Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Taste of Virginia

PSA: Before we get started, I have some big news. BIG. NEWS. Art and Soul is about to change a lot. A whole whole whooooooole lot and I can't wait and I decided NOT to change the vintage washing machine background yet, even though some of you have expressed that it makes you have seizures, because I want you to be even more excited when all the good changes happen! And now you can actually read about the trip...

So, sorry I’ve made y’all wait so long for this post! I’m so excited to share about my trip to Lynchburg. First things first, thanks to the Rush family for such a lovely trip! It was the besssst. Thanks to Ryley and Reagan for letting me follow y'all around and parrot your Canadian friend's accents and just be completely uncool in my enthusiasm. Y'all are so great ;)   

Next, I must inform y’all that I did a really awesome job in the airport, and I actually enjoyed flying alone. The peanut butter crackers were a great suggestion (thanks, Sissy!)  I met some incredibly sweet people who made the flight so much more enjoyable- I also got a guide to the best Indian food in Austin and sat next to one of the best storytellers I’ve met. 

Spoiler alert, I love flying alone. I love flying with people, but I felt super independent doing that big thing by myself. This is not to be minimized by the fact that there are eleven year olds who fly alone all the time. Or by the fact that the lady I sat next to on the flight from Austin was so worried about me getting lost that she walked me all the way to my next gate. *bless her*

I stared out the window almost the whole flight to North Carolina. I loved the view from the topside of the clouds-  the way they changed from puffy little meringues, disappeared, and came back spread thin as butter over the mountains. I don't think, no matter how often I may fly, that that will ever get old.

As lovely as that was though, my favorite leg of the trip was on the flight to Lynchburg, after it had already gotten dark. We were taking a pretty small plane that still had propellers ( I think puddlejumper is the word they used), so I found my seat next to an older woman, probably 70 years of age or so and prepared to make out my will. She was small and frail and very tan, and had on a pink down jacket. I cheerily exclaimed, “I’m your neighbor!” when I found her, and I don’t think she said anything at all in response. She faked sleep for a while, and then started coughing uncontrollably.

“Don’t worry, I’m not contagious,” she said.

“Oh, I’m not worried. Would you like a warm apple pie cough drop?” (What did I tell you? Always bring the cough drops.)

“Well, aren’t you a dream boat?” she exclaimed. We talked the whole flight to Lynchburg, or Lunchbag, as she called it. She had been a pilot herself, and worked for NASA. She even offered to come bail me out if I were to get thrown in jail during my stay. Reasons why talking to older people is better than talking to young people:
         1.       They usually have much better stories and have had more practice telling them.

         2.       They can usually afford to bail you out of jail if that becomes an issue.

It was 6 degrees outside when we landed, and I was wearing a short sleeve t shirt and a plaid flannel shirt. And fingerless gloves. As we sat on the tarmac I had the strange realization that they were not extending that nice covered gray hallway to meet us. People were just walking off the plane and across the pavement to the airport! I reevaluated my wardrobe choices and tried to see how much of my body I could fit in my scarf.  Gee, I’m so glad I’ve made it to Virginia, it’s really too bad I’m going to FREEZE TO DEATH before I even see Ryley!

             Ryley greeted me at the Lynchburg airport with coffee in hand (because she knows my heart)-a lovely invention called “Christmas in a Cup.” I think it said it had notes of hot buttered rum and cinnamon in it. Highly addictive. Joe Beans, come to Austin please.

             Because I am more of a Texan than I even realized, we cooked migas our first night. And then because I am truly a breakfast person, we ate eggs of some form for almost every meal thereafter.  It snowed during my stay, so we spent a lot of time cozied up with books and journals and coffee cups, talking about all the things we don’t have time to talk about on the phone, venturing out to stomp through the snow and take pictures, and then ending with hockey games.

            I dislike sports. I. LOVE. Hockey. It’s fast-paced. It’s easy to follow. The majority of the players were Canadian. And there’s none of this faking an injury and making a scene business like in basketball. I saw a guy get rammed up against the glass, flip over, get back up and speed down the rink. Now that’s athleticism. I also got a gigantic salty pretzel. All the wins.

           AND SPEAKING OF CANADA. Were we speaking of Canada? I don't know. There are these things called Nanaimo bars and they are… a revelation. Picture a no-bake cookie base using shredded coconut instead of oats, a thick layer of buttercream frosting, capped with a thin little sheet of chocolate, and then multiply the deliciousness you’re picturing times like, five. Ryley’s beau’s parents brought them from Canada and may I say, that is probably why the French and English had so much conflict in the colonial days. The Brits wanted the Nanaimo bars, not the territory! Come on… *reader rolls eyes at lame history reference.*

So, all in all, the trip was amazing. I met up with my friend Heather randomly in the Charlotte airport and it turned out we were on the same flight! Then I sat by a guy who gave me the list of all the best Indian food restaurants in Austin and showed me pictures from his family vacations to Patagonia and New Zealand. And then he proceeded to snore the rest of the flight away while I read Mindy Kaling’s book.

I have never been happier to see Robin in my entire life. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder but I never want to be absent for that long ever again. I love my Bird too much. And he brought P.Terry’s. ;)

And now without further ado...

EGGS, Two Ways:

Veggie Egg Scramble

Serves 2
3 corn tortillas, cut into 1” pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 diced small bell peppers, or ½ of a large one
A good handful of fresh spinach leaves
5 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. milk
¼ c. picante or other salsa
Salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste

Warm oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering, add tortilla pieces in a single layer. Flip the tortilla pieces once they have started to crisp and add the diced bell peppers. After the tortillas have crisped on the other side and the bell peppers are softened, push them to the perimeter and put the spinach in the center of the skillet. Reduce heat to medium low and let spinach wilt. Mix together the beaten eggs with the milk and salsa. Pour over the tortilla mixture. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon as eggs set up. Divide between two plates, salt and pepper to taste. Eat with mismatched forks and laugh a lot. (optional: garnish with feta)

 Feta Eggs on Toast
Serves 1

A small pat of butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. milk
Crumbled Feta, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Multi-grain toast

Warm butter in the pan. No skimping. It’s snowing. Butter will help you insulate. Mix eggs with milk and reduce heat to low. It will look like nothing is happening. Just be patient. Stir occasionally with rubber spatula. When the eggs have formed into lovely little eggy clouds but are still a bit runny, fold in your feta cheese. Pepper generously. Add a little salt too. Serve over lightly buttered toast with several cups of good coffee.