Tuesday, May 31

30 day challenge: Five items you lust after

Day 19: Five items you lust after

1. Fancy SLR camera

2. Puppy (this exact one, please)

3. Ceiling-to-floor wooden bookcases

4. Expensive shoes (this is a new development)

5. Treehouse big enough for grown-ups

I should be on my final leg of travel!  Another day or so and I'll be here again. Life is good.

Monday, May 30

30 day challenge: Something you're proud of

Day 17: Something[s] you're proud of

I'm proud of my friends because they're fun, interesting, and devoted and we're friends even though we live far apart. 

I'm proud of my parents for not just letting me do interesting things but being positive and supportive too. And I'm proud of myself for getting through college and doing interesting things. 

Oh, and I'm proud of the fact that I'm a decent driver now. Four years ago, getting behind the wheel scared the crap out of me.  And now I'm driving thousands of miles cross country.  Fears can be conquered!

On that note, I'm selling my car in a couple of months. Let me know if you're interested in a 2006 Honda Civic with around 50,000 miles.

30 day challenge: Something you think "what if" about

Day 16: Something you think "what if" about

I'm pretty anti-dwelling on the past in a regrets-focused or otherwise negative way. But every once in awhile I wonder how things would be different if I had gone to NYU or Emory or Vanderbilt instead of Auburn. 

I think it's safe to say I wouldn't have spent a year in Australia. I might've studied something besides English and history. I think I would've had a more conventional post-graduation experience --- maybe a job or grad school right away. That being said, if I had studied at one of those schools, I probably wouldn't have met my Australian friends or spent two months in Guatemala. I wouldn't be working a second summer in Wyoming or moving back to England.

I wish we had a hundred lives to play with some of the possibilities. 

Friday, May 27

On the road again!

Exhausted from packing for my week road trip, packing for Wyoming, packing for England, for shipping to Europe, for temporary storing, and for long term storing... AGH. However!  I've managed to write some short 30 day challenge posts to keep things alive while I'm traveling north and west. Here's the first one:

Day 9: How important you think education is

If you're well-educated, you'll probably: have more money, have more choices, be left of center politically, get married later (decreasing your chances of divorce), and other good things I can't remember off the top of my head. Education is good, important, and something I've taken for granted. We need good schools if we want productive, well-rounded, and most importantly, happy and healthy citizens. 

On the other hand, "too much" education can mess with your mind. Too many choices can freak you out. I really love this saying (anyone know where it's from?):

"Intelligence [or, lots of education] is like four-wheel drive. It only allows you to get stuck in more remote places." 

I had a great week hanging out with family --- hopefully I'll get a chance to write about that soon. Right now it's time for breakfast and hastily throwing random unpacked items in my car. I'm headed to St. Louis tonight, Minneosota tomorrow, and I should roll into the Tetons sometime next Thursday.

Hope everyone has a good week! 

Friday, May 20

North, west, east

This is my last week in Alabama for a few months! I'll be sifting through stuff, packing, and visiting with folks --- also one of my good friends from elementary school is getting married!  I haven't been to a wedding in a long time.

Last week I heard back from my NYC interview and I'm in!  I've decided to fully pursue this UK option, which means over the next month or so I'll be interviewing with different companies in London. Hopefully I'll find a good fit. Then it's all about visa and plane ticket getting!

Bonus feature: Shelley got accepted and to my delight has decided to move to London, too. Of course, Shelley or no Shelley, I'm overjoyed about London because Dave's there and I love England and I'm ready to work at a real job. If you'd asked me five years ago if I'd happily move back to the UK, I'd have said "YES!  But that's probably not going to happen." Surprise surprise.

But it'll be extra great with Shelley around. I feel incredibly blessed to have such good friends. And I feel extra incredibly blessed to have them in my daily life after high school and college are over. (Speaking of these people, Hannah's 23rd birthday is today!  Celebration!)

I finished Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Committed" this week and she writes about us building intimacy by sharing stories at nighttime. Mostly she's writing about romantic relationships and marriage, but her words remind me of friendship, too:

"This is intimacy: the trading of stories in the dark."

I spent awhile remembering the many times I've stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning just talking with my friends. In a tent on a rainy night. Wandering around, lost, in a big city. On the couch long after the movie ended. On overnight buses.

Real friendship.  It's good stuff.

Tuesday, May 17

Quickly before my computer dies...

My sister sent me a beautiful passage by Richard Brautigan a few weeks ago. I'd never heard of the guy, but I loved the passage so much I checked out of a couple of his books and am about to finish "Trout Fishing in America."  If you want a short, pretty weird (and sometimes laugh out loud from the weirdness) read, I recommend it. Anyway, I thought I'd share the beautiful passage --- it's posted all over the internet.

I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone

"I was trying to describe you to someone a few days ago. You don't look like any girl I've ever seen before.

I couldn't say 'Well she looks just like Jane Fonda, except that she's got red hair, and her mouth is different and of course, she's not a movie star...'

I couldn't say that because you dont look like Jane Fonda at all.

I finally ended up describing you as a movie I saw when I was a child in Tacoma Washington. I guess I saw it in 1941 or 42, somewhere in there. I think I was seven, or eight, or six.

It was a movie about rural electrification, a perfect 1930's New Deal morality kind of movie to show kids. The movie was about farmers living in the country without electricity. They had to use lanterns to see by at night, for sewing and reading, and they didn't have any appliances like toasters or washing machines, and they couldn't listen to the radio. They built a dam with big electric generators and they put poles across the countryside and strung wire over fields and pastures.

There was an incredible heroic dimension that came from the simple putting up of poles for the wires to travel along. They looked ancient and modern at the same time.

Then the movie showed electricity like a young Greek god, coming to the farmer to take away forever the dark ways of his life. Suddenly, religiously, with the throwing of a switch, the farmer had electric lights to see by when he milked his cows in the early black winter mornings. The farmer's family got to listen to the radio and have a toaster and lots of bright lights to sew dresses and read the newspaper by.

It was really a fantastic movie and excited me like listening to the Star Spangled Banner, or seeing photographs of President Roosevelt, or hearing him on the radio '... the President of the United States...'

I wanted electricity to go everywhere in the world. I wanted all the farmers in the world to be able to listen to President Roosevelt on the radio....

And that's how you look to me."

Saturday, May 14

30 day challenge: what you ate today

Day 8: what you ate today

How about yesterday?

For breakfast I had oatmeal. Then I ate various kinds of sandwiches while I was at work. Then around midnight, I couldn't sleep and the only food I had was some apple-smoked cheese and cinnamon rolls with a 2008 expiration date. When I opened the canister, some of the cinnamon cracked (cinnamon can crack?  apparently so.) and fell off the rolls and the frosting was hard. I cooked them anyway. They burned. I ate them anyway... after an appetizer of cheese. It may sound gross, but old cinnamon rolls and expensive cheese cure insomnia, I promise.

Tonight?  Thai food.

Friday, May 13

30 day challenge: music & pet peeves

Day 6: your views on mainstream music

I just wrote three paragraphs on my views on mainstream music. For your convenience, I'll delete the mini treatise and summarize:

It's really hard to be original these days. (I guess it's always been hard to be original, but now we have the internet, so we can't even kid ourselves.) Sometimes I drop an obscure band name, sometimes I sheepishly turn down my volume at stop lights if I'm rocking out to Britney's Baby One More Time. But whatever, you know?  If you like a song or a band, great.  Enjoy it. Life is short.

Day 7: five pet peeves

1. Wet paper of any kind, especially on restaurant tables or in bathrooms.
2. Blowing your nose at the table.
3. Calling your significant other "babe."
4. Flight attendants telling me to open my window for take off or landing. WHY?
5. Cats roaming freely wherever I'm sleeping.

Thursday, May 12

Curry & bridges

On Saturday, I went to Winfield and we took family photos. They turned out pretty good!

Then I went to NYC and interviewed for a London internship. The interview went well... Shelley and I ate some tasty curry and walked across Brooklyn Bridge... and I had lots of fun catching up with my friend Michael who I haven't seen in four years.

I need to finish packing up my apartment before work.  I hate packing. But I love summertime.

Friday, May 6

Try new things: bangs

I'm done with Auburn University forever!

Also, I got a pretty drastic hair cut yesterday. Finally. I'd been wanting to do something risky with my hair for over a year, but I'd never gotten around to it. So last week I decided I was going to get long dramatic bangs, even though they might look awful and would most definitely require daily upkeep. My motivating thought: if I can live in the Guatemalan jungle for two months, I can experiment with my hair. And now I have long dark trendy bangs!

I took this photo an hour after leaving the salon, and they'll probably never look this respectable again... they were all over the place when I woke up this morning. And I don't know what I'm going to do when I wash my hair.  I guess I should buy a hair dryer and a brush or something?  I'm such a grown up.

Happy Friday!

Monday, May 2

The world is a weird place.

Here are three things I like.

[edited on Tuesday, May 3 to correct the MLK quote]

Quote by Martin Luther King Jr. 

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

"Prince Harry, in a suit, holding a puppy."
(For aesthetically-pleasing comic relief during these serious times.)

via my sister's Facebook, via Pinterest

Day 5: A book you love.
John Irving's "A Prayer For Owen Meany" 

If you haven't read it, do. I recommend it to everyone. It's both weird and conventional. The characters are real, it makes me laugh out loud, and it says meaningful stuff about growing up, family, faith, friendship, war, and the supernatural.