Reverb 14 | Prompt 18 | Ah Ha!

#reverb14 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December that is meant to give us all the chance to reflect on 2014 and the opportunity to write down our hopes and dreams for the coming year. Through December 31st MeredithSarah and I will be posting each day with a new prompt. Join us by writing, or join us by reading. No matter what you choose, come with us.

Ah Ha Moment: Did you have an “ah ha” moment this year?  Was it a big one?  Or just a small enlightenment?

Newsflash: We are the cutest wedding reception dancers that have ever existed.

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Reverb 14 | Prompt 16 | 1000 Words

#reverb14 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December that is meant to give us all the chance to reflect on 2014 and the opportunity to write down our hopes and dreams for the coming year. Through December 31st MeredithSarah and I will be posting each day with a new prompt. Join us by writing, or join us by reading. No matter what you choose, come with us.

1000 Words:  There’s the old saying that a photo is worth 1,000 words.  Give us a photo with that impact that sums up some significant event of your 2014, or give us 1,000 words about a pivotal moment in 2014.

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This year, I fished.  More than I have in recent memory.  Sometimes it was a totally successful venture with lots of catching and releasing and on other expeditions, I was left completely fish-less, casting and reeling and casting again.

Here’s the thing.  I have been fishing since I was a little pup.  I have memories of many a post-dinner fishing expedition with grandpa and a pontoon so overloaded with little cousins that we were just barely cruising above the water.  Catching one another with our cane poles just as often as we were catching fish.

So it’s not like this is a totally new activity to me.    But it is 100% one of, if not the only activity where I have no investment in the outcome whatsoever.  There are no self-imposed high standards, nor do I have to meet anyone else’s expectations.  All I have to do is show up and that makes the successful ventures are equally as satisfying as the unsuccessful ones.  The repetitive motion, the hum of the motor, the smell of the lake air, Billy telling me that I am doing it wrong, are all just as important as the fish.

Reverb 14 | Prompt 15 | Soul Food

#reverb14 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December that is meant to give us all the chance to reflect on 2014 and the opportunity to write down our hopes and dreams for the coming year. Through December 31st Meredith,Sarah and I will be posting each day with a new prompt. Join us by writing, or join us by reading. No matter what you choose, come with us.

Soul Food: What food did you discover this year?  Or maybe you discovered a new way to prepare your favorite food.  Or a new cookbook. Or a new restaurant.  Tell us about your culinary adventures.

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I am of two minds about this.  On one hand, I have eaten ribs pretty much everywhere I have been this year: Minneapolis, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Cincinnati, Louisville, New Orleans, Lubbock, Carlsbad.  I could probably write an ode at this point.

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On the other hand, I have road tripped over thousands of miles of American countryside in 2014, and this year my travels (excluding the cabin…which never counts) have taken me exclusively South.  Houston.  Louisville.  New Orleans.  Lubbock.  I’ve eaten brisket, tamales, churros, ribs, cobbler, shrimp, grits, gumbo, turtle soup, shrimp creole, fried chicken, po’ boys, collard greens, beans and rice, pulled pork, chopped beef, potato salad, coleslaw, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, biscuits.

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Real, dyed-in-the-wool, soul food.

Are you full yet?  Because I sure am.

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For me, food is nourishment, but when I am traveling, it is the single best way for me to see a place.  Show me your museums, but also please show me your hidden gems.  Share your local hospitality with me.  Help me to understand what knits these people, your people, in far off places together as a community.  I want to see how you are the same and different from us.

So as we continue to drive across the country, we will continue to eat as well.  Chips and salsa, ribs and beer, bread and wine.  Each stop a temporary roof over our heads before the next spot on the map.

Reverb 14 | Prompt 14 | One Word

#reverb14 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December that is meant to give us all the chance to reflect on 2014 and the opportunity to write down our hopes and dreams for the coming year. Through December 31st MeredithSarah and I will be posting each day with a new prompt. Join us by writing, or join us by reading. No matter what you choose, come with us.

One Word: What one word could describe your 2014? What word will you use to set your intentions for next year?

Confusing.

I really wish I had a better word with which I could describe 2014, but I do not.

It has been a year of surprises and joys.

It has been a year of exhaustion and stress.

It has been a year of grief and sadness.

I have spent all year trying to reconcile each of these things, tying one end to another, completing the circle.  As if by doing this, 2014 would be closed and everything would make sense at last.  In short, I have been spending my time, searching for them magic wand to wave over all of this declaring it good.

I continue to find that it cannot be done.

I have also started to find that it does not need to be done.  I can exist in a world where all of these feelings do too.  They do not need to fit, neatly like game pieces in a box or pressed tightly together like a parquet wood floor.  I do not need to make collective sense of these events or these circumstances because putting everything in order will not make it better or more okay.  It is enough to simply live and move on.

Reverb 14 | Prompt 13 | On Writing

#reverb14 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December that is meant to give us all the chance to reflect on 2014 and the opportunity to write down our hopes and dreams for the coming year. Through December 31st Meredith,Sarah and I will be posting each day with a new prompt. Join us by writing, or join us by reading. No matter what you choose, come with us.

On writing: Chances are, if you’re participating in #reverb it’s because you like writing.  Or at least want to like writing.  Writing is like a muscle.  Use it or lose it.  What do you do every day to hone your craft?  Or, what would you like to do each day to contribute to your writing?

Free writing is my nemesis.  Creating closure and including an ending that makes sense would have to be a close second.  I don’t know if this is a subtle form of rebellion against the unending five paragraph essays we were meant to write in high school, but these acts continue to plague me.

I over-edit.  I over-think.  I write down fragments, step away from the keyboard (or the notebook) and hope to come back later.

There is no situation where I write an entire post in one sitting and declare it good, because that is not the person I am.  Writing is an act of incremental progress and constant change because each time you sit down, the lens is new.  The perspective is fresh.  Sometimes we have to start over from scratch, and that is good.  Writing is a process of creating.

There was a period of time (translation more than 365 days) where I was writing every single day about something.  Sometimes it was fun and sometimes it was exhausting and still other days it just was.  That was my rhythm.

I have created editorial calendars for the blog, I have stashed away a set of creative writing prompts.  On the days where I don’t write, it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I don’t need to.  I have always said that I am a nicer person because I write and it is the truth.  Writing lets me take out what’s hiding inside.  It gives me the chance to account for and make sense of my life, my hopes, my dreams, my disappointments, and my failures.  It helps me to see how I “fit” in the scheme of things.

Some days those things simply are not there, and that is good too.  Writing is waiting when we are ready.

Friday Food Round-Up!

I am a meal planning ninja because I had this set of meals planned and the corresponding grocery list to go along with it two weeks before I made it.  But that is because otherwise I would have come home from Lubbock to empty pantries and a freezer full of tater tots.

Sunday – Braised Country Style Ribs with Basic Polenta, Version I from How to Cook Everything, and Asparagus Salad

Sunday

It was time to use the first turkey breast from Marcus’ annual Thanksgiving Turkey and asparagus was on sale at Target for $0.99/lb, which I discovered when I was on a quick post-trip toiletries run.  I thought that steaming it would be a healthy choice, but the idea of topping it with cheese was just irresistible.

Monday – Potato-Chorizo Breakfast Tacos from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table with Uncle Richard’s Hot Sauce from The Homesick Texan and Guacamole

Monday

What’s easier than pulling a half-pound of pre-made breakfast sausage from the freezer and pulsing up the best salsa of all time from canned goods?  Nothing.

Tuesday – Channa Masala with Roasted Broccoli, Rice and Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan

Tuesday

In hindsight, I probably should have led with a vegetarian dish after coming home from a week of eating meat the Texan way.  That being said, any day of the week this dinner is an all-time favorite of ours.

Reverb 14 | Prompt 12 | Future Self

#reverb14 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December that is meant to give us all the chance to reflect on 2014 and the opportunity to write down our hopes and dreams for the coming year. Through December 31st Meredith,Sarah and I will be posting each day with a new prompt. Join us by writing, or join us by reading. No matter what you choose, come with us.

Future self.  Write a letter to your future self, telling the future you about what you hope for you.

Dear Future Kat,

This has been quite the year of ups and downs.  The highs have truly been the most glorious and the lows have truly been the most dark despair.  It’s hard to imagine that so many feelings could be stuffed into 365 days, and yet there they are.

I hope that you are being gentle to yourself.  I hope that you are giving yourself as much patience as others are giving you, which is to say more patience than you’ve ever been able to accept.  What else is new.

I hope that you are continuing your crusade to be unapologetically yourself.  It has worked out pretty well so far and you are happier because of it.  You’ve managed to free up all of this mental energy that used to be spent trying to the right thing according to other people.

I hope that you’re still feeling proud of your body.  You are healthy, you are smart, you are beautiful.  Being a woman is hard.  Trying to reconcile your appearance with the images media presents is impossible.  Learning to accept your body after massive weight loss is hard.  And, yet, here you are.  Doing it!  It feels so good to not care anymore.  You spent thirteen years of your life caring and you do not carry that burden anymore.

I hope you are still surrounded by the people that you love.  These are the ones who understand you the best, who sustain you.  On the days where you cannot be gentle to yourself, please remember to be gentle to them.

I’ll love you forever and always,

Kat