little sarah Big World

Tag: reading

Habits

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Teaching Myself New Tricks

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Lately, I’ve Been…

Latest Literary Love

Reading like I mean it. Devouring books, tearing through at least one each week, on the train, during lunch, before bed, everywhere. It makes the 12+ hours/week spent commuting pass pleasantly, and feels better than dicking around on my phone (though I still indulge in a fair amount of that).

Weaning myself off of sugar and special drinks. Oh, how I’ve bribed myself with the promise of soy hot chocolate on a Monday morning (a happy, sweet start the week), or a Wednesday morning (hump-day treat)…or a Friday morning (reward for a week almost over). But now I am listening to my wonderful little body, giving it what it really needs and wants to thrive. Be not fooled by the photo above–I’ve been resisting! Eating my veggies, and snacking in the savory. Like this:

Kakuteki Sunrise

Eating kimchi or kakuteki before 10 am. I crave the crunch, and the spice, to combat my sweet tooth.

Return Address

Doodling, drawing, penning and posting (the old fashioned way). I forgot how sweet it is to be simply creative. To make something with my heart and hands, then send it off and say goodbye. It’s a modest endeavor, but it makes me feel “like a child stringing beads in kindergarten–happy, absorbed, and quietly putting one bead on after another.”

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Pub Crawling

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Pub Sneaking-Away

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Why I’m the Biggest Aguafiestas of All Time

Last night I did a thing that I would not typically do–I went to a pub crawl in a foreign country with a sizeable group of Americans.

Normally I avoid Americans in foreign countries. Normally I don’t go to pub crawls. But…when in Rome…

Mostly I went because I had an itchy feeling, wanting to be out of the house. And I wanted to meet Josh, a friend of Brett’s from Peace Corps, with whom I’ll be travelling.

He was nice, and also Mike (who will apperently be travelling with us, as well) was nice. And Mike’s friends Tim and Dan were nice. I think they’ll be travelling with us? I didn’t verify that. I started to get anxious, the more menfolk that jumped aboard this backpacking adventure. It just seems like a lot of dudes. Too many dudes. And me.

Actually, I came away from last night with the impression that the Peace Corps is basically a do-gooder frat.

So…yeah. That’s not really my style. Nor is binge drinking with a side of peer pressure. I prefer to binge drink on my own terms, thank you.

I mean, I understand that the deal worked out between the pub crawl people and the bars is that the bars give us free shots, knowing that we will then buy several drinks. But maybe the pub crawl people shouldn’t have encouraged us to drink so much in the park before hitting the bars, eh? Or maybe I still reserve the right NOT to have a drink in my hand at all times and NOT to have the pub crawl organizer order a bunch of drinks, tell people to drink them, and then demand money. And it’s not my fault that it was a Sunday night and there were only six of us and therefore nobody was going to make much money.

Yeah…I got cranky. And drunk.

So I did what I do when I’ve had one too many and am just generally over the situation–I walked home. Without saying goodbye.

I walked miles and miles through Buenos Aires at night and then struggled with the door at Jose’s (damned foreign keys!) before collapsing into bed (but not without trying to read a bit first. Why do I think that I must read every single night before bed, no matter how late it is or how drunk I am?).

Then, this morning, I woke up with a raging hangover, counted last night’s drinks (EIGHT–something I should have been counting at the time), and tried to have a day.

I hate letting hangovers steal the better part of the next day.

I hate doing things that I don’t feel like doing, only to prove myself right and have to live with the regret.

I’m not sure how I feel about do-gooder frat boys. It certainly doesn’t bode well for the next few weeks…stay tuned…

Savor

I had to text my Eric friend the other morning to ask him, “…where did all of this self-love come from? Im enjoying it, but i also find myself asking ‘why now?’ ”

Because I don’t fully understand it, Friends. Something I’ve been striving for for so long–a sense of grace, of calm and peace and joy–is suddenly within my grasp. All I had to do was let go.

More and more I spend my time as I please, and every moment–every movement–seems delicate and sweet. Like making lists, reading in bed right when I wake up, tidying the apartment, and baking banana bread.

It was a rare slow morning, a “day off” I believe it’s called, though it’s been so long, who can remember? So I blissed out, enjoyed every aspect of it. The soft sunlight shining in through the kitchen window, circles of brown sugar and white flower. Soothing stirring and pouring motions. Listening to the Temptations and wearing a fancy apron. All of it.

And so maybe you folks will not be as into these photos as I was, but I seriously appreciated every step in the process, every angle and curve. Therefore, I documented:

I like the way everything comes together with baking. You measure, mix, and it’s like magic, the way it turns into something more than the sum of the parts. Except when its a disaster. Then I throw a tantrum. But not this day. This day I had a morning to myself, a spot of sunlight to dance in, and a delicious chocolate chip banana bread muffin.

…which I could only eat half of. So then I stopped. Just like I stopped going to CrossFit, for the time being, because I prefer running and yoga to weight training.

I think this is what they call “listening to your body and your self,” which is also a novel approach for me. Because a easy, peaceful morning can just as easily slide into a 48-hour work week, leaving me with an eye twitch and a need to seriously re-asses my priorities.

Because lately little sarah Big World Traveler would like nothing more than to settle down for a minute, commit to the plans I’ve made for right here, right now. Work less, relax more. Then maybe more mornings could be filled with baking, blogging, and self love.

As opposed to, you know, waking up at 5:30 and working until 9pm. I don’t want that anymore. I want to savor the moment.

House-Sitting

 

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The Single Life

Moms are in LA for the weekend, with Rose-a-bose, so I’m on duty on the domestic front. I have a whole, clean, warm house all to myself and don’t work until Monday. Lots of quiet alone time.

I love my moms’ house. The nice sheets, big bed. Clean bathtub. I love how there are pots and pans and spices and all of the kitcheny things that I don’t have. Things like a cake carrier, which I have coveted for years, and is now, apparently, mine. Thanks, Moms.

Other than Ladies Night, it’s been deliciously uneventful. Sleeping in, eating cookies for breakfast. Watching 30 Rock and SNL episodes on Hulu. Reading magazines. Doing laundry. Catching up on my blog, with no distractions or obligations. It’s been great. Just what I needed.

*       *       *

As my Melissa friend pointed out last night, with no kids and a boyfriend halfway around the world, pretty much all my time is me time.

And I’m okay with that.

I’m a Lady

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This is How We Thursday

Oh, mans, I wasn’t even going to post tonight, DESPITE the fact that yesterday we reached a new all-time high view count of 111! (Yes, WE, Friends. We did this together!)

See, tonight is Thursday, and Thursdays I work until 9. Thursdays I eat whatever I want for dinner while watching TV. Tonight it was vegan hot wings, a side salad, and beer(s).

Hot wings courtesy of Nicole friend. Love it. Love her guts. Love Thursdays. Tell you why:

Because sometimes Life is shit, Friends. Surely I don’t even need to tell you this. You already know about Life/shit, about long-distance relationships, about working too many jobs with conflicting early and late schedules, about crying in the bathroom on your lunch break because you are so tired and walked all the way from downtown to your moms’ house and all you want to do is take a nap and eat lunch before second work, but the maid is there and you don’t want to disturb her with what you are about to do to the kitchen/fridge area. Okay, maybe that last one was mostly specific to my life.

But STILL.

Sometimes Life is shit, and it’s complicated, and you have no control (and maybe you’re a control-freak-type? I am!), and nothing is going to get solved tonight.

And is that okay, Friends? YES, that is okay! Because it is Thursday. Thursday means hot wings for dinner, and watching TV while you eat, and dancing around your apartment, and cleaning dishes, because you know that shit is gonna please you much-like in the morning, and reading a book that you can not WAIT to read, generously loaned out by a co-worker:

What’s that in the upper right-hand corner, you ask? Is that a Santigold album? IT IS. Am I going to shimmy-shimmy-shake while drinking beer and blogging?

I AM.

Thursdays.

Passing Time

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am enjoying my quiet alone time lately. Funny, because I was once so scared of being alone that I stayed in a relationship for way too long (five and a half years in total), just to avoid the terrifying prospect of being on my own.

Now I can’t get enough of it.

I feel guilty sometimes, because I’d rather read in bed (or practice guitar, or bake, or go for a run…) by myself than hang out with my friends. I mean, I like my friends, but it turns out I like me more.

I can’t get enough of these quiet little moments, drinking a hot beverage, reading. Pausing to take a photograph. Listening to podcasts while I run, and the view is breathtaking, and I have nobody to share it with. Just me. Little Sarah.

And that’s more than enough.

 

 

Epic Baking and a New Life

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“I am PMAing so f***ing hard right now. I am PMAing all over this f***ing town!”

(a recent text sent from me to Eric Friend; PMA = Positive Mental Attitude)

I was maybe in a slump for a while, Friends. I didn’t want to talk about it too much, because I didn’t want to admit it to myself, fully, and I certainly didn’t want to bum you guys out. Not a terrible slump, mind you, but more like a handful of wasted days. Too much Glee watching. Not enough accomplishments. Too many regrets and not enough action.

But praise the powers that be, Friends! I am grateful for the long-awaited, patiently honed power within myself to rise up with fists and get moving again. We can call it a Positive Mental Attitude, but the word that keeps coming to my mind is “Impervious.” I am a woman on a mission and nothing can stop me. Un-fazable.

*       *       *

Last night I repotted Percy, Kevin’s succulent that I’m supposed to be taking care of but really I barely do anything and he is just THRIVING like you would not believe above and beyond the confines of his small pot. (Before pictures here). So I gave him a new pot, a new life. I even repotted some of the clippings back into the small stripey pot and gave it to my Moms so they can have a Percy of their own. Son of Percy.

I wound up repotting him in the dark and cold, my Moms backyard, with a flashlight and stiff fingers. This was possibly due to my afore-mentioned slack off-ery. But I am a new woman, with a new life, and I will get things DONE even if it means frozen hands and dirt on my coat. I am impervious. And I got a free dinner afterwards. (Thanks, Moms!)

*       *       *

Also yesterday I was blown-off twice, by different people, to varying degrees. But did I let it get me down? I did not. Because I am UNFAZABLE, Friends, and because it meant that I got to spend Saturday night watching Glee and drinking wine and going for a long, solo walk through the quiet, cold night to buy more flour and almond-cocunut milk. And then baking, Friends. Epic Baking.

I made pear-plum jam-filled oatbran muffins and used the leftover batter to make a loaf of apricot jam-filled oatbran bread. That almond-cocunut milk (Blue Diamond brand) is to die for, Friends. I could not stop eating the batter.

I even pre-made the dough for another round of cinnamon-sugar pull-apart bread, a labor of love, for my Lindsey Friend. The baking, Friends. It was epic.

*       *       *

And the disappointment at having plans canceled for somewhat dubious reasons? Not epic. The wallowing in self-pity and regret? Non-existent.

Because I do not take it personally, Friends. I do not let it get me down. I enjoy a quiet night in by myself, baking and drinking, and then I clean up. Wash the dishes, read a good book, snuggle into my bed. My new life.

The Namesake

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Remember When I Used to Do Book Quotes?

“Pet names are a persistent remnant of childhood, a reminder that life is not always so serious, so formal, so complicated. They are a reminder, too, that one is not all things to all people.”

“She has the gift of accepting her life; as he comes to know her, he realizes that she never wished she were anyone other than herself, raised in any other place, in any other way.”

“She was exactly the same person, looked and behaved the same way, and yet suddenly in that new city, she was transformed into the kind of girl she had once envied, had believed she would never become.”

“In retrospect she saw that her sudden lack of inhibition had intoxicated her more than any of the men had.”

*       *       *

Isn’t it funny, they way you filter even the books you read through your own actual experience, so that the parts that speak to you also speak to your current frame of mind.

Also the movie version of this isn’t that good, even though it has Kumar of Harold and Kumar in it. Just a heads up.

Snow Day

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No Work and All Play Makes Sarah Want to Stay

Woke up to soft flakes gently falling. Ran outside in my long johns and rain boots to bring in the ol’ mountain bike, lest he catch cold. Blackberry-buckwheat pancakes for breakfast and a long snowy walk to the grocery store and back.

Toasty toasty in my little apartment, with a new down comforter and new bedding. The place is cleaner than ever, from right before I left for Spain. I’ve been baking nearly every day, reading in bed, listening to music, dancing around.

It’s hard to leave a place where I feel so comfortable. But not every day is a snow day; I can’t just stay in my cozy little apartment. There’s work, and friends, family, obligations, people I’d rather not see and situations that I’m ready to get out of.

It’s hard to leave, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right.

Ya Regreso

That means “be right back” in Spanish. Because sometimes you get invited to spend a family-style Christmas in a small town with friends that you came to know through a string of random events and connections, and it happens so fast that you don’t even have time to post a goodbye to your (dwindling, but) beloved internet Friends.

And then you take an even more surprise, last-minute mini-vacation to Valencia, because Kevin has a spur-of-the-moment desire after realizing how close Valencia is to Tarazona, and Kevin NEVER has spur-of-the-moment…anything. So you go to Valencia for two three days (as easy as changing the bus tickets), and take more pictures than you think you will ever have time to blog, but you promise yourself that you WILL blog them, damnit, because your Friends need you. And you need a sense of purpose.

Because…even though all this makes it sound like and oh-so romantic and whimsical and spontaneous time, what it feels like is a series of snapshots, disconnected moments, good and bad and foolish and simple and new and memories and tired and drinking, confused as ever, all of it thrown together, one piece passing by at a time, and you are trying to live in the moment, but the moment keeps changing to something else, and it is not surreal, it is as real and natural as everyday life, except that you are supposed to go back to your everyday life in Salt Lake City, and you really, really don’t want to, but it makes even less sense to stay, and you have your doubts, and no matter what somebody is going to get hurt, and you still haven’t learned your lessons and you are coping by reading Memoirs of a Geisha all the time, for hours and hours at a time, but you are still not done because it is 499 pages and you are a slow reader.

So…yeah, I need to figure out that next step, is what I’m saying.

More posts to come, naturally.