Friday, November 30, 2012

To My Two Best Buds

Dear boys:
Today is about you two. Two bouncy, smelly-good, cuddly boys. Except one of you is growing up way too fast, changing from the round-bellied baby you were to this full-blown little boy who runs around, yipping and yahooing, loving things like bugs, dinosaur-trains, cars, fishing poles, climbing rocks, and throwing balls.

It was such a shock, your birth-days. Walking into my sister's hospital room and getting a load of love slammed on my shoulders. Who knew that you could feel instant, powerful, raw love at first glance? You both came into the world blessing all those around you with the realization that hearts can expand and grow in just seconds.

I know at some point--and probably alot sooner than any of us want--you both will grow past the cartoons, little shoes, stuffed animals, and free hugs. So, now, I am  going to take full advantage of those opportunities when I can still scoop you up and swing you around and blow kisses on your arms and tummies. I promise, though, when you're tall and gangly-kneed and trying desperately to impress that pretty, pony-tailed girl over there, that I will be the cool aunt who doesn't do those embarrassing, little-boy things. But please.. don't grow up too fast.

If I could, I would scoot Maryland further down the east coast toward you both. Ten hours away is alot worse than two hours away, but lucky for us, love has an ability to reach across long distances. And I'm already counting down the days toward Christmas with you two and your mommy and daddy.

Love you both bunches and bunches,
Auntie Abi

PS. Jack, I love Dinosaur Train too. Which dinosaur is your favorite? Lemme guess-- Buddy, the T-rex?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Memories & Milk

Waves of heat tumbled over the pastures, turning the summer grass's bright shoots to prickled dry stalks that  would angrily poke my sandal-clad feet. A small cowherd--the neighbor's stock grazing on my grandfather's land--dotted the hillside. As I leaned against the kitchen window, my whole weight balanced across the  counter on bent elbows and waist, I stared at the slow moving animals. The occasional lowing of a mother calling to her calf wafted to my waiting ears--I watched as the beasts waddled around, fat from spring and early summer eating. As they lowed and wandered across the hilltops, I wondered if they were complaining about the slim pickings, whining at the stick-like blades now poking their thick tongues and broad snouts.

Everything seemed to be turning brown. The grass, the trees--parched with thirst. The cattle and the old draft horse--their sleeky black hides bleached by sun beams. Even inside, the thick, brown heat seemed to fill up the kitchen, coating the oak cabinets and linoleum floor. It was a thick, slow-moving heat--oozing and seeping like honey.

It was a heat that should've slowed me down, but all it did was manage to keep me indoors. My little-girl energy emanated from my skin just like the sweat-steam emanated from the cow's hides outside.

I continued to dangle on the counter , not caring that my elbows were turning red from the pressure, ignoring the dig of the laminate edge into my ribcage. Hold on, hold on, hold on. My flip flops beat a staccato on a loose cabinet door in my effort to cling and balance, but still I slid down with a hmph, one bony knee knocking the door handle as I went. I let my bottom bump onto the floor, hands splayed behind me, and there I stayed, head arched back, looking upside down at the kitchen.

At the top of my vision, I saw my grandmother's slippers moving back and forth. She bustled from the under-the-counter radio across the room to the oven, peeking inside its glowing maw.

"Ready yet?" I called out, then laughed at my own voice--stretched out and distorted from the way my head was still arched back.

My grandmother glanced my way and chuckled at my expression. "Almost ready," she chirped. "Almost ready Freddy."

I straightened and crawled like a baby over to the oven door. The oven window pulsed a yellow-red color. I could just make out the dark edge of a pan before a swift pat to my pant-seat told me to get up.

"Better wash your hands, crawling around on the nasty old floor," my grandmother said.

I looked at my palms. "Your floor's not nasty, Grandmama," I said, holding my hands up as proof.

"Better hurry, if you wanna eat," she said, oven mittens already in hand. Up I hopped.

After what my child clock termed forever, the oven would gape and reveal its humble treasure: a fresh, crumbling cornpone baked to golden perfection and glossed a syrupy brown on top. With mitten hands, my grandmother grasped the skillet handle, lugging its burdened weight onto the countertop. I always marveled at that strength; I knew how heavy that pan was--old, solid iron, rubbed a rusty black. Occasionally, she would let me tentatively lift it, always two-handed, my elbows bowing at the weight. Then she would laugh and toss the pan around, her arms accustomed to the heft and size.

"Whole kitchen sets used to be made like this, honey," she said. "Different from now." Yet, she always moved swiftly and gracefully when, inside the oven, the metal blossomed red.

Quick as a finger snap, a twist made the bread slide onto the waiting surface of a lily-white plate. Using the big kitchen-knife, she then sliced eight, pie-shaped pieces. I clambered into a chair as two bowls and two little spoons appeared on the kitchen table. Bouncing, bouncing in my seat as my stomach gave a quick gurgle.

"You know, some folks eat this with buttermilk but ish"--she squirmed and made a face--"I  don't like old buttermilk with cornbread. Give me regular sweet milk."

She sat the milk carton on the table. I reached for it eagerly and poured until a thick ribbon of white splashed and pooled around the bread in my bowl. My hungry eyes always then searched for the bear-shaped honey jar. Tendrils of honey flowed over my fingers, leaving finger prints all over the carton and lid, a sticky mess later. I'm sure my grandmother grinned at my efforts. But she never stopped me--simply sat down and poured herself a bowl.

Together, we sat--I jabbered, she listened, our spoons clinking little,muted laughs. Until the bright, white belly of the bowls showed clean, until all the sweet bread, milk, and honey was gone.


The cast iron skillet, the smooth bowl, the brown cracks marring the top of the pone--ironically, it all wasn't the product of some age-old family recipe. Although, one of those does exist, tucked into some dusty recipe book on a pantry shelf. The secret to those lazy little-girl afternoons was simply a nondescript, little cardboard box. Boasting in bold red to be America's favorite. One box, one egg, 1/3 cup milk. 

Some of the best moments in life are so simple. And childhood memories are glossed and sticky with nostalgia; and mine, like any recipe, are made sweet by the sugar. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


A little thought for the day.

Lately, the awareness that some things are not worth carrying has become very acute. Some things just need to be set aside, or even tossed far, far away to a place where there are no fears of dust-gathering or unexpected toe-stubbing. Often,I feel that I've evolved, moved on past things--be they worries, fears, or grudges--only to realize I never cast the feeling aside at all. Sure, I might set it aside, but somehow its always close enough for me to be able to reach out and touch, reassuring myself that its still there, picking it back up again out of habit or familiarity.

Its so fearfully easy to become familiar, even relaxed with carrying a weight--small or large. Your body adapts to the presence, and before you know it, you're changing your center-of-gravity, your balance, your walk. Its not until you open your hand and let it go  that you even realize the weight itself, having mistaken it for your own self for so long.

But really-- life shouldn't be laden with things that don't matter.

Rather, I hope I can load my arms with the moments that truly matter: little or big. Little, like my husband's sudden, sweet kiss on my temple; or big, like witnessing my nephew's first days on this wide earth.

Some things are worth holding on to, while some things are not. I'm grateful for what I have learned about telling the difference and yet am daily humbled by how much I still need to learn.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Currently 11.27

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My life lately consists of a wilting page from the Frederick classifieds, internet job searches, ink-stained fingers, and coffee rings. Outside, the wind intensifies and turns to a chilly wetness, reminding us that autumn is falling away fast.  And faithfully everyday, my sweet husband trudges out into the cold, while I do my best to scramble and scribble--job hunting, cleaning, writing, and cooking, half-ready and half-scared for change.

Otherwise, here is a glimpse at what's currently happening beneath the Hobbs roof:

Loving: This weather which permits the unabashed indulgence of my addiction to awkwardly big scarves. Yes. And I'm not alone in this obsession. This lady has the exact same issue. But there's just something really comforting about throwing on a cowl of chunky-knit or a thick, embroidered pashmina and running out in the cold. I don't know about you, but if my neck and head are covered and warm...I'm usually good to stay out there in the bluster and snow for as long as needed. So, big scarves it is; even if they make me look like a little kid when I  peep over the edge.

Reading: You mean, other than job postings? Well... Ha. Honestly though. After all my whining and moaning, I finally finished Phillipa Gregory's novel Wideacre. And you know, I actually liked it. Despite the betrayal, seduction, murder, and down-right dirty awfulness... I found myself really feeling quite sorry for the main character. A female historian, Gregory's writing focuses on women in history, their cloaked power, thwarted power, oppression, and ascension. She basically took this book's main character, Beatrice Lacey, and explored the archetype of the "witch-woman." It's a pretty uncompromising look at women of the 18th and 19th centuries and what they were required to do to grasp  and maintain the power that fell into the laps of their brothers, uncles, fathers, and sons. Its really fascinating--because you at once loathe and cheer for Beatrice, you love her and yet you want to bash her in the head. Well...maybe not that intense, but sometimes..sometimes...  Anyway, my point is: Gregory really challenges the ideas of female place and identity. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, really. I shall have to keep musing. In the meantime, though... I believe I might actually buy the sequel. Bet you didn't expect that.

Listening to: My husband and I have decided to open about this new relationship we've formed. Yes, we've started listening to Taylor Swift. Specifically her new album Red. That's all we have to say on the matter. ....Don't judge, folks. The tunes are catchy, okay?

Loving: This easy homemade pizza crust recipe. Oh my word-- I love it! I made it once before and blogged about it here. The quick and easy pizza has returned. Tonight, I'm trying it out again--this time with a BBQ chicken-and-pineapple theme. We'll see how it goes.

Following: These seasonal Pinterest boards. I've really been enjoying the collage-like affect that Pinterest possesses. It's fascinating to see what images people group together, based not solely on theme, but also on tone, mood, color, or shape. This particular Pinner nails perfectly the flavor of the various seasons. ( Pardon my pun there.)

Anticipating: Getting our Maryland driver's licenses this weekend. Admittedly, I'm not looking forward to the whole annoying process of actually acquiring the things: the waking up early, waiting in line. bad-photo-taking, paper-signing, etc. But I am very excited indeed to finally have a little plastic card that officially declares my name to be "Abigail Hobbs."  May seem cheesy, but it is true.

A Happy Tuesday to you all!

Monday, November 26, 2012


The belly-stuffing and family time we all anticipated with such excitement and relish has finally arrived and passed. Short weeks and long weekends fill you with relief and satisfaction--only to fly by much quicker than you thought possible, even though past experiences warn you these things are gone almost before they even get here. We're left feeling blue to wake up so early again, smacking our alarms which gloat too loudly this Monday morning. But then, even as we all trudge back to work (or in my case, back to application processes), we still smile to remember the jokes shared, the unabashed and unending video gaming, the hearty helpings of pie, and our hands wrapped around steaming mugs of coffee. All those little, blessed things for which we are thankful. Little things that can somehow are inadequately reduced to a handful of syllables. Syllables that can do nothing to capture the love that swells in the curves and bends of each vowel or consonant.

Home, joy, family, hearth, health, smile, hug, love. 

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. And many hearty thanks to those who made it all possible. How was your Turkey-Day?

Let us now flip our calendars in anticipation of the next big holiday and gear ourselves for the rush and hulla-baloo at the shopping centers. And so it begins!  Allow me to wish you the first happy holidays of the season!

As I forgot my camera like a dolt this weekend, here are a few Instagram shots of the feasting and fun.
Coming across the Peaks of Otter on the BlueRidge Parkway

My mother-in-law's cranberry apple crumble-- such a pretty dish!

My husband expressing how we all felt after the feast: stuffed and tired

Have a happy Monday and new week, friends!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

You're My Sugar Pie

In case you haven't noticed from my constant references to their blog or from my incessant pinning of their ideas...I'm mildly obsessed with the lifestyle blog A Beautiful Mess. (But I mean, come on, who isn't? These ladies are, number one, absolutely adorable and, number two, insanely talented and creative.) This blog, which documents the work and inspirations of sisters Elsie and Emma, consistently inspires me to keep writing, working, and perfecting my own creative work--be it home decor, creative writing, photography, cooking, or art. This blog literally offers something for every reader. Today, however, I decided to do more than simply read and admire their quirky handiwork. I decided to test out one of the recipes over which I so often gawk and drool. And now? Now I'm completely head over heels for this peanut-butter pie recipe . Yes, my heart has been stolen by a slice of pie. Sincere apologies to my dear husband, but really...when you taste this delicious little bit of sweet heaven... you will understand. I can't wait to test it out on our families at Thanksgiving this Thursday!
Before adding the peanuts and chocolate chips garnish

It actually looks like it should! I'm so proud!
Also- aren't those little white pumpkins adorable? 

Recipe from A Beautiful Mess, as stated above. 

Pie Ingredients: 
graham cracker crust (I went the easy route and bought a Keebler Ready Crust)
6 oz dark chocolate chips (plus some extras for garnish!)
2 cups whipping cream
8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
chopped peanuts and chocolate sauce for garnish (optional)


  • In a small pot, melt together your chocolate chips and 1/2 cup whipping cream. Stir until just melted and no lumps remain. Remove from heat. Pour over the graham cracker crust. Set aside and let cool while you prepare the next layer. 
  • In a mixer, combine peanut butter. brown sugar, cream cheese, and 1/4 cup whipping cream. Mix until light and fluffy
  • Add in the vanilla extract and remaining 1 and 1/4 whipping cream. Continue to beat until the peanut-butter mixture forms stiff peaks. Spoon over the chocolate layer. Cover and freeze overnight.
  • Be sure to allow the pie to soften slightly before serving. Garnish with chopped peanuts and remaining chocolate chips and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Enjoy!

I highly recommend making this pie. Its so yummy and very easy to make. It only took me a few minutes and was a good new-wife-new-cook recipe. That means it caused me no stress and no panic whatsoever. I'm sure I'll be reusing this recipe in the future. (Finally my constant reading of A Beautiful Mess has a practical result; and my hubby can't tease me about my blog obsession anymore because he likes the pie as much as I do. He gave the pie an eyebrow raise and "hmm" of approval. That's volumes for this man of few words.)

This will be my last post until after the turkey holiday. Tomorrow brings some exciting opportunities, as well as a nice, long car trip down to Virginia. I can't wait for the long weekend of family, food, and friends. I'll return on Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your week and eat lots of yummy food!

Lovelies 11.20

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Day 20: Today I'm thankful for my sweet sister Heidi. She's the kind of woman I think all women cheer and root for. A woman who runs from before the sun comes up until after the sun goes down. She dazzles the customers and bosses at work and then cuddles on her two baby boys at home. Makes money for the company then makes dinner for her family of four. She'll tell you off in a minute if she thinks you're wrong, but she's also the sweetest, most tender-hearted woman I've ever met. I've seen her pull over to help a stranded kitten or lost dog on the side of the road, and I've seen her exercise unlimited amounts of patience with her toddler son, when I long ago would've pulled my hair and probably his out too. Basically, other than my husband, there's no one else I'd rather have by my side and there's no one else who I can guarantee always has my back. So today I give a hearty thanks that she was born before me and put up with my goofy little-girl-ness, ponytails, plastic ponies, and all, for all those years before I grew into--I hope!-- a tolerable woman and friend and little sis. 

There. See? I'm remembering this November-Give-Thanks thing. It helps when I sign on facebook and see others faithfully logging in their grateful little status updates. But honestly, I think there's something wholesome about taking a moment, everyday, to sit down and come up with at least one thing for which you can shout out a thankful praise. It reminds me of how much I really do have to praise and laugh and smile about.

Today, I'd  like to share with you some little lovelies for which I am also thankful. These finds mainly are gleaned from my Pinterest boards, Etsy favorites, and blog roll.

Here you go:

Only a few more days until tummy-stuffing, family love, and turkey-induced sleepiness! Prepare your pantries, waistlines, and over-worked ovens! Turkey Day is one its way!

Have a happy Tuesday, friends.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Smooth & Jolly: A Post about Food + Frederick

Some decorations from the weekend

This past weekend consisted of jingle bells, nutmeg-sprinkled eggnog, a little Christmas shopping, a little Christmas wishing, peanut-butter-pie planning, Panthers cheering, and a frothing glass of Dunkel Weizen.

Saturday night, my hubby took me on a date to Brewer's Alley, a fantastically yummy restaurant in downtown Frederick. We've strolled past its doors several times and have been meaning to get in there. Thank the starry heavens we finally did! Undoubtedly, its the best place we've dined so far in our new hometown.

The restaurant site originally operated as Frederick's townhall. That was in 1746. Since then, it has morphed from office spaces, farmer's market, opera house, movie theater, and now this fantastic restaurant and micro-brewery where they generously pour tall, frothing glasses of nutty-dark beer. Now, Mark and I aren't really beer drinkers and rarely drink in general. But when you step into a place like this and smell the spice of good food cooking and have a stained glass king-and-stein staring down at you.... you have to try something new. And let me just say, one sip will make you sit up and take notice. It'll be the smoothest, richest flavor that's ever flowed over your tongue.

You're probably thinking "yea, but its probably an expensive glass." Well, you would be wrong, my friend. The homebrew was as economically priced as (and we honestly think perhaps even cheaper than)  the drink menus old standbys. And why you would want grocery-store-quality BudLight when you could have a tall glass of amazing I don't know. At one point during the evening, Mark and I glanced across the room and saw a lady ordering just that. We both felt the urge to raise our glasses and cry "Sacrilege!"

Obviously, we didn't. But still.
Ah well.  To each her own. Everyone has a favorite flavor,  I suppose.

I have now waxed eloquent for long enough about this restaurant. Time to move on to the rest of the day's tasks: more job applications, Christmas wrapping, and laundry to prepare for holiday packing. Woohoo! Only three more days until Turkey Day! Which means hitting the treadmill a little harder in anticipation.

Until next time,

Day 19: Today I'm thankful for a relaxing weekend of fun and laughs-- a perfect way to prepare for the short, holiday week ahead. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Coffee & Milk

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Here's something I've come to crave and love with a sincere strength: the sounds that rustle in the quiet of our home, on an early weekend morning. Still half-drawn, the blinds filter a creamy half-light so, at first, only half of our living area has any sun. I usually take my coffee and snuggle, blanket and book, into the patch that falls across the left wing of our sofa. A hazy quiet, a sleepy quiet still fills our home, wall to wall. And for a good thirty minutes or so, the only things that disturb that quiet are the muffled ticking of the kitchen clock, the rustle of my book pages, and the snuffled breathing of my husband still snoozing away in the other room. I'm the early riser, not him. Even after a late night, I make myself get up just so I can enjoy these little cozy moments, all alone and listening.

And this dark, steaming mug of joe makes it all the better.

Day 17: I think I missed a few days... I guess I'm a little lackadaisical in my thanks-giving. Today, I'm thankful for the fluttery excitement that signals the imminent arrival of a holiday. Sometimes I think the best part of a holiday is the anticipation and planning. But the time spent laughing and talking and sipping hot drinks with family is pretty spectacular too. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear Mister

Dear Mr. Hobbs: Today's post is a letter to you. Oh the privilege! You should feel so lucky to have a little tiny plot of cyberspace dedicated solely to your handsome, bespectacled person. (Heehee). Here are a few things:

Thanks for bringing me to Frederick; its a pretty town with especially spicy hot-wings. I know I whined and moaned about moving so far away for a good while (translated: a year or two...) but I think its been good for me. Your little supplanted Georgian seems to me doing okay, so far anyway, even if she does get weird looks in the grocery for calling the shopping cart a "buggy." I know we'll put down roots and find a more permanent home of our very own someday... but for now I like our little Maryland condo. Its a happy place.

You know something else? People always say when you move in with someone you discover all their "annoying habits." Well, either you're continuing to disguise them perfectly or you don't have any. Oh, other than leaving your jeans on the floor...and singing way-too-cheery songs just long enough to get them stuck on my head...I've been looking over a four-leaf clover ALL DAY because of you. But somehow that just makes me beam a big dumb smile more so than it annoys me.

And lastly, if you need to knife someone again on Battlefield 3, I recommend RB this time.

Love you more than anything else.
Oh, and is pizza okay tonight?

your girl.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sampling 1

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Here's a sampling of a creative nonfiction essay I'm currently working on. This is a glimpse of the first rough draft.  Please feel free to let me know what you think. The working title is "Tattoo." 

GENTLE DEAD-BROKE QH gelding. 15hh.  Flashy sorrel. 
Easy keeper. Good lesson horse for beg-int'm rider, great on trails. 
$2000 OBO. 

There was nothing flashy about this animal. He simply wasn't pretty. IF he was eye-catching, it was because of the utter awkwardness of his entire body.: a nightmare of configuration, a failed model in need of a redo. Knobbly-kneed. Skinny-necked. A slooping, protuberant snout. Equally protuberant hips. The worst part, however, was his tail. Cropped abrupt and short, it was a  tattered scrub-brush of a thing. Occasionally it would give a desperate flicker, trying in vain to swat the flies just out of its reach. Too short to do any good. 

Docile and droop-eared, the horse stood on his line, chewing and rubbing the fat coil of his tongue over and under the bridle's bit. Over and under. Over and under. 

"Whatcha think?" the woman at the other end of his lead asked me. Her streaked blond hair was clenched in a ponytail and a cigarette dangled from her mouth, its smoke curling toward the horse. 

I looked back at the gelding. Mud-caked and standing in the thick slop of the riding pen. They hadn't even cleaned him up for a sale. 

"Yea, I'll ride him," I said. 

Thirteen years old and at once fascinated and terrified of myself, I wasn't aware that I had options. I was more acutely aware of all the open space around my elongating limbs than I was about my own voice saying no. 

The woman tossed me the rope and yanked a saddle and pad from the corral fence. She slapped them onto the horse's skinny bare back. Sweat and dust matted the pad's underside, flaky like old dried icing. At the sudden touch of the cloth, the horse's skin twitched and shuddered, as if he were twittering away a worrisome bug, but otherwise his demeanor of mute boredom (or perhaps long-suffering)  didn't waver. 

A jerk and a switch of leather and the saddle cinch was tightened, ready to go. 

The woman's palm slapped the saddle seat. "Hop on up." 

The braided lead left a smear of mud on my hands. I wiped one palm on my jeans but only further embedded the dirt in my skin. I glanced over my shoulder at my mother waiting at the fence. She shrugged. Go ahead if you want. I looked back at my waiting mount and the impatient woman. The skin around the saddle-cinch had puckered and folded, caught in a tight pinch. A wrinkled old grape. My eyes fluttered to the woman as I quickly slipped a finger behind the cinch. A quick tug loosened it. 

I snapped my hand to my neck, pretended to scratch in a pathetic effort to disguise my tampering. I heard a chuckle and felt heat spread across my cheeks. 

"Ok," I said to no one in particular and swung into the saddle. The pointed tip of an ear rotated back toward me. 

"You good?" 

"Yea," I muttered. 

More soon! 
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Currently 11.14

old + weathered, but still capable of beauty

Thankful for: (#14) Being married one month. Its hard to believe that a month has whirled by since that day with the vows and bells and bows. Its hard to believe, too, that I have spent a month of days with Mark. After being so used to seeing each other on occasional weekends, it still feels like such a treasure to spend so much time together. I wonder if being around him will ever be old hat? I don't think so--no more than being around yourself is old-hat. It just is. And its wonderfully perfect. We celebrated with painted daisies, homemade Mexican-bean-and-sausage soup, and Xbox live. Well...Mark celebrated with that last one. I knitted a Christmas gift. Little old couple already.

Reading: I really need to pay more attention to book-jacket descriptions. I picked up Phillipa Gregory's Wideacre, the first book in a trilogy of the same name. I usually select my books by recommendation--be it friend. professor, or newspaper review--and then read the first few pages to see if the prose captures my fancy or not. I have read other historical novels by Gregory, specifically her series about Lancaster and York. Who doesn't enjoy feuding cousins, right? Anyway... my read-a-few-pages test failed me. Let me just throw a few words at you. Seduction. Betrayal. Murder. Incest. Deception. Yes. That. And the problem is, I hate stopping a book half way through; so here I go, wallowing through the mire to the end, I suppose.

Listening to: Brandi Carlile's Bear Creek. I'm pretty sure she has the most soulful voice I have ever encountered. Your opinion may differ, but she certainly gets my soul to rocking and my boots to tapping.

Loving: My Yamaha keyboard, a surprise welcome-home gift from my daddy. He knew how much I would miss my piano so he sneaked and bought me a substitute. I have to say, I think my playing has improved this past month. Probably due to the fact that every day, after a morning of frantic application submissions, I sit and play for about an hour or so. The thing I love most about this keyboard: it senses if I hit the keys harder... so I can determine volume by touch, just as with an actual piano. This is truly great, people. The little things do matter; they determine the whole song.

Planning: To bake this peanut butter pie. Pretty spectacular, huh? For some reason, I've been dying to bake a pie. Maybe its because I have my own place now with my own kitchen things ...including pie dishes and cute aprons. Whatever the cause, this pie is happening next week! Turkey Day is almost here! Fast and be ready! We're getting there.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012


It has been floating around our house lately. Settling upon us (specifically me) and bringing a brief respite of calm. Yet, having faith in a colloquialism is difficult at best.  Well...I suppose the faith isn't invested in the words  but rather the meaning or Being behind the words. Take Being to mean what you will--whether the Almighty, a force within yourself, or simply just another rotation of the spheres. I know what it means to me; find out what it means to you. And here's something else I know: some things just are and cannot or will not ever cease to be. Like the way my soul and spirit and heart feel towards that funny, quirky, sweet man I married. No control--it appeared one day and continues to be there.

Yet, as I fill out countless applications and draft countless cover-letters--each one unique since I believe each one should showcase a different part of your ability to the employer-- and toss them out there into the great cyberspace void.... I wonder if any of these opportunities will ever formulate into a solid, tangible thing. A job. A career. (I'm wearing out the italics button today, aren't I?)  And, heaven forbid, one actually pertaining to my degree. 

But as days of waiting stretch into weeks... maintaining faith in those big black words up there becomes difficult. 

Then again, maybe that's the whole point. An exercise in faith. 

But sometimes you just wonder. 
And wait.
So more. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Photo Reel: Hiking Catoctin (and Giveaway Link)

Unexpectedly, this past weekend brought sunshine and pleasant 60 degree weather. Weather like that in November makes my hubby crackle and fidget, wanting to be outside running, jumping, moving and stretching his limbs in any way possible. I can't say as I blame him. Even my ridiculously pale skin starts to mourn the lack of sunshine once winter begins. And, too, this past Saturday and Sunday may be the last days of warmth and brightness until spring. So, unashamedly, we decided to spend the whole of Sunday afternoon outdoors. 

The above photos were taken at Chimney Rock, a beautiful spot on Catoctin Mountain, located near Thurmont, MD. It was a short 20 minute drive for us to behold this late-fall landscape. The end of autumn is so different from the beginning. Since we are past peak here, the leaves are mostly gone. No more greens, certainly and only a few spots of gold or red that burn all the brighter due to their scarcity. The mountains are mostly colored with brown and black prickle now. But even that bare and sleepy scene is beautiful when viewed from the mountain tops. 

This hike definitely was one of the loveliest  I had ever been on. Or maybe I've simply grown too accustomed to our usual haunts in Georgia and Virginia, overlooking familiar beauties. Either way, it was gorgeous and the pictures do not do nature the justice it deserves. But then again, not many cameras are capable of capturing that scope. 

In parting...
My twelfth day of thanks-giving: 
I'm thankful for sunshine, happy smiles, and also the chance to enter this lovely giveaway posted on one of my favorite-to-read blogs. Here is the lovely dress line from Shabby Apple being used. Check it out if you would like to participate! And, even if the giveaway is not your thing, check out the blog anyway. Its truly a joy to read.

Happy Mondays to you all!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Brewed Dark & Bitter

Day 10: I'm thankful for this chilly November morning that dawned with a cup of dark coffee and a new read. A new read that's surprisingly darker than anticipated. Perhaps I should start paying more attention to the book jacket descriptions rather than simply reading the first few pages. I'm not usually into the seduction, murder, and betrayal gambit but it seems I have committed to 500+ pages of just that. Huzzah. Bitter death and destruction shall ride forth in petticoats! (Too much? Pretend I didn't say it.)

Mark's final kickball playoffs are today! They one their first round and so qualified for the division championship! If they win the first game today, they go on to (win?!) the title. Wish them luck!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pizza Night at the Hobbs House

One thing about this boy of mine. He loves pizza.
He's not particularly picky about it. Just a man of basic, honest tastes. Tomato sauce, strings of cheese, ground beef, the zest of pepperoni--simple things piled together, all you can eat.

 I decided I would indulge his taste buds this Friday night.

I've never made homemade pizza before. Like completely from scratch--crust, sauce, the whole shebang. I was slightly intimidated. Dough does that to me--makes me just a bit quaky. I'm afraid it'll be too goopy, floppy, spongy. Any manner of oddities. I figured I should start with an easy crust recipe. To AllRecipes I went. Of course. If I can't find it in the top five links on a basic google search... I'm not going to delve much deeper. A lazy web surfer, I am. Before Pinterest and did I navigate the web? Oh who knows. 


I found this recipe. Straightforward and quick. Seemed like a good place to start.

It was. 

As you can see, the pizza barely survived the onslaught of hungry husband.
It was worth the calories.

Oh, and before I forget and sign off for the weekend...
Day 9: I'm thankful I bested the pizza crust recipe. I am no longer scared of the dough-monster.

Happy Saturdays and Sundays ahead for you, readers!
Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Littles & Lovelies

My baked apples. From this yummy recipe

Day 8: Today, I am thankful for the little moments that keep life simple and sweet. The warm scent of freshly-brewed coffee blooming throughout our condo. The first burst of sweetness as you bite into a baked apple. The whisper of a kiss on your temple. The sudden gust of a winter breeze, warning that  autumn so quickly ends. The front-door-hug and my face buried in my husband's Northface, as soon as he comes home. A parking lot sparrow skipping close enough to you that you foolishly hope, for a moment, it'll lose its shyness and land in your palm.
Those kinds of little moments. The ones that ring true with goodness.

Some things I'm loving at the moment:

Happy Thursday, everyone! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Currently 11.6

one of our engagement photos. taken by Etherea Studios. 

Happy election day, everyone! What a wonderful day-- to express your opinion for your president....and then bite your nails and clench your fists and pray strongly that the right man wins. However, I'm also sitting here asking myself... when will we have a "Madam President" instead of a "First Lady"? This question then leads to...what would her husband be called? "First Man"? That makes him sound like a link in an evolutionary timeline. "First Husband"? But then what if she's been divorced and he's not her first husband? That would make things confusing in the presidential household. If we're going to match with the lady moniker... would it be "First Gentleman"?
Is there actual protocol for this? If so, please comment and let me know.

Anyway, let's get past my ramblings and on to my actual blog post.
Here is what is happening currently in the Amp and Abi Hobbs household.

Watching: The Mentalist. Now, we realize this show has been around for a few seasons, but Mark and I just started seriously watching it last week. We caught an episode on one of those piped-in channels aired on the cruise and both instantly fell for Patrick Jane and his wily ways. Those who know me know I have always been a strict Bones and Castle fan when it comes to these detective shows...But it seems I must now widen my cop-show-circle to include the team from Sacramento. Also, the Mentalist tends to be less bloody-juicy-icky than Bones, thus allowing for a better supper time show.

Listening to: Mumford & Son's new album Babel. I've had it for several weeks now, but somehow it is still the CD of choice when I hop in the car. Much to Mark's dismay as he is not the biggest Mumford&Son's fan. While still maintaining the moody soul I love about this band, his album is somehow different from the previous one. To put it in the terms of a good friend of mine, it's "louder and twangier" whereas the last album is quieter, more chill (I really want to correct the grammar here and type "chillier" but that changes the meaning entirely). Either way, I love me some rocking banjo on these blustery fall days.

Planning: The holidays. Where to go. Who to see. How to get there.

Thinking about: today's Big Choice. Will we have a new "Mr. President"? A new face to represent our country, a new person to whom we doff our caps with respect, despite our own values and views? Or will the news announcers report that the same man has won again? Four years to eight. A continuation and amplification of the same. It's so fascinating to me, watching America teeter-totter at a crossroads, wondering which direction we'll shoot off in, wondering if much will change at all, or if we've already changed  well past recognition. And wondering what my place is in all this hullabaloo.

Looking forward to: Mark's kickball playoffs! Go JoJo's!! Yes, their team is named JoJo's. Businesses around Frederick sponsor the kickball teams as a form of community advertisement. Mark's team is named for a downtown restaurant that serves particularly yummy hamburgers. The playoffs start tomorrow night, provided the fields are sufficiently repaired from Sandy's havoc. Wish them luck! I sincerely hope they win, because apparently they have the kickball equivalent of a Superbowl ring. Except these are called "super-ball" rings. Oh yes. It is happening.

Reading: This title caught my eye in Target and Barnes&Noble. It touted its status as a "National Bestseller"  but. for some reason, I kept doubting whether I wanted to read it or not. However, I finally caved and bought it. Girls In Trucks by Katie Crouch. I'm only about a third of the way in, but I'm enjoying it more than I expected. Honestly, the jacket description and title made me expect a light read, one of those girl-from-the-country-goes-big-city-heartbreak-loveaches-back-to-your-roots type things. And, essentially, that may be what this is. But the writing style took me by surprise. Although its listed as a novel, the book has a short-story quality. You get glimpses of the main character's life, as she passes through different phases and stages. Not always in chronological order, either. The author gives you information and clipped scenes and leaves you to interpret them as you see fit. You can place them where you need them to go, to understand the characters. Its very episodic. And I'm growing increasingly fond of it, the more I read. So, long story short, I'm glad I finally bought the book.

Making me happy: Waking up to my best friend and sweet husband every day. Even if his alarm clock does go off five times before he fully wakes up. While I do usually wake him with a poke and an incoherent grunt ("turn-that-thing-off-for-pity's-sake"), I am over the moon happy to have him there to poke and grunt at. I'm pretty blissful these days.

Happy Tuesday! Don't forget to vote!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Weekend: Coffee, Hugs, & Chocolate-y Chips

We're back home from a wonderful weekend of family, friends, a little Christmas shopping, and a lot of laughs. We met my parents in Virginia at Mark's family's home to get the last of my things and the last of our wedding gifts. Often there's nothing better than being with your family and closest friends, drinking coffee and just basking in the simple fact that these people always have your back and always love you. A sheet of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies also doesn't hurt anything. Recipe for a perfect weekend.

Day 5 of thankfulness:
I'm thankful that I haven't been homesick. Yes, I miss my family and Georgia friends very much. But these past few weeks have proven that age-old maxim: home is where your heart is. And while a part of my heart will always be rooted in the Georgia mountain soil, my heart is firmly set with that blue-eyed, crooked-smiled  guy I married.

Mushy, but true.

Tomorrow, I'm going to make these baked apples. Yumminess ahead!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy on 11.2

What are you happy about?
Here are my things:

  • I finally finished unpacking all my boxes and hanging up all my clothes. This means two things: 1) the guest room is starting to actually look more hospitable and less like a junk room and 2) I don't have to go to the dollar store on the corner (best price on clothes hangars) and have my personal space invaded by all the strange people who shop there. It's a good day here in  Frederick
  • It's getting chilly out, allowing me to wear a hat for the first time all season. Hats, scarves, boots, gloves. Reasons I love fall and winter.
  • The sun is shining outside. Yes, people, the sun. We here in Maryland had almost forgotten what that large, glowing orb above us was called. We haven't seen it in nearly a week. Even tho there is still a good bit of debris lying around, seeing the sun out again seems to officially end the pall cast by Sandy. At least it does to me, here, in my safe condo. 
  • I get to see my family today! My parents are driving to Mark's parents home in VA, meeting us halfway. Well, a little more than halfway for them. It's more meeting two-thirds and one-third way,than it is halfway. But anyway. They're bringing the last of my things---wedding gifts, my art supplies, my knitting needles. On top of all that, some of our closest friends are also going to be in VA this weekend So, in short, it's going to be a great weekend filled with great people and fun things. 
So many things to make me smile!
I hope this Friday gives you a reason to smile, even if for no other reason than the work week being over for a few days.

In parting:

Day 2: I'm thankful for the sweet kiss my husband gave me before leaving for work this morning. It was a perfect way to start the day. 

Happy weekend!

image sources: my own, here, and here

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Things

Although I do get tired of the notifications, the endless "likes," and the seemingly pointless threads, Facebook is good for some things, I've found. Like this idea from my sister: For every day of November, share something--a person, an idea, a place, an event--for which you are thankful. It can be as serious and real as being thankful for your family or as trivial and random as that crisp soft drink you had at lunch.

I think its a wonderful idea. So I'm tossing my hat into this ring.

Day 1:
I'm thankful for this long, new road ahead. Getting married to my best friend and love is, every day, proving to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. Marrying him and moving to Frederick opened my life to a lot of new: new area, new home, new faces, new job (soon I hope!), new memories, and new traditions. But it's an exciting new. And I'm hoping its a long, happy road that lies ahead of us. Full of straights and curves, up and downs, challenges and blessings. We'll take the road one step at a time, and I pray that I can learn to be grateful for each and every one of those steps.

image source

Mr & Mrs. Hobbs in the Caribbean

I thought I would share some photos of our honeymoon cruise. My sweet fiancee went all out and booked a 7 day cruise with Royal Caribbean. On the biggest boat in the world, no less. The Allure of the Seas, part of their Oasis class of ships. It was my first ever cruise... and probably gave me very high expectations for every other cruise-line.

It truly was a once in a lifetime experience. We sailed to Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Martin. The scenery was just beautiful. We had a fantastic time, but we were ready to back in the states again when it was time. As excited as we were to have time away together, we were even more excited to start our new life together in Frederick.

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