Despite my love of big cities, I somehow didn’t make it to Chicago until I was 35 and then never made it back. So when Solar had a week long conference there—giving me a free place to stay right on the river—I decided to join. Why not? And when he suggested we extend the stay through the weekend since he has friends there we could stay with, again, why not? And so my United rewards ticket carried me off. With the exceptions of the view of Trump tower from my hotel and the weird sewage smells that hit my nostrils from time to time as I roamed the city, the trip was fantastic. Every day brought fun experiences, and here are the three best days.
Prior to my trip, I learned a bit of Mandarin, including the essentials like basic food and drink. So I knew how to read and say different kinds of meat, noodles, water, beer, and a few other key words. But what I didn’t know were the words for the hundreds of different types of vegetables that the Chinese have. So many vegetables! It was wonderful. Too often when I travel, I find I’m fiending for vegetables when I get back home. Most countries seem to either not have as many available as we do in the United States, or only served them boiled or pickled or otherwise altered. But not China. China has all the vegetables your body could possibly crave, and then some. And fruits and sauces and other meats I couldn’t identify. And dumplings! I ate so many dumplings and rarely knew what was in them. I really don’t know how people with dietary restrictions travel. I figure it’s best not to ask too many questions – just let go of your cultural limitations of what is okay to eat, try everything, and enjoy! Well, maybe. Hold that thought until my last bullet point below. Continue reading →
There was an old woman, and what do you think?
She lived upon nothing but victuals and drink;
Victuals and drink were the chief of her diet,
And yet this old woman could never be quiet.
We’re nearing the end of the alphabet and finally we come to a good old obnoxious drunk. In this case, I kind of like that the subject is a woman. Too many women in these rhymes are meek and weak. Let’s have ourselves a ruddy-faced, sailor-mouthed, falling down, cackling old alcoholic hag for a change. Well, probably still not the best rhyme for children, but is it really any worse than the extremely popular ones that have girls who are afraid of spiders and must take the blame for their brothers and can be bought and sold? I think not!
Verdict: Can we turn this into a bar song to sing in unison next time we’re all drunk together? Continue reading →
Against my own personal rules for how best to take advantage of a life that is far too short to absorb everything the world has to offer, I have traveled to an international destination twice. Two weeks ago, I went to Spain. Fourteen years ago I lived there, working in a summer camp in Andalusia with kids who by now are somewhere around the age I was during those brief moments when we knew each other, young adults out in the real world.
I didn’t feel like much of an adult at that age, but I certainly do now, which is why I didn’t mind retracing my steps a bit. That summer camp job was a lifetime ago and I was another person. I have only a few handwritten notes and photos printed from film to remind me of my previous adventures in the land of valiant conquered and intrepid conquerors. This time, I’m transferring what I jotted down into this blog post, structured according to the chapters in Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel. De Botton is a modern day philosopher whom I greatly admire. The Art of Travel was the first book I read with Ironman, who accompanied me on this trip, for our long-distance book club, one of the many ways we have of staying close while we are geographically distant.
I have so many thoughts to share stemming from my two and a half weeks in Europe. My route was
Flight to Zurich→
Train to Innsbruck→
Car share to Bressanone→
On foot across the Dolomites to Cortina d’Ampezzo→
Bus to Venice→
Rental car to Padua→Verona→Bergamo→Milan→
Train and kayak to Bellagio→
Car share to Zurich
with a lot of little stops in between. Everything I saw was stimulating and new, and I took dozens and dozens of pages of notes. Since most of that time was spent in northern Italy, let’s kick off the onslaught of upcoming blog posts with a lighthearted comparison of Italy and Boulder. Continue reading →
I am not a whiskey fan. Or bourbon, brandy, cognac, or scotch. I don’t even understand the difference among all these.
But do I love Manhattans. Maybe it’s the cherry. Maybe the vermouth. REDACTED Whatever it is, Manhattans are easily my favorite cocktail.
What else are people writing in the A to Z Blog Challenge? Check out today’s featured blog, sponsored by the letter W: Whispers of Worth. For the A-Z challenge, the author is offering little nuggets of wisdom to introduce some simplicity into your life. You may have heard them before, but they are worth repeating.
What else are people writing in the A to Z Blog Challenge? Check out today’s featured blog, sponsored by the letter R: Relax-N-Rave. I just love this post on obsolete decor. Shaggy carpets, bean bag chairs, massive TV consoles – yup, we had that all growing up and no one should have them now.
During 2012, my official Year of Insane Parties, I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner that has gone down in history as literally the Best Thanksgiving Ever. At the time, I was living in a house that being foreclosed on. I was paying the rent but the landlord, who had moved 1,000 miles away, was not using my rent checks to pay the mortgage. So, the city wanted to foreclose on the house but by Colorado law, they couldn’t do so while the owner was still in bankruptcy proceedings. All of which is to say, I lived there rent free for 13 months before the city was able to kick me out and, as you can imagine, during that time I let the house fall into a state of serious disrepair, largely thanks to the Insane Parties I hosted all year.
Colorado is a state of migrants, which means a lot of people don’t have family to spend Thanksgiving with, so I got a nice crowd over at my place that year. Preparations, and drinking, began around noon. My friend Catia made a beautiful turkey, which I don’t remember eating at all, while a few other friends stuffed a piñata full of nips. Because nothing says Thanksgiving like a booze-filled piñata. And then at some point after we had busted the piñata and enjoyed the prizes, my partner poured Everclear or some other equally undesirable liquor on the fire to get it raging. Continue reading →