josh in Phoenix one fall, and the day before I left we went out for dinner to a restaurant whose name I can no longer remember. I ordered a Grey Goose cocktail with muddled lavender and proceeded to have three of them — at $10 a pop because it was the single best drink I had ever had in my entire life. I knew I would never taste it again so I splurged and drank more than my meal cost. Hill Top’s lavender mead was close but a bit sweeter than my long lost lavender vodka drink.

The Cranberry goodness is currently sitting in our so-called wine cellar (read, the dark scary space underneath the garage stairs). Unfortunately Hip Top Berry wines are only available on location, so you’ll just have to visit to find out what I’m raving about. I promise it’s worth the trip.

A few weekends before that we went out to Barboursville Vineyards after finishing up a ton of choirs around the house. It was beautiful and warm out, and with everything done we decided we should get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. Barboursville is just outside of Charlottesville on Hwy 20 on a slight hill overlooking the historic ruins of the town of the same name. It has a gourmet restaurant and a huge tasting room with a ton of wines to taste. At this vineyard they have a long line and the tasters shuffle along speaking to a different person as they move along the whites, reds and reserve wines. We overheard someone complaining about this style the next weekend, but looking back it’s pretty neat. This way, the person you’re speaking with is an expert on those wines, instead of one guide having to know everything about 12 different wines. We loved a few of the whites, but they were a little pricey. We settled on a Chardonney together and picked it up to enjoy while watching the Oscars later that night. We ended up chatting with a couple who came along with us on our tasting. That’s another plus of this style of tasting: you get to know your neighbours.

We ended up sitting out with them overlooking the grape vines for hours afterward. They poured glass after glass of one of the more expensive reds for us, and insisted we help them with their charcuterie plate. Yum! I got accidental day drunk, and being the wonderful boyfriend he is, Josh eased off early on in the tasting so I could enjoy each one. He’s more into beer anyway, and I made it up to him the next week when we followed up the fruit wine place with lunch at the Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company.

The perfect afternoon date after a day at Veritas.

I also love Veritas, which we went to last year when I visited Josh for the first time in Charlottesville. I’ll keep you posted as I taste my way through the Shenandoah Valley with no idea what I’m doing other than the knowledge that I’m an Uneducated but Intrepid Wino.


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