Friday, July 23, 2010

Things I Love Thursday


I don't know about you, but I really enjoy announcing that upon returning home.  It can be said so many ways: exuberantly, ominously, defiantly....etc. I really just love shouting it as though I'm returning from a decade-long journey of curing disease in Africa, even if I really only went to get the mail. If you really want to make things interesting, try exclaiming it when you reach a place you've never been before. It will introduce the element of mystery to your character...

Tangent aside, I'm back from a glorious two-week safari in Europe. Hey, safaris aren't just reserved for Africa. Rather than delve into that here, let us return to our regularly scheduled programing. I promise I have many a post up my sleeve about my adventures.

Things I Love this Thursday:

(1) PG Tips - The most common brand of tea that the English drink. To them, it's swill made from the leftover trimmings swept off the floor but to me, it's the elixir of the gods! The really posh drink Twinings or Harrison and Crossfield but a cuppa PG is good enough for me. Purchased a small box from Whole Foods upon my return to the States. I die of happiness.

(2) Wide open plains - I have a new appreciation for the vast tracts of farm land that characterize Indiana. I joke as much as the next guy about the giant cornfield that is my home state but it has seeped into my soul to the point where I crave it after weeks spent on tiny roads in cramped cities. There is nothing startling or dramatic about the landscape here.  The gentle rise of the land, the rows and rows of green stalks,  and the quiet sprawl of farm buildings are comforting in their uniformity and familiarity.  Driving away from the airport, I find myself unconsciously relaxing as these scenes come into view.

(3) The zoo - I used to be against zoos. This is part of my checkered past as a closet treehugger. I thought it was cruel to cage the animals in unnatural environments merely for the purpose of allowing selfish humans to ogle them at will. 
Ok that's only 20% of my anti-zoo perspective. I just can't lie to your sweet, trusting faces! Mostly I was against zoos because my family only seemed to visit them on the most sweltering, uncomfortable summer days. Us and hundreds of whiny, bothersome schoolchildren who did rude things like leave their ice cream cones melting on the ground for me to step in. And all the animals would do is lie in their enclosures and give us baleful, disgruntled looks.
But recently I've come to enjoy the zoo experience. We still manage to pick the most impossibly hot days to visit, but I really appreciate the diversity of animals found there. You have your pedestrian, run of the mill lions, tigers, and bears but then you have exotic, unusual creatures such as the Ibex and the Red Panda. What it comes down to is my high level of interest in animals and my high level of interest in having a fence/reinforced steel cage between me and them. The zoo is a happy compromise.

(4)  Blogging old school - Aka keeping a journal. While on the grand tour, I had access to a computer all of twice so it meant all my chitter chatter had to be recorded analog, a la my trusty Moleskine notebook. Many snippets to be shared here forthwith.

(5) Converse One Star bags - You can have your Louis Vuitton and your Prada and your Balenciaga. I'll keep my slowly growing collection of Converse One Star fake leather handbags from Target, thankyouverymuch. They are soft, roomy, and sturdy. My black carryall toted my stuff across the Atlantic and back. What more can you ask for?

Don't actually own this one. Though I totally wish I did.

So basically, this is the most random collection of things to throw at you but all the other things I've loved these past three weeks are tied up in stories of intrigue and adventure. You'll see...

I hope you loved your Thursday.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Au Revoir! Arrivederci! Auf Wiedersehen!


Today I'm headed to Europe for what promises to be a lovely, whirlwind vacation. One week in the UK to see my dear cousin Lindsey get married to a lovely English chap named Norman, then a one week whistle-stop tour of Amsterdam, Heidelberg, Lucerne, and Paris!  This trip is huge for a number of reasons. First, I've never been to Europe! Second, it will be the last time my whole family will be together for many months. Third, in Lucerne, I will be meeting for the first time a certain family that will be seeing a lot of me in the coming months.

Alright, I'm not one to be vague. I'm bursting to tell you. Want to know what I'm doing after graduation? Here it is: 

Ladies and Gents, I'm taking a year off to colonize the moon! 

Ok, not really.  I'm actually moving to Switzerland, but I felt like that moment needed something bigger than what I could give it. 

Writing it here on my blog is a little anticlimactic, as 95% of my readers are already aware of this situation. But for the two or three of you that don't know, well, there you have it.  This is a huge, life-altering step.  My mind reels when I think about it, and yet, hundreds have done it before. I know I'm not a pioneer by any means, but the significance of the situation is not lost on me. I can hardly wait to meet the family.  I can hardly wait to jump into this brand new experience!

Of course there is much more to be said on that point, but I am hours away from getting on a plane.  I may not be able to post anything while I'm away but I promise promise there will be loads of pictures and stories when I get back.

I must be off! I love you all. As I board the plane, I will turn dramatically at the top step and flutter my handkerchief at my imaginary crowd. Goodbye! Goodbye!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Things I Love Thursday

Summer is finally in full bloom. I feel like I'm right at that point where the days begin to speed up with alarming pace and suddenly I arrive at the end of August with a skinny bank balance, a suitcase full of dirty clothes, scads of photos and a faint tan (which is all my pasty white self will accrue, no matter how many days I spend in the sun).  The trip to Virginia was just the tip of the iceberg. Fortunately, I have spent a pleasant week at home catching my breath before things really get out of hand.
Here's what I'm loving this week:

(1) The perfect summer vacation day - This is the day you dream about when school's in session, you have 80 things to do at work, and it's -12 degrees outside. Tuesday and Wednesday were that day. This is the agenda:
  • Wake up without an alarm and eat $12 cheese for breakfast
  • Spend the entire morning in pajamas doing absolutely nothing
  • Stock up on books at the library with my brothers
  • Skip lunch in favor of milkshakes from Sonic
  • Fall asleep in a deck chair at the neighborhood pool
  • Go shopping with my mom and sister and spend money like I'm playing Monopoly
  • Eat scrambled eggs on toast for supper
  • Bible study
Caution: perfect summer vacation day includes weight gain, buyer's remorse, and a general avoidance of attending to responsibilities. But it also feels really good.

(2) LUSH Solid Shampoo - Shampoo in bar soap form. It's a beautiful marriage of good hygiene, environmental awareness and portability. It's a tiny 2 oz bar that fits into a small round tin. HA! TAKE THAT TSA. I'll bring as much as I want on my next plane trip! Not to mention it works really well. Swipe the bar over your hair in the shower, lather, and rinse. My favorite is Squeaky Green, a mixture of peppermint, rosemary, and nettle. Smells good and perfect for the closet treehugger in you me.  Also, LUSH makes the most amazing-smelling soap ever.  It's called Honey I Washed the Kids and it smells like honey and caramel. Delicious.

(3) My Moleskine planner - If there's anything I've inherited from my father, it's his need for schedules and organization.* (On paper. Anyone who's seen my bedroom knows it doesn't necessarily translate to real life.) I have to have everything written down in one place or else I won't know who I'm supposed to meet where or when or for what.  I recently purchased a ridiculously expensive Moleskine 18-month organizer. Every left page is a schedule of the week and the right page is blank for notes. I have been ecstatically filling in allll my upcoming appointments, travel arrangements, events, etc. It also contains references pages filled with conversion charts, time zone maps, and blank itineraries. Be still, my Type-A heart.

(4) An actual 'Like' stamp - You can buy this. For real.

Other Nubbins
  • Awkward patchy sunburns. Explain to me why my right shoulder and my left kneecap are the only bits that got burned at the pool today. Please.
  • Getting a new pair of Khombu ankle rainboots on the cheap (60% discount anyone?)
  • Riding around town with the windows down in my old '89 Volvo 240. Windows down due to lack of air conditioning. Oh the memories....
  • 75 degree day with ZERO HUMIDITY. A definite rarity here in the Midwest.
  • A medical issue resolving itself without a visit to the doctor. Just because I'm insured again doesn't mean I want to take a chunk out of my deductible to pay for 5 minutes with a nurse and a needle. For those of you know know what I'm talking about, turns out it was a ganglion cyst and not hand cancer.  The hypochondriac in me just fainted onto the chaise lounge out of relief. Too much information for the internet? Hey you're reading my blog. You're pretty much asking for it.
  • Song of the Week: "Meanwhile, Rick James" by Cake
*His Chinese name literally translates to "One Who Plans for the Future":
As written on his business card

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