09 December 2012

Wearing My Red Welly's in London

Finally got motivated to write a story about one of my favorite adventures : London!


Chapter 1
Did you know that when you fly those cheap flights between various European cities you don’t get peanuts? Nothing salted, nothing honey-roasted and definitely nothing that will parch your thirst. 
I was dropped off at the one hall terminal in the very north of France by one of the farm hands. And just like how the rolling green hills of Brittany frolicked past the car window did they retreat underneath the wonky airplane’s wings. London, where they spoke English again would be my destination. After nine months in a country where grunts were affirmatives, I couldn’t wait to be in a land where they spoke my language in an ever more charming way than home. Although mum wouldn’t pick me up from the airport and whisk me off to my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, going to a sister country seemed almost just as comforting.
As I landed I was struck by its green charm, even just at the airport. As a converted outdoorswoman, my adventure lied elsewhere: the museums, the arts, the music, the buildings and of course, the music festival I had a ticket for. Now while I wish (now) that I could say that my independence in Old Britain was my idea, I can not take credit. Like a broken bride, I was left at the altar. My partner in crime had missed their flight. My first night in the city was hardly pleasant. I spent it pacing the dimly lit streets around Earl’s Court waiting for news on a flight arriving from Athens. Quickly, I became dependent on the hostel frontman sitting behind the glass window. I realize now that I had broken down his annoyance with me into simple pity as I practically sobbed in front of the Facebook screen that had no reply from my friend. He offered me a bowl of cereal and some tea. I refused three times. Finally, after my final effort by the bus station at four in the morning, I realized my emotional hunger and sat to calm down with some corn flakes and the company of a middle-aged Syrian man. 
The meaning of life seems quite inconsequential in the early morning and thoughts of your friend dead in a plane crash, or on a bus, or kidnapped in a city we hardly know swirl through your head. However, he was adamant on hearing my philosophies and retorting with a painstaking showmanship. While I munched on the corn flakes that always get too soggy before your spoon hits the milk, questions and debates on purpose, enjoying simple pleasures and Tao theories flew through my worrying mind and only seemed to put salt in my wound. 
“Are you happy?” he finally dared. How was I supposed to answer that?! Well, yes… I was? I thought so... But being a foreigner in a foreign country thinking your friend has died and thousands of miles from your American mum hardly makes it easy to think life is all roses. I couldn’t believe his prying eyes and words; my only response was a blubbering sob. I left the cereal for dead and excused myself with a haste. On the way to my room, I realized my possible over-reaction and rudeness and quit my sobbing immediately. Sometimes the greatest personal pep talk is just a simple snap and slap. The mascara partially smeared on the back of my hand would only serve as a reminder of my pact.
As I tucked my streaked face into crunchy hostel sheets and the snoring of large Australians lulled me to sleep I promised myself I would not let this trip be ruined. My friend would be fine, I would run around London in single solidarity and I would do bloody well as I pleased. 
I awoke the next morning feeling hardly refreshed but determined to see what should be seen when one goes to London. Big Ben, check. Westminster Abbey, check. etc. etc. Perhaps what I fell in love with most were the strolls I navigated between all the sights; my map had been folded too many times and tore in crucial creases. I circled where I’d been and tracked the routes I took. However, a daytime later, my feet wore tired. I stumbled upon an interactive culture night at the National Portrait Gallery. They handed me a clipboard and instructed me to draw one of the paintings hanging on the wall. A General-of-High-Nobility, in an all white costume looked demeaningly at me as if knowing that I would never be able to recreate his greatness. However smug his grimace, his head was too small for his body that looked to stand only 5’2’’. His face was crow-like and the hook of his nose seamlessly graced his crooked upper lip while his jet black hair blended into the dark background. Drawing him became a challenge that he himself dared me to take on. I was not going to back down, this regal portrait of an unfortunate looking military man would be my bitch. I became so engrossed I failed to notice the room filling up or the teacher telling all the other participants to put away their supplies. When I came to, a jolly looking Canadian man approached me to show me his rendition. Rather than a leader of army, my curly hair sprung from the pages. He had drawn me.
I left the Gallery exhausted and enthralled. I had spent my entire day listening to music and only muttering single words when ordering coffees. I had convinced myself that my map and I had slipped into our own world that was not shared with anyone else. As the man showed me my cartooned self I realized that I was hardly invisible. And although I didn’t mind falling into silence or my personal daydreams, it was a lovely reminder that there still exists that greater whole. I’d like to have thought that I had fallen to insignificance amongst the great leaders hanging from picture frame hooks, but the Portrait Gallery seemed to have different plans.  
Feeling satisfied, I went to go rest my feet and prepared myself for a whole different world.

07 November 2012

Me Sing French One Day


video

Since I've been working on the ukulele for quite awhile now it's about time I drop my first single. Unfortunately without my lovely lyricists, original verses are hard to come by. 
So I stole this from Edith Piaf.

06 November 2012

Showbama Your Support


As Flagstaff citizens crowded themselves into their downtown theatre, I realized that being in America is pretty darn awesome. Now while the ads, political scheming and the slightly extravagant months leading up to the eve of election day are more than obnoxious, the high spirits that reverberated through the musty room were exhilarating.

And then a dance party broke out.

14 October 2012

Aspen Camping


Fall has sprung and all the leaves are changing their colors. My amigos and I decided to go squat on some earth for a cold night and play amongst the aspens.






12 October 2012

People Profile, Part 5: Phall


Mary and I have been exploring the aspens changing up on Mt. Humprey's. Mary is my other lady that I hang out with. Quite opposite of home-bound Mildred, I go exploring, get stuck on dirt roads and visit Sedona vortexes with Miss Mary. She has quite a wealth of knowledge about natural healing and every time we get together I learn something new. Hopefully one day I will be as eccentric as her.

07 October 2012

04 October 2012

03 October 2012

People Profile, Part 1: Mildred

The next few posts will be a profile of my life in terms of the people that I come across, interact with or quickly snapped a picture of. There's a lot to be said for the faces we see everyday, or once.


Here is the infamous Mildred and her son, Loren. Mildred is 101 and while frail, she's got spark. I see her twice a week, every week and have know her for almost two whole years. Usually we play cards although lately the big fad has been crossword puzzles and Bonanza. She doesn't have a strong concept of time and a day is just another day for her. She has told me the same seven stories almost every week, each time she is as equally as joyous to tell me as the last time. So why not pretend it's the first time I've heard it too.

23 September 2012

The Green Monster

Like all expensive things, avocados are delicious.

Here's a little dish I whipped with what other ingredients I could afford

2 avocados
juice of half a lemon
2 sprigs of green onion (the whole thing) finely chopped
splash of balsamic vinegar
tsp. parmesan cheese
salt
pepper

Mix it and put it on some toast.
Then triple the recipe.

19 September 2012

09 September 2012

29 August 2012

Scrappy

As a new year starts it seems more clear that my previous one is leaving me behind. This continuous locomotive is pushing and trudging and pretty soon, before I know it it'll be time for me to get off of the B.A. Express. I can't help but hope that everything has mattered though, that my life and the lives of those I've crashed into are somehow shifted: by school, by work, by life and by love.

Because no vehicle of thought leaves a crash sight without a bit of leftover scrap metal underneath their skin.

My time in France is still a mystery; how that portion of time will affect me as my final year of organizing folders and writing on college ruled paper approaches and passes me by remains unclear. But I guess I'm ready?!


La France, tu me manques un peu.

08 August 2012

Mildred Does the Olympics

Watching the Olympics with my 101 year old client inspires some of the most interesting commentary.

Here is just a tidbit of the funny things she says:

While watching women's volleyball
Mildred: "Are those afros on the American team?"
Me: "Yes, that's team USA"
Mildred: "I don't know..."

While watching women's water polo
"My, those are some big girls and some tiny swimsuits."

While watching men's volleyball
"There's some good looking men on the team. Oh, and then there are some not so good looking ones..."
"He must be Jewish, he's got a big nose and all"


05 August 2012

123 Cold Cucumber Soup


3 cucumbers
2 cups greek yogurt
1 sprig mint
splashes of olive oil and lemon juice

This is a recipe passed down from my boss and is the perfect remedy to a hot day.
Take all the ingredients and throw them in a blender. Blend until smooth and garnish with your herb of choice. For a smoother texture, peel and take out the seeds. By using the basic cucumber and yogurt base, you can most definitely play around with different flavors. Try a bit paprika, or parsley and chive!

30 July 2012

Stormy Weather


This was actually taken in London but it pretty much sums up what Flagstaff
 has been like the last week. 
And I like it.
Dodging storm clouds, glowing rain from the sunlight and crashes of electricity. 
MONSOON 2012

19 July 2012

Holy Grilled Cheese, Batman!

Who Cut the Cheese?


2 slices delicious bread
2 slices pepper jack cheese
sautéed spinach, red bell peppers and onions
pesto and/or hummus of choice
avocado slices

Butter the assembled sandwich and grill 'em up just like mama did.

14 July 2012

Things Mildred Says and Does...

One month being back in America and a lot has changed. I've gone from stumbling over complicated French phrasing to yelling simple sentences at little old ladies. I'm so grateful to have my old job back working with seniors. I get to once again visit my 100-year-old lady (who is now 101!).

When I was showing her pictures of my life in France on my Mac I asked her, "Have you ever seen anything like this before?"
She replied, "Why I've never seen a photo-show-er like this, no."
She stumbled over that noun that she didn't know existed, computer.
L'ordinateur in French.

And these little phenomenons make me think that maybe life hasn't changed all that much. 
It continues.
It's still about exploration, and learning, and words, and photo-show-ers. 

08 July 2012

Criks n Coolers

Patio livin' with Arnold Palmer coolers
Just do it : Add rum to the pre-made Arnold Palmer Arizona Tea.

Oak Creek, Sedona

30 June 2012

There Ain't No Landscape Like a Flagstaff Landscape

Buffalo Park
There's magic in the fact that Flagstaff and the San Francisco Peaks are able to awe me all over again. 

20 June 2012

Why I Still Love America...

Upon returning to the homestead, I expected extreme reverse culture shock. And while I'm still slightly surprised when people speak English at the ridiculously large SuperTarget, there are lots of reasons I'm happy to be home

- family, friends and the fellow hikers that smile and say "Mornin'" to you
- the fresh air of Flagstaff
- peanut butter and pancakes
- real hugs
- the promise of all the little projects waiting to be done...

And I think that the last point is where my blog will be headed; chronicling the life that continues to be a scavenger hunt. A hunt for laughs and interesting facts; good times with good people; weird recipes and craft projects; hikes and bikes and not-tripe. Whether or not anyone reads this, I've enjoyed logging away the memories and discoveries and realized that it doesn't have to be the end. I want to keep exploring, keep getting-to-know and keep hunting.

16 June 2012

New Yawk Chilis


Breaking US ground with a lovely New York layover spent reminiscing in Indian food paradise with a delightful old friend!

14 June 2012

Muddy Feet and Stinky Cheese


With muddy feet, a bike ride and a last morning spent underneath the goats' butts, I bid goodbye to the farm.

I'm glad I was able to enter into a world I would've never been able to experience otherwise; 'twas the farm life : down and dirty, full of jolly people, animal excrements and fresh cheese.

Now there were just a few jumps, skips and layovers across the little ocean Atlantic before I'd be back in the ol' USA.



And this is where milk comes from...

And this is the joy it brings!

10 June 2012

London Won't Stop Calling Me

I'm not quite sure what to say about London. It felt live-able, like it doesn't need an explanation. It is everything it promises to be : lively, cozy and never short of stormy skies.





Queen's Jubilee

London Calls Me Again : Hipster Edition

Camden Market


Find yourself alone at Field Day London 2012? No worries! Pose as an art student and you'll be fine. I went around the festival taking pictures of kids and asking them what inspired them to dress this way = insta-friends



Winner
Beirut
Best Friends Photo Bomb

07 June 2012

London Calls Me Back


Free Sit-in Drawing lesson!

At the sit-in drawing lesson, I nuzzled myself in a corner to draw a pompous general of sorts. Twenty minutes later, this man from Canada showed me the drawing he made.