Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekend Wanderings - Harlem Tour

I had a great weekend, but only took this one weird photo in the dressing room at Old Navy on Sunday. Basically, if you swap out my rain-shoes for moccasins, this is my uniform. Striped shirt, skinny jeans, and moccasins. That is what I wear at least four days a week. Usually more.

Annnnnywho. On Friday, I headed out for happy hour with my coworkers. They have this bar they LOVE, and I'd never been, so it was a lot of fun to catch up with them. I forget how awesome they are. I'm really blessed to work with such incredible people. After that, Roger and I stopped for pizza at a new place that opened in our neighborhood. It was good pizza and a lot more affordable than the places we tend to go, so I think we'll likely be back.

On Saturday, I went for a quick run and then met Mered and Alana for yoga and brunch, which was great. I really like our little Saturday morning routine. After, I met up with a friend from NYU, Gina, to give her a little tour of our neighborhood, since she's thinking about moving. We're almost certainly going to move out when our lease is up in August, and I'm sort of heartbroken at the idea. It's such a great area with so many incredible resources, and we've grown as individuals and as a couple in our first place here. Unfortunately, it's just getting way too expensive for us, and with the heat debacle this year, it's not worth it to stay. So, if you have a neighborhood you love that has affordable rent, let me know!

It was raining, so Gina and I laid out our plans at Double Dutch and then did walked north and stopped in at Old Navy (where I took my weird selfies in the dressing room and Gina bought a lovely bicycle button-down shirt). After that, we decided to head down Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. to get a taste of another part of the neighborhood and stumbled upon what is definitely now my favorite bar, Cantina 1838. The atmosphere was really fun, the other customers were incredibly friendly, and I had one of the best cocktails I've had in ages there. It's really rare for me to go to a bar, and even more rare for me to order a cocktail, so that was lovely! We closed out the evening by meeting Gina's boyfriend and Roger at Zoma for some great Ethiopian.

On Sunday, after my pilates class, I spent most of the day clearing out emails, doing some work, and cooking dinner for the week. It was a nice productive day to close out a fun weekend!

Friday, March 28, 2014

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Recap of this week on Not Intent On Arriving:

  • I was feeling pretty extreme wanderlust at the start of this week. Doing a bit of research into some possible trips soon had helped satiate that a bit, and I'm looking forward to running a little tour of Harlem tomorrow for a friend who is thinking of moving up here soon!
  • This week's Writer Wednesday featured one of my very favorite bloggers and a good friend, Shaelyn Amaio, who blogs about the small and large wonders of our world at Everyday Artifacts.
  • And then yesterday, I went on a mini-adventure through K-town and to see a dress rehearsal of Violet, a new musical that will be up on Broadway in a few weeks.

Writing in other places:
  • Not much this week, but I have a new project I'm going to be helping out with, so I think I'll have more information on that for you all soon!

Looking forward to a Saturday with yoga, a long run, and then touring through Harlem. Sunday I think I'll be laying low and getting some work done. What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Weekday Wanderings - Korea Town and Violet

Earlier this week, Danielle invited me to come see a dress rehearsal of a new musical, Violet, which our friend Beth is working on. We decided to get Korean food in K-Town before the show, and had some delicious bibimbap at Kum Gang San. I'd really like to go one day and actually get some barbeque, but the food was great and I really enjoy that they give you frozen yogurt at the end of the meal. I really love frozen yogurt. Sadly, no one was playing the cliff-piano this time, but maybe next time...

Danielle on a very important business phone call right after dinner.

Many plates of side dishes.

The musical itself was really lively, and tells the story of a girl with a massive facial scar trying to get to a healing preacher to become beautiful. Because it was a dress rehearsal, when there was an error with the audio toward the end of the show, they stopped it, cleared the stage, and fixed the error, which was actually really interesting to see. It was also great to see the show with this particular group of people, since everyone knew someone involved in the production, and so it was a really excited and supportive audience. I'm in awe that we have so many talented friends who give me the opportunity to see things, like this show, that I would never be able to see otherwise!

A really fantastic time. Thanks so much to Danielle for inviting me!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Shaelyn Amaio

Shaelyn is absolutely one of my very favorite people and has been since I started harassing her in 2011 to send me a copy of her thesis on the presentation of history in Disney’s Magic Kingdom-style theme parks around the world.  It then took me almost two years to read.  This is typical of me, and not at all a statement on her work, which is incredible.  Shaelyn finds amazing historical places and anecdotes, and weaves them into brilliant narrative across the internet, but especially on her blog, Everyday Artifacts. [UPDATE: Shaelyn now lives over at Go there now!]  I not so secretly steal a lot of my poem-inspiration from her discoveries.

Who are you? My name is Shaelyn Amaio, and I like to learn cool things and talk about them with other people. I am primarily interested in places of cultural display -- e.g. museums, theme parks, and world's fairs -- and how learning and leisure intersect in human life. Much of my exploration of these themes is through the lens of public history, because I love to think about the past in order to understand the present and imagine the future.

Where can you be found online?  Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work?  If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? I have a few key places where I share stuff that I think is awesome on the intarwebs. The first, and most ephemeral, is Twitter, where I post as @heyshaelyn. I love Twitter, because it's instantaneous and it provides me with a direct connection to a whole bunch of awesome people. It also forces me to maintain an economy of writing that I have really come to love, and which I won't be doing here. So let me throw in a few extra words: blip, cardstock, scenery.

The second place to get a peak inside my brain is on Pinterest, where I'm simply shaelyn. On those frequent occasions that I fall down an internet rabbit hole, I use Pinterest to leave myself a breadcrumb trail. That way, when I look up from my screen in a daze 6 hours later, I have a way to remind myself that I just learned about what the Unisphere looked like while it was being constructed, war cats in hammocks, and 1948 Buick Streamliners. It's also often where I compile research for whatever post I'm working on, so it's like a little sneak peak.

Lastly, I blog. Sometimes I blog more often than other times. I call home, and it's my chance to write more expansively about whatever adventures I've gone on lately, and about whatever I'm thinking about. Until recently, I was living in New York City, so most of my posts are about sights to see there.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging?  When did it happen? I have been lucky to spend the last few years exploring New York City after moving here to start grad school. At first, I hated living there. It was too big, too expensive, too ridiculous. But once I started exploring the city, I came to love it. There are so many layers to the city, and you never know how it will evolve. Whenever I go on vacation somewhere, I devour museums, historic sites, and other cultural attractions as a way to get my bearings. For some reason, we've all decided that's not a thing you do in your own city, to which I say, pffffffft. I hope to inspire people to explore their own cities shamelessly, or to hang out in my old stomping grounds, NYC. One of my favorite things to do is put together itineraries that rely on adjacencies thematically or geographically, so I'd love to help you out if you're stumped.

I only recently came to the realization that many of the things I love to learn about fall under the umbrella of "history." This was a surprise to me, as I never really got excited about history as a school subject – the focus on learning dates and key figures turned me off. In recent years, though, I've realized that all of the best histories are just great stories that you want to tell your friends (or at least I do) and so I started to write about them on the internet. I used to be a museum educator, and I would tell people that success with museum visitors meant being able to tell a really great story about your content (and being able to point people towards the bathrooms at any given moment); that's been true on my blog, too. I've been lucky to connect with people from a wide variety of backgrounds who might not ordinarily engage with cultural or historical (or touristy!) content, but who seem to like my writing. I really enjoy the community and the challenge that blogging presents in that sense.

I've been writing for a while, but I reinvigorated and refocused my blog within the last 6 or 8 months. It's been really fun!

Why do you write? I'm a pretty earnest and enthusiastic learner and sharer, and my husband, friends and coworkers can only take so much.The blog is a chance for me to release the ideas that otherwise just bounce around in my head all day. I'm pretty sure catching that spillover is the whole point of the internet.

Who inspires you? There are too many to list (including Not Intent on Arriving!), but blogs that fall loosely into the same category as mine include Rainey Tisdale's City Stories and Scouting NY. I also love the inimitable Passport to Dreams Old and New, which is the most thought-provoking, nuanced discussion of themed design that I've come across. And for really great multi-media storytelling that is spooky and darkly funny, I can't look away from Scarfolk Council.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? I haven't traveled much, so this is hard! I have always wanted to go to St. Petersburg, though, so let's say that.

What is your favorite place on earth? Can I have two? 1) Flushing-Meadows Corona Park in Queens, the former site of 2 world's fairs and the enduring home of the Unisphere, the Queens Museum, and the New York Mets (3 of my favorite things!). 2) A particular stairway up from the 5th Ave/59th Street stop on the N/Q/R subway lines; you're right on the edge of Central Park, and walking out of the tunnel to see the treetops and sky above you never fails to make me grin.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I've just moved to Montgomery, Alabama, which is totally new to me! I've been a little slow in getting out an exploring (unpacking is a beast, man!), so if anyone has any suggestions or must-sees in the southern US, please let me know!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Switzerland, 2007

After a pretty nice weekend, I had a terrible day yesterday, for many reasons. It felt like nothing was going right and I desperately wanted to get out of the office and into some fresh air, except that the fresh air was freezing. Winter still hasn't ended. The only bright point in the day was Roger bringing home flowers and a chocolate bar I always comment on in the grocery store. It was an extreme bright point. I wanted to cry, seeing him walking down the hallway with those roses.

I'm feeling tremendous wanderlust lately. I think some of it must be this winter, trapped inside and still cold, and some of it must be reading the blogs of people who are on extended trips. I want it so badly.

I remember coming home and lifeguarding the summer after I traveled around Europe, and talking to one of the fathers who had brought his kids down to the lake to play. "You'll always have those memories," he told me. "One day, you'll be up at 3am rocking a crying baby to sleep, and you'll be remembering the time you went to Turkey. It's something you'll always have."

Friday, March 21, 2014

{This Moment} St. Patrick's Day Edition

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Recap of this week on Not Intent On Arriving:

  • On Monday, I talked about my nice quiet weekend (hopefully I'll have another one of those coming up this evening!). 
  • On Tuesday, I wrote a brief post about a memory that came to me seemingly out of no where - driving home from a lovely event in 2008.
  • Writer Wednesday featured an incredible poet, Amanda McConnon, who is also a dear friend.
  • And then yesterday, I wrote a bit about how I spent the first day of spring, which was lovely, if not warm.

Writing in other places:

I'm not feeling particularly well today, so I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend of healing. It's supposed to be rather warm on Saturday, so I'm looking forward to going to yoga, and depending on how I'm feeling, I might go on my long run outside. What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Intentional Living This Spring

Basically, today has been the perfect first day of Spring, even if it's still a little chilly. (I was able to wear my light winter coat though, so that must count for something!)

I woke up and, on the suggestion of Erin, did my first Morning Pages routine, which was wonderful. I mentioned it on Instagram, and my friend Abba emailed me a few hours later to say she's had good luck with The Artist's Way, so I'm hoping this helps me too, since I've been embarrassed to admit how poorly my writing has been going lately. It wasn't easy to wake up and do it, but it was nice to get out all my anxieties before even leaving bed, and to start my day having actually succeeded at something. Work went well, with a break for pizza at my favorite committee meeting, and then I was able to get in a short run in the evening before meeting up with Sophie for our monthly-ish (quarterly?) poetry date, where I got almost caught up on my submission goal for the year (I've now sent 7, and I should be at 12.)

Honestly, I almost never accomplish everything I set out to in a day, and today, as long as I manage to brush my teeth tonight, I will have. And that's an incredible way to start this season of growth.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Amanda McConnon

I met Amanda McConnon in Marie Howe's workshop last fall and I was instantly blown away by one of her very first poems, "Far means a place not here."  I like to think of her as the person I would be if I was insanely talented and way friendlier.  Her work is so incredible that right now, I am trying to get some of it to rub off on me by writing a collaborative poem with her via email.  

Amanda in the sun.

Who are you? I’m Amanda McConnon and I was Kristin’s classmate in the MFA at NYU.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? I have some poems in some online journals, and I’m a contributor at Late Night Library. I don’t have a blog or website. But if I had to describe my writing, I’d say it’s a lot of figuring out of things. I like poems where I can see the strings behind the poet’s thought process, so I try to write poems like that.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? I always wanted to write but didn’t really know what to do with that urge. In high school, I carried around a reporter’s notebook that I would call my “lifebook,” but I never did much with what was in it beyond read it over and over again myself. In college I studied with the poet Cynthia Arrieu-King, and she showed me how to make a poem. She also introduced me to this whole wide world of contemporary poetry that exists that I was pretty oblivious to before that point.

Why do you write? I think that the way I process what goes on around me makes me need to write. When I write, it’s as if I get to empty something out of me and let it exist on its own. It feels nice to have my thought on a page where I can deal with it in a very concrete way.

Your writing inspires me. (Thanks Kristin!) Who inspires you? One of my all time favorite poets is William Stafford. I admire the way he quietly arrives at whatever it is he’s trying to say. I don’t feel like he has an agenda when I start reading his poems, but rather that I’m making some sort of discovery or realization at the same time as he is. I also love Sharon Olds, with whom I am currently studying, and as both a poet and a teacher, her ebullience and compassion for everything she comes in contact with is completely contagious.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? This is tough! Lately a lot of people I know have been traveling or moving to Ireland, and the landscape there looks unreal. I also love how many old buildings and structures that still exist there. And coming from an Irish family and hearing stories about the attitudes and spirit of the Irish – I think it’s somewhere I want to go eventually. But I also like the idea of traveling around the US, since I’ve lived here my whole life and never been off the east coast.

What is your favorite place on earth? This is really boring of me, but I love the comfortable feeling of being home. My more adventurous answer is that I like hiking and the experience of learning a new landscape, so any place remotely exciting that I’m visiting for the first time is a great place to me.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I love your poems, Kristin, and I’m so glad you asked me to do this interview! Also, that these pretty cool words exist.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Memory, June 2008 - Poetry Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

Just now, I am stuck by a memory so clear and yet just at the tip of remembrance, like some dream or another. I am in a car, and it's dark, and I am on my way home. In a car, which is so fancy. Was I being dropped off at Grand Central? Most likely.

It must have been after the Poetry Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge, after I'd shaken Bill Murray's hand (he was so tall and seemed so genuinely friendly; he stayed right to the end after everyone left, even us staff working the event), after we'd dropped someone else off on what must have been the Upper East Side though it doesn't make much sense on the map. It had been a beautiful day. I can't remember what I wore. Comfortable shoes, I imagine.

I can't put words to what I was feeling in that dark car, talking to strangers. Perhaps not even wearing a seat belt as we zipped from intersection to intersection.  Perhaps I felt the same thing I am always feeling, being driven around at night in the summer: something crisp and just on the precipice. Something just on the edge and moist.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend Wanderings - Quiet Days

I am typing this on my tablet! The Bluetooth keyboard I ordered just came in today and while it will definitely take some getting used to, I'm liking my little set up a lot so far. My only other problem with the Venue 8 Pro is that it's a little slow on the internet. I'll take it out for a whirl on another internet connection soon to see if it's just our notoriously slow internet, but if not, I may need to exchange it, since I've heard of other people having this issue.

This was mostly a quiet weekend. On Friday night, I had dinner and drinks at Amity Hall with these lovely ladies:

On Saturday, Roger and I went for a run, and it was TOUGH. I don't know what my problem was exactly, but every stride sent pain up through my thighs, butt, and back. I have another run again tomorrow, so hopefully whatever the problem was is all fixed by now. Even though it was only 3 miles, I was dying by the end of it, and we walked some of the way home and stopped for breakfast at the grocery store. After running a few errands, we met A. and M. for drinks at the Ellington, and then Rob met us for dinner at Toast, where I had the best BLT of my life. We rounded out the evening by trying Ben & Jerry's new "core" ice cream pints, which were awesome and even better than I'd expected.

Sunday was a day of reading and running a few errands for Roger's job. It was very relaxing and I'm nearly finished with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks now. In the evening, I made us some corned beef and cabbage to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, even though it turns out that the dish isn't actually Irish. It was delicious anyway, and a nice way to cap off a quiet weekend!

Friday, March 14, 2014

{This Moment} Laundry Edition

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Recap of this week on Not Intent On Arriving:

  • On Wednesday, I featured fellow adventurer Liz from Liz Takes the World on Writer Wednesday. Have you visited her blog yet? If not, what are you waiting for?!
  • Yesterday I posted a very late Weekend Wanderings, about the very first warm weekend in months! It made yesterday and today's 20 degree weather that much harder to take, but it was glorious. So glorious, in fact, that I signed up for my second half-marathon!

Writing in other places:

Do you have any plans for the weekend? It's supposed to get a little warmer again here, so I'm looking forward to spending some time outdoors. Roger promised he'd go running with me tomorrow morning, so that could be great, and I'm also meeting a few friends for dinner tonight. Looking forward to it!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Weekend Wanderings - Molly Visits NYC

This is a late weekend update, and one for a very low-key weekend! On Friday night, after a happy hour for a departing coworker (they always make me sadder than they should), I headed in to Williamsburg and got burgers with Molly, who was visiting from Boston, and Jamie, who recently moved to the neighborhood from SoHo. I was really surprised at how crowded everything was - we went to about five different restaurants with long waits before deciding to just stop in at The Burger Guru, which had seats available. The beet burger I ordered turned out to be really delicious and we had a great meal before heading back to Jamie's place to hang out for a while (or, in my case, to sleep on her couch, because I can't stay up past midnight anymore, I just can't).

Outside Absolute Bagels - our prime bagel-eating spot.
 On Saturday, we woke up to a gorgeous, warm morning, and I proceeded to throw a temper tantrum about having to do a million pounds of laundry while Roger met up with coworkers at the Armory Show. Not my finest moment. My parents ended up being in Yonkers to buy some electronics, so I met up with them (and skipped out on the laundry completely), and they were sweet enough to buy me a Venue 8 for my birthday, since both my computers recently conked out, proof that they are overly generous and also really wonderful to me all the time. I've been playing with it all week and really loving it, though it was frustrating to get set up. My keyboard case for it comes in on Friday, so I'm hopeful I'll really get to give it a go then.

In the afternoon, Roger and I apologized to each other and picked up our wonderful non-winter ritual of walking to Absolute Bagels and stuffing our faces before walking home. I can't tell you what a difference it has made in my life to have some warmer weather this weekend and week. In a winter without heat in the apartment, the cold has sort of pervaded everything we've done, and seeing some sun, being able to walk around in just a vest, did me more good than you can imagine. It also meant that the temperature of the apartment was at a legal level for three days in a row (March 10-12), which was amazing. In the evening, we headed back to Williamsburg against my will for some live music. The live music was terrible (duh, it always is even if the venue is great), so we bar hopped and Molly noticed that we were walking right past Momofuku Milk Bar. We've both always wanted to try it, so we stopped in and bought crack pie and cereal milk ice cream. It was pretty fantastic, so in the end, I'm glad we ended up back in Brooklyn!

On Sunday we ended up just relaxing (and playing with the tablet), and then on Monday I was finally excused from my 3-day long jury duty, so that was great. On Monday night, I signed up for my second half marathon! I'll be running it with Molly and Shelby in Philadelphia on June 14th, so if anyone in the Philly area wants to hang that weekend, let me know! I went for my first run since December on Tuesday and it felt amazing, so I'm really looking forward to training for this one.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Liz from Liz Takes the World

I "met" Liz through twitter not so long before she did an extremely brave thing I have always dreamed of doing: quit her job and traveled across Europe for three months.  During the trip, she was much better about updating her blog in a timely manner than I am, so I was able to live vicariously through her.  Now that she's home, she's still recording some amazing adventures on the west coast, and I'm still in awe of her bravery and general awesomeness.
Liz in Venice

Who are you? Hi! My name is Liz. I'm a traveler, cook, and music junkie. 

Where can you be found online?  Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work?  If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation?  You can find me at Liz Takes the World. Liz Takes the World is, technically, a lifestyle blog. I write about fun things I do, music I'm listening too, things I found at the grocery store, and occasionally what I'm reading in real life or on the internet. But, ugh, lifestyle blogging is such a....term. It makes me shake my shoulders like I'm removing a tight coat. I'm not trying to reinvent the internet or capture to "perfect imperfections" that seem so blog chic these days. I write in my voice about what I think is cool. Funny enough they are the exact same things I obsess about to my friends over gchat. 

What inspired you to start writing/blogging?  When did it happen? It all began with an offer. I was selected to go on a month-long business exchange to Russia to learn about the Russian health care system (related to my work in graduate medical education). I decided to leave my job and with more planning it turned into a three month long adventure. I traveled to ten counties over 97 days. The blog was an opportunity to share the sights, sounds, conversations, and scenery I was experiencing. 

Turns out I really like blogging. Now that I'm back in the States, my blog is about everyday adventures: dining out, exploring the Northwest, cooking at home with friends, embracing a new band, celebrating everything great. 

Why do you write?  I don't actually think of myself as a writer. I'm extroverted and love to chat with people; to find out about their lives, their ideas, some cool place they've been, and how they ended up there. You may even call me nosy. Without sounding like a crazed stalker, writing publicly lets me share a bit about my life in hopes that you'll share a bit about yours. It's the internet equivalent of pouring a fresh drink and asking for updates.

Your writing inspires me.  Who inspires you?  While my brother was climbing trees I was inside reading books. I used to pretend I had suddenly gone deaf so I could keep reading instead of doing chores. Lots of writers have inspired me: Margaret Atwood, David Sedaris, and Jane Austen are some of my favorites. In the world of blogging I admire Rebecca Woolf of Girls Gone Child and Lauren Dupius-Perez of I'm Better In Real Life for their emotionally honest yet warm, positive takes on the joys and challenges of daily life. 

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? This kinda happened to me?? Large portions of my recent trip were funded by people and organizations other than myself. I'm extremely grateful for their generosity.

But to play along because no one likes a wet blanket...I'd like to go on a food and music tour of Spain. And what the heck, let's throw in some flamenco lessons and a dashingly handsome young architecture professor in Barcelona as well. My second choice would be Japan.  

What is your favorite place on earth? Of the places I've gone I miss Istanbul, New York, and the Canadian Gulf Islands the most. The first two are obviously large, world class cities full of art, food, culture, history, and a huge variety of people. Their vibrancy excites me. There is always something new to discover. I spent a lot of time in the Gulf Islands as a kid boating with my parents and visiting my grandparents. Many of the islands aren't serviced by state ferries so they have a truly untouched quality to them. The simplicity and quiet of rural areas is very comforting to me.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I love comments so pop over and say hi! Thanks to Kristin for this opportunity and I'm looking forward to learning about other cool internet folks!

Friday, March 7, 2014

{This Moment}

A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda Soule & many others.
Please feel free to share a link to your own moment in the comments.

Recap of this week on Not Intent On Arriving:
Writing in other places:
  • My very first podcast is up online! I interviewed Josh Booton with my good friend Amanda for Late Night Library, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

Do you have any plans for the weekend? We talked about going skiing this weekend, but our good friend Molly is coming in from Boston, so we'll probably take in some city adventures with her instead!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jury Duty

Here's where I'll be all day today:

That's right. Hanging out at the courthouse, hoping I don't get called up to pass judgement on my fellow humans. Wish me luck!

In semi-related news, I've had a terribly powerful and somewhat bizarre desire to buy a tablet this week. My normal laptop's hard drive is failing, so while that's being replaced (thanks, Dad!), I figured I would use my netbook. Unfortunately, my netbook's hard drive also appears to be failing, and right now it runs slower than I do. (Which is saying something, since I haven't run since December.) Anyway, clearly the only way to fix this is to buy a tablet and I'm really strongly considering a Surface, except that they are enormous and I think I also want to be able to use it as an e-reader on the subway.  In the meantime, since the battery life on my failing netbook is about 1 hour, I'm packing a bunch of books and my phone. Maybe by the end of the day, I'll really know How to Win Friends and Influence People.

In even less-related news, I also really want to buy a new backpack. I have a 36L one and a 70L one, and I've determined that what I really need in my life is a 50L one, preferably one that front loads and is incredibly comfortable to carry around. Since we don't have any travel coming up or planned in the near future, I think this one may have to wait for at least a few months.

Anyway, related: so far this March-cash-budget thing is working out pretty well. I haven't bought a tablet OR a new backpack, so I'd say that's a real success. Here's to balancing out the budget one month soon!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Danielle Martin

I met Danielle during my freshman year of high school, when we were both on our high school's literary magazine, Drumbeat (fun fact: this is also how I met Roger).  We grew closer during the next year, when we were both in a theater class together.  When Danielle headed to NYU the next year, we kept in touch, and though we don't see each other very often, I always look forward to seeing her emails in my inbox.  She sees the world in such a beautiful way, and my world is a brighter place for having met her.

Danielle writes, "I don’t have any pictures of myself that sum me up, so here’s a picture I took which shows a meal I made once that I want to re-create."

Who are you? I am a former film student, turned Special Education teacher, turned mama. I live outside of New Orleans in some kind of endless summer. I like to learn about people.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? I used to have a couple of blogs about food, but I’m interested in starting a more general blog. Maybe it could be a medley of my musings about contemporary culture? Or, I could just post whatever’s on my mind that day.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? In the first grade, I wrote a short story called “The Jello Sock.” I couldn’t just end on that high note.

Why do you write?
  1. In the hopes that I will be ‘discovered’ and somehow draw six figures through a part-time dalliance with the written word.
  2. Sometimes, in the midst of my writing, I come upon ideas that I didn’t realize I had before I started writing. It’s like a funnel into my subconscious mind.
  3. Growing up as an only child without video games, I learned that using my imagination could be an entertaining pastime.

Who inspires you? In my personal life, I’m inspired by my husband, mother, and son. In my writing life, I’m inspired by quirky nonfiction narrative writers who make me laugh.

If you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? Sardinia. For the good food, beautiful scenery and to experience life in a “blue zone.”

What is your favorite place on earth? Any area that has a sandy ocean beach and good eats.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I’m in the middle of writing a poem every day for a month, but I skipped a couple of days, so I guess I have to start over again. I’m thinking of publishing some of these poems online, if my imaginary blog turns into reality.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Weekend Wanderings - Birthday Weekend

I had a lovely birthday weekend! On Friday, I came back from my lunch workout to discover that one of my incredibly sweet coworkers had left me beautiful roses, and a group of them threw me a little surprise doughnut break that afternoon. That evening, I met up with Roger and Rob at Jin Ramen, our favorite ramen place near Columbia, and had a wonderful dinner. After a long week, Roger and I tucked ourselves in to bed early and watched House of Cards, which I'm really loving. It was a fun, quiet day, and felt like the perfect way to ring in my 28th year.

On Saturday morning, Roger and I woke up early and headed upstate for a morning of cross-country skiing at Fahnestock State Park. We really had a blast! It was even more fun than I remembered from the first time we went, about four years ago. I'm also a lot more sore than I remember from that go around! [UPDATE: If you want to read more about our day of adventuring, you can read my guest post at 3Up Adventures here.]

When we got back home later in the afternoon, we relaxed for a while and then a few friends and Roger's family came over for pizza and cake. So much cake! Because of a miscommunication, Roger's parents brought over two small cakes and my favorite Entenmann's cake, and my parents had also gotten a cake in the shape of a gorgeous present, along with a dozen cake pops. Along with the beautiful cake Shelby got me last week and the oreos and doughnuts my coworkers got me, I think I'm going to be up to my ears in sugar for the next month!

Yesterday, we headed back home a little early, since there was supposed to be a big snowstorm. Armed with leftovers, we spent most of the day curled up and watching even more House of Cards. It was a lovely way to spend the weekend, and I feel refreshed for the week ahead!

Birthday adventuring!