Vulgar Vintage Deux

In the most recent round of my newest favorite flea market habit, we have the second installment of Vulgar Vintage!

These ladies’ bad-ass expressions just spoke to me and evoked the spirit of a dear friend I met in my hardest year of grad school.

I was slumped over my internship desk, quietly bemoaning my fate, when this fine woman drug herself into the office, obviously having seen better days. She sent one of our undergrad minions to the corner store: “OJ and a Vitamin Water, STAT.”

The unwitting UMass student scuttled away, quickly returning with the sought out beverages. Taking the OJ, this specimen of the human spirit chugged the OJ, slammed it down and yelled “COLLEGE! …I’ve always wanted to say that.”

She then picked herself up, dusted herself off, and managed a full day of refugee resettlement without batting an eye. No easy task.

This one, is for you.

Vulgar Vintage

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The Art of the Everyday – February 26: Handmade, idle hands are the devil’s playground. This one’s for you, Aly!

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Jammin

I’ve never taken a “vacation” as an adult.

In the sense that whenever I’ve taken time off it’s been for seeing family, active “traveling” (different category than vacationing), or a reunion, wedding or some other event.

When P suggested this trip (and bought the tickets) I was elated – for obvious rum-related reasons. But also because I could just sit. On a beach. And do….nothing.

I never really got why that sounded so good until now. And that’s exactly what we did.

As I watch the snow (again), I wish I was back in that water…

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The Art of the Everyday – February 18: Offbeat, Outside and in Jamaica!

Watching the World Go By

IMG_8652I love watching people watch people.

Meta, I know.

When P and I were traveling in 2011, we found this group of old men in Lake Ohrid, Macedonia that had it down to a science. Non-obtrusive, not particularly noticeable, but ever-present, watching, chuckling, commenting.

We passed by them multiple times a day, and they always seemed so content. I would say a small ‘hello’ (in English) and invariably they would all peer up at me, until one got the courage say ‘Alo!’ amidst the grins of his peers.

In the plaza they were surrounded by bars, cafes, chicken rotisseries and a mobile donut vendor (I can’t even mention this without salivating – best. donuts. ever.). People would swirl about them, heading out for a meal, home from work or on their way to one of the lakeside dance clubs.

As we sat at our favorite outdoor bar table, we would watch them obviously needle each other, laughing. Sometimes making a small comment to a passerby, or just sitting in comfortable silence – watching.

It was not their leisure I envied so much, but their perfect niche in their corner of the world.

A perfect seat to watch day pass to night, children pass to adulthood, and the moon rise over their town.

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The Art of the Everyday – February 14: Travel Dispatch – reflections from traipses about the globe.

 

 

Week of Happy: Star Trek Day

Captain-Janeway-captain-janeway-fan-club-10921140-1188-1498

Voyager is so underrated. Sure, sure, DS9 has the international relation/ethnic war/intertwined universes/gods going for it; TNG is just classic; and The Original started it all, (we’re not gunna touch Enterprise people, let it lie), but Voyager has Janeway.

As a young girl I used to love watching her be a strong, disciplined leader – and a woman! Raised by a TNG Trekkie, I’ve loved sci-fi and fantasy from the first time my dad read me The Hobbit. As my fellow nerdgirls can attest, there is a sad dearth of awesome women, let alone in lead roles, in most of the genre.

I think this tide is turning, but nothing can replace those 90s afternoons rushing home to squeeze in an episode if my mom wasn’t paying attention (no TV on school nights!).

If nothing else, that hair! And her hand acting is phenomenal.

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The Art of the Everyday – February 2: Week of Happy – Enjoy this series of simple (and some not so simple) things that make me happy while I’m on vacation!

Week of Happy: Beach Day

Luckily, for this vacation in particular, one of the chief things that makes me happy is the ocean.

I’ve been a diver since age 14, my dad is a SCUBA instructor, and my favorite, most calming place in the world, to date, is Grand Cayman.

Sea turtles, people. Sea turtles.

A really great perk of parents who love the Caribbean is you get drug along on family vacations – one in high school and one in 2007.

The first time we were on Grand Cayman in 2002, my dad and I got back late from diving and went out to dinner, just the two of us, since my brother and mom had already eaten.

Our condo was within walking distance of a great restaurant with a platform on the beach, where we chose to have dinner next to the ocean, under the stars. Beyond some great conk and calamari, I ordered my normal (for vacation) virgin pina colada. 

Thinking I was older, and just respecting US drinking law, the waiter said: “Riiiight, ‘virgin.'” My dad responded, “Well, yes.” And I happily drank 3.

As I twirled back to our condo, running in and out of the small surf, we both burst out laughing. Say hello to my first time drinking – dosed by a too kind waiter, with my dad, reveling at how AMAZING everything was.

I dug up some of my favorite photos from my last time to the islands…I can’t wait to see what we discover this time.

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The Art of the Everyday – February 1: Week of Happy – Enjoy this series of simple (and some not so simple) things that make me happy while I’m on vacation!

Week of Happy

I’m so done.

And I’m LEAVING.

No, like really. My amazing, glorious, unexpectedly surprising partner got us tickets to JAMAICA.

In honor of this much needed (oh, so, so needed) escape from the ice, I’m prepping a Week of Happy that will post while we’re gone!

It’s pretty much going to be this in reverse:

So, first things first, I’m going to watch Cool Runnings. Obviously. Where’s a Blockbuster when you need one?

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The Art of the Everyday – January 31: Week of Happy – Enjoy this series of simple (and some not so simple) things that make me happy while I’m on vacation!

Mistakes

Right now I am a rotisserie chicken. Slow rotations and all.

With a low of -20f last night, the shock of return from the temperate PNW has been a bit harsh. A morning of hauling and (very badly) splitting firewood for our wood stove heating system led me to sit as close as humanly possible to it and turn as soon as I can’t take the heat to let my other side in on the action.

I expect to be fully warm…never.

Yet, needs as they are, I thought I should go to town to run some errands. Bad idea.

Yes, I know its kind of snowing, yes I know we’re supposed to get a foot overnight. But I thought: It’s fine, the Prius has studded snow tires, gets out of my psychotically steep driveway like a champ.

Sigh.

Mistake #1 of 2014: I am now waiting for TripleA.

And hoping to, at some point, regain the feeling in my fingertips [it is SUPER hard to type when you can’t feel your fingertips, FYI].

After the frantic digging, the phone call to P, the tears (couldn’t help it), I am just waiting.

Waiting, trying not to worry, and finding some solace in thinking that maybe this is what Neil meant?

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.

You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before.

Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

~ Neil Gaiman

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The Art of the Everyday, January 2. Resolved: Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?

Dispatch this week to Katya!

Francisco!

Guys. Guys.

It’s CHRISTMAS.

Sparkles. Glitter. Dead Trees. Tributes to Freyr.

I am so into it.

I didn’t really do a lot this year (okay, yes, I’m currently drinking Bailey’s on ice, by the crackling wood stove and festive tree, listening to the Nutcracker on the radio…) but for some reason my first “solo” Christmas, with just P and I, feels different.

Despite the fact that by purchasing new board games, I may have had my identity stolen from Target (think they’ll take the student loans?), I am amped about this winter season.

This was a huge year. A year I could’ve never expected and one I’m definitely okay leaving behind.

So much about this year, and this blog (happy almost-year-aversary!), has changed me. I lost deeper than I knew how, and then I lost deeper again, I finally gained some literal and metaphorical space, and just sat for a while to think. 

And I don’t know where I’m going.

You know what?

That’s okay.

At 28, I guess I’m supposed to have it sorted, but I don’t. And I’m happy.

Strike that, joyous. In a way I think I’ve found at least a little slice of peace. (And gin.)

I guess you’re traditionally supposed to wait for the new year to make ‘resolutions’, but this will be the first in a series of looking back/looking forward, as I think deeply and excitedly about how to write better, ponder better, do better.

I’m oh so glad you’re along for the ride.

***

Sara, this one’s for you.

 

I Think That Field is on Fire

I hate Kosovo.

Let’s be clear here: I do not hate Kosovars, I have no quibble with their independence, I honestly don’t know enough to make a judgement (although my eighth grade self somewhat remembers coverage interfering with TGIF).

But, this country almost killed me.

Or at the very least almost left me abandoned in a thunderstorm in a border town with Montenegro after over 10 hours in a combination of buses, taxis and some guy’s car.

One of the most amazing things about traveling overland, or at all, in somewhat more bizarre locales is the spontaneity of discovering things off the beaten path. It’s an amazingly thrilling task, using nothing but hand motions and horrible butchering of locations’ names, to get where you need to go.

Part of my partner P and I’s three-month trip through the former Yugoslavia was built on this adventure, and over a month in we thought we had it down.

Leaving rural Montenegro was hard enough, but once we got to a bus station, we were sure it was smooth sailing. When the bus just stopped and everyone got off at the border, however, we knew we were in a bit of trouble. Whether through our mistake or theirs, we didn’t understand that although we got the bus that says it goes to Kosovo, the one at the end of the day…doesn’t.

After a bit of not-so-quiet cursing, we figured out we could hail a cab, through the impending storm, up and over the mountain pass and into Kosovo. Done. Fine. The sun was setting.

Stepping out of a cab has never felt so risky. Running into the dark bus station parking lot, getting soaked, I put on my best: ‘Oh God I’m so lost’ slash ‘please play into the gender stereotype of the little lost blonde girl right now’ slash ‘it’s almost 11pm have mercy’ face.

Something motivated me toward two men in suits that were arguing with a driver. Their bus said Pristina. I had to get on this bus. At first, they told me no. Everyone told me no. I turned back to P, almost in tears, when one of the men hollered to us: “COME!”

Okay strange man, let’s go.

So I sat, hugging my huge backpack on my lap, praying that this bus would somehow end up in the right place, and avoiding the bizarre looks of fellow passengers (this was a tour bus on its way back from Germany, I later figured out).

My nerves were jangling and I couldn’t relax. I looked out the window.

There was a field on fire.

We’re talking ON. FIRE. And not a small fire. Acres and acres of flame. I looked around trying to gauge the appropriate response. Finding none, I turned to P to affirm my shock – only to find him happily snoozing away.

After three more hours, not having been asked for any form of payment and wishing the suited men a farewell at some unmarked highway spot, we made it to Pristina and literally jogged to the hostel.

And there, on Avenue Bill Clinton, I looked up, my jaw dropped, and I laughed:

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This post was inspired by today’s Daily Prompt: Share a time when you narrowly avoided disaster. Photographers, artists, poets: show us ESCAPE.

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