Wednesday, June 23, 2010

About a week ago I was feeling brave. So, against my better clear-headed judgment, I decided to venture back to the site of my past experiment.

It was simple.
Update my profile.
Plunk down a few bucks.
And venture forth with new found optimism.

Today I met Walt.
As in 'Captain! My Captain!'
His profile seemed normal enough, so I sent him a brief note.
To which he promptly responded.
Good sign, I thought.

I sent him another note.
To which he responded, "I want to let you know I have a panty [sic] fetish."


You would think I'd have learned.

Ps. I promptly blocked said offender and reported him as a non-compliant LDS dating site ruffian.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Ever feel like you lost an entire week of your life?
That was me last week.
All week.

What with all the international cavorting my body was bound to put the breaks on at some point.
It did.
And did it ever.

I'm grateful I had that week of wretched human frailty, because today I got up and could breathe.
Could resume my morning walks.
Could swallow without pain.
Could put away the little packs of tissue and giant box of Sucrets.
Could feel life restored.

And for all these little things I feel immensely grateful.

Walking Wales

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Highlights from a 10 day visit to Ireland and the UK as recorded during my visit.

This morning started off with a traditional Welsh breakfast, no blood sausage—which I did try in Ireland—complete with a rather peculiar piece of bacon that had the body of a spiral ham and a trace of a bacon tail. Same animal, so I foolishly thought it made little difference. Au contraire. Our dinning room companions were quick to inform us that Brits could never find passable bacon in the states. Little wonder since it was a bit of an anomaly even for my palate. And the toast? Well, I nearly choked on my toast; which was served on a little silver drying contraption. If you ask me, I'd say it was near lethal.*

Thoroughly stuffed, our driver (the husband/owner of the Ingledene B&B) dropped us at South Stack, a lighthouse not far from where we were staying. We descended several steps hoping to climb the 200 steps to the top of the lighthouse; only to discover, half-way down, that the gate was closed. No entry. A tad dejected, we turned around and headed back to the top. Apparently we had arrived a little too early for opening on a Bank Holiday.

The remainder of the day, a little over five hours, was spent along the Coastal Path trail. A walking/hiking trail that hugs the shoreline and runs the entire diameter of Anglesey. We, of course, only needed to find our way back to the B&B, so we set off in search of a bright ambling adventure surrounded by tufts of pink seathrift, dancing yellow buttercups, wild roses, queen annes lace, delicate white and lavender orchids under food, meadows of fragrant grass, a yew like shrub that donned a small yellow blossom and emitted a cocoa butter fragrance, and salt sea mixed with whiffs of warm allium. It was the melding of springtime under a canopy of sunshine and a smattering of clouds. More perfect conditions could not have been had.

Along the way we saw gulls, razorbills, and vigilantly looked for one of only 12 pairs of nesting puffins; talked with amiable volunteer guides; took a detour down to a rocky beach strewn with bottles and debris; side-stepped giant cow pies and walked alongside herds of munching bovine; passed through a series of wooden gates; climbed stairs attempting to stay along the barely visible grass-trod path; slung legs over stone walls and continued on through a tidy trailer park; greeted fellow walkers; dodged a growling canine; came upon a little red sailboat atop a giant sea of sapphire; stopped to drink in the wonder of it all and tried, in vain, to capture the sublime beauty in a few pixels. It was impossibly gorgeous and I think (nay, now know) that I shall cherish this day as one of my favorite memories of the entire trip.

*My traveling companion wrote a thorough exposition on all of the food we ate. A salivating salute to be sure. However her blog is private, otherwise I'd let you read more about all the other delicacies we dinned on.

Ireland: Temple Bar and Trinity College

Highlights from a 10 day visit to Ireland and the UK as recorded during my visit.

From Dublin airport I managed to navigate us to the 16A bus, heading towards the City Center. Our purpose: locating Abigail's, an urban chic modern hostel, located in the heart of the Temple Bar neighborhood. (I'd been informed it was the place to stay, and indeed it was.) The district was a buzz of pubs, bridges, and local color mixed in with a good deal of tourists. At night, the faint street sounds and pulsing music drifted up to the third floor of our hostel windows.

Day two: we started off the morning at Trinity College, arriving so early that we ended up doing a little self-guided tour before our official tour with Jack, a college junior studying law and wearing the most striking Kelley green socks, started. He lead us through the four main squares of the school that started in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth II. (A little ironic, considering women weren't allowed to attend the college until 1904.) I adored how walkable the entire tour was and indeed the entire capital city. We ended our tour at the Book of Kells—a manuscript like none I'd ever seen— known for its exquisite calligraphy and ornate coloring, that mirrored the intricacies of Japanese artwork. As I hovered over the small glass case in a dimly lit room, I tried to imagine handling the vellum of the rebound Gospels, wondering how it would smell, trying to soak in the moment of being in the company of such an extraordinary book.

The tour ended after a visit to the Long Room, where I stood at the entrance struck by the shear awe of the moment (a reoccurring theme throughout my trip). I stood, gazing up at the long barrel ceiling and old folios arranged only by their size. Like the Gods in their heaven, researchers peered down in silence from their upper perch . It was dim. Musty. Marvelous. The perfect amalgamation of the tragedies and triumphs of the Irish people.

Wordless Wednesday

CSA baby

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Early spring, back when the weather still teetered between the brutality of winter blasts and the hope of a new beginning, I started exploring the option of buying into a local CSA. It was an exciting prospect and since I already had the longstanding summer tradition of weekly trips to the Farmers Market (either the Downtown FM in SLC, Penn Quarter, or Old Town Alexandria), it just made sense. Both to my palette and my wallet.* So, I asked a dear friend to split the cost of a full-share for a total of 16 weeks, making us the proud parents of a CSA baby. My first!

I give you: Potomac Vegetable Farm Share, Week 1.

(From left to right: sugar snap/snow peas, eggs, beets, oregano, chard, dill, huge lettuce head, kohlrabi, garlic curls, and buttermilk bread.)

*In truth, the cba of this venture will likely be a wash...since I'll still need to supplement with fresh fruit and cheese during my weekly outings.

Summer Reading

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On page 14, after relishing this passage, I knew, instantly, I would love this book.

"The earth was warm under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers. Queer little red bugs came out and moved in slow squadrons around me. Their backs were polished vermilion, with black spots. I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep."

And you?
What's on your summer reading list?

Wordless Wednesday

Coming Home...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

From a whirlwind of a holiday made me aware of all the things I'd MISS.

Miss from the trip: Amiable people. Who smiled and greeted you in passing. Tapping into my adventurous and inquisitive self. Ambling through the Welsh and English countryside on arduous bike rides and refreshing walks. Landscapes beyond breathtaking; that brought me to tears on more than one occasion. Rhubarb yoghurt. The constancy of being on the go. Feeling out of my element and always anticipating an adventure around each corner.

And then there were all the things I'd MISSED from being away: Anonymity. Routine. Sleeping in one place each night. Not carrying a pack the size of a three-year-old. Proper shower pressure. Driving on the RIGHT side of the road on the RIGHT side of the car.

Fortunately, I recorded many of the day-to-day experiences which will aid me in processing what was truly an unforgettable trip.

Stay tuned for stories to follow.

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