Alphabet Soup: J is for Journey

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Happy Friday, readers!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something, I know. I was enjoying my last week in Scotland! My last few days in Port Logan were absolutely lovely, even if they were blanketed in fog. They brought about interesting events like watching a game of Curling and picking mushrooms that may or may not have been safe for consumption. However, the journey continues….

J is for Journey

I’m currently in Liverpool. Yesterday was a long day of travel, followed by a lovely dinner. Today I’m tired and sore and cranky, so this might turn out to be a bit shorter than usual. I can’t help but wonder at how much traveling takes out of you. You spend the day sitting down, not really doing much of anything, but it’s incredibly draining. Is it the constant motion? Not being able to fully relax for fear of missing your train or your plane or your bus?

You can’t go anywhere for free. Whether it’s a physical or emotional journey, there is always a price to pay and it’s not always money. We pay by sacrificing hours of sleep, the possibility of comfort, in some cases more time than we’d care to. And yet we still do it, because no matter how draining it is and how much it demands of us, the rewards are far greater than the sacrifices would ever be.

My current journey through the UK has led me to new things, new people, new places. I’m tired right now. Writing in my pj’s while I wait for the pain medication to kick in. (My bag probably weighs more than 60 pounds, just think about dealing with that across 4 different trains.) But I’m grateful and happy to be where I am, to have the opportunity to travel. I’m constantly amazed that I get to do this, even if it’s for a short period of time.

I’m in Liverpool right now, my next stop is London on Sunday. Up until now they UK has been incredible, really everything I’d thought it’d be and more. Hopefully London won’t disappoint! 

Until next time readers!

Alphabet Soup: I is for Intoxicated

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Hello everybody!

I’m still relaxing in Port Logan, listening to the waves and missing my best friend. (My name is Flagrant Codependece, at your service) The weather has been forgiving, even if the cold hasn’t. All part of leaving the tropics as Winter approaches, I suppose.  Halloween is tomorrow and I’m fairly excited. My Halloween plans in Scotland fell through, but I still have hopes of things working out tomorrow. There is still talk of pumpkin carving and possibly a Star Wars marathon. We’ll see! I predict high levels of intoxication, either way.

I is for Intoxication

It’s no secret that I drink a lot. I’ve often said here I have a very strong relationship with alcohol, which is true. A good beer shared with people you enjoy can turn your whole day around. But my love affair with beer and alcohol goes beyond just wanting to get intoxicated. There’s a sweet spot when you’re drinking, at least for me, where your body feels good and you feel relaxed and for a little bit the whole world seems better than it did a few minutes ago.

Being there means anything can happen, some of my best adventures and memories have started out in that happy place. Like the time we all decided to take an impromptu road trip, just because we could. Like that time we were drinking at the beach one night and decided to jump into the water in our underwear, mostly because it was right there. Like that time I ran into high school friends and the sweet spot turned into drunkenness, but we had a hilarious time getting there. 

I know I’m romanticizing alcohol and intoxication. I know alcohol has terrible long term effects on your body and that when people get intoxicated they have a tendency to do astronomically stupid things. However, that’s true of so many things. This week I read somewhere that eating too much bacon and red meat can cause cancer. Too much sugar means Diabetes and blindness. Smoking means murdering your lungs. Too much of anything is bad for you, guys. We all do things that are bad for us, but make us happy. Drinking is that bad thing for me.

Honestly, there is nothing that makes me happier than getting a drink with friends. Having a beer with someone I’m getting to know. Sitting down for dinner with a glass of wine and having great conversation. Just like smoking, drinking can be a highly social experience. For me it’s meant meeting new people, feeling new things, and finding myself in the position to do things that weren’t possible hours before.

Plus, you know, it’s delicious.

Go out and have a drink tonight. Or two. Meet someone new, get in touch with old friends. It’ll (probably) be fine, I promise.

Until next time, readers!

Port Logan or Port Peace

Greetings, readers!

After getting evicted from our little abode, we spent a couple of nights in Edinburgh. Surrounded by bagpipes, new accents, and beautiful architecture, we spent two days exploring the city. We went up to Edinburgh Castle with intentions of going in, but bailed when confronted with the almost £20 entrance fee. What’s up with that Scotland? We took full advantage of the view and got some nice pictures of the castle, which is good enough for me.

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We also spent some time visiting a few of the many museums the city has to offer, as well as visiting a few its many fine bars. I highly recommend The National Museum of Edinburgh and The Hanging Bat. Spend some time knocking down a foam wall with a tiny catapult in the museum. It doesn’t sound quite as thrilling as it is, but trust me IT WAS AWESOME.

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Then unwind with Otto, an excellent Dopplebock served by the lovely people at The Hanging Bat. Which, by the way, has one of the greatest bathrooms, I’ve ever seen. Not only were the sinks and faucets made from kegs, they had a jar of free tampons and a little cup with bobby pins. When was the last time you went into a bathroom like that?! The answer, for me, is never.

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We only had two nights in Edinburgh though and on our way to Port Logan, where I’m currently at, we decided to do some ferry hopping. Guys. Let me tell you a thing. I’m that person who gets sea sick at the drop of a hat. That gentle swaying is a bitch. Ask me when I remembered this. When I was already on the boat, that’s when. So, murderous ferry (at one point it might have been 45 degrees from the water), followed by the curly fries of roads, and on to what? Yes. Another ferry. A SECOND FERRY. It’s a wonder I didn’t throw up all over anything. I’m quite proud of myself. My smoothness knows no bounds.

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Once we made it back onto non moving land (Thank Zeus) we still had about two hours of driving, which we broke up with food. Because, you know, that’s how you rest by stuffing your face. Which brings me to: Mushy Peas. Guys. What is happening? I don’t know, but it’s a thing. They taste good, but visually, you know, it’s like abstract art. You’re never quite sure what’s happening, but you pretend you do so no one thinks you’re a peasant. Do you know that feeling?

Anyway, we made it safely down to Port Logan, under the rain, in the cold. But, in front of the beach, surrounded by calm and silence. Sometimes being far away from everything has its advantages, it’s nice to be able to unwind even when you didn’t know you needed it.

I’m here for a few more days. I might go to Ireland or I might couch potato it Scotland style. What does that mean? I have no idea. My guess is it involves beer. Lots of it. Because…. Fuck it. I have no excuse. Because in any country, my relationship with alcohol remains strong.

And Scotland has quite a few delectable beers on offer. Seriously. You come. You buy one of each Scottish beer you can find (maybe not one of each if you’re just the one, there’s a lot of them). You hole up somewhere. And you drink. I promise you’ll have a great time. Provided you leave your hole at some point, you caveman. Either way, Scotland has delivered. But it’s not yet over so you’ll have to wait and see what else is in store. After all, Halloween is coming up!

Amidst my drinking and drinking, I’ve been reading Calvino’s stories and they’ve been more fun than I expected. I won’t go into detail now because this post is long enough, but stay tuned for what will probably be me rambling about short stories, Calvino, and space. It sounds thrilling, I know. Try to stay calm.

I’m off to potentially eat leek and potato soup, which is apparently a thing. Who knew? Stay warm, readers.

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Until next time!

Final Thoughts: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Good afternoon, readers!

We had plans of going to Edinburgh today, but they were foiled by people who didn’t let us know they were coming over to do stuff in the house. They were meant to be moving into the house in a week, not this weekend. Buttfaces. We’ve exiled ourselves to a little pub in Limekilns called The Ship Inn and are currently making (indecent) use of their wifi. We’re consuming what will probably amount to large amounts of alcohol though, so it all evens out.

I’m finally done with The Dog Stars by Peter Heller and speaking of human condition, this novel is bursting with it. It’s steeped in loss and sadness. Over and over again, the characters come up against a world that has been robbed of normalcy. Where initially it was difficult to read Hig’s disjointed thoughts, towards the end the book feels more fluid. Somewhere after the middle point it gathered speed, taking me to some really surprising places. Sometimes with a small bit of morbid humor thrown in, which is always nice. Morbid humor for the win, you guys.

I’m not going to lie, I dragged my heels with this book. I’ve been feeling like reading something entirely different, which didn’t help matters. Mostly though, I just had a hard time really getting into it. It felt like nothing was happening. It makes sense in a world where things have ceased to happen for the most part. The last half of the book was filled with things I didn’t really expect, which brought about a very welcome change of pace. It also introduced some sorely needed new characters and made the whole thing more dynamic.

Don’t get me wrong, Hig as a character is pleasant. I really enjoy those moments when he stops to think about life, his thoughts a muddled mess I could recognize even if my brain hadn’t been cooked by extremely high fevers as his had. He talks about poetry, songs he likes, what it feels like to find small bits of happiness, but mostly he thinks about the things he’s lost. I think we can all relate to him in that sense, losing something you weren’t ready to part with and finding the memories springing up at strange times like alarms we forgot we’d set.

Really, the whole book is an ode to loss. An exploration of what it’s like to lose everything and the strangeness of finding things within that loss. It’s about losing friends and family, losing your best friend, your home. It’s about realizing you have things to lose, even after you thought you’d lost everything you could. And then finding things in the nothingness, reasons to fear loss again.

In the end, it was a really touching book. When you think about loss, really focus on it, you can’t help but remember everything you have and all the things you’re grateful for. It’s a nice reminder if ever there was one.

I’ll be without internet for a bit longer, so bear with me readers. I’ll try to post as often as I can find an internet connection. Keep it cool, readers.

Until next time!

Alphabet Soup: H is for Human

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Hello beautiful readers!

My first week in Scotland has come and gone and I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything! This whole no internet thing has been more problematic than I expected, but I’ve been thinking of you as the days go by. I know I said I’d close up shop in Colorado this week and I will try to post my Final Thoughts later, but I make no promises. Something very human, I think.

H is for Human

I’ve decided to take advantage of this post to give you a little update on what I’ve been up to since arriving in Scotland. We’ve gone from town to town exploring all that this fair country has to offer – beautiful lakes, peaceful woods, castles and palaces full of history.
I’ve seen a whole host of animals I’d never seen before, like magpies, pheasants, wood pigeons, black sheep, swans. I’ve been fed Millionaire Shortbread, Jaffa Cakes, and Scotch Pie. Delicious. IMG_0281And, of course, I’ve been sampling Scottish beers like there’s no tomorrow. Which there might not be, so there is really no need to pace oneself. Right? Right.

I also watched my first game of Rugby. On TV, but you know, still. We went to a little pub and drank beer as Scotland battled it out with Australia. Even though most of the time I had no idea what was going on, it was hard not to be carried away by the infectious energy in the room. Men cursing, shouting at a TV that paid no heed to them, little jokes here and there, an air of instant camaraderie as everyone cheered for the same team. It was a nice feeling, being there, taking part in this thing that felt almost private even though it was no such thing. My days have been interesting, that’s for sure.

HowIMG_1914ever, this week, while full of natural wonder and droves of excitement, has also served to remind me what this whole human condition is all about. Happiness, sadness, loss, anger, jealousy. Being human is full of so many things we take for granted. So many things we’d love to do without. Especially because, when it comes down to it, so many of these emotions often stem from irrational places. Feelings of inadequacy. Fear of losing someone you care for. Anger at being kept in the dark about things you feel you have a right to know even though you don’t. Humanity, at it’s core, is often defined by that very irrationality. Having hope when you know there is nothing more to be done, holding on to things that are no longer yours even if they are within reach.

In the end, we must live through it all whether we like it or not. Live through the pain and the tears that come against your will sometimes. Most of all, sometimes, the biggest part of being human is recognizing that irrationality. Recognizing that giving voice to all these things would mean creating unnecessary turbulence. Rocking the boat for things that make noise only inside your head. At the end of the day, when your heart sounds loudest, you have to ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”

What a Debbie Downer, guys. I’ve had a week of adventuring and perhaps a bit too much thinking. Bear with me, I promise it’ll all pep up soon! Stay beautiful, readers.

Until next time, here’s a picture of a swan looking right at you!

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Getting there

Hello everyone! 

My apologies for leaving you hanging on Wednesday! These past few days have been pretty crazy. One of my best friends got home after months of traveling, I’ve been spending time with family and friends before the trip, and don’t get me started on all the errands! 

My mo12139745_164446200567810_1189307091_nrning started out like any other…. That’s a lie. I woke up anxious at 3:42am, feeling slightly queasy and possibly congested. I had a last minute technology Q&A with my mother about what happens when phones don’t have data. I feel like I was very informative. Perhaps a future in explaining things to people should be in the cards.

At the airport everything was fine, until that terrible moment when you have to say goodbye to people. My mother always starts sobbing, which makes leaving hard because I hate having to walk away from her like that. Everything was made infinitely more amusing by the fact that after swiftly moving through the TSA screening I, just as swiftly, had to run back when I realized I’d left my computer behind.

In this back and forth I met a cowboy comedian. We kept crossing paths as he tried to find a Starbucks and I tried to find my gate. The airport was under construction, I’d like to think Cowbow Comedian and I are not as clueless as we sound.

As it stands, I’m currently writing this from an airport in Toronto as I wait for my third flight of the day to board. I look like a crazy person carrying around an unnecessary amount of bags which just accentuates how not smooth I am. With anything.

Before leaving Puerto Rico, I asked a guy if he was hungover and he replied that he’d just come from his grandfather’s funeral. Just a small example of my lack of finesse. We then proceeded to talk about The Walking Dead, so I’m guessing he wasn’t terribly put off. In the end we went our separate ways, but I’ll never forget that one guy I said inappropriate things to at the airport.

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I’ve left Canada on what is to be the final leg of my journey. All I can say is, so long and thanks for all the hot men at the airport. You’re doing good things on that front, Canada.

I fell asleep as soon as the plane started moving on the tarmac and woke up to find a WHOLE hour had passed. I’m trying to make it seem more thrilling than it actually was. So, armed with delicious cookies and entirely nondescript tea, I’ve decided to be productive and write this long overdue post.

I decided to put the Around the World Challenge on hold as I actually visit bits of the world. I’ve been feeling like reading very particular things, so I’m taking this time to satisfy that literary craving. I will however, finish Colorado before I put it on hold. So, look for that post sometime next week!

I’ve brought with me Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics, a collection of 34 short stories that combine science and myths (origin stories?). I’ve read the first two so far and they’ve been amazing. Not what I expected at all and so much better than anything I could’ve predicted. The stories are funny, clever, and really inventive, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

The other book I brought with me is the Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman. This one is a collection of essays, rather than stories. Lightman writes about science and the universe from a more human perspective. He creates a marriage of the objective and factual with the beauty and wonder that is being a human part of the cosmos. At least, that’s my understanding of the text. I haven’t started reading it properly yet.

The rest of the books I read will come as I gleefully buy them during my travels. I’m going to try to post as often as possible, rather than on a set schedule in order to share as much as I can of this trip with you. Remember to check out today’s Alphabet Soup, as well!

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I’m now in Scotland, but with a limited internet connection so bear with me folks!