let the rain fall down

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it’s important to note that this entire post should be read while hilary duff’s “come clean” plays softly in the background.

aside from the fact that this is clearly one of the musical high points of 2004 (i mean, clearly), it is also the theme song of laguna beach (the real oc) which is an important element to not only this recap of my time in nashville, but maybe more importantly, to the foundation of my friendship with B. and also, it rained nearly the entire time i was in tennessee, so you know, the song talks about rain and that seemed appropriate.

but in the words of miss duff herself, “let’s go back, back to the beginning, back to when the earth, the sun, the stars all aligned.”

or when the sun was nowhere to be found and there were only stars and a bright moon. because those were the only celestial bodies in the sky when i was rudely awoken by my alarm at an hour i don’t even rise for on a workday. but thus is life when you decide that a 7:00 a.m. friday morning flight is your best bet to fling your bod eastward. it was also direct, so that plays a huge factor.

the momma chauffeur service dropped me curbside at a hair shy of 6:00 a.m. and i was thankful for those few extra seconds because apparently charles lindbergh is the place to be and be seen at dawn. it is also apparent that 6:30 a.m. is a perfectly acceptable time to begin drinking as i spotted a few mimosas and half dozen bloody marys being sucked down by patrons as they, too awaited to board their early morning flights. i suppose whatever makes it easier for you to board that boeing 747, y’all. after an iced coffee (that wasn’t nearly large enough), i felt a little more human, just in time for me to board flight 168 with non-stop service to nashville, TN. so i took my A-group boarding pass, found my spot along the cue, and finally made an aisle seat my temporary home for the next three hours and forty minutes.

while i did in fact do a few head bobs as i attempted to catch a few zzz’s somewhere over kansas, i spent a majority of the duration of the flight with my nose stuck in shauna niequist’s cold tangerines. as i mentioned earlier, while i enjoyed it overall, i didn’t love it as much as bittersweet. it’s funny, seeing as cold tangerines
was shauna’s first book, and bittersweet her second, in reading them out of order, i can see where her writing improved significantly. (for selfish reasons, i hope this is the case when people go back and read old posts on shawnaleeann.blogspot.com, and yes, i totally just did a shameless plug for my old blog, sorryi’mnotsorry). anyway, book reviewing aside, just as i was about ready to ask in my best childy-whiny voice, “how much longer? are we there yet?!” turns out, we were.

i exited the airport under the overcast nashville skies and found B waiting for me with open arms. i not only delivered hugs from R and E, but also gave her a big old bear variety of mine, too. while i would have wished for our weekend o’ fun to commence right and there, it was about 1:45 p.m. and therefore, being the good little workerbee that she is, B still had a few hours left of her friday at the office. so after we took a pitstop there so i could see the new digs and visit with a few of her co-workers, i drove myself (look out nashvillans, shawna is trying to navigate your roads!) to roast, inc., the cutest little industrial-decorated coffee shop. it was the perfect place to prop my feet up, re-caffeinate, do a bit of eavesdropping on the couples seated directly behind me, and to crack open niequist’s latest literary creation, bread & wine. but in what seemed to be a blink of an eye, it was time to return back to B’s office to relinquish her from the daily grind and to officially kick-off our weekend!

though the weather had been less than desirable all day, it stayed dry long enough for B, C and i to take a stroll to edley’s bbq for dinner. crowded from the influx of visitors in town for bellmont’s graduation, we finally snagged a table in time to enjoy our delicious bbq fare. we also may or may not have polished off an entire bottle of the restaurant’s signature sauce. it’s fine. after our meal, we wandered over to frothy monkey for a night cap and by night cap i mean a night cappuccino, not a cap that commonly involves some sort of alcohol. by the time we left frothy en route for home about 30 minutes later, the winds had picked up and it was apparent that coffee wasn’t the only thing that was brewing (ha!), a storm was fixin’ to roll into town but luckily we made it home before our 100-yard walk before the first raindrops could fall.

to kill time before our originally scheduled plans to attend a show at the bluebird cafe, B volunteered watching an episode of laguna beach, which was streaming on netflix. didn’t have to ask me twice -any opportunity to return to the sleepy beach town for some drama with lauren-slash-“LC”, stEE-PHen, and the gang is always a time well spent. and a quick three episodes later, it was quite clear that the idea of venturing out into the rainy evening paled in comparison to continuing an LB marathon in sweatpants on the couch. and so, given the authority to make the final call, i abruptly chose the latter and regretted nothing. we went onto watch another five episodes or so. sorry we’re not sorry about it.

saturday morning in nash resembled most typical saturday mornings in san diego -an early morning tuck sesh at pure barre, followed by a delicious brunch with some quality humans. A, B, C and i (yep, we’re basically like the alphabet) got our brunch on at tavern where we dined on eggs, “white trash hash,” and a kale salad that would make a veggie lover out of anyone. as we ate, we planned the rest of our day. with rain in the forecast for the remainder of the afternoon, our schedules had to revolve around indoor activities. B and i would venture off to the opry mils outlet mall for some retail therapy (and to take advantage of j.crew factory’s 40% off storewide discount), meet her two friends at the pharmacy in east nash for a delicious (veggie) burger before finally meeting back up with A & C for the 9:50 p.m. showing (look at us out late on a saturday night), of 42 (the jackie robinson movie).

per usual, B’s and my visit to j.crew factory was not spent in vain. we each managed to add a few new pieces (hello neon skirt luvahs) to our ever-expanding wardrobes and didn’t have to spend an arm and a leg (maybe just an arm) doing it. in need of a nap from our rigorous shopping excursion,  we returned home to regroup. in place of a nap, we settled for another episode of laguna beach and an outfit change before we were on the road again en route for dinner. and it was a good thing, too -we were starving!

with rain, rain, not going away, the pharmacy’s quaint twinkle-light-adorned porch was closed, making the restaurant’s main room quite crowded when we arrived. but in true nash fashion (or maybe it’s just B fashion, she is just so darn popular, y’all), we passed the wait time for a table by chatting with some of B’s friends who had also come to get their burger fix. even crazier was the fact that two of the guys and i have a mutual friend from USC. forget that whole six degrees to kevin bacon nonsense. these days it’s more like two degrees. and then replace kevin bacon with nearly everyone i know. 2,000 miles away from home and i still manage to find someone that knows someone i know. anyway, after reveling in the whole mutual friend craziness for a few minutes, a table had opened up and B and i, as well as our other dining companions, the bubbly A & M, were seated thereafter. we inhaled our burgers -the real deal for the other ladies, a black bean version (holy yum) for me -and managed to creep on the adorable children at the adjacent table, too. following our meal, we exchanged our goodbyes before B and i returned home to wait for A & C to pick us up for the movie.

if you haven’t seen 42 yet, i highly suggest that you do. harrison ford reminds us yet again why he’s one of the greats and newcomer, chadwick boseman, who plays jackie himself, is electric. and he has the most amazing eyelashes. seriously, i was so distracted by them for almost the entire 128 minutes. also, not only are two grey’s anatomy characters in the film, but BILLY RIGGINS basically plays billy riggins as one of robinson’s dodgers teammate. gah.

sunday morning was met with sleep in our eyes but minimal rain in the skies, so we celebrated the arrival of cinco de mayo with a coffee from frothy before heading over to midtown fellowship for sunday service. seeing as this trip marked my fourth in the country music capital, following the sermon, i was able to visit with acquaintances i had met on one of the three prior visits. but when the hangry monster started to rear his ugly head, B and i headed over to sam & zoe’s for what they claimed to be the “best oatmeal in town.” turns out, it was pretty darn delicious. maybe not the best in town (in all fairness, i’ve only ever had the oatmeal from frothy, but that, too is delicious so basically i am nowhere qualified to confirm this lofty claim), but satisfying and mapley and scrumptious nonetheless.

after we filled our bellies, we ventured to trader joe’s (be still my heart) to fill B’s refrigerator, then returned home for a few more netflix goodies. after polishing off the entire first season of laguna beach, we moved on to a bravo gem –kell on earth. and after we had watched kelly cutrone and her gang manage fashion shows and make questionable hair color choices, we met C for some cinco de mayo-appropriate cuisine. and by that i mean, we went to chipotle. hey, anyone can go to a mexican restaurant and wait 19235920492347809 minutes for a table and a mediocre meal. we knew better, plus, hi, chipotle is delicious. and cost effective. and opting for a burrito bowl over lettuce (as opposed to a burrito bowl in a tortilla which would basically be just a burrito, right?) ensured that i would have room for sweet cece’s for dessert. because nothing says congratulations mexico for winning that battle like cake batter frozen yogurt. yum.

following our feast, we dropped off C, said our goodbyes (sad face), and retired back to the homestead for an episode of hart of dixie and greek. trying to ward off the inevitable, i begrudgingly set my alarm for an ungodly hour before packing up my suitcase and climbing into bed. how was the weekend already over? wasn’t it just friday and i was running out of the double doors at the airport to greet B at curbside pickup?

doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo. that was the sound of my alarm sounding off at ten ’til five a.m. alerting me that it was time to depart from slumberville in exchange for BNA international airport. barely functioning and in desperate need of a venti anything caffeinated, we piled into the prius en route for the airport. then i blinked and we were there and i was forced to leave B’s side for a morning full of cross-country travel. i gave her a bear hug and thanked her profusely for her hospitality. lucky for me, the sting of returning back to san diego (and subsequently, back to reality) was softened with the knowledge that come september, i would be in nashville once again for my annual conference for work. and for more shenanigans of the B & S variety.

so nash, you may have been rainy and a bit colder than expected, but despite all that, you did me well yet again. thanks again for taking such good care of my best friend. and for stealing a bit more of my heart each and every time i venture into your city limits. see you in the fall (if not sooner!).

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