Trip Bits: After it’s all over

Read the whole Trip Bits series.

Departing my last three international excursions, I’ve carried home a particular present: illness. I seem to have a knack for it.

Usually it comes to me on the last day, right before I’m about to get on a long, overnight, international flight from which there is no escape for 6+ hours. And at high altitudes in a cramped space with 300 other people is just where you want to be with an achy body and a stuffy head.

But it’s (sort of) my own fault. I pick vacations where I’m going to run hard and hardly sleep. No lollygagging on a tropical beach — there’s too much to see! to buy! to eat! Continue reading

Monday Musings: On getting back on the horse.

No, no. You’re not hallucinating.

It’s me. I’m actually writing a blog post. I know that hasn’t occurred since, oh, June, and now it’s, oh, November. But here I am.

There’s no good excuse, really. Just that this writing thing is hard. And sometimes I believe I have nothing interesting to say. And sometimes I overthink and overedit, resulting in a diatribe of incoherent thoughts followed by general posting paralysis. And my discipline begins to wane. So, sure, I’ve been busy. We’ve all been busy. But then a funny thing happened. Several other bloggers I read expressed the very same sentiments. We’ve all been in a rut together. Continue reading

Monday Musings: On productivity and defining our times.

Happy Monday to you.

For some reason, I was incredibly productive this weekend. That’s highly out of character. In two days, I wrote, at least partially, eight blog posts, cooked four new recipes to share with you on Culinary Cousins, caught up with family, socialized, finished reading the book before book club, bonded with Oliver. While I am usually a marathon weekend sleeper, my eyes popped open by 9:30 a.m. every morning, and I fidgeted if I sat down. It was weird, but I feel very accomplished. And like it’s been 17 years since Friday. That’s how a weekend should be, I suppose.

mad-men6

I’ve been reading all the comments Mad Men has been getting this season. To sum it up, y’all are mad. I’ve always recognized that MM is a slow burn, building from the beginning of the season into some explosive, cathartic storylines near the end. So, I’m being patient. But the crux is that everyone’s tired of Don being his brooding, depressed, drunk, womanizing self. They want some character development. While I see their point, that got me thinking in another direction. Continue reading

Monday Musings: On Springing forward, Nutellagate and Gatsby.

Good Monday to you. Here are some of the random, wacky things on my mind this week:

nutella

Whew. I missed last week’s Monday Musings, something I swore to myself I wouldn’t do. But I was getting our new blog, Culinary Cousins, off the ground. If you haven’t, come visit us over there. I’d love to know what you think.

The time change last weekend wasn’t as painful as others I remember, though I dread any moment that wrests precious sleep from my cold, tired, weary hands. But with added sunlight comes the prospect of warmer weather — it was even in the upper 70s this weekend in North Carolina! Nothing like turning on both your heat and your air conditioning in the same week.

Did you hear about Nutellagate at Columbia University? Those student hoarders are after my own heart. Nutella is just about the best thing ever invented, so I don’t blame them one bit.

When I was in high school, I hated English class. That may be surprising given my love of words and reading. Mostly I hated the way we had to analyze and dissect everything to death. It totally took the fun out of it. One book to fall victim to that was The Great Gatsby. How I hated that book, with a passion. I thought the characters were annoying, and I couldn’t relate at all. Plus, my teacher insisted everything had to mean something — those eyeglasses on the billboard were looking down on everyone, or whatever. Can’t they just be eyeglasses on a billboard? Can’t I just read it to enjoy the story? Sheesh. Well, I read Gatsby again for one of my book clubs in anticipation of the movie’s release in May. This time, I couldn’t put it down and was captivated, especially since I didn’t remember what happened. My, what changes with age and experience.

You know, I often stare at my rasceta. And sometimes I use a zarf. I try to avoid snollygosters whenever possible. I bet you do too

Have a good week, all.

A new venture.

Today is an important day. The birth of a new venture.

My cousins are as obsessed with food and cooking as I am. Maybe it’s in the genes, or maybe it’s because we were raised at the same hearth of good, southern food. And we’ve traveled the world to taste everything else that’s out there.

I’m pleased to tell you that we’re combining our interests and talents to launch a new food blog, called Culinary Cousins. The most interesting part, I think, is not in our shared interests but in our differences. We are in our 20s and 30s. We’re newly out of school, we’re married, we’re single, we have kids, we spoil our dogs. Some of us eat healthy, some of us (ahem) are addicted to chocolate, and some of us have to obey dietary restrictions. I think that runs the gamut, and I’m excited to see what we have to say and share.

You’ll find us all over at www.culinarycousins.com, so come. Check us out. We’re a work in progress, but growing slowly.

My first post is up today: the best. ever. macaroni and cheese. Promise.

2012: The year in review.

fireworks

2012 was a good year. One full of ups and downs, for sure, but also one full of friends, family, laughter, fun, great adventures, and above all else, hope.

It was also my second full year of blogging — an exercise I still find enormously fulfilling, but just as challenging. As the new year dawns, I won’t make formal resolutions, but my unofficial goal is to be more disciplined about writing. Having all of you read my rambling musings and share your comments, stories and encouragement is certainly great motivation, and I appreciate your loyalty so much. You could be reading so much else on the web, and it’s a honor you choose to visit little ole me.

Here’s a little recap of my year in review:

In 2012, I posted 53 new posts and 435 new photos (phew!).

The most popular posts:

The top things you searched to find me:

You came from:

  • Facebook.com
  • Yahoo.com
  • Twitter.com
  • Blogher.com
  • WordPress.com

You visited from 52 (!) countries, mostly from the United States, United Kingdom and South Africa.

The most popular day to visit was January 14, when you read On the road again.

The post that received the most comments was London, Day 1: On Arrival.

It looks like I need to travel more!

On this eve of New Year’s Eve, I wish you the best in 2013. Thanks for reading, and I can’t wait to see what the year brings, for all of us.

Cheers!

You like me, you really like me.

My Twitter/blog friend Sarah at The Accidental Okie has nominated me for the Leibster blog award!

Sarah and I “met” a couple of months ago on her blog, or maybe on Twitter. We can’t remember. But we quickly learned we have a frightening number of things in common. Sarah (accidentally) lives in Oklahoma with her husband and kitties, where she writes about her life, her gluten-free culinary creations and design. I’m surprised and honored that she reads my blog, much less that she would nominate me for an award. So, thanks, Sarah! Right back at ya. Continue reading

Stuff that bugs me on Twitter.

For some reason Twitter dominated most of my conversations this week. My friend Natasha promotes her blog and business there. Stephanie reads but doesn’t post (and also puts together her own social media plans, which I’ve never even attempted. Impressive!) Angie’s just getting started on it. I found myself explaining how Twitter works and sounding like an avid user … even, I dare say, a proponent.

If you’d told me 6 months ago that I’d be giving advice on, nay touting the use of, Twitter, I would have thought about hitting you in the face. I sort of despised it, thought it was silly and did everything I could — even as a professional communicator — to avoid it. I had my own account and used it sporadically, but I wasn’t a fan. Then I got the job with hours and hours of downtime and the iPhone that makes reading and posting to Twitter a snap. It’s the perfect storm of staying informed and burning time. Continue reading

The post with too many names.

Here it is. I’ve made it all the way to 100 posts! I can’t imagine how in the world I’ve found 100 things to write about in the last two years, but I hope you’ve found them interesting and informative, enough to keep reading at least. So, at this milestone, let me thank you again for faithfully reading and for allowing me to feed my soul a bit with writing.

When I first envisioned this post two weeks ago, it was going to be called, “Distraction is the best medicine.” I had just received some pretty earth-shattering news, the true magnitude of which didn’t hit me until a few days later. Luckily, I was headed out of town to celebrate my mom’s birthday, looking forward to being enveloped in the arms of family and welcoming the distraction of celebration, fun times and happy faces.

A few days later, I could have called the post, “When it rains it pours.” My 94-year-old grandmother fell and cracked three ribs, my mom was scheduled for foot surgery, my great-aunt (also in her 90s) entered the hospital with bronchitis and my aunt took ill with pneumonia.

It felt like our family was falling apart. So the more appropriate title became, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
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On my high horse.

Today, I just learned as it comes to a close, is National Grammar Day!

If I’d known earlier, I would have thrown a celebration. With cake. And cocktails. And toasts to the few who get it right. Remember back when Facebook had a group called “I judge you when you use poor grammar”? Well, I do. Judge you, that is.

About 97% of my job on any given day is to edit other people’s writing, to catch typos, correct spelling and make the written word sound as smooth, intelligent and consistent as possible. I see a lot of carnage. At those times, I bless my librarian mother, my English-teaching grandmother and my mean-old journalism professors who gave no mercy when I violated the King’s English. It was brutal, yet effective, training.
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