October 31, 2011


I love the prestige surrounding Duke. Very East-Coast elite. I remember finding out that Duke was in Durham - it was the first thing I learned about the area when I was considering moving here, and Duke somehow seemed to legitimize the city. Both of my duplexes have been within a few blocks of East Campus - there's just something about living near a college that's energizing. Though it conversely makes me feel old at the same time. Kids these days!

Duke's basketball program is an institution in its own right. Coach K. The Plumlee brothers. What feels like a million ACC championships. Plus - the Blue Devil is just an inarguably cool mascot (this coming from a life-long Sooner fan).

This weekend, Micah and I had the distinct pleasure of attending a Duke basketball game. "Distinct" because Cameron Indoor Stadium has to be one of hardest college stadiums to get in to. It may have just been an exhibition game, but we were regular-season excited. The air was crisp, the student section was exuberantly obnoxious, and naturally, Duke won. It was perfect.

October 27, 2011


I drink at least two cups of tea per day. After my obligatory first-thing coffee. Between as many glasses of water as I can manage. Whenever I'm stressed out. And somehow, it keeps me sane.

Though I just use bags in individual cups at work, on the weekends I like to brew a whole pot, with loose leaves, if I can. I can't really tell any difference in taste. And it almost doesn't matter what blend it is - though my absolute favorite so far is Twinings Irish Breakfast. It's power, I think, lies in the ritual of making it. The tiny, mindful steps are a guided meditation of sorts:

Filling up a teakettle. Heating it on the stove. Gathering the incidentals (lemon? honey? yes, please). Measuring out the tea. Waiting for the kettle's whistle. Slowly pouring water over the leaves. Watching the tea darken. Steeping for an intuitively decided amount of time. Pouring a cup. Waiting for it to cool just enough.

That process is powerful. Conjuring up the memory of that process at least twice a day at work is powerful. It slows you down. It makes you focus. And it can hypnotize you, if you let it.

Or is that just me?

October 26, 2011


Almost all of my recent birthday gifts were food and wine related. I'm quite content being such an easy target; it's clearly served my table well. 

By far, the most meaningful gift I received was a pizza peel from my dad.

Its carved from a single piece of ash that was felled on my parents' property in Northern Michigan to make way for their dream cabin. Their favorite place on earth. My favorite place on earth. They kept every tree they had to cut down, and have been reusing bits slowly over the last few years.

A twisted trunk was built into a corner of the kitchen. A twelve foot long dining table top is curing in their garage. Adirondack chairs are populating the deck. Smooth, beveled pizza peels and raw-edged picture frames are making their way to children and siblings.

All "Handcrafted by Kevin R Fabry."

October 25, 2011


Today is the best kind of day. Today, I am starting a new book.

But not just any new book - the best kind of new book. A book by an author I love. A book I pre-ordered and tracked obsessively as it slowly made it's way towards me across the country.

Today, I start reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.

The achy anticipation reminds me of how album releases used to be before digital music was prevalent. The importance of the thing's physicality, of holding and feeling something you're about to devour. Trying to pace yourself, trying to remember how chords, phrases, characters first struck you. Trying not to forsake personal hygiene and loved ones while under the spell.

Wish me luck.

October 24, 2011


I believe the best food comes from improvisation. It doesn't always end well, but when it does - its so worth it. The risk involved adds something that salt can't.

Last night I realized I had half a bar of 90% chocolate laying around, and a desire to make something sweet and time-consuming.  I find the 90% slightly too dark to eat by itself, but thought it could add a grown-up edge to some classic dessert.

Another thing about improvisation - once you start, its sometimes difficult to stop. Once I had tweaked a random cookie recipe to compensate for the limiting amounts of other ingredients I had, it was impossible to just add the chocolate. In went some cocoa powder. A fat swipe of creamy peanut butter. A packet of instant coffee.

I came to thirty minutes later with a smudge of dough on the corner of my mouth and three dozen Blackout Cookies on the cooling rack. Now I'm fighting the urge to make some strange, off-kilter ice cream to stuff between pairs of them. Life is hard.

October 21, 2011


I'm a sucker for unconsciously design-y product packaging. Especially if it's intricate and features disarmingly broken English. And costs like, thirty-five cents.

I'm also a sucker for a man who will drive a whole box of soap (and said packaging) halfway across the country for me, just because he used some once while visiting me and wanted to replace it.

I think the scent reminds him (and me, if I'm being honest and uncharacteristically nostalgic) of a particularly exciting time in our relationship. The long-distance phone calls. The agonized-over mixed CDs. Pre-"I love you" and "I think I want to move to North Carolina." It reminds me of all the places we both love (and left behind) in Oklahoma City, and the adventures we had there before I moved.

And it reminds us both to take showers occasionally.

October 20, 2011


I think it started, in earnest, when Kathleen visited. That woman never fails to light a fire under my ass.

It seems every time I talk to her, she has a new goal, more ambition, a fresh perspective. She's constantly working on bettering herself. Exploring new and hard-to-get-to corners of the world. Expanding her creative empire. Making everyone jealous.
She visited a few weeks ago. I showed off my new home. We ate and drank and caught up. And I was jealous. She had all these dreams she was sharing with me. Vivid, idyllic, sprawling dreams. Only they weren't dreams - they were goals. Concrete plans. She was articulating them so clearly, that I could tell she wasn't just batting them around in her mind - she was running straight towards them. I believe she will make every single one of them happen. And I wanted some of my own.

So I took a mental health day. Opened all the windows in my duplex and let the rain spill in a bit. Drank a lot of tea. And thought good and long about what I want from my life. What I want to have. What I want to do. And who I want to be. Then I wrote it all down like I was already living it. It sounds very new age-y, but it was amazingly invigorating.

I don't have it all worked out. I hope I never will. But I can kind of see the woman I want to become. So I'm going to start running towards her with everything I've got right now. A passion for documenting my life as it unfolds. A knack for elevating the everyday with photography. A life-long love affair with words. And a fire under my ass.

Thanks, Kathleen.