Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010


From home:

Thank you, Neecy, for the beautiful jewelry and inspiring book. Love love LOVE it all.

From school:

A portrait of me, according to one very insistent three-year-old. (The artist is my 'secret favorite,' a label I stole from Esme. I'm human, I can't help it!)

From my recent trip to Tuebingen:

We went to the Ritter Sport outlet store, where I went a little crazy. Don't worry, I'm bringing some back with me! There's no way I could eat three kilos on my own...well, ok, actually I probably could, but I won't. Promise.

The outlet is attached to a great museum, which happens to have an amazing gift shop, where I also bought a monkey that can do multiplication. Teachers need such novelties, I mean it! And so do I, generally and personally. Whimsy makes my world go 'round... does my favorite chocolate shop in all the world, where I also bought coffee for the first time. Again, I'm sending a few of these things home (the coffee, however, is solely for my enjoyment).

And from the Turkish Market here in Kreuzberg:

A gorgeous new plant, the first of (hopefully) many to come - I'd like to deck my balcony out in as much spring- and summer-drag-show-glory as possible! Must enjoy it while I can.

Contained in this baggie is homemade ravioli, and contained inside each is chesnut-and-pear filling. Not shown here is the other pasta I bought, with pistachio-limette filling. All I can say is, HEAVEN.

My plant again, plus a couple bottles of my favorite Greek table wine, which tastes vaguely and deliciously of pine needles. The 'china shoes' I actually bought in my neighborhood, on the way to the Turkish market, but ya know. All in a day's haul.

umm, woah

I'm a little weirded out right now, having just watched this:

You may not want to watch all 20 minutes (though I found it totally engaging, and thus 20 minutes felt more like two), but it's the very last line that's got me feeling...sparked? Strange stuff, this universe of ours.

Monday, May 24, 2010

gee, sound like anyone you know?

"I have far more enthusiasm in life than I have actual energy. In my excitement, I routinely take on more than I can physically or emotionally handle, which causes me to break down in quite predictable displays of dramatic exhaustion. You will be the one burdened with the job of mopping me up every time I've overextended myself and then fallen apart. This will be unbelievably tedious. I apologize in advance."

-Elizabeth Gilbert, in Committed

If you're nodding or laughing right now, you're either my very close relation, or your name is Andy. Sorry, guys. But I do feel better having such a succinct and even elegant description for my, shall we say, exuberant approach to life.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

hello. here's what's on my mind.

It almost feels like this image was taken with a film camera. I like it. I find it strangely peaceful.

l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l

"You have to do stuff that average people don't understand, because those are the only good things." 

-Andy Warhol

l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l  l

I am very much in the mood to see the Frida Kahlo retrospective currently here in Berlin. We'll see how far I get with cleaning and packing (I leave for Tuebingen tomorrow - woo hoo!). There's also a parade for the Karneval der Kulturen today which might take precedence over Frida, since she is here 'til August.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

and we'll collect the moments one by one

I am a  list-maker. Big time. This you may know, from certain previous posts that either included or were comprised of LISTS. (To wit, number 14 on my list of favorite things.)

I've been this way my whole life. When I was still in school, I'd often make a "Reminders/To-Do" list before bed, often starting with items like "Wake up at 6:30. Make coffee. Take shower while coffee brews." and so on. Sometimes I still do this (often ending with "Breathe," as my lists can get quite stressy). Maybe it's my over-scheduled American upbringing, but it gives me a weird sense of security to have an outline for my day, or even just part of it. (It's even more reassuring when I feel free to scrap it at a moment's notice. Because I don't always follow my lists.)

A couple years ago, when I was still in my Naperville apartment, I unearthed a list I'd made when I was probably about thirteen. In the decade since I'd written it (in green rollerball ink), I'd managed to do all but two of the 20+ "before-I-die" items. After a brief moment of satisfaction - Wow! Go me! - I immediately called some friends to go out for a karaoke evening and crossed number 16 off the list. Now if only I could get around to carving my own intials into a tree with a heart around them. We'll see.

I dunno, I just got to thinking about all this because lately I find myself tossing around lots of life goals and dreams in my head. At the beginning of this year, I started a "To Do in This Decade" list (on an index card, shoved in the front cover of the book I was reading, where it remains at my parents' house in Chicago), and today I was thinking about some of those musings, along with a few bigger fantasies I have for myself. And I started building this:


-Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
-Visit India (and Turkey) (and Greece) (and Morocco) (and Bhutan) (and Japan) (and Ethiopia) (and...I could go on forever)
-Take book arts/printmaking classes -- get a degree in this?
-Write and publish a (children's?) book
-Spend some time living in a yurt in the middle of nowhere (in other words, be a pligrim at Tinker Creek, find my own Walden, go into the wild, etc.)
-Buy some toy dinosaurs
-Make party hats for said dinosaurs
-Run in a race
-Do storytelling (like a real, paid storyteller)
-Buy a pair of classic black Laboutins
-Go birdwatching (any and everywhere...but I'd love to do the warbler migration again)
-Participate in an art show (not at a school)
-Sell stuff on Etsy
-Learn to take photographs
-Restore my old Underwood typewriter
-Tend a garden
-Own some chickens
-Learn to play the hammered dulcimer

Evidently my dreams are a mish-mosh of dorkdom, grandeur, art, and oddity. And also Mushaboom.

If you happen to see a pattern, do share. Because I am no one thing (indeed, I contain multitudes), and I can't figure myself out. (Add to that the notion of destroying "the self" and I am extra confused. Thanks a lot, enlightened ones.)

Maybe "I'm just digging around in the garbage, trying to find something that matters."

I really don't know.

Guess I'll live the questions, then, one item at a time. Rilke and my thirteen-year-old self would be so proud.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

back on course

This morning I wore these running for the first time in a looong while:

For months (years?) I've been hesitant to do anything besides walk in them. But lots of people at work have been participating in races all over Berlin, including a charity run this past Sunday (they raised over 1000 GBP for breast cancer research), and it's been so motivating and inspiring. After weeks of contemplating joining the bandwagon, today I finally had the guts to go out and run. 

At 5:30 am, I rolled out of bed and climbed sleepily into my workout clothes, then somehow got myself down the stairs, out the door, and onto the pavement. And I ran. I wasn't fast (at all - 2.5 miles in around 25 minutes), but who cares? I actually ran! For the first time in years!

So why today? Well, there's a 10k race on the 4th of July, and I've always wanted to do a race (just so I could say I had, pretty much). Last night I found an eight week 10k training plan online. After a little bit of figuring, I realized I'd have exactly eight weeks to train for the July race if I started right away. So I did.

I've also registered on a fun site that enables me to create different routes and track my progress. It feels good to have this outlet, a place to focus and direct some creative energy.

Tomorrow it'll be off to the pool for some cross-training (speaking of swimming, there's another fitness-and-well-being hurdle I've overcome these past few weeks, yay me).

I must say, the peanut butter-chocolate chip blondies I made this evening felt especially well-earned :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

living it up, or: what goes down must come up - the sequel

What is WITH me and food poisoning?! I've spent the past two days running between the toilet and my bed, in a state of dizzy exhaustion. Me thinks Thursday night's Mongolian buffet may not have been the brightest idea. (Yet I'm the only one in our group that was sick. So either it wasn't the Mongolian, even though that all came up pretty swiftly, or it was the tofu, as I do believe I'm the only one that enjoyed that particular offering. Either way, UGH.)

I was initially struck down Friday morning around 5am but still managed to get myself up and partially dressed for work. As I was getting ready to put on my sweater and coat, "the wave" hit again, and I knew there was no way I'd be going anywhere. It took me another hour just to get out of my work clothes and back into my pajamas, one step at a time with considerable breaks in between.

Along about 3pm, after sleeping/barfing most of the day away, I convinced myself it was time to pick up some Sprite at the market down the street. As the store is literally a one minute walk from my apartment, I thought I could handle it.

An hour-and-a-half later, I'd finally managed to get some clothes on and head out the door. I made it as far as paying for the Sprite before passing out in my own vomit on the floor between the checkout lane and entryway. Classic, I know.


I'm feeling MUCH better now, but the whole incident was scary enough to make my decision to leave Berlin come summer a lot easier. (Yup, never thought I'd EVER turn down a job offer abroad, but I did. I'm nuts. Still, something tells me it was the right decision. And not just the fact that in the States, I'd have more people to call that might come and rescue me from the contents of my stomach.)