The Route Less Taken

My move from TX to WA could have taken one of several routes.  After figuring that driving through Denver proper with nothing but booze, guns, and underwear might not be the best idea, the weather looked to be good enough to drive straight north from Dallas into South Dakota.  I promise there’s a method to the madness:  when would I ever be in a position to go to South Dakota, and able to see Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, and then maybe hit Devil’s Tower in Wyoming on the way out?


Intimidating, right?  I mean, 41 hours in a car on mostly state routes is pretty ambitious, if you ask me.  There was a lot of nothing for a while, though the sunsets got progressively prettier (and harder to drive in).

And yes, it does say 41 hours, which is a really long effing time, but I was able to be a little productive in the form of knitting a sweater for my cousin’s baby.

Otherwise, it was a big flock of nothing.  Except for major concentration, because of course, no adventure would be complete without some inclement weather.  It rained so hard on the first three hours of the drive that I thought I was going to be swept away in a flood.  The only bonus was the double rainbow when I finally got into Oklahoma.


South Dakota was calling me, so I didn’t have much time to check out Kansas and Nebraska, but it’s ok.  It mainly looked like this in the morning, which wasn’t too shabby, but at the same time it was EARLY.  Like 5:30 am early.


I know I complain about the drive, and the empty road, and the terrible hours in the car with fast food and nothing great. However, the open road is magical, and while my bitching about the lack of scenery was frequent, I did take a break once in a while to admire the future in front of me.




Some of my friends and family might characterize me as “artsy.”  Arts, crafts, okay.  If that’s what it takes…I mean, I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, and if you asked me to paint something, it would have to be one of those guided, boozy paint events (and I make no promises that it would be identifiable).  But I was a damn good knitter.


So yes, I quill, and I knit, and I used to do beadwork and make jewelry.  Drawing, however, was never my strong suit.  My brother was great at art, and so was my best friend, but me?  If I were in prison, and had to draw something coherent to escape, I’d never, ever get out.

But in a recent surge of both “I can do this better than X person,” and “I need something else to calm my stress and anxiety levels, I did some research into doodling – specifically zentangle.  While I think a lot of the theories/restrictions are sort of BS, there’s definitely an element of calm in following the instructions and doing the same patterns over and over.  I’d already had the “right” pens for it, since I have teeny handwriting, but Id’ never really thought about using them for drawing.

It’s a cute new hobby that I can do when I’m watching TV, taking a break at work, or when I want to make something to give as a gift (and isn’t quilling or a knitted item).


I drew this on a chalkboard in my friend’s classroom.  He and some other friends were discussing conspiracy theories around Star Wars, and the storyline of Dragonball.  I stopped paying attention. 


I will always love Rent. 


Look Ma, I’m Artsy!

Taking a short break from my soon-to-be-over Spanish adventures, I realized the other day that I had been playing around with quilling for the last nine months or so, and I had created some fun things. It’s basically rolling paper into shapes and gluing it down.  Sounds simple, but it’s actually kind of therapeutic.

Someone bought me some strips for Christmas, without knowing what they were, and I had to do a bunch of research.  Since then, I’ve been able to muddle through (aka watch YouTube tutorials) and create some things that have been kind of fun.  I’ve sent cards to Germany and Italy, given shower and wedding gifts, wished luck, and thanked people for the myriad of things they’ve done for me.

I <3 NY! Part Three: Manhattan

Save the best for last, I always say. Or not, but that’s not the point. Part One and Part Two weren’t bad, right? Today marks the last, and my favorite, part of my weekend in New York: Manhattan.

Image courtesy of

Ah, the island of Manhattan. I’ve always loved it, always wanted to live there (damn you, poor choices of my youth), and I’ve always tried to visit when I can. Being as that I am a competitive racer every weekend from March to November, and I also no longer have an apartment at which to crash when I visit, it’s put a drastic dent in the bi-monthly (or even weekly!) trips to the city.

In previous years, when Anna (expat blog found here) lived there, I would take Metro-North for $28 round trip, and cab to her place. We’d have dinner (typically sushi delivery from Yuko Sushi on 81st and York), we might go out shopping to buy pretties, and generally walk around and have a lovely time. It was a routine, I was happy and comfortable with it, and I miss it, and her, terribly.

Last weekend, my adventure around Manhattan consisted of things I had never actually really taken the time to do before – and it was a ton of fun:

Heading in from Queens, I got stuck in traffic….


….and I finally made it to the West Side (it was a looooooong ride), and walked along the High Line, viewing some interesting artwork….

….and I took in some street art…

….and some of the best advertising I’ve ever seen…

…and generally enjoyed the sights, but once the two mile walk (up and back) was over, I wandered around, ending up in Chinatown, where I ate candy I haven’t had in eight years…

…and I decided to visit my other people, and began heading up to Little Italy, where I encountered more street art…

…and eventually found myself at Ferrara

…where I admired their Easter display…

….and then after I had stuffed myself full of pastries, I went down to hang out in the Flatiron district…

…and visited Mario Batali’s Eataly

…where I was so overwhelmed, I had to walk more, so I went down to Washington Square…. 

…and realized that I was finally so tired (11 miles is a lot of walking in wedge boots!), I had to head back up to Grand Central…

…to begin my long journey home.