navigating the normal

Follow Me As I Navigate The Normal Life

Hiker | Traveler | Reader | Beer Drinker | Sugar Addict | Feminist | Yogi | Cook

Between work, exercise, chores, errands, and obligations we must find time to play and enjoy. It is here that I collect the musings and memorabilia to master the time that is mine and mine alone. It is in these small moments of time I’m in a constant quest of growth, change, and difference. The adventures I go on are not special or unique. The food I make will not be starred or rated. The hikes I walk I have not blazed. The weights I lift aren’t the heaviest. The poses I strike aren’t pefect. I struggle. With…My job. Weight. Relationships. Finances. Loneliness. Dating (or lack thereof). The past. The future. Relevance.

From my experiences, I hope to catalogue, commiserate, and connect.

Because we are all making it through every day and finding those little moments that dot the landscape of the mundanity of life while navigating the normal to connect those dots.

Featured post


A Wicked Weed Sour
Last summer’s Wicked Weed light pinkish beer that I couldn’t get enough of was the Berry Pi. This year, it appears to be Medora. I’m not big into sours, but I’m big into fruity, refreshing, not-overly-sweet beers. And Wicked Weed’s Medora hits all those notes.

I made the mistake of first ordering the Black Angel. I hadn’t had on in at least three years, and I had forgotten how dark and heavy it was. Medora is the exact opposite. The description on the menu gave it the exact same numbers for sourness and fruitiness, but I neglected to look at the descriptor for color. To me, color is ery important in ordering a beer.

I had a Cerise Morte at the Funktorium a few weeks ago. It was good, but a little too tart for me. And it came in a tall wine glass, which I’m not into either. The glasses beers are served in are also important to me. Because I’m a particular weirdo.

But back to the subject at hand, Medora is definitely a beer I will fight the Wicked Weed touristy crowd to drink again on a sweltering summer afternoon.

The Weirdness of Mattress Stores

A Freakonomics Podcast
So much good information about the history of Americans and their mattresses; the business of mattresses; brick-and-mortar mattress stores; online mattress retailers; economic and city planning phenomona to answer the question, why are there are so many mattress stores?


Pulled Pork Burrito
For years, I have eyed the tiny restaurant nestled in the corner of a strip mall between a laundromat and music shop. I finally seized the opportunity to eat at the tiny Mexican food place when a friend and I were headed to Heartless Bastards at Isis. Wondering what we could do dinner, we wanted something casual but would provide more excitement than the over-priced and underwhelming options along that section of Haywood Road. Bandido’s was the perfect solution!

Like so many other establishments in Asheville, the service isn’t great. There is one server who seems to attend the entire floor. But that’s alright. The place is super casual and cheap. And delicious. These things, in my humble opinion, outweigh the average sevice. My friend and I both ordered the pulled pork burrito. It’s enough food for two meals. In the subsequent two times I’ve been since, I cut the burrito in half and automatically put it to the side to take it home and eat it later. The accoutremonts are also good. The guacamole is chunky and flavorful. The chips are doused if not in actual Old Bay, an Old Bay-like seasoning. The sangria was tart but tasty.

The menu is small but has many delicious looking entrees. I just can’t help but continue ordering the pulled pork burrito. But for an $8 burrito, free chips, and even two or three outdoor tables, Bandido’s is definitely in my rotation of approved places to eat.


Rattlesnake Lodge Ruins

Just A Mountain House
Don’t let the name fool you. In my opinion, “ruins” is an overstatement. When imagining “ruins” one thinks of grandeur and importance. I did not feel either. The plaque in the middle of the surrounding fallen stones, unfortunately, does not answer any of the important questions I had about these “ruins.” Why is this place so special? Why is the National Park Service erecting a plaque for them? Why do I care?

Regardless of my unanswered questions and the underwhelming ruins, the hike was loverly. The day I went, it smelled perfumey from the blanket of tiny  flowers spread across the ground. And hiked to the consistent sound of crickets jumping through the brown leaves. I treaded (carefully) out on to a rockface to stare at the rolling mountains beyond and soak up some of the warm sun and feel the warm breeze on my face. The ruins were obviously not the point of this small hike.


Trailhead:There is no trailhead. There are multiple points along the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST) that you can begin in order to reach the ruins.
Length: 3.9 miles
Type: Out & Back (with a little loop)
Where: Blue Ridge Parkway
Description: You can begin anywhere, but I used the All Trails app to find this hike. Follow the white blazes (for the MST) until you reach the ruins. Then, you can follow the blue blazes in either direction because they form a circular trail. I did not realize this at first, and I ended up continuing down the larger trail and had to back track.
Directions & Parking: The All Trails app had me park at one of the pull offs on Ox Creek Road. Take the Blue Ridge Parkway north until you turn left on Elk Mountain Scenic Highway. Then continue straight onto Ox Creek Road. I parked at the pulloff after you hit the crest of the ridge and begin descending down the mountain.


By Joe Posnanski

A father takes his 14 year old daughter to see Hamilton.

Holy Ghost!’s Crime Cutz

The Hawaiian

Breakfast at City Bakery
My relationship with City Bakery has a complicated past. I used to hate. Now, however, I adore it. So I guess not all that complicated. It’s one of my favorite breakfasts in town because I now know what to order: the Hawaiian sandwich and the cinnamon roll. Also, their coffee is just good (it’s roasted by Dynamite) and their baristas are some of the few in this town that understand the meaning of “dry cappucino.” Don’t bother with the random selection of cupcakes or pies in the bakery case. Stick to City Bakery for these two breakfast delights!

Let me describe to you their Hawaiian breakfast sandwich layer-by-layer. First (and my most important) is the soft, sweet Hawaiian bun. It’s followed by big chunks of avocado, thick slices of bacon, sharp swiss cheese, layers of ham, and an aoli. There are so many things about this sandwich that I’m normally not into. I don’t like superfluous bacon. I tend to find swiss cheese bland. Aoli is rarely needed on anything. But the sum of this sandwich is so much greater than its parts. This isn’t a cheap sandwich either, but it’s worth it.

Pro tip: Get an egg added to it.

I’ve gone back and fourth on City Bakery’s cinnamon roll. I used to proclaim West End Bakery’s cinnamon roll  the best in town. Not anymore. The cinnamon-sugar to bread ratio is simply not adequate. It’s too dry. The City Bakery cinnamon roll, however,  gets better with every bite. It’s made of a phillo-like dough: flakey but substantial. The more you peel off, the gooeyier (gooeier?) it gets. When you’re done eating it, you know you’ve just done something very bad, but it tasted so good.

Pro tip: Get it warmed up in the toaster.

‘Kill Every Buffalo You Can! Every Buffalo Dead Is an Indian Gone’
By J. Weston Phippen
The Atlantic

The American bison is the new national mammal, but its slaughter was once seen as a way to starve Native Americans into submission.