The August list

Another (mostly) recap month rather than a to-do list. So much has happened.. we're in the depths of summer and this year, now that we're married, I think back to the days when early August made me increasingly sad. It signaled the end of summer which meant that Kev and I would have to part for our respective college towns. 

How different it is now, to be barely paying attention to this coming change in the seasons.

One. Use or lose some beauty products. I want to make room in the apartment as well as make way for better skincare products, including DIY ones.

Two. Start building inventory up for an online store. Kev helped me purchase the mammothandminnow domain, and while I haven't yet set up my online shop, I'm in planning mode about what items I want to start out with.

Three. Clean, cook, repeat.

Four. Restart a subscription to the New Yorker and plug back in. I absolutely love the writing in the New Yorker and marvel at how I can be drawn into long form articles on topics that do not interest me at all. I learn so much from being a reader of this magazine.

Five. For Kevin's 30th birthday, my main "present" to him is to take the time to look ahead and plan out our goals and next steps. One of the small things in this vein is to make our space a happy place. To that end, I bought three large underbid storage drawers from the Container Store to allow us to clear the clutter that so easily develops in our home. This month, I want to utilize them, fill them up, and make space to breathe.

Six. Get back to Pinterest. Lately I've felt a thirst for visual inspiration and want to use the great wide world of Pinterest to help focus my current mood/style/tastes.

Updates on my July list

One. Fitz training. We have a lot of time to make up for with this little guy. He's got Sit down, and is doing really well on Stay. Update: He's getting there! He can stay without us being the same room, but he still has room for improvement. Hux is at a point where he'll wait for 30 minutes or more. Fitz is still just under a minute.. that cute, excited boy.

Two. Try new clay. Update: I'm doing it! I'm currently working with both speckle brown clay on the wheel and hand building as well as porcelain hand building. I'm starting to be able to tell the difference in texture between the clays. 

Three. Prepare for Big Sky Pond. Update: Big Sky Pond was a blast. It was summer, concentrated. I only wish we'd been there a little longer! 

Four. Dabble in DIY beauty. Annie is super into this idea too and I'm already dreaming of all of the different things we'll make in my little kitchen using baking tools and random jars. Update: We made activated charcoal and tee tree oil soap together that I've been using as my makeup remover and I really like it. I bought her a DIY beauty book for her birthday and we're both looking forward to our next projects.

Five. Spend time building my Mammoth & Minnow Instagram account. Update: Check it out! I'm keeping at it! 

Six. Sew something. Anything! Update: I'm not done, but I've started to sew together the pieces of a cardigan I knit earlier in the year. That counts, right? 


3 links

picture from wishwishwish

One. Kev sent me this short story from the New Yorker. I enjoyed it very much. It's written as if it is an instruction manual and the content is well matched to the style. Black Box by Jennifer Egan in the New Yorker.

Two. Here's a two-fer. We recently spent a weekend on Shelter Island in an awesome rental house. Everyone was responsible for cooking one meal. Kev and I went first and we cooked Jalapeño Cheddar Turkey Burgers and Grilled Clams with Charred Jalapeño Basil Butter from Half Baked Harvest. So good!

Three. A blog post about Lisbon. I love encountering pictures of this colorful and sunny city.


Travel Diary: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik was the third and penultimate stop on our trip. By then, we were no longer jittery with excitement for the next thing. Herewe settled into a luxurious vacation sweet spot, lingering in the energy and melody of late-night in the old town square, having slow lunches that covered entire tables with shared food and drink, and greedily devouring stunning, sun-saturated views.

When planning, Kev was excited to suggest this stop to me because it hit all of my marks: the narrow streets of a European town, a seaside feel, warm weather, seafood, and a local wine trade. No question, Croatia blew my mind. It is so beautiful. I can't wait to go back. 

We felt the difference from Vienna as soon as we arrived in Dubrovnik's tiny airport. It was a humid morning - a rain storm was coming. We watched it approach during our drive that seemed to always keep the sea just at hand. We could see the clouds, still far but fast moving; we could see the pockets of clear day and crisp borders of light and shadow on the water below. The rain arrived softly at first and picked up quickly, and by the time we arrived at our AirBnB and completed our tour with the host, it had rolled on, revealing fresh blue sky. 

This place had a balcony and spotty electricity, and it would be our home for the next several days. 

Our first priority was lunch. Our host recommended a restaurant in Old Town that serves capon, a traditionally prepared chicken. 

We were staying a 15 minute walk outside of Old Town, and I would come to enjoy that walking route very much. For most of the walk, there was a wide stretch of promenade with benches and, on the other side of a railing, steep drops, strange plants, rock edges, and the Adriatic Sea beyond them. 

We had Dennis navigate us to dinner, during which journey he'd stop at every single street corner, unfold his map, and fail to locate us. Eventually we found the place, having gone down some of the most narrow streets I've encountered and climbed the steps used to film Cersei's Walk of Atonement on Game of Thrones.

By the way, GoT is big business in Dubrovnik, with no less than a dozen walking tours. At dinner, we saw two such tourists dressed in armor and dueling with toy swords for a photo op. The meal was good. So much seafood! Jugs of house wine!

After dinner we came upon a sign that said "Cold Drinks and the Most Beautiful View." We were sold. Turns out, we'd been pointed to Bar Buza, one of the most well known bars in the city. Happy to have fallen into this particular tourist trap. 

Bar Buza sits cliffside and there are multiple levels from which you can enjoy the view. When the water is calm, patrons can enjoy jumping into the sea for a quick dip. There are two locations in Dubrovnik - the one we went to didn't have a bathroom, which struck me immediately because alcohol makes everyone have to pee every 15 minutes right? Not just me? Anyway. We purchased a few bottles of beer and made our way down steps that degraded in stability all the way to the water's edge. 

We arrived just in time for blue hour, and with the day's earlier storm rolling away in the distance, the view pierced me in such a significant way that I find myself, even today, ten months later, thinking (almost aloud) every so often "no blue like the blue on the Adriatic" as if the thought were a mantra or a catchy lyric. I can only speak for my own experience and I learned long ago to show, not tell as a writer - yet I feel the need to document this: watching the day fade into darkness while sitting on a rock two feet above the sea, staring into the distance toward the flat, unnaturally perfect line of the horizon, finding myself in the third new place on the earth in a week and a half.. all of that combined to a memory that is both transcendent and deeply grounding. No, I wasn't drunk, just a sucker for earthly beauty. 

Once it grew dark we started to head toward home, stopping at La Bodega, a wine bar/cafe in the main Old Town square. A band was playing, that familiar lively buzz of night which always calls to me was in the air. We ended up staying for a couple of hours and imbibing on several glasses of wine. We took a group photo on our way out of Old Town which makes me happy to look at.