Because We’re Ridiculous

There are times when we have way too much fun together.

And there are times when we collect all kinds of blackmail.

 

It’s a great life. ūüėÄ

 

P.S. This is me, not apologizing for the state of our kitchen.

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Five Things

If you’ve ever wondered what other people carry in their pockets, then¬†Everyday Carry¬†is¬†the website you need to read. Above you can see a (somewhat edited, hah) version of what goes about in my purse with me.

An Ode to Alone Time by Stella Blackmon is an interesting guide to being an introvert in New York City.

These Foreign Lands¬†is one of the more beautiful travel blogs I’ve seen in a while. Since a lot of the posts concern Central and South America, it’s particularly interesting to me.

Don’t you just want all these¬†wooden gadgets? I especially love the clock and the keyboard and speakers.

If you ever need an Anne of Green Gables style apology for someone you’ve wronged,¬†this¬†ought to do the trick. I first saw this about eleven or twelve years ago, and now and then it pops back into my memory and begs to be quoted.

 

5 Tips for Finding a Roommate

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  1. Look for a person who has lots of possessions you like,  and is somewhat in your size range. This greatly facilitates the sly transfer of precious articles from her closet to yours when she is not watching.
  2. Find someone who doesn’t like watching sad movies either. That way you can sit on her bed late at night in gales of laughter at the comedies you both enjoy. Bonus points if she likes¬†popcorn enough to not mind the smell, but not so much that she won’t let you eat three-fourths of the bowlful by yourself.
  3. Definitely find a good cook. If you can do that, maybe she will make Indian curries and Amish butter noodles and gourmet salads and if you smile sweetly enough at her, she’ll give you some.
  4. A fellow-adventurer is a huge plus. Day trips to Asheville, flying trips to Pennsylvania, risky rooftop adventures under the stars, long walks in the rain, all these can be had if one can find the exploring type of roommate.
  5. Pick someone who despises conflict just as much as you do. That way, you can work in the same office, have the same group of friends, go to the same church, and live in the same house without many skirmishes. In fact, you can even do all of the above and remain great friends! My roomie = proof.

How Gratitude Works

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Gratitude is a funny thing. Contrary to how it seems it should be, it seems that the more luxuries a person has, the less thankfulness comes with them. There are many stories already written about this subject, about poor people dressed in rags who were as happy as could be, and kings slouching sullenly in their wealth-encrusted palaces. However, gratitude is a subject people can always stand to hear more of, am I right? The following stories are not about kings and paupers, but rather, things that happened to me to make me more grateful than usual.

 

One night in Mexico on our bus trip, we were so very hot and sweaty and miserable. We hadn’t found a good place to shower for several days, if I recall correctly, and the mosquitoes were bad and the smell was probably worse. We tried to park our bus at a gas station for the night, but were turned away by the owner, so we drove a little farther and found a place that would let us stay. And oh, wonder of wonders, this place had a SHOWER! It didn’t look like much- just a gray cement cubicle with a shower head protruding from the middle of the ceiling, but let me tell you what, it was heavenly. Tepid water poured from the huge shower head, just the right temperature from sitting in its rooftop tank to cool us down without being miserably cold, and gushing in such large quantities one could hardly breathe underneath it. We were refreshed, body and soul, and that night we slept well. To this day, that counts as the best shower I have ever had.

 

I’ve been living in a downtown apartment, as you know, which is lovely, as you also know. What was less lovely is that the kitchen came equipped with one. whole. drawer. Who even does that? We merrily stuffed the one drawer with all the necessary drawer equipment, until not too long ago, when my¬†roommate¬†had the brilliant idea to put a dresser in a corner of the kitchen, and now we have SEVEN drawers! Luxury, I say.

 

When we first moved back to Erandique, we had about 2 little pickups full of our belongings, including our furniture. Obviously, that didn’t leave much room for such frivolities as couches and bread knives and mirrors. We sat on a bed in the living room, cut our bread with a machete, and looked at ourselves in kettle lids. But then one day we stumbled across something in our trash-filled courtyard. Pieces of a broken mirror! We were delighted, because after all, kettle lids don’t give the¬†best self-impression. As Sharon put it, and as we quoted for many months after, “We are SO RICH!”

 

After using an iPhone with a smashed screen for months, switching to one with just one crack across the screen is such luxury. I can read my crossword puzzle clues again! My fingers don’t get caught in the web of cracks when I scroll down! On a completely unrelated note, anybody wanna buy an old iPhone with a cracked screen? (Subtlety is my strong point.)

 

So there you have it- a few small things that just made my day. Tell me about you; what seemingly insignificant things stand out in your memory as being big causes for gratitude?

Last Throes of Summer

I love fall with an unreasonable love, not dissimilar to a fifteen-year-old crush. Everything about it, the scarves and boots, the crunchy and colorful leaves, the moody gray weather and the sparkly blue and orange days so beautiful it hurts, the chilly evenings that call for chunky sweaters…oh yes, bring it on!

August is not fall. I get that. It has an ugly birthstone, often the worst pictures in the whole calendar, is just hot on and on and on, and the world is just wilty and tired in August. My birthday is in August, and that golden day is pretty much the only thing that saves August from melancholy and despair. That, and the fact that August is followed by September. It’s like the dark before the dawn. I can forgive the dark, and even love it a little, because I know the dawn comes next.

I feel like the above blurb could pretty much have been written about me. Probably much to the annoyance of all my summer-loving friends who are mourning the swift passage of time, I am over here just pretending that we are on the very cusp of autumn. After all, August is practically over, and then comes September, and once it comes, I can breathe deep with the knowledge that my favorite time of year has come. I tell you, not complaining about the weather is so much easier when I love it. ūüôā

George Eliot said it much better than I can.¬†“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns.”

So here’s to the fresh breath of air that is coming soon, just wait. Cheers!

Birthday Special

Since it’s my birthday, I thought I would ¬†bore you to tears¬†interest you with twenty-five random bits of trivia concerning me.

PC to Lyn, and to the perfect Florida sunset
  1. Teaching school was on the list of jobs I did not want for quite some time. Then I did it at a little school in Illinois, I don’t even quite know why, and it¬†turned out to be one of the best years of my life.
  2. This year I am attempting to do twenty-five interesting¬†things I’ve never done before, in honor of turning twenty-five. So far, right on track, with a few of the items on the list being seeing Charleston and the Biltmore for the first time, getting my HiSET finally¬†finished, learning to waltz a little, coaxing a smile from the smileless neighbor, and living in an apartment in town.
  3. Before I was born I was called “Cactus Pete”, because there was the chance I would be born in the Mexican desert on the way up from Honduras. Sadly, I was not.
  4. Two best fruits in the world? Pomegranate and passion fruit.
  5. I think tall-girl jokes are hilarious, and even better are the comebacks for people who make cliche comments about tallness.
  6. Giraffes are the best. My spirit animal. And yes, that’s probably a tall-girl clich√©, but so be it. Seriously though, have you seen how adorable their lumpy heads are?
  7. There’s no better way to spend a Saturday than by roaming a city’s downtown, trying out all the best food and people-watching and architecture-admiring. Of course, this must also be accompanied by long stretches in a coffee shop or two.
  8. I rearrange furniture rather obsessively. This results in my room frequently being in a state of upheaval. But…but, it’s such fun! It’s fortunate I have kind neighbors underfoot.
  9. Last time I was in Honduras, I got stung on the head by a black wasp, turning my face into a massive, swollen, round orb. By the time I went back to Erandique where people know me, it had reduced to the point where I just looked nice and chubby. Of course the first person I met that I knew commented on how I’ve gained weight! Tan bella! Sigh.
  10. I love etymologies and good (or bad) puns.
  11. Kids’ books are the best. I think they take exceptional talent, because the books have to appeal both to the children who read them, and the adults who buy them. And more often than in adult books, the illustrations are superb.
  12. Working in the pharmacy at the clinic we had in Honduras was one of the more interesting jobs I ever had. I got to see everything from gruesome machete gashes, to pus-filled sores and cysts, to small surgeries, and even a birth.
  13. One of my heroines is my mother. She’s just the greatest combination of depth and wit and shocking comments and wisdom and strength and good cooking. Also hard work. My goodness, can she work.
  14. When I’m in a crowd, the best place to be is tucked into a corner where I can watch everyone. Part of my introversion, I suppose.
  15. I love boxes and baskets and cubbyholes. It’s true. I guess that makes me kind of like a cat.
  16. Dumpster diving is just my cup of tea. And I guess that makes me kind of like a homeless person, but man, it’s so risky and just a little bit scary in spots and such fun!
  17. I have ten nieces and nephews whom I adore, and in my opinion, aunthood is the best kind of almost-parenting. I can enjoy them all I want, then send them home at the end of the day. Perfect. ūüôā
  18. I’m not usually all that adventurous when it comes to things like heights and athletic things, but riding a zipline over the Copper Canyon was one of the better¬†afternoons of my life.
  19. Almost all of my siblings had some major upheaval, like moving, when they were thirteen. And when I was thirteen, we continued the tradition and moved to Erandique, Honduras, where we spent the next five years.
  20. I have lived about a fourth of my life outside of the United States. I think it might be time to up that percentage again, as it’s lowering with my aging.
  21. Pretty much my favorite thing to do in Erandique was the daily jaunt to the high school cancha, where I would play basketball with the other young people that collected there, or have jolly conversation with non-players while watching the game.
  22. I also love watching soccer. Goooo Messi!
  23. Speaking of soccer, the only bone I ever broke was a toe, broken against my unfortunate sister-in-law’s shin during barefoot soccer. She had a bruise to match mine, and I still have a crooked toe.
  24. I hate goodbyes with people I’m not done seeing. I think it’s largely a result of years of constant goodbyes in Honduras- goodbyes to all the people who came to visit us, and the inevitable goodbyes clouding each visit back to North Carolina.
  25. Nothing finishes out a Sunday evening better than a cup of mint tea, a massive bowl of popcorn to share, and pickles.

Joy and Sorrow

The relationship between these two is something I’ve often thought about, and sometimes hated, even while grudgingly understanding that it must be so. But Kahlil Gibran explains the necessity of their intertwining¬†so much better than I can.

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“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

 

Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow,’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

 

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.”

-Kahlil Gibran

Five Links I Loved

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  1. White Winter Hymnal by Pentatonix is such fun to jam out to in the car. Does anyone want to learn that clapping with me? That certainly takes childhood clapping games to a whole new level.
  2. Spicy pork cooked in Dr. Pepper. I know it sounds weird, but it’s seriously good. Once the pork is finished, use the broth to cook rice, and try not to die of happiness while you eat it.
  3. I’ve been doing this quiz¬†on repeat for the last couple months or so. Try it and let me know how you do. I still can’t ever quite get all the countries, but I’m getting better than my first miserable attempt.
  4. Aww Yeah! My new favorite response to public displays of affection.
  5. This home tour is just swoon-worthy, most especially the kitchen. Seriously, those rows of jars are enough to make any organizer heart-happy.